|Posted on 27 February, 2017 at 14:10|
As I enter my final month in Ghana I look back on what a crazy, challenging and surreal experience I have been gifted with.
The first thing I noticed (aside from the heat!) is a culture of positivity and gratitude. It was so refreshing to be in a country where despite challenges faced in everyday living, they express gratitude for everything they do have and look forward to more blessings in their future.
I have cherished and will greatly miss my morning walk to work. With a new body clock of 5am I set about to on my walk, where they are only a few people around, sweeping the ground and getting ready for the day. The town is very quiet. All I can hear and is the crunching sound of my trainers meeting the red, sandy road and the crowing of the rooster greeting the morning sound.
I am welcomed by the locals as I greet them in twi and welcomed by the children calling out and sometimes chanting ‘’Ebroni! Hello/Bye-bye Ebroni’’(white person).
In contrast my weekend morning is travel is in a packed Tro-Tro, being passed by hawkers selling drinks, snacks, toiletries. I even saw some people carrying eskys and shelves!
Finally I arrive at Madina Market and it’s a full sensory experience. The market is packed with colours of towels, fabrics, fruit, electronics, clothes & accessories. I can smell the foods ready for purchase and hear the traders are calling ‘Ebroni’ and grabbing my hand to come and buy their goods. Have to admit, this can be overwhelming at times!
But the most challenging and yet most exciting part is working at Woodfield Manor.
Here is a school in its fourth year. The pupil roll has increased from 23 to 30, which has created the development of the new building with more classrooms, a playroom, library and when complete there will be an assessment centre with the expertise if Speech and Language and Therapist, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists. A pool has also been built to provide in-school therapy sessions and other school facilities are rapidly increasing.
Our teachers and school team work hard to provide a meaningful education for our pupils.
There are quite a few challenges The top floor of the new building needs completion and electricity to be wired throughout, the pool needs a fence and staff need more training.
It has been interesting experiencing time leading a school where I do not speak the local languages & cultural views and practises can widely differ.
It has taken time, patience and collaboration with all the team members to understand different viewpoints, however we are a working progress.
I can see staff developing their skills supporting children physically and emotionally. They are small steps to our great future.
My favourite memories so far are the school team working together to make foo-foo and Jollof for our Christmas dinner.
Of course I also had a turn, but will admit to us all sharing a laugh as I clearly did not have the strength or technique to last as long as the others!
The meal, however, is still the best I’ve had in Ghana so far!
Of course the children are my other great memory. They are so welcoming and responsive to the interaction and play we share.
I am proud, with our team, for the moment one of our girls who is pre-verbal and generally non responsive is now engaging with us through songs, has waved at staff members and on one day even said bye to her uncle! (of course she hasn’t spoken since and that’s ok). We celebrate that success with her.
We celebrate all the moments our children share with us.
This time at Woodfield Manor has been about teaching the education of love and connection. It is through love, presence and connection out children feel safe, develop confidence and grow as happy and healthy beings.
I thank everyone I have met in Ghana. You have all given me such blessings.
By: Rita Moussa