Thursday, January 28, 2016
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know if you have any questions or ideas!
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
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 https://www.facebook.com/KCCSchool/ . If you feel compelled to make a donation or support the school in some other capacity please either email us at email@example.com or visit https://acts2collective.cloverdonations.com/donation/
Peace and Blessings,
| Anna |
**WE HAVE A FEW FUNDRAISERS COMING UP. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED PLEASE BE LOOKING AT OUT FACEBOOK PAGE AND THE BLOG TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION!**
Saturday, January 2, 2016
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 https://acts2collective.cloverdonations.com/donation/ or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year! Can’t wait to see what 2016 holds - - let the packing begin!