First – Awet – when I had my grilled fish, I tried Coke from a bottle – you’re right, it does taste different. The bubbles are smaller 😀 I had Sprite last night with my chicken – Kwasi was worried I didn’t like it…honest, ..not the Sprite, the chicken! I dunno if I would order it again, too much spice for me – I’d try to make it without the curry in it to leave the coconut taste – Mud, get on it 😀 (My mom has this strange ability (it comes from her food processing background and love for cooking) to be able to taste something and reproduce it.) That’s what I told Kwasi – I was mulling over the ingredients. SO, when I get to AZ, let’s make coconut chicken that has a nice yummy coconut sauce, no spice 🙂
Some may wonder how my tummy’s been holding up – well, I’m without Pepto, so I’ve been suffering. NO, not really 😉 I haven’t had Montezuma’s Revenge exactly….but….lets just say…….hmm……well, my tummy hasn’t been panged. How’s that 🙂
Today, I arrived a bit early – I told Kwame, the taxi driver, that if he needed to pick people up along the way to get money, I didn’t mind – as long as I arrived on time at 8. A few things I’ve picked up on here – the travel book suggested them as well – you are only as on time as your ride allows you to be. Meaning – you call your taxi and you’re at their mercy. I think this is how “Ghanaian time” started. I have no idea how places of employment implement occurrences if your late…
Anyway, I got there on time. In the morning the kids to opening exercises – I think I already mentioned this, but incase I didn’t – they do the anthem..and arm exercises – both in front, both up..both in front, etc. The teacher wasn’t there on time – she lives off campus (they have dorms for the teachers on campus)..so I asked Emmanuel if I should just start with math, so we did.
First, we reviewed yesterday. Then, we dove into something new. Okay – I’m not a trained teacher, right!? We got to a percentage question…um..let’s see – no calculator..how to make this conceptually sound..uh..I, again, pulled from my LaFollete’s bag of tricks and we used a pie. Before I knew it we’d been doing math for over an hour and I was so perplexed that i was SO grateful for Nancy. Nancy is a woman, about 60 or more…she seems older than Ma..and Grandma..so I’m not sure, anyway – she’s here through the Peace Corp and has been here a year. She has one more year left but is considering staying because she loves it so much. Um..I wouldn’t go that far, but ya never know 😀
Ghana, to me, is a mix between AZ and Mexico with a dash of “jungle” feel to it – throw in the Ohio State Fair, AZ Fair..or any county fair in terms of the booths where things are being sold – put that along all the main roads – BAM! You’ve got Ghana 😀
Anyway, I used this time to cool down and collect my thoughts about percentages and called on Kennedy to see if he wanted to teach science. He’s a very bright young man, but his friends/schoolmates said he was shy. I would say, of this class – about 75% are only faced with “overcoming” their deafness. So, out of the 20 – 15 of them understand everything if it is explained to them. It doesn’t seem like there is a good foundation of signing ability/understanding that is combined with teaching philosophies and methods here. It is in no way, shape, or form the teacher’s fault. They could be a little more motivated – but if the expectations aren’t too high, and the bar is low – I can confess, I’ve been there and chosen the “easy way out” at times. Not noble or honorable, but human.
Anyway – fortunately, I didn’t need to do science because they did grammar. Today there was a list of words that had the combination “ie” or “ei” and the kids had to copy down the words and fill in the correct choice: believe, quiet, friend, science, etc.
After this, the children had free time. Throughout the day I was able to gauge the ages of this class – I think the youngest is around 13 and the oldest is 22 (he’s one of my favs – yesterday, I was working on math with him – you could see the gears turning; when he understood it I could have shouted from the roof-tops because I was so proud of him!) Anyway, they brought me one of their books “My First Bible” and wanted me to sign the stories to them. THEY ARE SO SWEET! Well, the teacher decided it was time to jet because she had some travel time ahead of her – at 1:10ish..there’s still 50 mins left of school!
We continued with the Bible stories and then had a geography lesson. K, let me preface by saying I’m not a geographer NOR am I an artist…but, I did my best and hope I put the Bahamas in the right spot! I showed them where I live in Ohio and drew out my flight pattern of how I got here with corresponding times (1hour 42 minutes to Philly, etc.) Then, of course – they were curious about where the countries were that their soccer team had played – Uruguay was one of them. I hope I placed it near the right place. I showed them Guatemala, Columbia, Venezuela – I’m pretty sure those weren’t in order!
In sum, I find the system here stinks, to be frank. I was talking to Emmanuel this morning who said the ratio should be 1:15 – it’s mostly 1:20 or more. I shared how our system works in Ohio – if deafness is the only disability, they’ll be either in a class with other deaf children or in a class with other hearing children. The children with dual/multiple diagnoses will be in a smaller classroom with more individualized instruction.
Last night, Dora, Kwasi, and I were sitting around talking about how to make a change when there is SO much to change. Dora proposed GNDCS starts up a model school. She had a student in class that day that shared how he worked in a public school – when he upped the bar, they put the private school out of business because everyone wanted to go back to the public school. Now, no one is recommending that Cape Deaf is forced to shut down – but, considering they can’t even serve all of the children that need them at the moment, and there is a need for another deaf school in the first place – why not!?!?
This brings me to something else, then it’s time to sign off so I can catch my taxi – I asked Kwasi yesterday – of all of the families that he “finds” how many actually decide to take their children to school. See, here – though it is 2010, Ghana tends to be back in the 1960’s-1970’s with their teaching philosophies and attitudes towards disabilities. A lot of families are ashamed of their deaf child, and some even think it is a curse on the family. The teaching method that I have observed is – “I copy it on the board, you copy it down in your blue-book.”
Kwasi and Rosemond started this foundation – Ghana National Deaf Children’s Society – as a way to seek out and aid the families who have deaf children. Ultimately they’d like to be a one-stop-shop for the deaf individuals in the community. The organization is just a few years old, so they have a long way to go, but they have come so far also. Kwasi will go around town off of “leads” searching for families, then he tries to connect with them and encourage them to send their child to school – of if you’re a deaf adult, he tries to arrange whatever is needed with his limited resources, for that family..for those families who have a difficult time providing for themselves, GNDCS applied for some land throughout he government that is used to farm. There are about 4 families that care for the land (this is their first year) and the plan is, whatever profit they make from the land, they get to keep. The unfortunate thing – bureaucratic tape is wherever you go. The government wants to make sure the land is being used properly, so at every stage there is a new application – an application to plant, to fertilize, etc.
Anyway, I asked Kwasi – of all the families you find, how many actually send their children to school – suppose you found 10 families, how many would go to school? He said – 5. Five families. Well, at the festival last night, I was able to meet one of those five. About brought me to tears – I asked him, if when he just stared GNDCS, if his goal was simply to help 1 – he answered yes. BUT, he’s helped so many already and will continue to do so.
I posted, in my “Ramblings” and “Ghana” category “The Power of One” – I told Kwasi, after GNDCS is securely running on its own, he needs to become a motivational speaker so that he can show the world what can happen when one person has an idea and acts upon it. I told him I’d write a book about him 😀 Maybe we can call it just that – The Power of One. Let that resonate with you for the rest of the day and until we meet again in the blogging world – take a minute, won’t you – contemplate the difference one can make. ONE.