Tuesday, February 2, 2010
settling in in Ghana..
I am meeting so many wonderful people. All of my students are so so so sweet, I'm working at this school..well it isn't really a school, we meet on someone's porch and we have a whiteboard, a few notebooks and pencils, and some math flashcards...and so many beautiful children! Normally in Africa children have to pay their school fees to go to school, but the thing is that these kids can't even afford that (for uniforms, paying for teachers etc.) so we volunteer to teach them and the children just come on their own. Sometime it is very chaotic because there isn't very much structure because none of us have really ever been teachers before but we're trying to help them at least get the basics down of the alphabet, how to read, and at least basic math. We have the building materials for a real school building, but we're struggling to find a plot where we can build it. I'll keep you posted!
I am also going to the Liberian refugee camp on Fridays to volunteer there with a womens empowerment NGO that has a sustainable system scholarship program, where the women make beautiful purses and sell them. So instead of depending on donations all of the time, the invest what they have to make things to pay for their own scholarship program.
I don't have classes on mondays or fridays so I go to volunteer on mondays at the "school" in a village 10 minutes away from campus by tro-tro (the exciting means of "public transportion" here in Ghana). They basically just put as many people as possible in these van type things and you pay 30, 40, or 50 peswas (like cents) depending on how far away your destination is. Getting to the refugee camp by tro tro truly is an adventure haha.
Other than that, classes are a bit different here. They are mostly just lectures where the lecturer talks at you and you write down what they say. The entire grade is based on one exam at the end of the semester. (Which I'm a little scared about...) But I'm loving my classes, they are mostly about geography and development. Population and development, Rural development experiences, Tourism in the developing world, Industrialization in the developing world, Sustainable agricultural land use systens in the developing world. I'm excited to learn all about the African perspective on these issues and how they differ from our western perspective.