Our 767 Delta aircraft landed at Kotoka Airport in Ghana, about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. We had a newer plane, new seat covers, a shiny and clean interior and USB ports to charge devices. I watched 2 movies, the Brian Wilson story, Love and Mercy and an Annie Lennox concert, One Night of Nostalgia, that was AMAZING.
I had a very quiet seat mate, SOFIA. I was in 17F, 17G was vacant and she was in 17H. After I introduced myself and wished her a good flight, she did not speak to anyone until 10 hours later when her passport fell to the floor and she thanked me for picking it up. She was a senior Ghanian lady. I am not much of a talker on flights, so it was OK to have the quiet ride over the Atlantic from JFK to Accra.
Kwame and Richard were at the airport to pick us up. We had a total of 8 bags, one of them did not make the flight. Delta had already sent a text message when we landed, the bag will be in Ghana tonight at 8pm on a KLM flight from New York. Not sure how one bag out of 8 does not make it, hopefully tomorrow we will pick it up at the airport sometime during the day.
We went to a meeting with a representative of EDIFY, they are a US based organization, that helps schools in developing countries, with micro finance loans, technology set up in schools, like computer labs, and they also do teacher training that supports a Christ centered academic curriculum. The person we met with, Ken, he oversees all of Africa for Edify, currently they are in 5 or 6 countries. Ken and Abigail from Edify were most welcoming, they provided lots of information and all the contact details we need so MOP can follow up.
Then we visited the MOP school in Kissemah, the original school on the porch location. Teacher Lawrenda and Teacher Abigail have a KG1 and KG2 class, or what they call nursery here in Ghana. So the year before 1st Grade. All the children we met, 12 of them were new to us with the exception of Clinton and Kofie who were enrolled last year. When they saw me they smiled and said they remembered me. At the Kissemah compound I was able to greet Ceci, Ben, Innocent and Auntie Sarah. After some time in Kissemah, we headed to Aiykumah and the children were just getting out for their lunch break when we arrived. Today was their 4th day in school, they started their new academic school year on September 8th.
It was great to see all the familiar faces, Lilian, Abil, Shalom, Elijah, Charles, Peter, Paul, Celina, Faustina, Morde, Belinda, Matilda, Angela, Akos, Godsway, Dennis, Precious, Mary Ama, Michael, Alex, Kwame, Jonathon, Elias, Deborah, Tawfikat, Joshua, Charles, Patricia, Dora, Elizabeth..... I can't remember all their names right now... It wonderful to see all of them. It was great to see all the teachers, Austine, Francis, Paul, Vincent, Rose, Bernice and Jasmin, the volunteer from Austria.
On Monday we are enrolling 20 new day students from the Aiykumah area. It will be interesting to see them, most of them probably have attend a Ghana public school before, will see how it goes. Last year all of the Aiykumah children that we enrolled were behind in their skill and knowledge level when compared to a MOP student in the same grade. So some were repeated and some are a few years older than their classmates, for example in Primary 3 we have a boy from Ayikumah who is 12 years old.
The first week I am here I am staying at the Dodowa Forest Hotel with Kimberly and Keith. So today I have AC and WIFI and power. Will see how long of a run we have with power. Next week I will be in Kissemah and then back to Aiykumah school my last ten days. Dodowa is the county seat city in the Lower Somanya region. Aiykumah is 10 KM beyond the hotel, so it takes all of 10 minutes to get to and fro. Kwame will come and get us tomorrow at 10am for our first full day at the school.
When I got settled into my hotel room, I left the door open to a balcony area. There was a thunder storm that passed overhead, the kind that if you had your eyes closed and you did not know where you were, you would guess an expansive savannah in Africa.
The rain was loud, it rumbled overhead with authority, quenching anything in its path.
The visit from nature lasted about 20 minutes, it put me fast asleep and when I woke up from my hour long nap, I did not know where I was. I was jet lagged groggy. It is a weird feeling, lack of sleep, coupled with travel stress can be interesting. I am well rested now, I am typing this update at 6pm Ghana time, 2 pm Atlanta time. I am going to stay awake as long as I can so I can get on the Ghana time zone fast.
Tomorrow at 10am we have an appointment with the company that is going to provide internet service. We have a survey appointment so we can discuss what we want, what they can provide an how it will all work. Since the school is in a rural area, the service is delivered via radio tower to radio device, frequency transmission. I am sure I am going to learn much more about the service tomorrow.
Thanks to all who sent texts, emails, and called before I left. Thanks to all who read the updates. The Crowdrise Fundraiser crossed over $18,000 today. It will be so awesome if MOP can inch its way to the $25,000 Match Goal.
Thanks to all who have supported this fundraiser. Every dollar contributed is significantly impacting the life of a child at the Mawuvio's Outreach School.
My always disclaimer, I am typing fast, I am tired - please forgive the typos, spelling errors, whatever does not make sense.
Until the next post.