We hesitate to begin this blog post, as it forces us to reflect on the impending end of our trip. As you all have read in our previous blog posts, we are having so many great experiences; we have all witnessed changes in both ourselves and our students. This trip has impacted (and will continue to impact) who we become as we continue in college and beyond. Here are some highlights from today:
Today was our second to last day of teaching, and unfortunately most of us feel that it may have been just the beginning. In our reading groups, we look forward to seeing the kids sitting anxiously in anticipation of our arrival to the library to read the stories we have come to share with each other. As we read our favorites with these children, we wonder if our enthusiasm and nostalgia for these books will instill the curiosity in our students to continue a novel (or series!) in our absence.
In our classes, we will finish our lesson plans with the presentation of final projects or recaps of the week, which will hopefully display the growth of our students, both academically and creatively. As we begin to say good-bye we collect little “love” notes where students express how grateful they are that we have become their friend. As opposed to the American view of friendship, often defined by Facebook, Twitter and texting, a Ghanaian ‘friend’ takes a much different form, carrying much more weight than many of us are used to. We hope to be able to maintain these relationships through the pen-pal program that has been established.
As we head back to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave (yes, we did sing this song to our 7th graders today when describing what a baseball game is like) Ghana has led us to question the definition of ‘poverty’ in America. While it is easy for us to pinpoint poverty in Ghana because it looks so different from poverty in the United States, we reflected on what the “image” of poverty actually is. We realized that it doesn’t always look like a child in tattered clothes in another country; it could also be a homeless child in our own city. We thought back on a Common Hour presentation where the School District of Lancaster Superintendent gave astounding statistics about the number of children in Lancaster who were homeless. Since we will only be in Ghana for a short time, perhaps our impact can be continued in our own neighborhoods. As participants of our discussions, we challenge the readers of this blog to question what poverty may look like to you, and what role you would like to play in thinking or acting on this issue.
To end our day, we bravely challenged a group of Heritage students to a game of soccer. It was exciting to interact with our students outside of the classroom and to show off our competitive spirits. With a final score of 10-5, we were proud to walk away with second place in this fierce game. After a few shirt tugs, questionable calls and well-calculated comments to our opposition, we were all smiling at how quickly we all bonded over our mutual interest in camaraderie.
Tomorrow, we are excited to have a final day with the students we have come to love. We are happy to report that this experience has NOT been a Series of Unfortunate Events (yes, our life is now defined in children’s story titles), but more so Cloudy with a Chance of Yams.
Goodnight Stars, Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Goat Jumping over the Moon….
K, K & Co.