LIGHTS OUT - FRIDAY
It's close to 10am, I am taking a short break to type this update in hopes that I will be able to post at the Marina Hotel when the power is back on in the area. It appears that the power rationing program is serious. Last night the lights came back on for about 3 minutes right at 7pm and then they went right back out. The generator continues to provide the basic lighting required to keep the school safety lights on and also the hallways and dormitory. In lights out condition we cannot use the overhead fans, for that we need a bigger generator. Maybe someday in the future.
The children are in Friday worship time. At the beginning they sing praise songs, their voices reaching all corners of the school building and grounds. They love to sing ! Last night when it still early around 7:30pm, and the lights were out, we were all outside and we had about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes of singing, it was wonderful.
After worship we will do the sponsor and thank-you letters and also make some video messages. Tomorrow is laundry day for the children. We will also do supplies, uniforms and watch one of the new movies I brought.
Ayikumah is very quiet. Where we are there are a few houses nearby, we see people walking to and from town, or work. Also there are many farmers in the area. When the generator is on, the hum of the engine fills the air loudly, you can hear it very clearly. I look forward to the power coming back on soon. Can you say ELECTRICITY !
Yesterday Kwame and I met Pastor John Soudi, he is the senior pastor of the Word of Faith Church in Dodowa. He also runs a very large boarding school, the children have to pay to go to school there. I am not sure how much. He also has a large church that is associated with the school. And in addition to all that he runs an ISP in Dodowa.
It's an amazing story, I sat in his office yesterday for about 1 hour, getting all the details of how he got in the internet business. His company provides service to his facility, the church and the school, the Dodowa Hospital, the local bank, the 2 hotels and several of the schools in the area. He had lots of help and was in the right place at the right time, he saw an opportunity to get service for himself and asked other business in the area to join in so they could afford to get service wholesale and set up the necessary infrastructure to deliver the "broadband" as he says with his deep Ghanian accent. We had a technician come out to the school and survey our ability to connect and receive service from a tower in Dodowa. They would provide us with a radio device and a router and we could have amazing internet service. He is going to provide a quote for the install and for the monthly service, it's probably way more capacity than the school needs, so we may not be able to afford the cost. We are looking at other options. And we can always continue to dream.
Pastor John was extremely friendly. He provided us a all the information we needed. He has a secretary that supports in him in all his administrative duties, she works in the US. Pastor John said we would be getting the quote and all the details via email from her. I did not get all the details, he mentioned several times supporters in the USA and Brazil. Not sure if associated with a world church, I will try to find out.
Good News, Ghana Black Stars had a match with Algeria yesterday in the African Soccer Cup - and they won 1-0 in the very last moments of the game. There were many anxious people watching the match, at the very end everyone was extremely happy. Soccer is in most everyone's DNA here in Ghana.
IT IS NOW SATURDAY MORNING. We had power yesterday for 2 or 3 hours and then right around 7pm, we had LIGHTS OUT again. It's now 8:10am and the power is back on. It's been an interesting experience, something you have to get used to. Imagine no power and then having to manage all the children that board. The generator does not start up automatically - so there are some moments that pass that we are all in the dark, dark, dark. Somehow it all works out.
Yesterday after we completed the sponsor letters and the letters to others who provided supply donations, we watched one of the new movies I brought, Mr. Popper's Penguins - it was a smash hit. The children loved the story.
Today we are watching a princess movie from Disney, I think the name is Kiara The Brave. The girls are very excited to see this movie. I am going to vote for Black Beauty next, I have not seen that one. If we had access to the internet I spend hours and hours showing them things they've never seen. I've been asked two or three times already, can I show them a picture of dolphins and sharks. I know there are a gazillion youtube videos, NatGeo videos, etc. that we could watch as a learning activity. One day, one day, one day ....... We have a projector that was provided by a group of teachers in Scotland and it works very well, connected to a set of great speakers, the movie experience was wonderful.
This morning at 5am, they children were up, doing soccer training. There is always always always the sound of their voices, laughter, conversations, sometimes yelling, a bit of screaming, you know all the goes on with children. Sometimes the sounds are like a novice chorus not quite in step or rhythm and I actually enjoy. Sometimes when they get a bit out of hand, I think ... how do teachers to this job full time. It takes a very special person to be around children all the time, and thank God there are people who are successful at this.
On Saturday the children are responsible (with adult supervision) to wash their clothes. It is quite a site. Picture 35 children, ages 8 or 9 to 12 to 14 - all armed with a bucket and either powdered soap or a bar. I observed most of them and we have every range to washing technique, speed, method, timing - it's quite the enterprise. Somehow they manage and 90 minutes after they started most of the children have finished, most of the garments are hanging on laundry lines, some use a giant mound of rocks and lay their garments there. I am not sure when the clothes is collected and taken back to the changing rooms, I will provide update.
At the end of day, somehow it all works. If I stop long enough to consider all that is going on here at the school in Aiykumah, it continues to be a bit overwhelming. Maybe by the end of next week it will have all sunk in.
I am headed to town, to the Marina Hotel in Dodowa to get these updates posted. If all goes well and lights are not out in the area, I will be able to do this at least every other day.
Since we had lights out for almost three days, perhaps we will have a run of three or four days of LIGHTS ON.
More later .... and did the Seahawks beat the Packers ?