Mar 22, 2014

PTA Meeting

Today we had the Term 2 PTA meeting, Saturday March 22nd, from 9:30am to 11:45am. The final talley for attendance is in the office, I think we had about 45 parents or caretakers, some represented 2 and 3 chldren, so probably 50 out of the 60 students in the school were represented.

Most of them were here by 10:15am. I say most of them as some came as late at 11:30am. Now I understand why the meeting notes from the prior meeting are always the first item on the agenda; to catch up the parents that did not attend in November or those who arrived late.

We had a short agenda today -

1_ Opening Prayer
2_ Introductions MOP Teachers, Staff, Board.
3_Review Meeting notes from Term 1 Nov. 2013
4_ Updates on:
+ National Health Cards Applications
+ Term 2 vacation dates
+ Term 3 start date
+ Progress of school in Ayikumah
5_ Teacher updates and concerns
6_ Open Q&A Session
7_ Closing Prayer

Overall the meeting went well. It was facilitated by Eric A._ (I dont know how to spell his last name) He is one of the Ghanian Board Members of MOP. He is an excellent meeting faciliator - he does the meeting in English and Ewe and Tri. I am able to follow about 75%; when the parents speak 95% of the time they are talking in one of the native languages. The meeting is certainly a representation of all things Ghana.

In Ghana no matter what you are doing life goes on all around you - no exception today. We set up the chairs in the courtyard - the same area where class 2 and class 3 are seated daily - and all around the PTA Meeting there was washing going on, clothes, sneakers, baby's were getting their baths, Terrence was even doing his business in his toddler potty chair and a few people walked past the meeting on the way to their shower areas, buckets and towels in hand.

The PTA meeting opens and closes with prayer. One of the parents is a Pastor, he is always asked to lead everyone in prayer. Today at the closing of the meeting the prayer was in Tri, at some point the Pastor asked the parents to pray for the school, I heard Ayikumah, and he became silent for a bit. Most of the parents had their hands raised in the air and they began praying. The sound that carried through the compound was beautiful. It was almost like they had rehearsed, their voices all speaking their own indivual prayers or converstaions yet the cadence and volume was perfect. At times the sound was a loud, gutteral, whisper- words marching from their lips to God's ears. At times it was the sounds a soft spoken song, the Pastor then joined in praying in toungues, it was extremely comforting and real. It is hard to describle, all I can say is that I physically felt the power of that moment. It lasted for about 15 or 20 seconds.

A few of the MOM's have infant babies and they come to the meeting with the child. Usually the babies are sleeping, a few times one in the back today was fussy. And always during the meeting at some point one or two of the mothers will breast feed. And I think I counted 3 of the Mothers were in some stage of pregnancy. Afi Alice's MOM is pregnat with child #6.

GMT : Ghana Maybe Time
We always start the meeting 15 minutes late to give opportunity for parents to get here. Today we had 4 parents at 9:30, 15 minutes later we had a total of 12 and by the end the count was 40+. That is why I chuckled a few posts ago when Kwame and I crashed the PTA meeting at the Achimota School which is extremely prestigious and the speaker was asking the parents to PLEASE PLEASE be on time. Ghana Maybe Time is deeply rooted in the culture and way of life here.

Overall the questions today were around details of the school in Ayikumah.
When will the parents be notified of the move?
When will they get all the information about the school?
Can the visit the school ?
Can they donate items to the school?
Can they provide food for their children?

We assured them that they would get all the information necessary with sufficient time for them to make an informed decision regarding their permission for their children to board at the school.

I am typing this in my room, it is HOT HOT HOT outside. The Ghana sun is extremely bright during the middle part of the day. We are in a LIGHTS OUT condition so no relief from the overhead fan. Most of the MOM are outside in the courtyard area of the compound infront of their units. Some are washing, some are cooking, some are hanging out and talking across the yard. And children are everywhere.

Stefan and I are going to do some errands around the village at 3pm. It is supposed to rain in Accra area today. Accra is so spread out it is possible we will never even see a cloud.