Status Update: We Now Have Emotional Connections

Today resembled many other days here in Ajumako, Ghana. We woke up to a beautiful song from the roosters and white rice for breakfast, but to shake things up a bit, we did yoga outside and Sarah took the bus route to pick up the kids with Alaska. Even though the bus was overcrowded and crazed with screaming little children, she was able to learn a little bit about Alaska’s life story. Everyone else took the now-familiar trek to campus and began with classes and reading periods. The rest of the day was also routine: eager students, drums signaling the end of class, and endless shouts of “Obruni” (we now yell back “Obibine”, the term for African, which they find hilarious). In addition, we have all read The Ugly Duckling and Frog and Toad ad nauseum and are very unwilling to recite them for you upon our return.

Since today was pretty uneventful, we took the opportunity to reflect upon our experience thus far. We are all noticeably more confident standing up in front of the classes and can now really watch our students’ progress instead of worrying about our own misgivings. It has become evident that it is truly not the material we teach but our presence and encouragement that is a motivator for the kids. We are also adjusting to Africa time, where saying that a schedule is flexible is an understatement, and where frustration, stress, and deadlines aren’t nearly as much a part of their daily life. Instead, we can easily shrug off inconsistencies and surprises with a simple “what ever” because jokes, stories, and personal relationships take precedence. It is quite refreshing to not hear the constant tones of our cell phones indicating a text or check Facebook every 5 minutes and instead we find ourselves getting to know each other on a more personal level and engaging in deep conversation. In short, in Ghana, we don’t have “status updates”; we have “emotional connections”.

With only 3 days of classes left, we are discussing final papers and tying up loose ends. However, we are finding it hard to focus on teaching with all that we have to do when we get home. We will no doubt miss Ghana, especially the kids’ faces, the calm pace of everyday life, and spontaneous events such as dance parties in the library and cartwheels in the middle of class (yes, these do happen frequently). Although, the idea of napkins, reliable Internet, and slightly less humid weather are concepts that have become a vague memory and long to be experienced once more. And as we have all discovered through our “emotional connections”, we are all nerds, and cannot wait to be students once again at dear old F&M.

Enjoying our last few days of Africa time.
See you whenever,

Rachel Jetter
Sarah Mills
Grace Thompson

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