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"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." — Martin Luther King
June 20, 2017 kmewhinney 4 Comments
Watch for upcoming posts on Ghana 2017!
Romel Mackelprang says
June 25, 2017 at 4:56 am
We are a full week into our Ghana study abroad with 18 students and faculty. We are getting internet problems solved, so I am providing the first post for this intrepid group of world travelers. Methinks that folks are staying busy, having experiences they would not have anywhere else, and making some great friends. And, by living and working in communities–well hopefully their blogs will explain the “and…”
From a wedding to a water project, from the beach to the backroads, the group is staying busy. Educating 500+ girls and boys about human reproduction, self respect, and respect for women–then providing more than 250 feminine hygiene kids (reusable for 3-4 years) was eye opening and sobering.
I can already see group members beginning to develop the same love and appreciation for Ghana and its people that I have had the honor of experiencing for the last decade. So, from all of us her in Ghana, Akwaaba to our blog site.
Hannah Harrison says
June 25, 2017 at 8:41 am
I’m writing this comment only halfway through our trip here in Ghana, but already I know that my life has changed forever from the experiences I’ve had with my fellow students from EWU and our Ghanaian brothers and sisters at OTC. In only a week I saw an entire culture at a glance, of how the people live, of the ways in which people express themselves through song and dance. I have danced with village chiefs and carried bowls on my head with the local people to help build their road and have been humbled by how welcomed I have been into their world. I have been literally swarmed by young school children who love life and school and have been overwhelmed with their passion for knowing and learning. I can’t wait for the coming week and all the new experiences I will have and how much more I will understand about the people here and how fully they live their lives.
June 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm
June 22, 2017 was a good day for the village of Otoasi, Eastern Region, Ghana as they celebrated the culmination of a water project that has more than doubled the water available to the village through the construction of a second water tank to supplement the first tank and raising of the walls of both tanks. Through the hard work of Madame Louisa Enyinam and her husband Daniel, the generous contributions of a few US donors whose names are memorialized on the plaque at the water site, and the in-kind toil and labor of the village, water security has been significantly improved at the site. At the village celebration, the village elders and chiefs, as well as local officials have committed to raise funds that our little non-profit will match, to bring the water right to the village so that children will no longer be required to trek up to 10 times per day, up to a half hour each, to fetch water at the site. And, after the project is complete, there will be a fee schedule to treat the water and to maintain and service the equipment. No more missing or falling asleep in school because of fetching water when the next phase is completed. Partnerships and jointly investing in village infrastructure; not charity. I am thrilled that 17 students and faculty at Eastern Washington University had the opportunity to attend the festivities and contribute to a community day of labor at the site of the tanks.
June 25, 2017 at 4:02 pm
“Tell your parents not to sell you,” was the message Bernice and Prince Ankrah and their Days for Girls team emphasized to more than 500 Ghanaian junior high school students on June 23, 2017. Tell your parents not to believe the people who want to buy you to give you a “better life,” the team told five classrooms of girls and boys in separated by gender. Eastern Washington University students have been preparing for and seeking donations for three months in anticipation of our Days for Girls day in which more than 250 girls and young women received reusable (for 3-4 years) feminine hygiene kits after a morning of sexuality and reproductive health education. They got more than they expected as they learned that poor, illiterate, naïve parents are duped by modern traffickers to sell their children because empty lies and promises.
This day was a day of empowerment for young girls as they were taught about their bodies, reproduction, empowerment and control over their lives and provided these vital kits so that they do not miss school during menstruation; oft times eventually falling behind and dropping out.
Though boys do not need the feminine hygiene kits, they are also empowered through knowledge and they are encouraged to respect themselves, the girls they associate with, and are equipped with sexual and reproductive knowledge so vital to making informed and wise choices.
The girls’ excitement was palpable throughout the day as strong Ghanaian women taught them and modeled for them a pride in their girlhood and in becoming women. The excitement when they received their kits, if possible, was greater than the excitement one associates with a child’s birthday presents.
My deepest appreciation to EWU students who did so much to collect more than 1000 pair of girls’ underpants as well as flannel and other materials for the kit worth $1500. And to the EWU faculty and others who provided monetary donations. Without EWU, this day would not have happened and 250 girls at the Nsawam Junior High School would not have access to reliable and feminine hygiene products. That’s between 750 and 1000 collective years of school EWU students have directly helped make happen.
In 35 years as a college professor, I believe unequivocally that these community learning experiences of living in a developing country and learning from these proud Ghanaians who face poverty and struggles that most people in the US cannot fathom, are an education pinnacle. On a personal level, I appreciate that this EWU group is getting to know and learn from Ghanaians who are like family to me. I thank them for choosing an education experience filled with work, living in rudimentary conditions, and immersing themselves into local Ghanaian life. They have my deep respect for choosing this unique service based experience in a developing country and trusting that it will be worth the decision.
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