Archive for December, 2009

For One World Annual Appeal and 2009 Thank You!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Dear supporters of For One World,

Thank you to all who have made a generous financial donation to For One World in 2009! If you are considering a donation, this is a great organization with a track record of success and zero overhead. Even a small donation goes a long way in Ghana.

In 2009 we helped support 14 orphans living at the school providing food, shelter, schooling, clothing, love and a great basic education. We supported dozens of children via scholarships, mostly for girls and the poorest in the community by helping to provide basic education, shoes, clothing and medical care.  Alex Van Voorhees coordinated four outstanding volunteers who donated their own time and money to help with skills not locally available: Loretta Cremmins, Max Alderman, Caitlin Mackeown, and Betty Cremmins. These volunteers helped Ayi Owen International School once again attain a rank academically in the top 10% of all schools in the district. Zachary Cutler and Lizzy Edelstein coordinated the most successful gift drive to date thanks to in part by the generosity from the Bridget Kelly Peterson family and Erica Myrickes. It is an honor to be collaborating with so many talented volunteers like John Donelly, Michele Palma and Dan Ochs who have spent countless hours of service
managing our 501c3 nonprofit accounting, acknowledgements and website respectively.

We continue to make improvements to the buildings at the new school site and have expanded to almost 400 students. This is possible through the financial generosity of the Bill Owen family, Anne Ochs family, James Alderman family, Gretchen Peterson and Leverett Smith as well as many others. We can be most thankful in 2009 for founder Ayisatu’s successful operation and return to health.  Thank you!

Looking forward to a great 2010!

Volunteer Spotlight: Kindergarten Graduation

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Today was the day of the esteemed and much awaited day of Kindergarten graduation.  For some reason, it is a very big deal in Ghana.  An elegant set up was created for the event complete with large speakers, chairs and tables.  The event was supposed to start at 10 am, but like always it did not begin until noon.  The entire lower school was in attendance as well as all the teachers.  Many members from the Parent Teachers Association as well as the Ghana Board of Education were present for the ceremony. To our surprise, nearly every parent of the children was sure to make an appearance.  The music, as always, was being played at a ridiculously high volume, and it was the same songs over and over again.

Kindergarten Graduation 1

The ceremony began with a prayer and then introductions.  The event was run by the master of ceremonies and one of the school’s teachers, Somaila.  He does a great job controlling the order of the program and interacting with the audience.  The ceremony contained many traditions, the first of which involved the kindergarten class standing coming on stage and performing a song for the audience.  The students then proceeded to change into athletic clothes to play games.  Everyone transitioned over to the fields to watch the children compete in tug of war, sack races, and spoon balancing races.  It was adorable to watch and the parents enjoyed the fun competition.

Kindergarten Graduation - Sac RaceKindergarten Graduation - Tug Rope

After the field games had finished, the students changed into their cultural uniforms.  They performed a play and then a cultural dance they had been working hard on all semester.  Still in their same uniforms, each child stepped up to the podium and recited a poem of their choice.  This took some time as you can imagine, but it was a pleasure to hear the students that were strong public speakers.  For students that performed particularly well, parents and others from the audience would throw money at them to donate towards the school.  One boy cried every time he had to speak publicly, this brought much laughter from the student body and I felt so bad for him.

The class then went into the library to change into their blue graduating gowns complete with caps and kente cloth lining.  During this time, the lower school held a dance competition to pass the time.  Finally the kindergarten class returned in their robes and strolled two by two onto the center stage to receive their official diplomas.  After each student received his/her certificate their picture was taken with their respective parents who were in attendance, which was mostly mothers.  Every mother in the audience seemed to be carrying a baby which I also found interesting.

Kindergarten Graduation 2

The ceremony crawled on in typical Ghanaian fashion with more announcements and presentations. I was amazed at the patience exercised by the rest of the lower class school-mates that continued watching attentively.  Many pictures were taken throughout the ceremony by a hired photographer and I was flabbergast to see some parents in the audience already holding printed pictures of their child!  I discovered later that the dj’s had brought a printer on site which the man was using to print pictures straight from his digital camera.  It was actually a great idea and the man was surely turning a nice profit.

After many grueling hours the ceremony finally came to a close. Mmaa and Bill both looked very pleased with the way things went and it was great to witness such a meaningful milestone event in the children’s lives.  It was especially nice to see Mohammed, one of the children from the house, graduate with his classmates.

Kindergarten Graduation

Volunteer Spotlight: Market

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

We had the opportunity to travel to market with Miriam, one of the older girls from the house who is in the P6 class.   We left the house at around 9:30 am and walked to the top of the hill through the Takofiano neighborhood to catch a taxi.  With us we brought a basket to keep the goods.  It was necessary for us to have Miriam as a guide through the labyrinth of the market and also as a translator to help us barter for lower prices.

The taxi dropped us off in the middle of the market.  The market was everything we had heard and more.  It was full of people and booths containing every item imaginable.  We had a list of items we wanted to buy including onions, green peppers, carrots, beans, rice, eggs, oil, and oatmeal.  The vegetables were much cheaper than we expected.  All of the vegetables came to be around 5 dollars US.  We purchased 15 eggs for around two dollars.

atTheMarket1 atTheMarket2

I also wanted to purchase a traditional African tunic.  A man was trying to help me buy one and I had to try to tell him that I did not want one of the many used westernized shirts that have been imported from America.  I finally found a blue, white, and black striped, hand woven tunic which they referred to as a fugu or smok, that I liked and fit me well.  It came to 30 cedi which was much more expensive than I had planned, but I really needed another shirt to wear.

We were fortunate to have Miriam with us to negotiate prices to ensure we were not getting ripped off.  We walked all across the market multiple times picking items up from the best places.  There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it and we consequently covered a lot of ground.  We spent a full hour and a half at the market in total.  It was an exhausting experience.  Taxis and cargo trucks constantly honk their horns to tell people to move out of the way on small busy streets.  This is better still then men with overfilled wheelbarrows and women carrying large loads on their heads that plow through the streets without giving you warning.

atTheMarket3 atTheMarket4

Loretta and I are also more of a spectacle walking through the market.  Many people shout at us and run up to touch us.  We get many marriage proposals from random strangers that want us to take them to America.


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