“Sankofa.” In Fante, that means to “return to your roots.” Today, I finally made it to Sankofa Mbrofa Fie, a children’s school and home in Eguafo, a small rural village outside of Cape Coast. David Acquah started the school in 2006, and he was nice enough to take me there today to show me the way to this place in the “bush.”
After stopping to buy a used pair of yellow and green sneakers for the youngest child at the school named Francis, whom David recently adopted, we stopped at the Abura junction to get a taxi. On the ride there, David told me he started the school because of his own childhood. “I struggled on the streets,” he said. “I wanted to find a way to help children who are going through what I went through.”
This school consists of nine classrooms entirely made of bamboo. There are a few chalkboards and books, and a group of extremely dedicated teachers from the surrounding area who get paid less than 30 cedis a month to work there. David told me that he wasn’t able to pay the teachers last month, but they continue to show up to help hundreds of children to learn.
My first vision of Sankofa shocked me. I knew the school was in need of help, but until you actually walk through the dirt and bushes and sit on broken wooden benches under bamboo, you don’t realize just how much. As I walked past the classrooms, some children stared, and many smiled and waved, shouting, “Obruni! Obruni!” (white person/foreigner). After being introduced to the other teachers, I was able to meet some of the kids during their break from class. We played football and tag, and the body-part naming game was popular with the younger children. When I said “eyes,” they repeated, and then told me the Fante version: “menua.”
Though the school has set schedules and instruction, it is not registered by the government because o f its poor condition. Until the classrooms are made of cement, David told me, Ghana will not recognize Sankofa as an official school, which poses a problem with national examinations and recognition. David has been working tirelessly since the school was founded to keep moving forward with development, and since Davidson was here 2 years ago, he has made some significant progress. There used to only be three classrooms, and now there are nine. I noticed a cleared area near the bamboo where David hopes to begin building the cement school. Until he gets more funding, however, he will not be able to do so.
I’m looking forward to going back on Monday to actually teach and get to know the students. I’m hoping to do some fundraising when we get back to the States to help get this school closer to David’s vision.
Here’s a Youtube video on Sankofa, as well as a website that David made:
Until next time,