Sunday, February 28, 2016


Anna and I would like to introduce to you all to the newest member of our school team. Samuel comes to us from Tema (which sits right outside the capital of Accra  - about two hours from Asikuma). Prior to coming to the Kingdom Cares Community School, he served as the head teacher at Lyon International School for six years. We are very excited that he has agreed to relocate to Asikuma and use his experience to help move the KCC School toward success. 

In the following month Samuel will work very closely with us to take over some of the tasks that we have been completing as well as collaborate with us on additional ideas and projects. Some of his primary responsibilities will include monitoring student and teacher behavior, assisting with the bi-monthly teacher seminar and additional teacher training, reviewing lesson plans, and providing teachers with feedback. Additionally he will be handling all of the administrative paperwork to ensure that the school is following the requirements detailed by the Ghanaian Education System (GES).

Samuel officially started his role of headmaster this past Monday. He spent the majority of the week observing our teachers and students and discussing with us his findings. We were very pleased that he has quickly picked up on and identified many of the same concerns that Anna and I share. On Friday he had the opportunity to formally address the teachers for the first time and outlined some of his policies and expectations (which reinforced many of the policies and expectations we had already put into place with them) and a few things that he will be already begin putting into place.

Some of the things that we will be working together to begin implementing include a 30-minute morning reading clinic, teacher and student learning targets and progress reports. Students will be encouraged to start arriving at school early (many of our students already do) and will be able to spend time in the morning reading a variety of books. Many of our students do not have regular access to books and it is not something that is built into a school day the way it is in the U.S. so this will give them the opportunity to practice and develop their reading skills. Samuel will be helping the teachers set goals for themselves and students as a way to hold them accountable and so he knows what they are wanting to improve on in order to best support them. Finally, he will be working on developing a way for us to report to parents and document how the students are performing academically.

We are very excited to have Samuel on board as another trained teacher who will be committed to making progress even after we return to the U.S. (which surprisingly is only just over four weeks away).

We will be working to meet a few more needs before we leave so stay tuned as to how we are spending the donated funds. Of course it is never too late to donate :) . We just once again want to express how thankful we are to you all for your support over the last seven months and for how you have made education a reality for many of these kids. Let’s finish strong!

We couldn't do this without all of you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Update From Your School Nurses

The first couple months of our time here Mary and I usually dealt with all injuries by ourselves. We would grab out plastic gloves and bag of random medical supplies and run out to assess the situation. We would have a student come knock on our door or approach us out in the school and say please come someone is sick or please come someone is bleeding. Sometimes the only thing a situation entailed was applying a band-aid and giving a child a little reassurance they would be okay. Other times we have needed to apply a little bit of pressure and a lot of gauze to make a scrapped knee stop bleeding. Like any other school we have students who come to see the school nurses because they have vomited, they have a headache, or their stomach in paining them. We consult the medical box in the school office, listen to the student’s symptoms, give them medicine with a glass of water, and allow them to lay down on a mat outside of the office until they start to feel better.

More recently we have been dealing with things like gashes on a scalp from getting hit with a rock or boils growing on students necks. Now I have seen my fair share of doctor dramas and had a few trips to the hospital, but I am no way equipped to deal with these kinds of injuries! We are lucky enough to have a medical clinic in town with a group of nurses who can help us get our students healthy. Mary and I have traveled to the clinic a few different times with some of the students at out school over this past month. Although to us the clinic does not seem expensive (about 5 cedis/$1.50 for a medication and check up from a qualified nurse) most of out students do not have the financial luxury to attend the clinic. This means that a student will stay home from school for days or even a few weeks trying to get over an illness. We want our students to be in school and be healthy.

The most recent trip to the medical clinic happened this past Friday. Mary and I were working on a project at the house during first break. Mr. Opare knocked on our door with a little boy named Randy. Randy was crying and blood was pouring out of an open wound on this head. We asked what had happened and we were told Randy was running on break time, tripped and cut his head on a near by rock. I brought Randy into the office, put on plastic gloves, grabbed some gauze and started to clean the wound on Randy’s head. Mary came into the office after gathering information about Randy from his teacher, looked at Randy’s head and confirmed what I had been thinking; that is a deep cut. Although I know how to do a few basic stitches with a needle and thread I cannot sew up an open wound on a little boys head, so Randy and I made our way to the medical clinic. As we approached the medical clinic I looked over to my right and there was Randy’s mom riding up on a motorbike. The three of us proceeded inside the clinic.  Once they had taken the patient information from Randy they shaved the area around the cut on his head and cleaned it. The nurses said the cut did not need stitches, but it would need to have the bandaged changed and to be thoroughly cleaned out every two days.

I was so impressed by how brave this little guy was. He is one of the toughest first graders that I know. After settling up with the nurses, thanking them for their stellar work, and setting up Randy’s next five appointments at the clinic Randy and I said good-bye to his mother and made our way back to school.

Randy’s whole treatment and follow up appointments cost $15.00. Mary and I have been using some of the donated funds to cover these medical expenses and making sure our students can be healthy enough to attend school. Randy’s mother was near tears when the nurse told her how much money everything was going to cost, but when I stepped in to pay for the treatment and follow up she was beyond grateful. It seemed like every other word out of her mouth was “thank you” or “God bless you”. We wanted to share Randy’s mothers message with you, the people who have donated and supported us. You are the real reason Randy, his mother and the other students we have taken to the clinic feel so blessed. So thank you, thank you, thank you!


Anna, Mary, and Randy

Thursday, January 28, 2016

*Fundraising Opportunity*

If you follow us on facebook you know that we have just started a new fundraiser! We are selling T-Shirts to benefit our school structure, staff and students! The shirts will be on sale until February 15th, 2016! If you are interested in buying one (or more!!!) please click on the link below. Feel free to share this information with your friends and family!

Thank you for your continued support (:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

PTA Meeting

In the last post Anna and I alluded to our conversation with the Acts 2 Collective team and some of the changes we are going to be putting in place in order to improve the school. On Friday at our seminar we got to share some of these changes with our teachers and today we got to share some of them with our parents at the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) Meeting.

One of the biggest challenges we have faced at school is getting school to start on time. There are a couple of reasons why this is the case. Today while we were waiting for the meeting to start Wisdom told us we were on “African time.” This means that the parents were told the meeting started 8:00 am when in reality we started it at 10:30 am and we still had parents strolling in late. So on a typical school day our teachers and students alike are usually late. This timing is something Anna and I have grown very accustomed to and have embraced, as it is simply a part of the culture. However, when it comes to school starting sometimes over an hour late it is unacceptable. This means our students aren’t learning and whole subjects are being skipped. Therefore, the Acts 2 Collective team came up with an incentive for parents to get their kids to school on time. Starting on February 1st any child who is on time everyday for the rest of the year will have health insurance provided for their whole family by Acts 2 Collective. This announcement was met with a warm round of applause from all of the parents.

Additionally, we had the privilege of informing parents that any student who was able to pass the BECE (Basic Education Certificate Examination) would have the opportunity to have half of their secondary school fees covered by Acts 2 Collective. In Ghana the students have to pass this test in order to attend high school. However in Asikuma it is rare that students are able to pass the exam and it is even more uncommon for families to be able to afford to send them away for them to continue their education. We are hoping that by knowing there is financial support parents will be more involved in their child’s education and ensure that they are attending school everyday as opposed to keeping them home to help around the house, with the business or on the farm.
The final policy that we shared with parents was created in conjunction with the concern that students come and go from the classroom as they please. We want our students to be taking their education seriously and that means when they are at school they are in their classroom learning. To address this problem Anna and I designed and constructed gates for the crèche and KG1 classrooms to deter students from walking out of the classroom. Additionally, any student who leaves the classroom unexcused more than three times in a term will be no longer allowed to return to the school.

After we were done sharing our policies, we had the opportunity to observe some more of the meeting. Although the meeting was conducted in the local language and our part was translated, it was exciting to see some parent involvement in the school. Parents were asking questions about things like school supplies, the bus being on time and school fees. We are looking forward to implementing these new policies on Monday, February 1st and anxious to see how they will impact our students.

Keep following along as we continue on this journey. Stay tuned for a fundraiser we will be doing to meet some final needs before we wrap up. As always email us at or let us know if you have any questions or ideas!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Back in Action

Since Mary and I stepped back on Ghanaian soil we have been go-go-go. We arrived with a group of 20 Drake University Students, 10 Acts 2 Collective team members, and a handful of “first timers”. After everyone gathered his or her stuff from the dreaded baggage claim we piled onto the nicest bus I have ever seen (in Ghana). Our first destination was our mission center in Asikuma, Ghana. As soon as the bus came to a stop Mary and I jumped out of our seats and started booking it to the mission center to see all of our kids. We were greeted by tons of questions, hugs, and kisses. The Drake students and Acts 2 Collective team soon joined us. We spent the afternoon playing and laughing with the students.

After a goodnights sleep the Drake students joined Mary and I at the Kingdom Cares Community School to help teach in the classrooms. These individuals are studying various types of education at Drake University. Mary and I have both been on this Drake J-Term trip before so we were excited to talk with these educators and get their opinions on how the school was running. While they were in the classrooms for two days they taught small group lessons on letter writing, guided reading lessons to small groups and whole classes, music lessons, and they engaged the students in songs/play. The students were so enthralled with the Drake students.

Our time in Asikuma had drawn to a close, so we packed up the bus and headed to Cape Coast, Ghana. While in Cape Coast we got the chance to walk along the beach, eat some American food, and spend time with everyone who came on the trip. Though the parts that are most memorable for me are visiting the new Cape Coast mission center (which was seriously awesome!) and Blessed Kiddies International School. While visiting the school Mary and I had the chance to sit down with Dr. Jill Johnson and Headmistress Patricia to talk shop. We discussed curriculum, textbooks, the role of discipline within the school system, and meeting student/teacher needs. Head mistress Patricia was very honest and helpful. We loved being able to hear some of the routines and rules she had put into place in her school, as well as share strategies we have found successful in our school. 

On our last day in Cape Coast Mary and I sat down with some of the members of the Acts 2 Collective team and talked about the areas of improvement we have at the KCC school and ways to start improving these areas. Over these next three months Mary and I have a lot of work we will be doing in the school and changes that we will be implementing. We are excited for the new level of support we have going forward and the potential for improvement!

We will keep you updated on how these changes are helping to improve the school. We are always more than willing to answer questions or give more information. You can follow us on Facebook at . If you feel compelled to make a donation or support the school in some other capacity please either email us at or visit

Peace and Blessings,

| Anna |


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Mid-Trip Thoughts

As hard as it is to believe, Anna and I have been home for three weeks. Some days it feels like we just got here and other days it feels like we’ve been home for months. Time has become a very weird concept since leaving for Ghana. Days feel long, weeks feel short and half the time I hardly know what day it is. And yet we are Ghana bound again in just three short days.

In the three weeks we’ve been home, we’ve squeezed in a lot. We have both been able to spend time with family and friends, celebrate the holidays, make multiple visits to Des Moines, visit classrooms to educate and share our experiences with others, gather donations of clothing, school supplies, and medical supplies to take back with us, and answer countless questions about what we eat, what our living conditions are like, the kids we live with, etc.

Back in June when Anna and I were preparing to leave I wrote about some of my thoughts here. Almost six months later many of my sentiments remain the same. Although since being home I have gotten to take warm showers, eat food that I so desperately craved while in Asikuma, drive my car, see family and friends, and enjoy some peace and quiet, the answer is still yes. Yes, I am excited to go back. Yes, some days I still feel overwhelmed and anxious about the work that I am doing in Ghana. Yes, some days I want to eat something other than chicken and rice. Yes, some days I want to be able to get in my car and go meet a friend for lunch. Yes, some days I want to have high speed Internet and watch something on Netflix.  However, every day I have been thinking about the 31 kiddos at the mission center, the 200 plus kids at the Kingdom Cares Community School and the village of Asikuma. So “yes, of course!” I’m excited to return, even though this time I have a much better idea of what to expect. 

I mean how could you not want to return to these smiling faces. 
I still feel extremely blessed to have such an incredible support system. The texts, emails, and messages I received while in Ghana make being across the globe a little bit easier. Having friends and family that were excited to hear about my experiences thus far, made me feel a little less guilty when I couldn’t stop talking or showing pictures. And having people we have never even met before reach out with donations reminds me just how blessed we are. We are truly blessed and thank you will never be enough for everything you all have done for me, Anna, and those that hold our hearts in Asikuma.

We are looking forward to sharing the next part of this journey with you. We have a couple of exciting things in store and can’t wait to see how everything plays out. Please continue following our journey on Facebook, spreading the word and supporting us. If you feel compelled to make a donation please visit or email us at

Happy New Year! Can’t wait to see what 2016 holds - - let the packing begin!


"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard!"

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

✓ Teacher Conferences

Mary and I make sure that we communicate with each one of our teachers at least once a day. We want to know what is happening in the classrooms as well as our teacher’s lives. For example, Mr. O’Pare owns and operates a farm. He walks an hour to school and an hour home from school each day. When he returns home he spends the rest of the day tending to his farm. We love that our teachers are comfortable enough to tell us these personal things about their lives. We have also talked with our teachers about their formal education. Some of our teachers have studied education to some capacity, some have traveled to weeklong training seminars, and some of our teachers just graduated senior high school. We have teachers at all different professional levels in our school. This means some are more comfortable in a classroom setting and some of them are still trying to figure out their place in the classroom. Besides seminars we make sure that teacher are constantly asking questions about material or teaching practices that they do not understand because we want what is best for our teachers not just our students.

We will be returning to the United States to spend the holidays with our families. This means that school will be in session for about a week where we will not be here before our students also break for the holidays. We spent the last couple of day’s conferencing with each of our teachers to make sure they have everything they need to be successful for the week during our absence. This also gives the teacher time to ask any individual questions they have for us. We made sure that each teacher would have his or her everyday classroom supplies (white board markers, chalk, counters, etc).

We also used this time for the teachers to assess how effective Mary and I have been in assisting them inside and outside of the classroom. One thing I love about working in this school is everyone, the students and the staff, are very blunt. If you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing someone will call you out. This being said all of there teachers had very helpful feedback. They let us know the things that they liked and want us to continue to do. Some examples are teaching when a teacher is sick, teaching individual lessons for teacher, modeling teaching practices in the classroom, providing the students and teachers with supplies.
Mary and I know that there is always room for improvement. Our teachers gave us very specific feedback about where they would like us to focus on helping them next. ICT, Information Communication Technology, is a big area of improvement for the KCC school staff. A lot of our teachers do not feel comfortable teaching this subject because they do not have the proper training and we are lacking the textbooks to support the teaching. Each one of our teachers also expressed the need for more technological support in their classroom. They want things like laptops and projectors for each classroom. We are working on securing a few more laptops to be shared through out the classrooms and teachers. Right now we have one laptop that we share in all ten of our classrooms.  

Taking the time to communicate with our teachers is very important to us. We want to teachers to feel like we are all on the same team. This means that we have to take the time to hear their suggestions for the school. Although Mary and I both have degrees in education we are not experts. Especially when it comes to the Ghanaian education system. Each one of our teachers and us brings something different to the table. This being said we are so thankful for our teachers being so welcoming and inviting us into their classrooms and culture. I feel like we have taught our students and teachers a lot over these past four months, but they have taught Mary and I plenty as well. We all share the bond of being lifetime learners.

We will keep you updated on how the KCC school is doing. Mary and I will both be independently posting about the first half of our experience and things we are looking forward to when we return in January. We are always more than willing to answer questions or give more information. If you feel compelled to make a donation or support the school in some other capacity please either email us at or visit

Peace and Blessings,

| Anna |