THANK YOU to everyone who donated to my grant! I’m happy to say the project has begun, and was funded so quickly that some interested people weren’t even able to give! This coming week I’ll be working with the school carpenter to start the classroom renovations. This term is nearly finished, so renovations should be complete by the start of next term and we’ll begin our club then! I’m also really really excited to announce that we’ve now received official permission from the District Office of Education to transform this Vocational Club into a full-fledged Vocational department within the next year. This essentially means that the department will be recognized by the federal government, thus the school will be awarded extra funding for it and will be given the necessary permanent staff to keep the department running. This couldn’t be better news for me, the project, or the school, because it means it will continue after I leave! It also means that once the official department is registered, the students at my school will have another Post-JHS option, since it will be open to post-JHS students regardless of whether or not they pass their SHS entrance exams (which almost none do – no one from my school has since 2009).
So that’s where my project stands. The rest of my life is slightly more difficult. We’re now in the middle of hot season, which is……well……hot. Really hot. For example, I’m currently sitting in my computer lab with a student who I’d promised to let use the computers this afternoon. In order to get here he had to knock relentlessly on my door to get me off the floor, where I was lying under the fan with a soaked piece of cloth covering my entire body. My cat was in his usual place in the fridge and refused to get out when I opened it for a fresh bottle of water (he’s still in there…spoiled brat).
I attempted to follow the student up to the computer lab, but his pace quickly overtook mine and I was left in the (literal) dust. So, 2 more minutes of walking (dragging…or, what do sloths do? I was doing that) later, I arrived where I am now, exhausted, with a completely empty water bottle and a dry, panting mouth. I can’t think about the 2 minute walk back down to my house yet. It might actually be a one minute walk. Either way, it’s too far.
What else? I’ve been basket weaving with my students after school. And by that I mean I’ve been sitting with my students while they weave baskets. I try sometimes and we all have a good laugh and then they take out what I did when they think I’m not looking. Turns out basket weaving isn’t my strong suit. It’s been fun though, and is incredibly labor intensive. First you take the straw and rip it in half, almost all the way. Then you take the halved pieces of straw and spin them on your thigh until they are like double helixes (this is the part I REALLY can’t get). Then you take the double helixes and dye them different colors. And then ONLY then do you unravel them and begin to weave your basket. Once the club gets up and running this will be a more official activity – along with glass bead-making and tailoring – but for now it’s really informal.
I also held a cultural day at my school right after Ghanaian Independence Day (March 6th, for all you IGNORANT folk who don’t know Ghanaian Independence Day). Kids did their local dances, while others drummed and honestly, when they dance you’d have no idea they’re deaf. I, of course, did my usual mom-dance stint which made them laugh but also probably reinforced the stereotype that Americans can’t dance. My friend Melissa then fire danced for them (yes….my friend Melissa can fire dance. I’m learning, don’t worry, but I’m about as good as I am at basket weaving). I’ve never seen my students so excited. They made her do the whole routine twice and then pounced on her with hugs after the second round. Then they asked when I was going to do it and I had to explain that not every American knows how to dance with fire. In fact, very FEW Americans know how to dance with fire. I’m still not sure I got the point across because they still ask me about it. Really, though, I take it as a compliment, they must have really liked my mom dancing.
This was longer than I intended it to be, but THANK YOU again to everyone who has supported me. You’ll be receiving something in the mail someday in the future (hopefully soon, but you never know with Ghana)!