Tuesday, July 16, 2013

And so it ends...

Well, there it is, folks.  The end of my service.  I now sit in Accra completing my final paperwork before I fly out on Wednesday night. My last day at site was a wonderful, sad, and exhilarating day filled with tearful goodbyes and heartfelt words of praise for the work I've done at my school.  I will miss my students dearly, and I know that they were distraught at my departure; they have truly changed my life, and I am incredibly greatful for having the honor to teach them every day. I wish they could know how much they mean to me, and how much they have given me. 
During the last week, I gave my best student a phone that I'd never used, and he's been texting me every day since I left.  I told him that we can write each other when I'm back in the U.S., but it's still hard to leave him (and all of them) behind, knowing how difficult it will be to keep in contact.  Thankfully, I have a new volunteer at my site, Dana, who will carry the torch, and I know she will be great, and I have no doubt she'll love SAVEDEAF as much as I did.
Thank you, Ghana.

We visited Boti Falls while I was training the new group of education volunteers. Training was great, and I really saw how far I've come with my sign language, and with my teaching skills.  Observing the new trainees teaching also made me very conscious of the way that I teach, and how I can become a better teacher.

Mark's rabbits had 7 babies!!!  And now all 10 rabbits are living happliy with his student's family in a brand-new hutch.

Last days of classes at SAVEDEAF.  Leaf drawings.

The students became very anxious during my last days at site, and they were all crowded in my room, hanging around, asking me when I was leaving. 

My neighbors kids: Millie, Lucy, Mary, David, Bernice, and Lydia. 

My neighbor teacher friend, Ejom.

Kwabena, my star student, and Mark

Little Hamza, on the left, is my special helper in class---he'll do anything for me, and hangs at my feet waiting to help.  I will miss him so!!

They get SO excited about the camera!

Can I take them all home with me, please?

My poultry farm is doing well!  The birds are a few weeks from laying eggs.

My student, Bash, drew this of me.

Arahamatu, another star student, and such a great personality.

Oh my! My replacement, Dana, looks just like me!  My community won't know I've left.  This photo is with our counterpart on my last day in the village.

Most of the teachers posing after my send-off party.

My neighbors on my last night in my house: Jessica, Monica, and Jennifer.

Mark and I visited Joe Bee, my former program director, and he made us wonderful food...and smoothies! A terrific man, and one of the best Ghanaians I've met. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Savelugu Market Day

This is a video walking through my local market.  Don't be fooled, though, it gets a lot busier a few hours later. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Last Months

Well, the countdown has begun---I'll be returning to America on July 17!  In these last months, I've attended my Close of Service conference, and I'm currently wrapping things up at my school.  In a few days, I'll be traveling south to meet the new group of education trainees, and I'll be staying there for 1 month to help them prepare for their work in Ghana.  I'm excited to be working as a trainer, and I hope I can impart some valuable knowledge and experience to the new group of Deaf Art volunteers (including my replacement!!).

Yay!  COS conference at a fancy hotel! 

This is our Peace Corps Ghana Country Director, Mike.

This is all the Deaf Art volunteers from the 50th Ghana group.

This is Ernie, one of the older volunteers, and a really great guy.  Thankfully, he will be living relatively close to Mark and I back in America, and we're planning to visit him fairly soon.  

This is the tallest mountain in Ghana, Mt. Afadjito.  Yes, I know it doesn't look very tall.  It only took us 30 minutes to hike to the top, and from there we could clearly see that the mountain (far left) across the valley in Togo was definitely taller.  

View from the top.

Big tree.

This is Dan, my fellow teacher, and part of his family.

This is Alhassan Mohammed, another fellow teacher.

This is Wisdom, Dan's son.  I've been buying his affection with bananas and cookies.

This is Fouzia, she teaches JHS english.  Go ladies!  

We played a malaria pinata game for World Malaria Day.  The kids were so excited about the candy, that I couldn't get them to back away from the person swinging the stick.  So a few kids got a good whack.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Recent Happenings

These are just a few more photos to bring you up to date with what I've been doing in Ghana.  I'll see you all in July back in the states!

This is my Ghanaian family, my neighbors, all really wonderful people who I will miss greatly when I leave Ghana. They looked so beautiful dressed for church that I had to take a photo with them. In fact, this is only half of their families; Mary to my right has four children (one missing), and Monica on the far left has five (three missing).  Plus all the other people who live next to me----grand total of about 17 people in one compound. And then there's me, living alone next door in a two bedroom house.  Ah, the perks of being a foreigner.

This is Jessie playing in the clothes washing tub.  She is really shy and gets this pout on her face every time I try to take a photo.

A woman at the market holding up a good find from the clothes pile. I have a great video walking through Savelugu Market, but I'm having a hard time uploading it.  I'll post it on this blog if I'm ever successful.


The students need to know this for their exams, so I painted it on the wall.

Bash showing off the Ghana flag mango seeds he made.

Yay!  End of term chaos in the art classroom!  When the teachers stop teaching, all the students come to my room, and without a good door it's impossible to keep them out.

So, I started a poultry farm at my school to provide the students with supplemental protein in the form of eggs. There are 500 birds.  They were really cute for the first couple of weeks, and now they are just smelly. 

I know it doesn't look like 500, but we counted every one, and there's actually more than 500.  

This is the exterior of one of the poultry farm buildings.  Not so beautiful, but it gets the job done. When the birds get bigger, they will be moved here.

My end of term review game.

Some recent colorful projects.

Mark made an improvised grill in between two trees and some sticks over several coal pots.  He was very proud of himself.  His assistant is one of his students.

Following the HIV Awareness Week competition, we painted a mural copied from the flag that won first place.

My assistants---they are so skilled I really don't have to do anything any more. I helped them with the layout/spacing because measuring is their weakness.

My mom wanted to know what my 'bathroom' in Ghana looks like.  Here ya go.

Yes, my bathroom is a latrine----with baby goats and sometimes chickens.

Fish kites!

Wax drip----the students loved this project and made a huge mess.

3-d names

Mohammed made himself a watch.

And then he made himself a hat to go with the new pencil case he sewed.  

Akiwele working on her warm and cool colors fan.