Thursday, July 22, 2010

Challenging Heights

Hello! This is going to be a probably quick update (partly because the last week has been smooth sailing, and partly because I'm on a janky computer that I don't expect to survive the one hour I've paid for).

After getting back from our Volta adventure we took a week easy. Lots of time was spent on the gulf, exploring Winneba, and just kicking back. This past week I've been working at Challenging Heights school as a second grade teacher/ teacher's assistant. My kids are great, they're most engaged when we play games pitting the guys against the girls. I've been learning a lot myself from the teachers at Challenging Heights. For example, people born on certain days of the week are supposed to have similar personalities, and incarcerated people in Ghana can be hired out by contractors to do labor against their will.

Our group also spent time with James Annan, the founder of Challenging Heights. He talked with us about all the other programs that Challenging Heights has initiated, include: a microfinancing program for struggling parents of students, an apprenticeship program for older children who have never received an education, and oversight of at-risk students at local schools of other communities. So many great initiatives for Grand Valley students to get involved in next year!! This program is going to be phenomenal.

I've also had some interesting meals. I talked about Emmanuel making jollof rice and possibly about our redred dinner, but our most recent homecooked meal was fufu (ground cassava and plantain in a fish/crab stew with okra, eaten with your hands). Our next will be fish and chips, but we're waiting for the right type of fish to show up looking fresh at one of the coastal markets. Most of the fish here look like they've been caught, dropped on the ground, forgotten about for a week, transported down a dusty road in a bumpy car, cooked eight times until they look like charcoal, and displayed for however many days until they are purchased. And I'm pretty sure the reason they look like that is because they have been.

Today I started the qualifying round of a Spelling Bee that we're putting on for the school, I'm getting excited now. The school wanted us to put on a program (just can't escape gosh darn programming) and I think this one is going to be a lot of fun. Tomorrow though we are leaving for Cape Coast to visit some of the touristy sites and a school for the deaf and blind... and that's really the last hurrah of our trip.

We only have six days left.... whoa, for reals??

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