This weekend Aoife, Lodz and I went to Kumasi :) A trip we have been looking forward to since we arrived in Ghana. We started our weekend at Lake Bosomtwe which is south east of Kumasi. Beautiful place, shame that the amazing view was blocked by the harmattan :( We met lovely volunteers there, some of whom are living really close to us (near Tinkong). We relaxed, petted horses, swam in the lake and tried out the traditional flat bottomed canoes.
The view from The Green Ranch
Traditional flat bottomed canoe called a padua
The Green Ranch had loads of beautiful horses
The rest of the weekend was spent with our friend Tina's brother and his family. They were unbelievably generous and really looked after us. We went for a lovely meal on the first night, fed wonderful breakfast salads, went to their catholic church, were fed fufu with groundnut soup and meat/fish, shown around the ashante king's palace, watched the end of a football match in the stadium (Martin was defo the most excited), fed 'red red', shown around the armed forces museum and the central market (arguably the largest open air market in West Africa). Such incredible hospitality. My highlight was us all sitting on the floor of Paul and Tina's lovely house playing cards. Francis, Loretta and Benedicta - you are welcome anytime to Abenta and/or the UK/Ireland!
St Peter's Cathedral
Random drumming show whilst waiting at a traffic light
Loretta (Tina's sister-in-law), Janet (Tina and Francis' mother), me, Francis (Tina's brother)
Francis and Martin
Armed Forces Museum
Gold Coast flag before Ghana's independence
Loretta in her shop
Work has been very varied over the last 4 weeks. Teacher training has continued for the most part. Since the training in Gboloo I have popped in twice to check the phonics lessons are going well and to provide them with 85 books for a library. We have been working in Abenta still handing over the phonics teaching to them (excellent progress). Martin introduced a weekly spelling test with little prizes which down very well. I delivered a training session on the EGRA reading tests and then the teachers re-tested the students - this to see how much progress has been made since the introduction of phonics (looking good so far, although results aren't fully in). We have ordered 300+ Ghanaian books from the excellent local publishers Smartline (http://smartlinepublishers.com/) for the library and whole class reading :) This means that the children in Abenta and Gboloo can learn how to read in a context that makes sense to them.
Delali and Martin - Smartline books
Other jobs that we have been able to get involved in with are evening English lessons for adults. We have been eager to do this since the start but it means so much more when I look around and see the faces of the people I love in one room. I went with Aoife, Brandon, Aikins, Kobby and Ema to Akorabu and Obwasewoase to paint 'Clean Hands Safe Lives' symbols on the school walls. I would've been awful at this but it was actually quite mathematical. This week school is out due to the Akupem North chief having his funeral so the vols have been included in the building of the football pitch and other bits of labour. It has been nice to have a change. Lots of digging, painting and hammering - I am not the best at it but gave it a good go.
Aoife and I drawing the CHSL icons
Brandon, Ema and Aikins painting the icons
The finished icons :)
Helping with the football pitch
As for free time... It was nice to be so warmly welcomed back by the church that we go to the most. We are translated for mostly but when we don't understand we read our bibles and sing songs in English over the Twi ones :) I have got hugely into a new author who is Nigerian - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Massively recommend 'Half of the Yellow Sun' and 'Purple Hibiscus'. Anyone know of an equivalent Ghanaian author? We have had lots of time for saboteur - everyone has got into it. Aikins' fave quote is 'Are you one of them, or them?' - fits very well. I am still going strong with the 5:30am morning exercise, thanks to Aoife and Aikins for joining me. Lodz made it once so hopefully that will continue :) We love chilling with the kiddies at Abenta. We have been able to spend more time with Sheena (Aikins' daughter) and Hilary (Kobby's daughter) which has been nice. I had my hair cut quite short to help me with the heat - courtesy of the gorgeous Beatrice (Kobby's wife). We had to say goodbye to Brandon which is never nice but confident we will meet up in the UK. That same weekend Aoife went to cape coast, Aikins had his father-in-law's funeral and Brendan chilled at is house so Lodz and I had our first evening alone together since August. We have really taken to community living but it was nice to have our own time. We watched One Left Foot - excellent film.
Me da se ( Thank you) for reading.
Da yie (Good night)