Monday, July 23, 2012

McColin's Handymen

Wow....I cannot believe we've come to our last week here in Ho! Annelise and I are both excited at the prospect of returning home to our families, but we are also very sad that we will be leaving behind the awesome McColin's students that we have come to know so well, as well as the beautiful landscape and warm community that that we are fortunate enough to have been a part of the last two months.

Here's a recap of last week:
The students had final exams this week, so our normal rountine of teaching from 8 to 3 was a little altered, but this allowed us some great opportunities to help out in other ways. Last weekend the Ghana ACT volunteers decided that before everyone departed at the end of the month, we would make a video to raise money for the new site/facilitiies of McColin's School (at this point McColin's is renting its current location, and could potentially be kicked of the site at any time).  The funds have already been raised for the bare essentials of the project, and work has already been done to clear land and build the main classrooms, but Mama Susie (the school's headmistress/founder---an awesome lady!) has shared with us the school's dream of having a computer lab with enough computers for thirty students, a real library, kitchen/cafeteria, and a playground.

We plan to launch our project using the website, which is an online platform to raise awareness for worthy causes of all kinds, be it community development projects, artistic endeavors, or even medical bills. People create short films explaining the cause and then post them and share them through facebook, email etc. So this week and last week Annelise and I are taking video of the students and teachers, filming them in their daily routines and interviewing them about their hopes for their new school. We really hope we can pull together an awesome final video--especially because our friend Mike (who volunteered here with the Volta Aid Foundation) has offered to help us with editing and he is incredibly talented.

There have been quite a few other odd jobs and projects at McColin's to keep us busy, in addition to the video. We sat down with our teacher friend Michael ( the script writer) and went over his plays with him and gave all of the feedback and advice we could about mastering English grammar and strengthening his writing--he seemed really enthusiastic--I really hope he is able to pursue his work further at the studios in Accra. We also worked with Judith, the computer science teacher, for a few days going through the ins and outs of Microsoft Office. In addition to that we've spent a lot of time just playing with the kids, singing songs, exchanging dance moves and shooting hoops. The kids love the basketball hoops, and its been great being able to actually start doing some half court scrimmages--their enthusiam for the afterschool sports program has definitely spiked now that they are getting to play real games of 4x4 and 5x5! It's awesome to see.

On Thursday I turned 22, and it was a great birthday, even though it was so far from home. After a nice morning run, Annelise surprised me with banana pancakes, which were delicious, and all my students mobbed me and sang a FIVE-VERSE rendition of "Happy Birthday to You"--so precious! On the weekend we went back to Aburi, the gorgeous mountain town with a secluded waterfall. We decided to try to run to the falls instead of bike and it was a good adventure--though we may or may not have gotten turned around once or twice.. in the middle of the African bush...but anyway :)..we're gearing up to finish strong with a great last week here..trying to treasure every moment...and even with hot showers and chocolate chip cookie dough beckoning in the distance, we're doing our best to appreciate all that life in Ghana has to offer.

Some pics from McColin's:

Teaching the kids about the Internet... We hope that we will be able to raise money so that McColin's will be able to have wireless internet--It will be easier for them to learn the uses of the internet when they actually use it!

 This pic alone says more than enough about their need for a new computer lab... When they have their computer science class in this tiny room, most of the kids in the class sit out in the hallway and try to entertain themselves. These are the only two working computers they have right now!

 Closing prayer...the preschoolers were NOT impressed that we were snapping pics instead of bowing our heads

The rambunctious Adchato--the smile..the ears..we can't get enough! 

Two of the three basketball hoops that we made... We already hung the third at the current site so the kids could start playing, but these two will be hung at the new school. Mama Suzie said they are clearing some of the land so that they can have a court!


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