Sep 27, 2012

Ghana.... Seven Days and Counting

I am now in the "official" excited mode regarding the visit to Kissemah next week.  I planned the trip about 3 months ago, you think the day is never going to come and then it is here. 

I am ready, I have my visa, my yellow fever card, my malaria pills and my Zipro just in case.  Monday we have a dinner planned with all the teachers, volunteers, Renee and Kwame and I have a standing invitation with Ceci to celebrate her birthday which was on September 8th. 

Saturday morning we will spend the day in the village, I am taking framed 8x10 pictures to all the families we visited and photographed when I was there last December. I am sure the children will have grown, most of these families do not have any photographs of their children, I will make this a tradition going forward. 

I plan to take photos and video footage of Forgive Gborwosu and his family. I want to share an in-depth- "day in the life of Forgive".  I want to photograph his walk to school, the center of Kissemah where his family shops at the outdoor market, I want to share what his home is like, where he plays outside after school, hopefully I can spend time with him after school on Monday, I am not sure if he sells goods, fruits, vegetables for his family or is expected to do chores at home. 

The first time I was in Kissemah, Forgive made a beautiful bracelet for me, we made a connection one afternoon on the porch during the after school beading program.  I will never forget when he presented the bracelet, he asked me politely, "Madam Afua do you like, I made this for you"  ..... I will take a picture and post. The colors are black, red and white, the individual beads, mini works of art. He has a great eye for color combinations and patterns. 

Forgive is now 10, I think he is in the Primary 3 class. He comes from a large family, 10 siblings. He is the young boy that I wrote about that would take his lunch break from school to go home and feed his dying mother in the last days of her life. Forgive's Mom passed last September. 

Forgive is the child I sponsor in the program, $30 a month, provides support for the teachers's salary, the school materials and basic medical care.  I look forward to the lessons I will learn from him during this visit.  He is very quiet,  he is always observing, keenly and quietly. He has a pair of black cowboy boots that he proudly wears to school with his khaki shorts; he always looks ready to get on his horse and ride off into the sunset. There is something about his eyes that grabbed a hold of my heart and to this day has not yet let go. 

Elena, Ruben, Forgive, Randolf 

Every time I travel to Ghana,  I have my own version of the PACKING OLYMPICS. Last time I traveled with 8 suitcases, each one precisely at 50 lbs.  

Saturday I have the first pass of packing strategy.  I make of list of all the items in each suitcase, I photograph them as I pack them and I always place several 8 x 10 notes in several layers of the items that all goods are donated and for the purpose of educating the children at the Mawuvio's School in Kissemah.  The extra detail on content and the signage inside the suitcases has helped tremendously in customs at the Accra airport. When the officials ask, I pull out my inventory sheet, I show my MOP badge, the school business card and so far, I've always been waved through, they've  never taken a look and nothing has gone missing in the pre flight inspections state side.  And to date Delta has always waived the $200 fee on at least one bag.   

Renee said that 40 rosaries will be ready for me to bring back. Based on all the feedback we got on the prototypes that were made last time, the ones I bring back will be works of art. I will post pictures for sure. I have many interested, as soon as I have them available I will send emails to those who have inquired. We will also have "bracelets" to bring back from the after school beading program.  These are great gifts for the holidays, don't forget the children. Every bracelet you purchase goes directly to support the school.  I can sell from my home in Atlanta, or you can order via the Etsy site online. 

When I am back I will provide all the details on the new school. We are not finished with construction, we are close.  Kwame's role as "General Contractor" slowed a bit while Renee was in the US this past summer.  In due time we will open and continue to grow and evolve the program.  August was the 3rd anniversary of Mawuvio's. Imagine, school on a porch and the couryard of a home for three years.  

I have a surprise for the children. My friend, Annette Clarke, who is an amazing seamstress, made me a Ghanian outfit. I bought material at the Somanya market last year; blue is my favorite color, the pattern is a bit on the very colorful and vibrant side, the print is many eyes, almost like school of fish, but eyes instead, moving, flowing.......when I post the picture you will get the full appreciation for the Ghanian flavor.  It will be a tiny bit out of my comfort zone, at the same time I love the colors, so I am going Ghanian for one day. 

I plan to post post post during the trip. I even have a Apple keyboard for my iPad.  And I plan to add the blogger application to my iPad.  Write, write, I will. 

On another note: today I received 20+ emails regarding the post and celebration of my MOM.  I thank you from my heart for taking the time to share your reactions and comments.  It means so much to me to get your notes, your encouragement, your perspective, your appreciation.  Thanks, E