A Travellerspoint blog

Worship Service at School

Wednesday, November 10

Wednesday morning, the schools have a worship service. The Jr High has a separate service. It began with very lively singing, drumming and dancing-teachers and students. The jr high has their own set of drums-(3 drums in varying sizes). The singing is so beautiful as all the students are on key and have robust voices. The sound resonates all over the area. Joseph, the head teacher, asked me to give the message next Wednesday. It is a great honor so I could not say no. So, I've got a sermon to do next week!
Mr. Gideon requested that I teach a math class on angles, triangles, etc. That will be fun.
Tutoring turned into a dance session as I brought my Ipod and player. We also had some expert drumming on the desks. Much fun had by all!

Posted by kemsmith 08:17 Comments (0)

BINGO

Tuesday, November 9

sunny 90 °F

The highlight of the day was introducing the game BINGO to the 7th graders. They had never heard of the game so it took awhile for them to catch on. As soon as they would get one space, they were yelling BINGO. I explained that they had to get an entire row before you could yell BINGO. I bought OBAMA biscuits for the prizes. These are very popular here. Red, white and blue packaging with Obama's picture on the front. The biscuits are not tasty to me but the students love them. The bell rang for lunch and the students wanted to keep playing. Now, that is what I call a success!!
At tutoring, some of my 7th graders came with their novels. I was so pleased. We sat out under a large acacia tree and read Pippi Longstocking among others.
Then, we were off to the Cedi Bead Factory. Mr. Cedi took us for a tour and explained how the beads are made. Each bead is made by hand from recycled glass. It is a method that has been handed down for generations. Factory does not really explain the procedures which are very time consuming and intricate. Of course, we all bought many bracelets, necklaces, etc. They are really unique.

Posted by kemsmith 08:06 Comments (0)

Monday in New Akrade

Monday, November 8

I am comfortable at the Jr high. I taught a math and English class today. In between, I am tutoring or talking with the teachers. They have many questions about the US and our ways of doing things. Some of the volunteers are working construction on a 2 story addition to the primary school which will have an indoor bathroom and computer lab. The others are teaching. Fred (a retired school teacher) and I are the only ones at the jr high.
I still have not received my boxes of school supplies so Amo and I took a trotro to the post office. A trotro is a type of taxi in Ghana-usually a van. You flag it down on the highway. If there is room for you, the driver stops. Well, Amo did not explain to me that it involves a grown up game of musical chairs. That van door opens and it is a free for all! People getting off, others getting on, some switching seats-all in a hasty fashion. You are really packed in there with no AC. The entire trip there and back cost 40 pesawis (about 28 cents). NO packages yet but enjoyed the experience.

Posted by kemsmith 07:08 Comments (1)

On the way back to New Akrade

Sunday, November 7th

I was able to steal 15 minutes of private time to sit under the palms, look at the ocean, and gaze at Elmina Castle. Still feeling unsettled and drained from yesterday. Back in the van at 11 AM to head back to New Akrade.
On the way back, we were stopped by the police. They had AK47s in their hands. The demanded that the driver get out of the van. They were arguing about his insurance sticker (which was not expired but they insisted it was). Then, they demanded money from him. They were very loud and argumentative. They made him go to the back of the van. We were stopped in the middle of nowhere. If they had decided to do something to us, we would never be found.
The driver then pulled a piece of paper from the van and went back to arguing. All this time, other vehicles were allowed to pass. No one else was pulled over. After what seemed like a long time (probably about 10-15 minutes). The driver got back in the van and was allowed to move on.
The driver did not back down and he was raising his voice to the police, etc. The paper he showed was from Global Volunteers showing that we would be travelling, etc. It was signed by a high ranking officer so they let us pass.
Whew!

Posted by kemsmith 06:59 Comments (0)

Elmina Castle

Saturday, November 6

The hotel is beautiful but there is a feeling of foreboding as you look out over the beautiful ocean and see Elmina Castle sitting high and imposing across the channel-white stucco, copper tiles.
As I entered, the feeling of anxiety was overwhelming. Our guide took us directly to the cell with the skull and crossbones which is where the incorrigible prisoners were taken. Once in-you were only allowed out when you died. No food, no water. Bodies were slid out through a small opening in the door. We were put in the cell and the door closed. I could feel in a very personal way what had happened here. I became so emotional and began to sob. Next, we entered the womens' holding cell. The smell of death and destruction of thousands of lives is still there. Far up the walls, there is still evidence of claw marks, blood and the screams of dismay that must have accompanied them. We walked through the very doors that the men and women were led through to board the ships. Over 8 million souls went through, 4 million died at the castle, and another 2 million at sea. Most of these souls landed at Sullivan's Island.
My heart was physically hurting and felt it would break. I went out to the top of the castle and had a good cry. Not so long ago-only a few generations ago-this tragedy happened.
This was all BEFORE the Africans arrived in America.
Anyone that harbors even a remote feeling of prejudice should see this castle. You will go back a changed person.

Posted by kemsmith 06:43 Comments (0)

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