While in Cape Coast, my service internship has been working at Sankofa, a rural school in Eguafo village about forty-five minutes from Cape Coast. Sankofa stands is Fante for the saying, “Back to my roots.” So far, my experience has been humbling but also entertaining! My main man there, Benjamin (he is maybe 11), was leading worship when we arrived on Friday morning. It almost brought tears to my eyes watching him walk back and forth in the classroom and rambling passionately about something while all the kids listened so intently. He then led them in a long song as each house came to the front and donated any money they could spare. It is amazing to watch the generosity of people in Ghana. Even when they have so little, people always give money to the church. The school is divided into four houses just like Harry Potter but I don’t know how people are assigned a house. When all the houses have come to the front, Benjamin’s helpers tally the results and announce the winning house, which raised two Ghana cedis! The kids ended worship in another song that they all know the words to and then it was time to start school!
Benjamin is one of those special boys that all of us from Davidson have enjoyed getting to know at Sankofa. I have the special joy of getting to teach him in class four. Let me tell you, it is definitely interesting. Benjamin is an intelligent boy. He can speak better English than most kids in the class, and any time I have trouble explaining something to the kids, he always translates my English into Fante. One time I even walked in on him teaching class one all by himself. The little kids were silent and listening to him intently as he told some story in Fante and then began a song that all the kids clapped and sang along to. He is one of the kids that when he is in class and paying attention, he is wonderful. But he also roams freely around the school doing as he wishes sometimes, such as teaching class one. His ability to freely roam the school is just one of the examples of Ghana’s relaxed schooling. Benjamin has told many of the Davidson people working at Sankofa that he wants to be a preacher, and he will make a great one; I am sure of it. When I first went to Ghana, my mom jokingly told people that she didn’t want me bringing a baby home with me. Although the babies are very cute here, it isn’t the babies that have really gotten to my heart. It is the young kids such as Benjamin and many other wonderful students in my class. If I could take them all home with me I would. They all love to teach me their games as well as new Fante phrases, and they are so patient as it takes me many, many tries to learn. They also always make sure I am cared for. Every morning when I come into class, they all stand and say, “Good morning Madame Angie. How are you today?” I tell them I am fine (you always respond fine in Ghana), and then Ebenezer runs out of the class to get me my own chair. At break when the little girls play with my hair, if one girl pulls too hard and I make a face, the other girls will immediately yell at her to stop and then say they are so sorry to me. They even fight over who gets to stand next to me in the games! I feel so loved when I go there! It is my goal to return that love back to them and let them know I really do love each and every one of them. It always kills me to tell them I don’t have food for them when they ask, or that I can’t share my hand sanitizer because I don’t have enough for everyone.
Sometimes I sit in bed at night thinking of all the memories I have with these wonderful kids and it overwhelms me. I have such a short time with them and it is almost all over. I do not want all the love they show me and all the love I have for them to just end as I leave Ghana in a few weeks. I can’t imagine leaving and knowing that most of these kids can’t afford food for lunch and breakfast, ten cents a day to go to school, school supplies, new uniforms to replace torn ones, and that eventually the school may not be sustainable if David, the founder, cannot pay the teachers. I am continually processing my options as the remaining days tick away. The four Davidson students at Sankofa are now working with David to try and learn more about his budget for the school, his plans for building a permanent school as well as dormitories for the orphanage, and his ideas for updating the website. We want to gather enough information so that when we return home, we can hopefully devise a plan to keep working with Sankofa. It is my goal that this experience will not end in two weeks, but will continue on with me as I go back to America.