Momoaha! Hello from Ghana!
Greetings from Ghana! (Momoaha is welcome in the afternoon in one of the native languages, Fanti)
I’m here on the Ghana trip with Dean Hanno and a fantastic Babson team! There are 45 of us here, including undergraduates, graduates, 3 staff members, Professor Stephen Deets, and Dean Hanno. Our team is so understanding, focused, driven, and will always “go with the flow”… well you NEED a team to “go with the flow” when you have no water for 4 days and electricity continually shutting off! But why not? We are indulging ourselves in the most unique of experiences in every way – I wouldn’t have it differently! I do feel fairly dirty though 😉
We are teaching entrepreneurship and business to high school students as well as to local community members at various churches in the area. We are staying in Sekondi, which is about 5 hours from Accra, the capital of Ghana, and our schools and churches are in the Sekondi-Takaradi area. We’ve starting to really familiarize ourselves with the area; we can practically direct taxis back to our home at the “big fish” (the church compound we’re staying at is around the corner from a HUGE fish landmark in a broken playground). We’ve also been able to tour the local area, really immersing ourselves in the community. I am most amazed at our ability to build relationships so quickly with our new Ghanaian friends. From the members of the church community who are assisting us in our stay, to the high school administrators at my school, Chapel Hill, to the small children who hang out and LOVE playing hand clapping games with me… It’s an absolute blast to chat with them, learning about their intriguing lives and beloved culture.
I have been teaching at my high school for the past couple of days along with my co-teacher, Lauren Garey. We LOVE our students. We have a class of only 15 so we’re really able to meet and get to know each and every student. It was difficult at first to get through to them, to make sure they don’t tease us for our “strange accents” 😉 But now I would say I have found a friend in most of them already! They are shocked that we haven’t tried some of our classic Ghanaian foods, so today they gave us “kankey” to try, and tomorrow they’re bringing “foufou”. So far, unique but delicious.
In the evenings, I have been teaching at a church called Esikado which is in a very poor fishing village in Sekondi. Definitely my GREATEST challenge of the trip… I work with a group of women who are fish mongers, sell beans and rice, and sell second-hand clothing… all on the street, which is where the majority of business owners place their establishments. These women can’t speak English (only Fanti, so I worked with a translator), can’t read or write (not even numbers), and are unbelievably restricted by the terrible economic hardships of the city… there is just so much corruption, inflation, NO teamwork, and absolutely no sense of self-respect in business. I had a rough couple of days… but today I really felt like I got through to them. They took my advice so seriously… and really considered adapting my suggestions to their business lifestyles. PHEW what a relief. Aside from the frustrations, however, they were such wonderful people. I am so lucky to be interacting with really caring, typical Ghanaian women with INCREDIBLE faith in God and life. It’s inspiring.
Another major prohect is the ONE HEN, INC. program… but that will be the next blog post to come!!!
I sign you off in my Ghanaian name…