Renee got up around 7am to get all the school prep completed for the exams next week. At 8am she came back to the room and said we had visitors at the school office, Rueben and Randolph, brothers who are in the school program. They are both deaf and communicate in sign language, and both were gracious and patient to walk me through the sign alphabet so we could communicate. I learned some letters very well, some they would take my hand and shape my fingers the correct way and giggle. We had a wonderful, simple conversation, both of the boys have sunshine smiles.
Then Blessing, Forgive, Sherriff and Kwesi came to visit. soon followed Ben, Gloria, Isaac, Angela, Daniel and a few more of the school children. I had my iPad so they watched the Maddie and Morgan Swim video about 7 times. I showed them the horse video with Gabe and Lexie and Juanita, they saw the video I posted about them making bracelets, and when their picture came up they would say....me, that's me. And of course I showed them Angry Birds and they loved the game. I shared my family pictures and introduced to my brothers and sister. We also looked at the world map and I told them about Atlanta and San Diego and Florida and Panama. They all knew I came here in a big plane.
I also showed them the Michael Jackson video and most of the children recognized him and immediately said, "he is dead". Rueben and Randolph did some quick signs and pointed at their noses and giggled. Renee translated, "he is the guy with a funny nose". Kids, they know so much.
The children are all happy, filled with energy, and they want to engage and be right next to you. They are extremely polite and call me MaM or Auntie Afua which is my "day born name", which is a Ghanaian custom. I was born on a Friday, for females the name is AFUA.
I will post a picture after this entry of Blessing, Forgive, Sherriff, and Kwesi.
Blessing is six and is a charmer, cute and smiling. Forgive, his brother, is 9.
He is the one in the picture with the jean jacket, he rarely smiles. I asked Renee about him and she said that Forgive is usually miles away day dreaming, or observing some minute detail while everyone else is focused on something else. While we were all sitting on the patio of the school office, I felt someone running their fingers through my hair, it was Forgive. I know there is a Forgive poem or two to be written. My initial reaction, there is a very wise person in the body of that 9 year old boy. Forgive, Issac, Blessing and Ben are all brothers, their Mother died a few months ago,she had been sick for some time.
Isaac told me that Sunday he wanted me to come to his house and Tuesday I am invited to his soccer game. Isaac is the child I sponsor with a monthly donation of $30 that covers school, food, and medication if he needs any.
As the morning progressed we made beacelets. WOW........the children are all so creative. Some pick out all their beads and then string them, some string them on the fly. I suggested a few color patterns and the results are works of art. The children would all come and show me their bracelets when they were done. Forgive made some beautiful color combinations. Renee did tell me that Rueben and Randolph are some of the best bracelet artisans, so I am going to ask them to help me make the rosaries. We are going to the Somanya Bead market next Saturday so we will make the rosaries after that.
The school program treated all the visiting children to lunch, there is a food kiosk across the street that makes a dish they all love, Fried Rice. So all the children that visited the school office on Saturday got lunch. Angela sat in my lap so I could hold her plate and she was so poised and elegant as she ate. Most of the kids ate their lunch really fast, Angela enjoyed every spoonful and took her time, eating small portions and ensuring her rice was neatly arranged on her plate. I think she told me she is 5 or 6.
After lunch the children went back to their homes and we went on a field trip. We drove through major parts of Accra, went to a hotel to change money from dollars to cedis, and then we drove out to Aykumah the township where the school/dormitory is being built for the children. It was wonderful to walk the ground of a dream that is becoming a reality, construction has begun with the funds donated, the foundation was laid, and the school office is being built. The building is a big rectangle shape, the classrooms will be in the middle, the dormitories on the outside corridors, then on one end the school office and on the other end the bathrooms and showers. There is a site plan on the Mawuvio web site, the link is on my blog. Renee and Kwame planned for the future and are building a structure capable of withholding a second floor, so one day they can expand to 2 floors. The property is big enough for the school to have a large covered patio so the children can have a place to study, make bracelets, get some fresh air. The school is about 50 miles outside of Accra, in a country type setting. The township is much more rural, quiet and slower paced than Kissemah. Interesting that not more than two football fields away is a brand new boarding school where you have to pay for tuition in dollars. Renee said this is the most expensive type of school in the area. Perhaps the borading school children and the Mawuvios children can meet and share life lessons.
------ Short and sweet from my iPad ---------