Thursday and Friday the school is closed. Mid-term exams are next week. I have to do the exams for English and Math and Kaia, the ISEP volunteer is covering ICT, RME, Religious and Moral Education, Science and Environmental Studies. Since we are both filling as teachers for Primary One, we will track the scores for all the children for all the subjects. I will keep you posted on the results. The tests are 2 on Monday, 2 on Tuesday, 2 on Wednesday. Finals are then the 2nd week of December, the first term closes out I think December 12th, and then the children come back the first Tuesday in January. I will be here through the end of the first term, my flight home is scheduled 12/17.
Every day continues to be an experience, sometimes wonder and discovery, sometimes heart break over what I learn about the children. One day I will come with the sole purpose of telling each of their stories. In KG1 or Kinder, we have a girl, 9 years old, name Peace Akor. My class is right next to Teacher Lawrenda's class, we both teach our students on the porch of Ceci's home. She has 12 and I have twelve, we are divided by a bench and the 3 cement stairs that go in to Ceci's house in the compound. And as I tell my kids, by an invisible wall, when I see their eyes wandering over to the other class. And yes we are under a roof and the porch is closed in, so the kids can't run very far.
Ever since I've been here I've noticed and experienced that Peace who is in Lawrenda's class, is out of sorts. She sits in the front row, I can't help but notice her everyday. She is very active, she is physically aggressive, she does not share well, she does not listen well, it's like she is in a bad movie. She is not comfortable in her surroundings and her social skills are lacking compared to her peers. So I ask Lawrenda about Peace today, this is what I found out.
Peace and her sister have recently moved to Kissemah, they are being cared for by a lady who used to frequent their village to buy vegetables that she resells. Lawrenda says the lady decided to care for them after their Mother died. I asked how she died, Lawrenda says she was shot. I ask.... Shot with a gun ? Hunters were in the forest of their village, (this is what locals call the neighboring trees and bush and grass that surrounds villages) and their Mother was mistakenly shot and killed by men who were hunting. Not sure why, the DAD cannot care for them.
So Peace, age 9, loses her Mother in a tragic way, gets moved to Kissemah by a lady what wants to care for her and her sister. I am not really sure what that means, sometimes children are moved around in this fashion because girls can fetch water, girls can sell vegetables, etc. I think the languages spoken in her village differs from the Ewe spoken here in Kissemah, the whole story today, broke my heart. Peace is scared. I can see the fear in her eyes. I cannot begin to imagine what is going on in the mind and heart of that child. We are probably going to have to remove her from the classroom because she is disruptive to the point that she is impacting many of the other children.
It is a bad situation all the way around. Maybe if we were in Ayikumah and we had more room and maybe another teacher to support the KG1 class, we could keep someone like Peace in the school. Kwame is aware of the situation, we are going to speak to the caretaker lady next week. Lawrenda told me the older sister had a similar issue witht the first school she went to and had to be moved to a different school.
I know tragic things happen to people all over the world, tragic things happen to children down the street from me in Atlanta, but until you know the stories first hand, until you see the fear in the eyes of the child, the heart break is conceptual, perhaps a momentary consideration when we hear stories on the evening news.
Today and for many more tomorrows I will pray for Peace and her sister.
------ Short and sweet from my iPad ---------