Dec 14, 2011

Day Five in Kissemah, December 13th - Tuesday

Sorry that I am a bit confused on the days of the week and the date. I am writing this update on WED morning, about what we did yesterday. I got up about 6:30am to have coffee and bread in Cece's kitchen, out back. It is a peaceful spot in the compound, I love to sit there in the morning, I usually have about 10 questions for Renee.
After coffee I came to the school office, Alice was not feeling to well yesterday, so I brought her inside with me, that is when I took the picture of her yesterday. Today I saw her out on the school office porch and she said she is feeling better, her fever appears to have subsided.
The children had I think REM exams yesterday, Religious and Moral Education, this is part of the Ghana primary school curriculum. The children had exams in the morning, then their break, then lunch and then exams again in the afternoon. During break we practiced the holiday program songs, I learned a few songs I had not heard before. One in particular I will video, where you get to sway your hips, the children, especially the little ones are adorable.
In the afternoon we got the test for today and tomorrow typed up and printed and off we went to the university copy place to make copies for all the children. The copy place was an internet cafe and a copy place, they had two copiers that were managed by two ladies, you hand them what you want copied and they set up the machine and press all the buttons. When we got to the place there were a few people in line, so we queued until it was our time to get copies made. I think each copy was 7 peswas.... (spelling), equivalent of about 4 cents.
After the copies we went to see Cece's sister, Felicia and her family. Felicia works in an administrative type role at the University Hospital, she lives close to Kissemah Village, about 10 minutes by car. We met her children, we were there to get a letter of appreciation from the hospital. Mawuvios Outreach was given 10 wheelchairs by a German Company here in Accra, and the Mawuvios program donated 3 of them to the hospital. One is being used by Goodwin, whom you will get to meet soon, and one was donated to an elder man in the village. They have a few more to donate.
I also made a trip to the ATM with Kwame. The maximum amount I was able to withdraw is 80 Cedis, which is about sixty some dollars. The exchange rate is $1 dollar is between 1.50 and 1.65 Cedis depending on where you change the currency.
The children continue to amaze and fill my heart with joy. They are so so curious, I talk to them about anything and everything. They love to hear stories of Maddie and Morgan. The Swim Swim Swim video of the girls continues to get played over and over. We always find a reason to practice sign language, I am getting very good at the entire alphabet. Rueben and Randolf the deaf boys are wonderful children. Rueben has the biggest smile ever. The backpacks at school yesterday were a huge hit, the children all showed me their name tags, they all found a special place for their SPECS as they call them. Nikki the sunglasses and pencils and erasers are a HUGE HIT. Someone a natural order developed yesterday in terms of where each class put their backpacks during the exams, and amazing no backpacks were lost, misplaced, etc. A few children came to me saying.... Madam my backpack is dirty".... and I said oh well. Kwame and Renee have been repeating over and over that they need to take very good care of them. Renee said they are going to get a handy man to build a long rack with many hooks so the children can hang up the bags when they come to school.
Maybe I mentioned this, the backpacks were the talk of the village. I guess the word spread fast and the fact that the children have name tags with the school logo and name is huge. Huge in that the children get recognition, and the program gets recognition. Many of the children in the village go to schools where the parents have to pay a small fee for tuition - and they have nice uniforms, most of those kids have bags, etc. So for the Mawuvios children and the Mawuvios program to have nice backpacks is a huge huge + for them. I had no idea of all the ramifications of the backpacks.... I cannot thank all of you enough times...... the gift for the children and the school is more than we can ever imagine. I remind myself daily that these children have NOTHING. They live in one room houses, sleep on the floor, bathe outside, eat once a day.
They dont have desk or chairs at home to study, Renee said that few parents encourage them to study, etc. Some of these kids, actually most of them had never held a book in their hands before the Mawuvios program. Probably a good 70% to 80% of them are doing well on their exams this week. A few are struggling, Renee is aware and those children with the volunteers get extra support.
Traci, one of the young ladies that came on the trip, from Iowa, got her hair braided yesterday at the Salon de Bombay. The entire process took 4 hours. I will post a picture of the finished new hair style. I was in the shop for the beginning of the process, I had no idea how hair is braided, it was interesting to see. Four ladies were working on Traci's hair at the same time.
Thanks to all who are sending back messages, I appreciate your words of encouragement and support. Each day is filled with new information, new discoveries, new surprises from the children.
Today in the after school bead program we will make the first rosaries. I am looking forward to that. I think we are going to the Somanya Bead Market next Wed. I will provide a full report.
I also got to meet one of the Mawuvios Outreach Program board members, Eric is his name. We had a nice chat about Ghana, politics, all the current issues the Ghanian people are facing. The country is moving ahead, the pace slow, but there is progress.
I am signing off to tend to the children that have finished their exams. They are outside of the school office, peaking in the window whispering... Madam... Madam.
And sorry for the typos.

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