This is a primary school in Agoxoe, Ghana. I believe this was also built by the government...=(
And the work continues! Today we left for an area called Agoxoe. It is virtually directly opposite the Fodome area that we went to yesterday and on the road to Kpando. Well, the road you were to take if you were taking the scenic route haha, as this road is a deep red dirt road rather than the paved alternative to Kpando. But even when the roads are paved here they are full of dodgy pot holes. I’m not sure how they don’t get more flat tires! I hit one curb in Los Angeles and get a flat! They hit 100 deep and very rough potholes and still nothing. Maybe we need to start importing their tires, wherever they’re getting them from, although I’m sure they’re probably from the US or China and in that case, I just don’t understand.
Primary school in Aklamapafu...again, incomplete. When it rains they're covered in rain
Ok, BESIDES the tires ha ha. The first village we went to I spoke with a few men to get their input. These villagers seemed to make slightly more than Fodome Kordjeto (similar in size, proximity to other villages, etc) but yet acted just as poor. One man was a trained carpenter but since there is no work in the village for carpentry, has resulted to farming. There is a primary school but the children have to walk nearly one hour to get to a secondary school down the road. I have yet to ask if they still attend if it’s raining or if they miss out on school. Add that to the list of questions. When riding down the roads to these villages it’s lucky to see even one vehicle pass by in your excursion there and back, that’s how rural they are.
House in Fodome Kodzeto
I walked to the primary school to see the status of their school and meet the headmaster. It was there I also met a teacher named Bless and though I didn’t have much time to speak with her, I could tell she was very happy to see me and seemed to have that gleam in her eye that true teachers who love their careers have. She was very happy to give whatever input she could. One classroom block was virtually finished (in it’s crumbling state) and another was half finished. When it rains, they have to spend nearly 3 hours cleaning out the mud and water, cleaning the desks, etc before they can even resume classes. The kindergarden block is currently in non working order. It’s simply two rooms and only made of mud/clay with a roof and support beams.
The students of Aklamapafu and I
It still needs cement and plaster and proper metal support beams. The structure itself at the current state, although shabby, still only cost around $175 in materials and considering that part is done, I’m guessing would cost less than $500 to finish the entire block.
The next village was where I sent Emmanuel off to talk to some of the people in the village while I went straight to the school to talk to the teachers first hand. I spoke with Patience and Daniel I think. Patience teaches sewing and religious studies while the other teaches mostly English. This JSS (middle) school has only three classrooms for all the students. There are about 10-20 students per class that have to stand and it is extremely crowded.
The headmaster and a teacher at Aklamapafu
The primary and JSS schools have become free thanks to Ghana Education Services (I can’t imagine what it was like before!) but secondary school still costs money. Though they do have toilets at this school, they are KVIP which I suppose is better than nothing. As for textbooks, there is only one textbook for every 4-6 students so they mostly learn from notes. There aren’t enough desks or chairs and there is no staff room (which is very important in Ghana…more important than toilets).
We went to Kpando to give some bread to Emmanuel’s mother and I stopped into the internet café to get Sarah’s phone number. Sarah is friend’s with Shital who is the coordinator for Global Brigades medical program.
She put me into contact with Sarah before my trip and we agreed to meet. Sarah is running a physical therapy program at the hospital in Kpando and has been here for 4 months now. As I arrived at the internet café, there were two Obrunis (white people) there. I wondered if one of them was actually her but I didn’t ask until they were about to leave. Sure enough, one was Sarah and the other girl Morgan happens to be from Los Angeles as well! Oh how good it was to see some white people, how brief it was. Sometimes the Ghanaians have a very cocky way of being and they laugh at almost everything we say or do which is fun most of the time but sometimes gets very annoying. On this particular day, I was being driven crazy by it! So we spoke and agreed that this Saturday I’ll stay in Kpando with her at the house she is staying and spend Sunday there as well.
Market day in Fodome Henu where I hope to bring GB
Speaking of which, Friday is a national holiday…Farmer’s Day so there is no school. Also on Sunday it is election day in Ghana! Supposedly it is just like in the US this year…the president has been in office for 2 terms and could not run again so there is a big change about to happen. There are trucks driving all over the country with names plastered on them and speakers blasting loud obnoxious music/speeches from the favored party. There are parades throughout the street with people sporting t-shirts from their party as well. In Accra, there were men basically wearing diapers in FULL BODY paint just posing in the middle of the street with sunglasses on. They looked like the biggest football fans but instead of supporting a team, supporting their party with donation boxes on their head.
Students at the secondary school in Fodome Henu
Haha. I wanted to get a picture but we were driving too fast. Maybe I’ll see more of them after a winner is chosen? Supposedly there are going to be lots of parties on Sunday and the whole country goes into mass celebration. I’m anxious to see what happens!
Unfortunately there weren’t many encounters with cute little babies today =( That is my favorite part of them all…getting to play with the little kids and take their pictures. They get so happy to see white people and just wave at you all day long. Well, except for some babies. Some babies cry when they see you haha. I heard last year actually that sometimes the parents joke when their kids are being bad that if they don’t behave that the obrunis (white people) are going to come take them away while they’re sleeping so no wonder they cry when they see us! Haha.
The girls and I at Fodome Henu
Overall it was a good shift from surveys to talking with the teachers today. After two days I realized that I need to spend more time in the communities and though the surveys are important, really getting to know different people in the community is even more important. Initially I had wanted to survey 30 different communities but since they are virtually all the same in their needs I’m shifting focus on really identifying the problems. I’ll try this approach tomorrow and see what happens. For now, it’s late and I’m exhausted. A good day, but fairly uneventful.