Life in an African Village
XOFA Eco-Village, Ghana
I hear birds, I know it will be light soon. I wait and rest for a time before I am awakened by the staff to receive my breakfast. I bathe, enjoy the morning breeze while I have lemongrass tea or coffee and prepare for my day. I leave for school around 8:30 or 9:00 am and hike for about 30 minutes. Along the way I pass through tall elephant grass – some patches 7 feet.
The trail is narrow in places and I am thankful that I packed my hiking shoes. When I reach the first village, there are children and parents to greet me and wish me a good morning as I pass by their mud huts. The children fall in line behind me only after the first one takes whatever I carry out of my hands to ease my burden. They carry it on their head if they can get it to balance. We walk. I listen to their voices as they chatter or sing in Ewe – the local dialect. We pass through fields of cassava and corn, jumping over trails of biting ants – they in their bare feet, mine safely protected. There are always adults working in the fields at this time and often some of the students as well. After a time, we reach the second village – there are more children waiting to fall in line. We walk. There is more chatter and song. It is not long before we reach the school. The children bring me a chair on which I am allowed to sit outside and cool myself while they begin working. They sweep the classrooms and the grounds in front – I’m not sure why they sweep the front as it is dirt. They use short brooms made of reeds.
|My escort home|
Class never starts before 10 a.m. – though there are children there. The headmaster and teacher want to wait until about half of the schools is present before they start. There is a break at 12:00 – 12:30 and class runs for one hour more before school closes at 1:30. I teach the primary class – about 30 children levels pre-K to early 2nd
grade. There are young children under 5 who come and some who are about 13. I am alone. The headmaster turned over his class to me on the second day I arrived. There are many problems with the way the school runs. The local community has called a meeting for Monday with the students, parents, teachers and myself to get all of the issues on the table. They want me to point out the problems I see – of which there are quite a few….no supplies, too large of a primary class, poor attendance by the paid teaching staff, using school time for a lot of “school beautification” (labor) when the children work in the fields before and after school to help the families survive.