Ghana? Yes Ghana, here are the basics! (first update)

While I write to you from the sanctuary of redwood trees where I grew up, my upcoming journey to Ghana is starting to take form and I wanted to start sharing with you what I am learning about what will be the next year of my life. Most of you know that I have left D.C. to work in Ghana for a small organization that works to empower women and their families through micro-loans.

I knew that this was the right choice for me when I read that I would be taking malaria pills and yellow fever shots…and it made me giddy with excitement. The  small organization I will be working for, called “Joy2theWorld” (no religious affiliation, or Christmas affiliation for that matter…) is based in the U.S. with the president in Houston and the rest of us spread nationwide.

I will be flying out from San Francisco to Accra at the end of July. While I knew based on the job description, the basics of what this job will entail, I knew, like so many previous jobs I have had, that the day-to-day life of this position may look nothing like what was on paper. The unique aspect of my commitment with Joy2theWorld (J2W) is that I have been given the freedom to create what my experience will entail, which I obviously want to shape around whatever is best for the communities that I will be serving.

I have discovered bits of information as they have become available to me. I knew that my first task would be to arrange a way to fill their new library with books. We measured that 500 would be appropriate, and I was so excited to see the pictures sent to of the building. (I have attached them here, it’s a two view shot of the blue building. That’s our library!)

A few days ago I was connected with the head of the school there, Rebecca, via phone conference. While the connection was less than fully audible, I gathered some new information that is starting to paint a clearer picture to me of the world that I will soon be a part of. Rebecca started this school a few years ago with a loan granted by J2W, and now has 400 students in ages ranging from “nursery” to new  rising fifth graders.  The first class she made space for is now graduating 4th grade and ready for fifth, but they don’t have a classroom or desks and supplies to teach that grade yet. They are being taught science, English, and French. While I was under the impression that I would be teaching science (requested by after seeing that l had taught science  as summer  teacher last year in D.C.) once Rebecca realized I was American, she became enthusiastic about me teaching English as well, explaining that “Your English will be better than anyone else here.”  I suddenly became incredibly conscious of my tongue, I found myself slowing my words to pronounce every thing in a manner which I was sure she could understand with the distant Voda Phone connection.

My three way phone conference with Kathleen, the President of J2W and Rebecca also revealed information about the needs of the school, which is located in Medie. Medie is a village that’s so small you can’t find it on google maps, but I believe it is located about 50 miles northwest of Accra, which is near the southern coast of Ghana. It costs $200 to fill a class room with desks. In addition to the books that we are raising money for and shipping (through a connection we have in Houston, we may get to ship for free from the states to Accra), Rebecca says they needs crayons, so that’s another way to approach our fundraising and resource gathering efforts.

I will be allowed two suitcases when I fly, and the are arranging a place for me to live in a near by town called Medina, where I will take a tro-tro, which is their bus or van like transport system to and from the villages that I will be working in.
I downloaded an app to my iphone that teaches me TWI, which is the local language. So far I know Meda Asa, which means ‘thank you’. I feel like gratitude is a good place to start.

For those of you in D.C. a staff from Ghana will be flying into D.C. in May to take the Landmark Forum and I agreed to send them back with a suitcase of books for the children. So if you are interested in contributing please let me know, you can drop them by my old place in Columbia Heights, my amazing roommates (miss you guys) have agreed to be a post point to gather them before they are picked up in late May. Books can also be shipped to Houston if you don’t make our little suitcase run. :) And of course you can donate to the cause either via the website or by sending checks to us directly.

Thank you all for reading and I send SO much love to you all wherever you are.

With love from California (and soon Ghana),

Currently these children learn solely from lessons on chalk boards (without books)


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