Mid Way Update from Ghana

Posted by / March 13, 2013 / Categories: India 2011 Peace Exchange / 1 Comment
I am happy to report that all is going well in Ghana!  I have been here for about one month.  Ghana is hot, the people are friendly and kind, the children are wide eyed and curious and there is a feeling of being “in the right place at the right time.” I have been staying in Cape Coast, about 3 hours West of Accra, the capital, and focusing the work of this years Peace Exchange on schools in this area.   In the past couple weeks I have visited six schools and worked with more than 800 students.   In the next two weeks I will be in 10 schools in 12 days and completing a huge portion of this years project.
I have been posting photos on our Create Peace Project facebook page.   If you are on facebook, or know that your students are, please direct them to our page here:  Create Peace Project’s Facebook Page
You can access photos in these albums even if you are not on facebook:
Our first workshop: a village public school in a sweet setting in Komenda, a village 30 minutes from Cape Coast (here I gave away some Public School #99 4th- 6th grade cards) https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.529461380421753.120318.136027053098523&type=1&l=bdee1b2fa0
2nd Workshop: at another village primary school in Komenda (here I gave away James Kennedy and Bakersville cards)
Our 3rd workshop at another primary school in the village of Komemda with 85 6th graders (delivered P.S #99 6th grade and Hai Malama, HI cards)
Our 4th, our largest workshop to date with 260+ students grade 3 – 9 (gave away Druid Hills, PS #99 5th grade, Kenilworth cards)
The 5th workshop was at an all Boys Catholic School in Cape Coast with 4th-6th grade boys: (I delivered Pope Elementary and Druid Hills cards)
Our 6th workshop was at a village school in Takradi, two hours from Cape Coast with 200 students from 1st – 6th grades ( I exchanged Marin Elementary, PS #99 5th grade, and IT Crestwell cards)
A few things I have learned: Students in Ghana public schools are not properly equipped to learn.  Most do not have pens/pencils on a daily basis with which to write.  Text books are rare.   Teachers focus primarily on a call and response system of teaching, or writing on the board and having the students copy into their books (if they have a notebook or writing increment to use)   Most children in Primary 4 and below are still struggling to read and write.  Many of the postcards do not have messages on the backs and this is sad, and a reality of the education system here.   Children in Ghana certainly DO NOT have art as part of their eduction and thus there is tremendous excitement to participate in The Peace Exchange, and yet a very primitive capacity to express ones self through drawing.     I find that the students behavior is consistently good: loving, attentive, curious, and shy.   When asked to share their ideas openly, there are only a few students willing to do so.   This seems to be a result of the excessive emphasis on call and response learning, rather than having a more interactive sharing, communication between teacher and student.
Some of the positives are the students are super bright and caring, extremely curious and polite to the tall white man at their school, have beautiful, loving hearts and are eager to see photos and art work of students from the US and Canada.   I find their capacity to sit quietly and meditate is remarkable and indicative of their discipline and respect, which is an awesome quality.
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