August 06, 2012
This final week has been very busy as the students and teachers were all preparing for the teenage pregnancy presentation and gallery show of the photographs and writing. School has vacated for the rest of the summer, so some of the students couldn’t come to class because they had to farm with their parents.
For the students that remained, we completed writing the Best Part of My School and writing penpal letters to my students in the US. For the photography lessons, we worked on taking candid shots instead of posing all the time and on self-portraits. Mr. Seidu, Henrietta and I took one of the photography students with us to take photographs and write about the Jukwa Clinic. While we were there a woman had just given birth the previous day. She and her newborn had to share a room with a sick man and another sick boy. I was told that this is the norm at this clinic. There isn’t enough space so mothers often deliver babies in the same room as other patients who may have infectious diseases.
On Thursday, I went with Henrietta and Francis, a scholarship student from Tomorrow’s Stars, to Cape Coast to laminate the students’ work. It took over two hours to laminate 47 pieces of student work. First, the laminator didn’t work right so the clerk had to go and get a new laminator. Then they ran out of laminating paper so we had to wait again for the clerk to leave and return some time later with the new paper. So, after waiting for all of this to get done and trying to find a working ATM, we were late for our classes. We arrived at around 3:30 instead of 12:00. I was so surprised when I saw that most of the students were still there waiting for us! When we got to class the students told us that they prepared a skit about teenage pregnancy along with one of their teachers, Matthew. This skit was amazing! It was about a girl who was trying to fit in with the wrong group of peers by trying to dress inappropriately. She goes to a dance and leaves with a boy. A few months later she feels sick and her mother takes her to a nurse. This nurse confirms that she is pregnant, but the girl tells her mom that this nurse is lying. The mom takes her daughter to the boy that got her pregnant and he denies ever meeting her. At the end of the skit, the girl has been kicked out of her home, her friends have deserted her and she is living on the streets selling sachets of water.
Friday was our big presentation day and the launching of Sue’s Girls Club in Jukwa. We had many guest speakers, including a police officer from the Department of Violence Prevention, a nurse from the Jukwa Clinic, Pastor Chris from Peace Humanity International, and a medical student from the University of Kumasi. The students performed their skit, talked to the crowd about the causes and effects of teenage pregnancy and showed their posters that they made about how to control teenage pregnancy. We had a table with of the students’ work of the Best Part of Me and the Best Part of My House along with many photographs taken by the students. The day ended with snacks, fanta and some Azonto dancing. This presentation and the launching of Sue’s Girls Club was sponsored by Peace Humanity International through the donations from my wonderful friends and family.
Gifty, the girl who was too shy to come into our classroom, came as soon as the presentation was over. We had to take her hand to the area with the snacks because she wouldn’t go by herself. As always, she walked me home, carrying my bags. I took some photos of her in my room and printed them out for her. Finally, I got to see her dazzling smile!
One of the most touching parts of the day was when a beautiful little girl with albinism came to me, held my hand and wouldn’t let go. She must have been thrilled to see another “Obruni” (white person). I found out that both of her parents had died. I haven’t cried this whole trip but suddenly tears rushed to my eyes as I wondered what the future held for her.
Saturday night I brought Henrietta to Elmina for the night for some much needed rest and relaxation. We finally had a chance to have a meaningful conversation about life since she is usually so busy at her own home. We went to Bantuma’s library where Rudolph got her a facebook and yahoo account. I taught her how to use a laptop and she was thrilled when we began watching Youtube together.
My last night at my homestay was so bittersweet. Aggie had a dress made for me and Mary, the grandmother, gave me one of her beautiful tops that I always admired. Henrietta made the best rice balls with soup. Everyone stayed in my room until I just couldn’t stay up any longer. In the morning, Prosper, Aggie’s son, asked me when I was coming back. I told him that I would try to come back next year. He kept asking me, “You mean Sunday?” He didn’t understand that I was really leaving. Even though I had to leave, I know that we will always be a part of each other’s lives.
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