Jan 15, 2015


Today I am finalizing the packing ballet. I have everything that I'm taking on my trip to Ghana. 

To the best of my ability I've balanced the weight of the uniforms with the weight of the text books and school supplies and magically got each suitcase to 48 or 49 lbs.  My scale at home has always been in concert the scale at the Delta check-in counter, so I should not have any surprises when I get to the airport.  

Today I have to do a few errands and get a hair cut. I also start the daily dosage of the malaria meds I take while in country. 

Friday, my friend, Debbie, is taking me to Hartsfield. The flight to New York is at 3pm and then the 10 hour flight from New York to Accra is at 8pm.  I arrive in Ghana at 11:00am on Saturday morning. 

The high's in Ghana have been averaging 88* to 94*. Ghana is in their summer season, like Panama. I know the sun will be shining everyday. Horray for sunshine ! !   

This is my sixth trip to Ghana. I have a routine and it works. I always get a bulkhead window seat. I bring my own blanket.  I take 2 Tylenol PM when they start serving dinner around 11pm and I'm able to sleep usually up to six hours.  If you've followed any of my travels before, you know I don't ever eat on any flights, at least not the food provided by the airlines. I will pack almonds and two protein cereal bars. 

I wear the same POETRY ROCKS pullover with a hoddie. It was a gift long ago from my friend, Connie Podnar. I also wear the same crazy and very warm knee high socks. I bring my plastic foot rest contraption that makes a significant difference in comfort.  I also downloaded the Vivian Maier documentary on my iPad, so I have a movie to watch along the way.  

When I arrive in Ghana this time I am changing into "summer" clothes at the airport. Immigration doesn't take long at the KOTOKA airport. The luggage takes anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to show up on the conveyor belt in baggage claim. Kwame will pick me up and the Kissemah school location is 10 - 15 minutes from the airport depending on Saturday traffic.  

I have a new camera for this trip, I look forward to taking photos and videos and sharing via VIP.   The camera is a newer model Canon PowerShot XS700, the video quality is much improved.  

During this visit I will be both in Kissemah, and Ayikumah, the location of the new school where most of the children board.  I know the Kissemah routine. Ceci is there and she takes such great care of all volunteers who stay at the compound. Stefan, Ceci's grandson, who I spent a great deal of time with, he is now living in Holland with his Father, I will miss him. He was always great company in the afternoon and evenings, after the school day ended. 

At Kissemah, Teachers Lawrenda and Abigail are taking care of the Kindergarden and Primary 1 Class students. The children are too young to board, so in the near term MOP has both locations running.  This also allows MOP to keep a presence in the Kissemah community where most of the boarding students families and/or caretakers live. 

The new school location is about 25 miles from Kissemah.  On a good traffic day you can get there in 55 minutes.  And the road is mostly in good condition. 

At the new school, in the township of Ayikumah, Mawuvios has volunteer quarters. The lady who cooks for the children and staff is Vivian, I've not met her.  The new school has a well, the boarding accommodations for the children include showers and toilets.  

I witnessed the progress of the school as it was being built, I'm looking forward to seeing all of the facilities operational. I know the classrooms are very spacious, a significant improvement over the limited space we had on the patio and courtyard of Ceci's home.  And we have a library ! !  Renee's Mom, Barbara Farwell, did an outstanding job of leading all the efforts to paint the classrooms, office, and hallways. I will take photos and video and share via VIP. 

Everytime I've visited Ghana I've learned and continue to learn about the courage and resilience of the human spirit. My faith has grown stronger because of the children and our wonderful teachers. Their lives, their struggles, their faith, their joy of learning and teaching, their smiles, all of this has made a significant impact on my heart. 

Every visit to Ghana has been supported by the love and encouragement of many: my family, friends, friends of friends, colleagues at work. 

Know that I carry all of you in my heart !  I appreciate all the support provided over the years.  Thanks today and always ! 

Primary Class 1 - Last Year  -