This is the bungalow where we are staying. It’s a mission house that was the residence of an amazing family that served here in Ankaase for many years. Not exactly a mud hut with mosquito nets, eh? The electricity goes out about every two or three days throughout the village, but I can’t say that I’m roughing it too much. I did keep company with a few interesting insects and critters the first day, but I think I’ve scared them all off.
The teachers at SDA School were gracious to let me sit in on a few classes today and here is what I learned: children are required to do lots of memorization and writing; discipline is taken very seriously; teachers go through a lot of chalk; the government funds nothing except teacher salaries (they don’t even provide the buildings); there are more boys in the upper grades than girls; it’s very hot in the classroom by 10 a.m..; the cows and goats graze on the school property throughout the day; it’s best not to drink too much water because the bathrooms are basically a few low walls and a hole in the ground; children here do not take for granted the opportunity to go to school.
Sometimes the more we feel entitled to something, the more ambivalent we are toward it. I made my way through school and did well, but I had little concept of what a privilege it was to have the opportunity to be in the classroom. I can say the same for our children. The children in Ankaase only have to look around the village to see what happens when you have to leave school, or are unable to attend because your family does not have the funds to pay for it. That reality is all around them. Many of them see it in their own homes, especially the girls. Women in developing countries rarely make it past primary school. If you don’t believe me, read the book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof. It’s a fascinating reality check about the rest of the world.
That is one of the reasons I am so thankful that, as of today, Kamariatu has a sponsor! This little girl, who is just beginning school in Primary 1 class, has the opportunity to become an educated Ghanaian woman. I’m pulling for her and so are her new sponsors.
All of our ACEF children are working hard in school and I couldn’t be prouder of them. So if you’re tempted to complain about some aspect of our the American education system, you’re probably exactly right that it needs a lot of improvement, but say a prayer of thanks for it as well.
I’m off to bed. Tomorrow is a big day of celebration for the new computer lab!
Goodnight from the bungalow in Ankaase.