Tag Archives: soccer

Cloudy With A Chance of Yams

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.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Independence Day!

As you know, Westtown School does their annual senior project at the Heritage Academy. The Westtown Senior Project Crew arrived on Monday and has spent the last few days in Ghana. In addition, Eva Tsocanos and Julia Keehn arrived in Ghana yesterday to teach at the Heritage Academy for six weeks. They are there together with Bronwyn and the Liontree family who are staying for the year. We are excited to have everyone together to be working for the common good at Heritage.

On Tuesday, we watched the Heritage middle school boys play in the semi-final match of the inter-schools soccer tournament. After a long and amazing game, they sadly lost 0-1 and were knocked out of the tournament. The good news is that both the boys and girls teams won in the title in the volleyball tournament on Monday!

Today, March 6th, is Ghana’s independence day. We slept in and spent the afternoon in Mankessim Market which is always a time filled with sight-seeing and fun chaos.

Tomorrow is the first day of school! Eva, Julia and Bronwyn went to a soccer game in Mando while the Westtown group was in Mankessim. The came over to hang out for while after dinner and then went to a party in Ajumako while the Westtown group gathered for evening check-in and early bed time in preparation for their big day tomorrow. Eva & Julia are helping with reading and will start teaching on Monday. Bronwyn is working in the business office and school clinic.

We’ll be posting here and on Facebook so you can follow us on facebook by clicking here!

Your friends,

The Westtown Senior Project Crew

Tagged , , , , , ,

Education: The Great Equalizer

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” – Horace Mann

Today was the second day of teaching and classes went much more smoothly. The students were participating and engaged in group discussion. For example, in Geography taught by Greg and Alexis, two students approached them after class wanting to borrow their encyclopedias for further research. Also, in the Creative writing class led by Jake and Teresa, the students were so focused on writing their short stories that they refused to put their pens down even after the drums signaling the end of class sounded. Lilah, Jennie and Anita taught the 9th graders American Government today. They ended up extending their class to two periods because the students kept asking intricate and brilliant questions regarding equal rights for women in the workforce, what Obama has done for America as president, and other controversial issues in politics.

Despite the obvious improvements from many students today, there were still a few very obvious sleepers in a few of the classes. Jennie crafted a brilliant strategy to put a stop to that: instead of waking them, she decided to have an impromptu photoshoot with the rest of the class posing behind the sleeping students! Jennie will probably have no sleepers for the rest of the trip, while everyone else will try the same plan tomorrow.

In our reflection session this evening, we focused on the perceptions of education in Ghana, compared to those in the United States. Many of us were struck by the Ghanaian students’ ambition to learn, which often became apparent in our personal interviews with them. One of Jake’s interview questions was “If you could have one superpower what would it be?” To his surprise, three out of his four students said that they wanted to possess unlimited knowledge. Their realization of the importance of education at such a young age continues to amaze us. If only this attitude was more prevalent in our pubic schools back at home. Many American students do not grasp the concept that education frees us and is the key to success. At times when we would have wanted goof around and not study, Ghanaian students are driven to become doctors and bankers.

Do not think it is “all work and no play” for the Ghanaian students, however. Whenever there is some free time, all the boys would grab the soccerball and play pick up “football” behind the library on the less than adequate ground. With a firepit of burning trash at one end of the goal line and barbed wire lining the out-of-bounds, the younger students would play all-out, and barefoot, just for the love of the game. Jake and Sydney have been playing with them daily, in awe of their competitive spirit. They have been encouraging some of the girls to join, but the boys all-out play and their disregard for their surroundings is a bit intimidating. Jake and Sydney are confident that by the end of the trip at least a few girls will want to play with them.

One final highlight of our day was when the tailor paid us a visit in the evening to craft the fabrics we purchased at the market yesterday. The living room at our guesthouse was filled with colorful Ghanaian fabrics, and plenty of estrogen to go around as well. The boys were loving it, for sure. The tailor has his work cut out for him over the next week as he sews together 15 high-maintenance orders that include American-style dresses, shorts, and ties.

Once again, the group is exhausted from another day of teaching, playing, and fashion designing. We will all rest well before the final day of our first Ghanaian school week tomorrow.

– Syd “Pele” Seydel and Mike “Armani” Zoeller

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: