Nov 21, 2013

Teacher Lawrenda

Today I went to visit the house where Teacher Lawrenda lives. Last time I was here she was living at her Dad's house across the street from the main road that boarders Kissemah, they call it the Junction.

In March she moved to a house in Kissemah Village, she rents what they call a room. She has a separate entrance away from the main house with a closed in porch that she paid to add. On the porch she stores her water containers and all her cooking utensils, pots, pans, a two burner camping type stove, the gas cylinder, etc.

Once you enter the porch area, there is another door that leads into one large room which is where she lives. She has a shower stall - no running water, so all her water is fetched - like most everyone else in the village. The room is the size of the master bedroom in Atlanta. She has it divided, there is an tiny sitting area, she has a TV, a frig and then a tiny area where she has made a closet for clothes, shoes and her awesome earring collection. I will post a photo.

What she has that is amazing, great cross ventilation !!!! She is in a location in the village that gets a good breeze - it was actually cool in her room when we where there after school. I was amazed, I was so happy to be in a room that was actually cool without the need for a fan. She says it actually gets very cool at night.

Her room is attached to a main house where a family lives. She also has a set of laundry lines right outside for her entrance to dry her wash and there is also very good lighting at night so she is happy overall with her living situation.

In Ghana when you rent a place, you have to pay for an entire year in advance. I think she told me the rent is 60 Ghana Cedis, or $30 dollars. She pays 5 Cedi's for the trash service that is part of the overall house and 20 Cedis for the light bill. Her water she pays for as she fetches it. Her other expense is the food she eats. Her TV is on an antenna, she gets local Ghana channels.

We walked about 15 minutes to get there. I am not sure I could find my way there tomorrow if I had to go, it is tiny paths and walkways - lots of children everywhere, we passed a few stands that sell food, one lady had a huge bowl of spaghetti noodles and fried chicken, she sells it to customers in a plastic baggie. Also passed the sausage lady, she had fried HOT DOGS on a stick. There was also a barber shop along the way. Most all families, someone is doing laundry or there is laundry hanging outside. And there is children and chickens most everywhere.

A few small children ran after me saying ......OBRUNI, OBRUNI, which means WHITE WHITE ! They get excited and smile, I say to them OBININI OBININI, which means BLACK BLACK. The laugh even louder and run run. Most everyone greeted us, "Good Afternoon Madam" .

One of the things I love about the Ghana culture and customs, people are very friendly and warm. When they say GOOD MORNING, they really mean GOOD MORNING. LIke Cecilia, my "junior sister", when she greets me coming in and out of the compound, there is a always a 2 or 3 minute conversation.

As most of you know Lawrenda teaches KG1 and KG2. She has the patience for that age group and for the repetition required for them to learn. She notices things about all that children that I am clueless about. I think if I were here a long time, I would be able to zero in on the details she notices. Renee is able to do the same.

Yesterday during assembly she pulled Blessing from Class 2 out of his line during the pledge of allegiance; he had two gashes on his head, not huge, but also not small. They way the gashes were on his head, she said his mother hit him with a metal spoon, that makes almost perfect marks. She says she has seen them before on other children that is why she knows. Today, Elijah has a infection that was beginning to set in on a gash on his leg, she showed me the medicine they use to try to help with that. Today we had a Primary 3 girl start her menstrual cycle for the first time, I was with Lawrenda when she provided the 15 or 20 minute education, lecture, warning on the 411 on what it means to get your 'menses' as they call it here.

We provide the girls a supply of hygiene products to get them through their first cycle. Lawrenda covers all angles of information, including the pregnancy discussion, etc. She presented all of the information with care, consideration, but she was direct. The girl lives with a caretaker, our student said she told the caretaker this morning and the care taker sent her to school without any caution, help, support, etc.

Lawrenda has a sister who has lived in Dodowa for 9 years, that is the nearest major city to our new school in Ayikumah. When I come back I told Lawrenda I want to go to DODOWA to meet her sister and get information about the city, the people, the market, possible housing opportunities for our teachers, etc. Lawrenda's sister owns a beauty salon, her husband is a local Pastor, the perfect combination for getting the 411 on the area.

Lawrenda is a wonderful person and a wonderful teacher, we are fortunate to have her on the Mawuvio's staff.

------ Short and sweet from my iPad ---------