Bakpa Avedo Basic School has pulsated with life this week. Thursday was a long challenging day for many us. Our novelty has worn off and the children have found their LIVELY voices in the classroom. Learning a new language takes a great deal of mental energy, so by Friday both students and teachers were quite spent. At Bakpa Avedo, school children usually experience a teacher in the classroom for less than a couple of hours a day. You can imagine how exhausted they were at the end of this five day week of school.
Although our main purpose at Bakpa Avedo School is to teach English, we also strive to create an environment that is welcoming, challenging and fun. If learning takes place in an atmosphere which is both challenging and engaging, then coming to school will be a rewarding and joyous experience. It is clear that the BSC students have succeeded in creating these types of environments. There is laughter and song during almost every minute of every day. The children are learning basic English vocabulary but also learning English vocabulary for physics and earth and life sciences. Along with all the fun, we took class pictures Friday.
One of the Bakpa Avedo teachers pulled Dr. Louanne Jacobs aside Friday and began to speak to her in a serious manner, “Madame, I am a trained teacher- a trained teacher!” She began to worry about what would come next. However, the teacher continued, “ I will be a better teacher and a better man when you leave. I have watched your students and how they enjoy teaching. I want to teach like that, too.”
After school Thursday, we followed most of the school children to the Avedo market, where people in the village buy anything they need for the next week - mostly food but also clothing, shoes, and fabrics. Of course a large bus filled with Americans was a novelty at the remote rural market, but the school children were thrilled to see us in their market. One tiny girl, no more than six years, still dressed in her school uniform, skipped by us reciting the children’s book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, saying “Yellow duck, yellow duck what do you see?”
Today was a day of rest and rejuvenation. We enjoyed an extra hour of sleep and then traveled to Keta Beach for swimming, picnicking, and relaxing by the ocean. We also took a tour of Fort Prinzenstein, one of the slave-trade forts that dot the coastline. A particular treat was the experience of joining local fishermen and women as they pulled in their daily catch using mile-long nets – an amazingly unifying activity.
After dinner tonight, we were treated to an impromptu fashion show! Our Ghanaian clothing was ready! After fitting at least 25 dresses, the seamstresses had only to correct only 2 dresses. We wear these beautifully made dresses to church in the morning, so stay tuned for pictures.