Saturday, July 19, 2008

Me ko da

This week was pretty low-key for me. We volunteered Monday-Friday at Christ Faith Foster Home which is also in the northern part of Accra, not more than a couple of miles from Peace and Love. Similarly, Christ Faith is not government-sponsored, so I was really wondering how kids end up there. I asked the director of the home and she told me that they go out looking for kids on the streets, who then have to be checked by government social workers - to confirm that they are needy and that Christ Faith is a good place for them. However, the facility is also a public school, so once again, we met a lot of kids there who do have parents and homes. We kinda get to figure out who the foster kids are, on the days that the bus is late to pick us up and the students have already gone home.

Speaking of the bus picking us up late, we have had an influx of AFS students with various maladies who are taken to the hospital every day. I like to call this "hop aboard the hospital train!", and also lay claim as the initiator of the Hospital Train movement. We kind of had this ongoing joke, where whenever anyone complained of being hungry or thirsty, or having a bruise, etc., we'd make the 'choo choo!'train noise and be like, "hop aboard!". Kerry got this red paint all over her legs and we went around telling people she had a terrible rash and needed to ride the hospital train. I hope that this is as funny to you guys at home as it was to us... it seems like at least 10 people in our group have gone to the hospital by now. And they take the hospital students on the same bus that is supposed to take us all home and bring our lunch, so if anyone goes, we don't get lunch until like 3 pm and then leave way later than we're supposed to.

I spent a little bit of time in a classroom teaching kids with a couple of other AFS students, but the handful of teachers at the school didn't really approve of our teaching. I think the kids were roughly second grade level, and so we did some math problems such as 1+2+3=? and then decided to do some like 4x1=?, 4x2=?, etc. One of the Christ Faith supervisors came in and started flipping sh*t and erased all of our multiplication signs, changing them into addition signs. Ooops.. anyway, I really like some of the things they do, such as clapping twice whenever a student gets a correct answer. The teacher also was handing out random food to kids for volunteering answers. Just not the kind of thing I'm used to seeing.

Later in the week I did a lot of repainting of things such as the main pavillion, the boys' showers, and some bathrooms. Thursday I was very popular helping the kids read, but it also made me pretty bummed out, because a lot of them couldn't read at all. I noticed that they were just memorizing the sentences, so if they went in order, they could read it, but if I pointed at a random word, they couldn't do anything with it. I tried to spell out words and stuff to help them associate individual letters with their sounds, but I know this is not a skill you can learn in 1 day. This goes back to what I was saying before. I think there are so many of these kids who are really bright and have a lot of potential, and the facilities were pretty good at Christ Faith, but they really need parents or someone who truly cares about them. With so many kids and so few people supervising them, I feel like they could slip through the cracks all the way to secondary school. I know that I made them happy by playing with them, helping them with their work, and improving the look of some things around Christ Faith, but I feel like the permanent difference would be to find them all loving homes. I am sure this applies to orphans/foster kids all over the world, not just in Accra, Ghana. Maybe someday I'll adopt, or find some other way to change the life of even just one of these children. I don't think all hope is lost.

Wednesday I got home at 5 pm, which is very very odd, so we had time to go to the seamstress with the fabric I bought last weekend. My measurements were taken and I actually already got my clothes back yesterday, although I haven't tried them on yet. Auntie Nancy got me some really gorgeous kente cloth and we'll have another skirt made. Speaking of Auntie Nancy, she left for the UK last night. We all kind of gathered around the car and waved goodbye. It's weird because everyone else here will definitely see her again in 6 weeks, but I might never see her again, although I'm sure we'll talk on the phone. After we saw her off, I went out with my host brother, an AFS friend Alex and her two host brothers, to Chinese food at Osu which is like the big food area of Accra, near the water. The Chinese food here is, maybe surprisingly, much better than what I have had in Seattle. It tasted similar, but a lot... healthier. I might add, though, that it was my second dinner, so Desmond and I decided to go jogging today, but then this morning decided not to because I slept in way too late. We dropped Afua and Papayo off at their school graduation and I finally changed some US dollars over, hopefully for the last time, but I have not bought many of your souvenirs yet, so maybe not. Later I am headed to the Accra mall - Shoprite! Tomorrow is still in question. I hope that everyone had a fabulous week. See you all soon!


Andy Hill said...

I'm sure you're making lasting impressions on everyone you meet over there. Little acts of kindness can go a long way to change a life. Great blog!!

karenenenenenen said...

It seems like you're having a great experience Sharron :]

But does me ko da mean? haha

Shannon said...

I don't think I spelled it correctly, because I have only been learning Twi through hearing, but it means 'I'm going to bed'. :)

James said...

Its good to hear that you are having fun,and I like that you are a trendsetter, even in Ghana.