On the 6th of February 2014 a group 18 9th graders travelled to Ghana to do a service project at ZIS’s sister school, BCS. Throughout our stay we were involved in many different experiences which helped to create an overall amazing trip. Not only did we visit BCS and spend three days teaching, we were also able to involve ourselves in Ghana’s culture. We were given the opportunity to go to a Ghanaian Church, where they sang and prayed for us, visit one of the many markets throughout Ghana, and take a dancing and drumming class from a professional Ghanaian dancer/drummer.
We arrived on a Friday in Kumasi after two days of traveling. As we arrived in Kumasi just after lunch we spent roughly an hour in the hotel where we unpacked and grabbed a snack, then we left for the school. It was approximately a 20 minute bus ride but due to the anticipation and excitement it felt like longer. I will never forget the excited looks on everyone’s faces as we pulled around the corner and the school was in sight for the first time. When we arrived at the school we were given a warm welcome and I immediately felt like family. We met the principle, Barnabas and received a performance by some of the dance students at BCS. After the performance we were
given some time to meet the children. From living in Switzerland you forget that these children haven’t travelled and seen the different cultures that we have. It was interesting to watch the younger children trying to figure out why our skin colour was different to theirs; at first some of the children rubbed our arms and tried to get the white off. On Saturday we went to the school purely to work. Whilst we were visiting, the main project was knocking down the walls of one of the classrooms to make room for a bigger classroom to be built. We helped with moving all the torn down stones and bricks out of the way into piles to then be made into concrete bricks. Whilst we worked there were a few children from school that showed up to watch us work. At the beginning they were shy and hid behind the wall but by the end they were coming up to us and dancing around. On Sunday we woke up early and went to church. When we arrived we were asked to separate into groups by the day we were born. The fact that most of the people on the trip didn’t know what day they were born on and yet the Ghanaians did make me realize even more how much religion means to them. Whilst in the groups we read different verses from the bible and analyzed them. Once the reading groups were over we were welcomed to the front where we were prayed for. After this we gave our donations and they sung us out.
Monday was our first day of teaching and everyone was both nervous and excited. We taught every grade in sessions of 50 minutes. As we were not sure of the intellectual level of the children we had to vary our lesson plans. Each grade had their own quirky qualities and I was amazed at how fascinated the 1st graders were with rocket ships they colored in. Each day we changed the grades we taught therefore we got to teach each grade except nursery. On Tuesday we used the same schedule as Monday but just taught different grades. On Wednesday however we taught our final grade. Then we participated in a goodbye assembly where we performed the African dance that we learnt before, the cups song, and Cameron performed a final song where we all sang along in the background. After our performance Ibi’s drumming group performed the drums and we all got up and danced, then the drummers performed their own dance and then we said goodbye. We all individually formed a bond with certain children which made it harder to say goodbye. All of us received many letters from them and they all insisted that we write back. We have promised to send letters back with the April group which will hopefully help them to remember us more.
I will always remember all the memories and bonds that were made on this trip. It has been the best experience of my life and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity. I would like to thank Mrs. Callaghan, Frau Rusch, Mr. Nelson, Ibi, BCS, and especially Mr. Hovey for making this trip possible.
– Katherine Jackson