Friday, October 23, 2009

so far so good

Reflections on the past week:

On Sunday I went to church, as usual. The church services are getting a little long – three solid hours of Twi in the heat can make me a little restless. Even with a friend giving me the “jist” of the sermon, it’s still difficult to pay attention (or at least look like I am). On the bright side: Sunday services give me a lot of time to think! Also, the singing and the dancing is fun. Last Sunday I was given a tambourine and joined in with the dancing. The pastor wanted me to sing a song we had learned last Monday at the youth service. (Here, you don’t have to have a perfect voice to go up and lead the congregation in the song – good thing!) So I went up along with another girl, and the two of us led the congregation. Surprisingly, it was fun. By the end of the first chorus, the rest of the youth group had joined us up front, I was belting it out in my microphone, and some of the women had started dancing. Don’t worry, Canada – this side of me will stay in Ghana!

Tuesday and Friday of this week we had literacy sessions – Level 2 first, and then Level 1. On Monday Felicia, Priscilla and I painted blackboards so that we would be all ready to go. Once we set up the church, it looked like a real classroom! Both sessions went very well, and the numbers have grown to almost 70.

I realize now that my fears of the program “failing” were unnecessary. It would be almost impossible for this program to fail. And that has nothing to do with me – I simply say this because of the efforts and experiences of the assistants, and because of the energy of the students.

Two of the assistants are retired teachers, and so their experience has been key. The fact that the others know the women and understand both English and Twi has been absolutely crucial.

I am also very impressed with the students. They come early or on time with everything they need, and even though some of them are shy they are eager to participate in class. Several little children have been forced to tag along while mother learns, and so I’ve decided that it would be a good idea to bring a few toys to keep in a corner!

Many of the students in Level 1 have never been in a classroom before. It was so exciting to watch them “read” the vowel sounds off flashcards and come up to the blackboard to write the letters for the first time! Level 1 also has a number of older women, who are eager to learn how to read and improve their English! I watched one woman in Level 1, leaning over to carefully copy out the vowels in her notebook, while nursing her baby at her breast!

The students are also very grateful. One woman in Level 2, who sells plantain chips, thanked me and gave me two bags of them! Of course, I had to share them with the other assistants at the leaders’ meeting on Wednesday! Also, the pastor has been very pleased. Since I am keeping all of my lesson plans, he asked if I could compile them all at the end of the program, so that it could be either continued or repeated. I was so happy to hear that – six weeks isn’t long enough and it would be great to have it continue!

So although things are going well so far, please keep the program in your prayers. Pray that the assistants would be encouraged and refreshed – they’re doing a wonderful job and we need them to keep coming! Pray that the students would be encouraged in their learning and benefit practically from the lessons. And pray for me, too!

I can’t believe I’ve been here for over a month already!



  1. Sounds like things are going very well for you. I'm glad the students are enjoying the classes and learning a lot. Give yourself some credit. It has to do with you a lot. It is crazy that it's already been a month you've been there, but honestly I wish it would go faster. We miss you.

  2. Hi!

    Its so uplifting to hear good news about the program!

    Yesterday and today I wrote two midterms (one each day... two total haha). The good news is, I'm done midterms for like 3 week! YAY! Today I went shopping and bought fake ugs. Don't hate me.. haha. I'm considering wearing them on Monday. Yes. It is just that cold here. well, that and I just want to wear them. haha.

    p.s. Remember that pencil case I bought in highschool with you and susanna? the metal one that i always dropped? It was retired today. I'm sad. I'm saving in my bottom desk door, incase i should need another pencil case. it has served me well though. my only complaint is that it doesn't hold my calculater.. (hence the need for a new one).

    Talk to you soon!

  3. P.s. I am a terrible person. This is a blog about you.... I usually only ramble about myself, but who better to talk about me, then me eh? haha.

    Next time I will keep to the subject matter.

  4. Hi Erica,

    It's ALWAYS SO EXCITING to get a new blog!! We just love to hear all your stories and escapades! I have to admit, though, I'd love to have been there to see the crazy white girl with no rhythm from Canada dancing with a tamborine! HA! Seriously, we WILL be praying for those wonderful assistants the Lord has blessed you with. And those students! To hear about their enthusiasm for reading, things we take SOO for granted! Oh, Dad says that you have a 'wonderful voice' with 'nothing to apologize about'! Sounds like Dad, eh? HA! I hope you are drinking LOTS of water in all that heat! (Sorry that's the Mom coming out in me again:)

    Love ya lots & lots & lots,
    MA & PA

    PS Maybe next time you get bored during one of those 3 hours services, you could bring out your 'trusty' tamborine, and just GO FOR IT!! HA!

  5. This is so exciting! I'm so happy that everything is going so well in Ghana.
    I thought I would let you know that I'm always excited to read your blog! It's so great to hear how everything is going! I also thought I would let you know that I've been keeping you in my prayers since the day that you left! I really miss you and am glad that I'm able to keep in touch with you via your blog..

    Love you lots!

  6. P.S. i'm going to email you, but i didn't know if you had my email or if it would just end up in your junk mail. So my email is
    Pretty simple.