Mar 3, 2013

Same World, Different World

Temperature in Accra, Ghana yesterday. I had to check to be sure, I've been imagining the warmth all week long and am looking forward to all the wonderful experiences that will come with this visit to Kissemah, including the heat. Yesterday I talked to Kwame for a bit to confirm travel dates and arrival time, etc. and we were both excited. So much to look forward to, while the visit is "short short", I look forward to all the goodness and joy the children bring to my life.  

I was telling friends at dinner last night about my visit, the lodgings, the village, the school.... how everything is so different, the contrast to my every day life in Atlanta, VASTLY different. 

This morning when I woke up my faucets were dripping because of the freeze last night; I pictured Ceci's faucet outside in the back of the compound dripping,  every ounce of fluid harvested in a yellow bucket for washing, showers, cooking, drinking. I remembered the sounds of the water orchestra, the sounds of water filling buckets, the cadence and tempo of the melody quieting as the water level fills the vessel, or the sounds loud and fanciful when one full bucket is replaced by one empty ready and almost thirsty to be filled. I will try to record the sounds while I am there. 

My plans for the week:

1_ Field Trip: We are taking the  children and teachers to the Kotoka Airport for a tour. The airport sponsors these visits and many of the local schools take advantage of the opportunity. Most of the children in our school know about the airport because of the visitors, or because of Auntie Renee going home and coming back for the past several years.  Most of the children however have not ventured far from the village, going on the bus and getting to be at the airport will be exciting for them.  When we return to the school we will have a discussion about why school is important and what about their subjects at school they can apply what they've learned about the airport. I have a paper airplane kit, hopefully we can all engineer and decorate our own paper airplane and put a dot on the map of where each child wants to visit one day. 

2_ Spend time with the children and teachers during the school sessions.  
As most of you know school is outside on a porch and courtyard. I never tire of being amazed at how Renee and Kwame and the teachers have achieved and realized teaching 60 children outside. Mawuvio's has KG1 through primary 4 students, learning, learning, learning, beneath the roof of Ceci's porch, under a canvas canopy in the courtyard, which is next to a mango tree. Chickens sometimes visit the patio courtyard area, laundry adorns on most sunny afternoons, a quiet afternoon breeze is always a welcomed event.  

3_ Host the teachers and Kwame and Hannah, the volunteer from Austria, for  dinner at the University of Legon Dinning Center. 

4_ Visit the "new" school site in Ayikumah and confirm all the "must have" vs. the "nice to have" items and work needed to be completed so we can consider plans to relocate the school by the new school year calendar which in Ghana is SEPT.  My understanding from the updates from Kwame and Renee and Renee's MOM, Barbara Farwell, who visited in December, the building is complete, the overall structure and the ceilings are all complete; we even have electricity to the site. 

5_ Support the children who have sponsors, write update and greeting letters to their "sponsors". Renee gave me all the information, I will help get the letters written and in the mail. 

6_ Visit with Stefan, Ceci, and Ben - hopefully I will get to see Johnny and Lawrence. Enjoy the company of all the children.  Many of them I will forever have in my heart.  Maybe it's because I an not a parent, maybe because I came to know this children in my 50's; I am not sure, I do know that some of them have made a significant impact on my life from the very first day I met them. I will never forget my first Saturday morning in Kissemah, the first 2 children that came to visit, Rueben and Randolf, the two deaf brothers in the  program. They had then and continue to have now the most amazing smiles, the light in their eyes, the spirits in their hearts, HUGE, HUGE, HUGE.  

Everyday while I am there, my daily objective....  to interact with all the children, to greet them by name, to sit with them, observe as they raise their hands tall to answer teacher's questions, to listen when they're  at the front of the class solving a math problem, to dance with them during recess, 
to listen and join in their lunch time prayer when they thank God everyday for all their blessings, for their food, for the Mawuvio's supporters, for their school.  

Imagine .....  sixty children happy, laughing, learning, all of them friendly, caring, courteous, and me, one visitor.  They fill up my heart exponentially - as I've said before the joy is tsunami in magnitude, hard to contain, sometimes overwhelming. 

As they say in Ghana, MA Y MAVA... I will go and come back. 

Elena, Rueben, Forgive and Randolf - Kissemah, Ghana 2011