Today is Tuesday ......I am in the hotel lobby, in the restaurant actually, watching the parade of guests get situated, walk up to the buffet or the area where you order the hot dishes, eggs, waffles, etc. As they've walked in I've heard accents, British, two gentlemen were speaking what I thought was German or maybe Dutch, and there is always the very well dressed lady from China. Selina, the hostess at the restaurant greeted me warmly. It looks like it is going to be a hot sunny day. I hope we have power at the school, so I can take a small small break in the MOP volunteer room.
Today I am going in early by myself. Kimberly and Keith are going to the Game store, (associated with Walmart and set up just like a Walmart) and the Shoprite to see if they can find jump ropes for the girls, and any other outdoor activity type of item. When the children take recess they play in the area of the compound where cars are parked. Most of the older girls all get together and play a game where they form in a circle, do some type of hand gestures - I am not sure all what is going on. I will have to observe today.
Yesterday after school I had the opportunity to meet with Stefan, 11 years old. He is Ceci's Grandson, Kwame and Ben's nephew. I wrote in the past that Stefan's parents are not in his life. His Dad found employment opportunity abroad in Holland, the mother got mad that the DAD left, so she does not communicate or interact with her son. Stefan is without parents. Ceci is his main care taker, his Dad pays for him to go to a Ghanian "proper" public school, Ceci told me yesterday he is a bit lost, he is very distracted and only wants to play. This year his teachers recommended that he be held back, so at 11 he is repeating primary 3.
I had a nice conversation with Stefan yesterday around his aspiration to be a pilot. Hold me during the last visit that if he is a pilot, he can fly the plane to American and visit me.
We sat in Ceci's quiet area, the two of us. I told him I wanted to talk to him about his school and that I care about him very much. I brought him a book titled I WANT TO BE A PILOT, with all the pictures you can imagine and short paragraphs on all things pilot. I told him the book was just for him. He also got a world map so he can imagine the plane flying from one continent to the next. We traced the path from Ghana to Brazil, from Ghana to Iceland, from Ghana to Atlanta. I told him he could pilot a plane to any major city in the world. We talked about a pilot having to know math, geography and languages. I also told him that a pilot has to be on time and always aware of his daily schedule. To help him with that I got him a Timex watch, nothing fancy, one that lights up at night. I told him it was just for him, new, not worn by anyone before and his eyes got big and big. He was quiet, he was processing the conversation. I told him I care, but that I could not do his homework for him. I told him we would have another meeting today so he could tell me what he understood about our conversation. His Grandma was close by, she would repeat some things to him in Ewe as I as speaking. When I was getting up to leave the kitchen area, Ceci came over and thanked me, she had tears in her eyes.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to not have parents, to know that your parents are alive, that they are well, and that you are not part of their lives. We are all children, all of us have the common experience of knowing that we are to be nurtured by our Mothers, and taught by our Fathers. While every culture is different and every child parent relationship can differ, Mom's being Dad's and vice versa depending on the home situation, the lack of that connection between parent and child I cannot imagine.
I don't for a moment think that a 10 minute conversation and a Timex watch will change a child's life. What I hope is that for those 10 minutes of his life he knows that someone truly cares. And that perhaps the small small memory forever engraved in his mind might be the seed of more attention and focus on his school work. Stefan is a good boy.
More later. And please forgive any typos or extra words or anything that does not make sense.
------ Short and sweet from my iPad ---------