Monday, December 14, 2009

On my way out

So as you can see, keeping up with this blog was not exactly something that really happened. But I thought that I would put up a last post to conclude my trip and let people know what I have been up to this past month :)

As most of you know, the last leg of the trip was an independent research project. After a lot of debate and sorting through a lot of different ideas, I decided to study child poverty in the village and city. I wanted to see how different organizations work to educate and empower children to rise above their circumstances. Therefore, I decided to work with some NGOs and community based organizations (CBOs) who work with disadvantaged kids. This led me to a couple of different organizations. The first one was Elikem Youth Centre. It is a school in between two really small villages, Boudumase and Dediman a bit outside of Accra. They have no electricity and no running water, but a lot of kids who love the centre and really want to learn. I also found a couple of groups in the Cape Coast area that I was interested in working with. One of these groups was called African Traditionals, a culture group, which teaches street kids traditional Ghanaian drumming and dancing. The other was the Baobab Childrens Foundation, which targets school drop outs and illiterate kids, brings them back into school and gives them a second chance for education. Basically I was traveling back and forth between a village out of Accra and the more urban area of Cape Coast every week. (Which took about 4-5 hours each direction) Lots of travel...

However, this was a truly incredible experience. I met some of the most amazing, genuine, caring and loving people. People who are really making a difference in the world. Kids who just blew me away with their stories and their life experiences. One girl I met a girl, Fati, was one of 20 children from one of 4 wives. Her father could not afford school for her, so she had to drop out. Her aunt heard about the Baobab school, and Fati decided to go. Now, she can read, write and do math. She also is an amazing batiker and sewer. She makes beautiful bags from the cloth that she makes, which was all learned at this school. She is about to graduate and will be in the first class to graduate from the school. It will be interesting to see what kinds of job, or further education this group of kids chooses to pursue. I have a strong feeling that they are going to do well.

While in Cape Coast I lived with a woman named Antoinette, she is Ghana's only recognized female master drummer. She was awesome to live with! I got private dance lessons from her and another member from her group every morning. I got to perform with them at one of their weekly performances and even when they performed on the local TV station. It was their first time appearing on TV. That was fun. She is convinced that I am going to get married to her son, and that I am going to be her first in law. Funny. But I really enjoyed spending time with and getting to know the members of this group. They took me in and treated me as if I was one of them. They are amazing dancers and drummers and a whole lot of fun to hang out with. Practices were a blast!

One night at Elikem in the village, I got there and the door was locked. There was a misunderstanding and the person with the key had gone to Accra. This was a problem because I had just bought a bunch of food for the kids for dinner that night. We were not able to get to the pots and pans, and it was getting dark. We ended up getting some pots from the nearby houses but by this time it dark. Yet these kids, one girl in particular, 14 years old, starts chopping up wood. Before I know it she has a fire started, the rice cooking and is instructing the younger girls to help her as she is chopping the veggies and cooking the stew. In about a half hour, this girl has cooked a dinner for over 20 people, outside in the pitch dark. It was amazing. It made me realize how developed the survival/life skills of these kids are. No American child could do that. I couldn't even do that. Incredible.

If anyone is interested in reading my paper, it goes into a lot more detail, about the poverty in Ghana and about these organizations. I would be happy to share it with anyone who is interested.

Overall, I have had a truly amazing experience here. I am so grateful that I have been blessed with this opportunity. I learned so much about the world, Ghana and myself. (Corney right?) :) Even though I have not even left, I am looking forward to coming back to Ghana again!

1 comment:

  1. Megan: I am Lydia's mom. I would really enjoy reading your paper. my email is