Friday, July 6, 2012

Celebrations of Life

Time for another update! It is now our fifth week here in Ho, and the last few days have provided with us with yet another set of eye-opening experiences to share. On the Saturday after we returned from our trip to Mole, our group got invited to visit the village of our friend, Linda, who cooks for us at the volunteer house. It was the one year anniversary of her mother's funeral, so we returned with her to her village in the Eastern Region of Ghana, just about an hour and a half or so from Ho, for a memorial celebration.

The village was fairly small, with probably only a thousand people, and it seemed as though everyone knew Linda's mother well. We were introduced to many of the locals, and we were repeatedly invited into homes and offered all kinds of food--Ghanaian hospitality is unmatched. It was a very cool thing to be welcomed so warmly by literally every one we met, including Linda's large extended family, who were very gracious to our group of 11 previously unknown white people. We then went with Linda's family to the cemetery for a prayer service, which was very moving--I never would have believed that we would be invited to participate in such an intimate moment in Ghanaian life. I think my favorite part of the whole thing was experiencing the closeness of the community, who all came together to support Linda and her younger, (16 year-old) sister after both of their parents had passed away.

We returned to McColin's on Monday, and have been teaching there as usual this week. I'm not sure if we've mentioned this before, but a new volunteer, Caroline, joined the program a few weeks ago, and she is also stationed at McColins. On Wednesday, during the final class period, the three of us teamed up to teach english to the sixth graders. We were attempting to teach them similes and metaphors, but their attention kept slipping, and we could tell they were getting antsy. They kept bugging us to teach them a song, so we decided to come up with a song for the material we were teaching. We made a simile song to the tune of "We will rock you" and had them go around the room free-styling similes about each other. Here is one example: Clifford is as short as a squirrel / Annelise is as white as a pearl! It was hilarious, and their teacher seemed to think so too. It was definitely one of my favorite experiences teaching thus far!

Annelise's 20th birthday was Thursday! And we celebrated in style at Bob Coffie's, a hotel in Ho--one of the most "American" places you'll find here. We both ordered steak and french fries and ate by the pool. We made her an "ice cream cake" of sorts by pouring 5 FanIce's into a bowl and adding a few wafers. She loved it!

One final note, Annelise and I have taken up a new project this week...we're building basketball hoops, with backboards, for the students at the school. Using only a handsaw, 1 hammer, and some plywood and two by twos, we've actually made a lot of progress! Pictures will definitely follow shortly..

Hope all is well in the States; we were definitely missing the USA on the fourth!

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