Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Our last blog - bye to Ghana

Our last two weeks in Ghana was full of ups and downs. Neither of us were looking forward to leaving and it was as hard as we thought it would be.

Here goes...

It took us nearly 5 months to get Ema to invite his girlfriend Adwoa around but the last month we were able to spend a lot of time with them both together, including our last night in Ghana. She loves dancing - as do I :)
Double date with Ema and Adwoa

Martin did his last two day phonics training course and went very well. He has a great rapport with the teachers and knows his stuff. It has become his little obsession over the past 6 months. Unfortunately there was some miscommunication between the schools' director and the teachers so the teachers were not informed until the day :s This caused a bit of confusion to start off with but Martin won them over. This day helped us to put the finishing touches on the lesson plan that will be used after we leave. I am extremely proud of Lodz for what he has been able to do with this phonics training and could go on for hours about it but he might kill me so we shall leave it there. Fab job!
Emphasis on decoding this time

Being interviewed by the press

Miracule, Adwoa and Martin - a.k.a constant, new, old :)

       Groups preparing their phonics lesson                              Lesson being delivered

Back at base things carry on as usual. The children around the base bored as ever wanting to learn constantly!!!! Or even just have something to do.

Doing some group reading - off their own back :)

Martin's phonics group

Patience, far left, sporting her Frozen onezy that she bought from the jumble sale

Found a baby mouse - so cute!!!!

Abena, Sandy, Kwaku and Evelyn (smiling beautifully at the time, doesn't look like it though)

We decided to have a party :) We made friends with some obronis who are volunteering with IVHQ not too far from us (Tinkong) so we wanted an excuse to wear our Ghanaian clothes and dance :) They were all such great company. It was a fab night. The people of Abenta loved it too.

Rachel (met her in January in Lake Bosomtwe) [Irish], Monty [Canadian], Tina [Ghanaian], me, Katie [British] and Charlotte [British]

Prince [Ghanaian], Lodz, Kobby (VbV worker), Michael [Australian], Paul [American]

Got to get the guitar out, courtesy of Kobby. Yobo, second from the left, joined us

Our faves dancing away - spot Kobby :)

Bit of boggle at a party...why not?!

The next day Lodz, Rach, Monty and I checked out Aburi Botanical gardens. Very beautiful and gave us another chance to hang out with cool people, who have a huge love for banku (a common Ghanaian dish).

                     me, Rachel, Monty                                              Up inside a very cool tree

A lovely gentlemen, Smart, on his balcony of the school he pays for and teaches at

Families enjoying the Easter weekend

Helicopter once used by a former Ghanaian president

Beautiful view

Being near Accra, we capitalised on different ingredients - cauliflower, green beans and potatoes - topped up with beef from Adawso (how did we never spot that?!), Martin made a stunning roast

So botanical gardens was the first day of many not very nice days to do with my teeth. Turns out my top wisdom teeth were growing into my cheek. This caused an ulcer to occur, a lot of pain when swallowing (and just existing) and unable to chew food. Not great. We found a great dentist who sorted it all out for me. 1 week, antibiotics and a tooth extraction later I was fine...or was I...stay tuned for more on my teeth :) I had a Friends box set to keep me company whilst Martin did all the work so it wasn't that bad.

This time I made sure I had photo graphic evidence (unlike when I stopped my parents when I had mumps at 15-biggest case the doctors had ever seen)

Martin grabbed another opportunity to train people on phonics. This time trying out a 2.5 hour version of his two day training course. It went very well and he met some more lovely people. (I couldn't go as was ill - did I mention I had problems with my teeth? lol)

We returned to Akosombo!!!!! A shame we couldn't fly Patrick, Joel and Scott over but we had a great time. The view from and food of the Volta hotel couldn't be missed. Kayaking was a necessity again, this time Aikins and I got our own kayaks. Lots of laughter, a few swimming lessons (might have had to tell a few fibs about people being able to swim) and fortunately no one drowned :s . Ema was an absolute natural and one every race.

Me, Ema, Aikins, Yobo

me, Aikins

Tro tro selfie (Martin isn't smiling because he is saying 'Me baba chiaw' - his version of a song lyric)

Cool dudes

It fits perfectly that the last church we went to in Ghana was Aikins'. We both love this guy so much and he has been a great example as a Christian for us. We also love the Mensah family so spending time with them was great.

Father and daughter xxx

Emmanuella and the view from the church 

Sheena and Tina using an umbrella for sun - this is unheard of in the UK :)

The snake was HUGE!!!!!

Nope - tiny, but the only one we have seen up close in Ghana

Mensah compound, such lovely memories

Emmanuella, Sheena and B - eating gari and milo

Beans stew and rice - yum!

Tina, Aikins, Stephen and Gabo (both workers of VbV)

We were blessed in our last week to be able to spend two evenings with Tina (and Sheena) on the base!!!! I have been wanting this for ages. Tina and Aikins were such great company, lovely couple.
Double date with Aikins and Tina and we had Sheena :)

We were very proud or our participants to the Adult English course and how well they did. They all received their certificates.
Emmanuel receiving his certificate

It was hard saying goodbye to our work partner for the last 6 months. We will miss him lots but this is only the start to our friendship and working relationship :)
Fufu - duh!!!!

On our last day full day Martin played in a football match against Yobo, they both picked their teams. Martin's team won :) I watched most of it on the side lines (some) and mainly chilled with the kiddies.

The two teams

Our two children (around the most and such kind hearts) - Kojo and Adwoa

On our last night we showed a slide show of pictures that we had taken in Abenta. They loved it. Some people really had changed in 6 months. Then we watched Mr Bean's Holiday and everyone danced to Ghanaian music, they would go all night if you let them. Difficult saying goodbye to the kids. Adwoa and I just cuddled for ages (I think she used me as a pillow, but I am taking it as the cuddle I needed). She has been like a daughter to us.

Chaos, as usual, when the camera appears

So woke up on Wednesday morning and there was an ulcer on my left side now. Grr. This meant we had to leave Abenta and few hours earlier but fortunately we got an appointment and I am now missing two wisdom teeth. We said goodbye to the school and packed up.

Bye to the school, lovely words from the headmaster

These two pages best illustrate Lodz's obsession for the last 6 months

Saying goodbye to everyone was hard! I know that is obvious but I promised myself I would hold it together. We said goodbye to most people throughout the day but left our nearest and dearest till last. We wrote a card for our hosts, Margaret and Ayisi, and went to say goodbye. One of my best parts of living in Abenta was something as simple as hearing 'Madam' said behind me as I am locking up our hut. We didn't have language but we had more than that. I will miss Margaret so much and at that moment when the three of us cried and hugged I knew, more than ever, that we will return and we will keep in touch, however hard, with this beautiful family. Aikins and Ema were next. They have been our brothers, games competitors and the people I confided in. They are all our family!!!!

Last moments

A flying visit but we couldn't leave without saying goodbye to our wonderful friend Solomon

Bye Abenta. Bye Ghana. Thank you for having us. We had a blast and will never forget you all.
Ya bihyia bio (We shall meet again!!!!)

Liz (& Martin)