Thursday, February 11, 2010
Here at the School for the Blind there are morning classes, afternoon classes and evening classes but the students still find time to have some fun.
I was able to teach some of them how to play Uno and they taught me how to play Dominos. Each person has 7 and the person that has double one go first. You have to follow the last number called and put down your domino 1/3 then the next person 3/6; they go through the game so fast. I caught on fast and actually won one round.
Everyone loves to race each other. They all line up at one end of the football (soccer) field and at the other end someone rings a bell over and over and that is how they know where to run to. The first person to, well pretty much, run right into the person with the bell wins.
Goal ball is one of the students’ favorite games. There are two teams of 3 and they play on a cement pad. One team is on one side and the other team lines up on the other side; if you have a little sight you must put fabric over your eyes. You are to roll a ball (with bells inside) to the other team. The object is to get it past their line. There is much competition between houses (the dorms they live in). So when they play everyone come to cheer on their team. Well it is very quiet while the ball is in play but as soon as someone scores the crowd so wild.
Twice a week students come together for reading club. They love to listen to stories about pretty much anything you want to read them. I was able to bring over some of the books in Braille (thanks to all who helped buy the books). The students were so excited that they could read the book and not just get read to. It was great!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Mom- Thank you so much for uploading all those pictures.
One of my favorite pictures is the one with me working with the two students; right Abdularzak and left Fuseini. Both of these students are very hard workers. They are very intelligent and want to learn as much as they can now because they know that when school is over they will not have another chance to come back; that means they ask a lot of questions. It was a difficult to have the students respond back to me when I ask questions but I was able to build a good relationship with these two boys and now they ask a lot of questions. It has made the rest of the students more open and willing to speak up as well, which makes learning fun.
Fuseini and Abdularzak are considered blind but they both have a little bit of sight. I took them to the computer lab to show them the pictures on the blog. They were very excited to know that all of you will be able to see them and their classmates. I also showed them the picture of the market and they were astonished by the, umm how do I put this… well craziness, but still are very eager to go. (I will see what I can do about that)
Today I was able to take this class to the wood shop. They really enjoyed asking questions, working with the tools and being outside of the school walls. This class informed me that they wanted to go to the radio station. Not knowing if there is a location in Wa we can go to, where it was, if they spoke English, how we would get there, or if the Headmaster would allow it; I told them I would see what I could do.
One of my friends here, Lordy, she took me on her motorcycle to the location station so I could discuss with them of my student’s desires. They told me the procedure I must take to get permission. First I need to write a letter; well I am not the one that wants to go so, that afternoon my student came to afternoon class to write the radio station a letter asking for permission to go. They wrote it in Braille, I wrote it in print and then we took it to the typist to type it, asked Headmaster to sign it, got permission from the classroom teacher and I road my bike to deliver it. I hope to find out if we have permission or not on Friday.
As for today: we had a great time in the wood shop and will be playing Uno in afternoon classes. Oh and Fuseini and Abdularzak are excited they are famous, well famous at least among everyone that reads this blog. Thanks for all the comments!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Education here in Ghana means something way different than it does in America. It cost a lot of money for a child to go to school. They not only need to pay the schooling fee but for a uniform and all supplies too, as well as find a way to get there every day.
You are very blessed if you are one of the lucky ones that can afford school. If your family can not afford to pay for you to go to school, often kids will find things to sell in the market or beg for money. When children go and sell in the market they give half the money they make to their parents and keep half. It takes a long time to make the money for school but there is much determination to go to school in Ghana.
Because school is such a privilege the students go to learn (nothing else). Since the students value school so much there is not much goofing off in the classroom. Well, that and the schools are very strict, so you do not want to be punished in the school system.
The students walk to school every day; the day starts at 6:30am and goes until 1:30pm; it often stops for a break but not lunch. The students sit 2 to a desk and the teacher stands up in front and lectures all day. It is pretty much all memorization (I would fail in school here) and if a student does not understand, well there are just not many resources here to help them.
Wow, I am not use to that. I love to work with students one on one and move around, get up and play some games, do some projects, ask questions and basically have fun. Having Fun is Learning! Well, my little motto here is a very new concept to Ghanaians. I am trying to quickly, but culturally respectfully, work in some fun learning experiences. I am doing things like making art projects, sorting and feeling objects, math games, field trips and I am even going to bring out Uno. Yes, Uno is educational. It is all about problem solving, critical thinking, taking turns, sharing and working with others, competition, following rules, number order, reading Braille and learning how to have fun.
Come to think of it I really have taken my education for granted. My schooling was a trying time for me but I have made it almost all the way through college. I would not have been able to do it without my parents, dedicated teachers and fun learning. So thank you Mom and Dad; and thank you to all teachers and professors that helped me through my education and made it possible for me to be here now to help these students. You have made a difference in the world by making a difference in me.
If you have been through primary school you are blessed and if you have gone through secondary school you are privileged so rejoice and if you get a chance thank your teachers. (I expect all of second hour to thank Mr. Schanz)
Oh and Prof. Meyer, about your comment on coming home… I do still have to graduate and I promised my mom I would come home at least for a short while… Who knows where I will end up next :)
Monday, February 8, 2010
This Sunday I got the privilege of going to out to a village church service with the Russell’s (missionaries that are here in Wa). It is about 35 minutes from the school by car. This church was started by the Russell’s about 3 years ago; before that the people had never hear of Jesus Christ. They started meeting under a tree but now have a building and are hoping to use the same building as a school for the children but due to Ghanaian laws about schools it is very difficult to start a school and have teachers come.
When we first got to Buka is was all children in the church so we had a little Sunday school hour. Rachel (the Russell’s youngest; 6 years old) wanted to read the children a story from her children’s Bible. She picked out the story of the last supper; which ended up being perfect because John planned to have communion. As Rachel read Lizzy (the Russell’s helper) translated the story for the children to understand. Since there is not school for the kids to go to, none of them know English; they only know the tribal language but can understand Walli, Lizzy’s third language is Walli so she was able to translate for Rachel.
During worship Isaac (the Russell’s son, 10 years old) played the drums. He had so much fun. In the middle of singing a man, named Jon, came in dancing. Jon was so happy, he light up the room when he danced right in, made me want to get up and dance with him. Bess (missionary mother) told me that he became accepted Christ just a few weeks ago after his wife died. It was his wife’s dying wish that Jon would know the Lord. Wow God uses everything to bring people to know Him.
Each church has a care taker that is an elder in the church; they watch over the church during the week and all its affairs. Joseph is the care taker of this church in Buka and got word that the village next to Buka heard about what was going on and wanted a church too so Joseph took it upon himself to go out and start a church in the neighboring village. God is working here!
Grandpa to answer your question about doing wash: Here in Ghana Saturday is wash day. If you are fortunate to live by a body of water you go wash your clothes there otherwise you wash them by the local bore hole. You bring three buckets and fill it with water; one to soak, one with soap and one to rinse and then use the bushes as drying racks. As for me; I am teaching Lizzy (the missionaries in Wa) how to read in English and in return she said she is willing to do my wash; which is good because I do not have much time to do my laundry.