Sun Sets on I.S.P. 2016

Sun Sets on I.S.P. 2016

Our international service project of 2016 has come to a close. Danny, Yoshika, and I returned from Ghana late last night, but here’s a short recap of what we did the past few days:

Last Sunday we attended church with our host family. It was a special day because they had the naming ceremony for their new baby boy!

Our lovely host family
 
The following day, we wrapped up our partnership  with love volunteers and received certificates for our service work.

   
   

 

Danny, Yoshika, and I with our host, Sally
 
Then, we headed to Accra to spend our last few days there. We stayed at the lovely beachfront  Ramada Inn and enjoyed some recreational activities. Our guide Samuel took us around the city and showed us various historical spots. We visited the burial site of Ghana’s first president, an old lighthouse, and the old port of Britain, which is now the site of 5,000 homeless people and orphans.  

 

The view from our hotel room

 
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park
  

Grave of Kwame, Ghana’s first president
 
  
  

Yoshika and I at the top of the lighthouse
 
 
View from the top of the lighthouse
 
 
The beach near the historic port of Britain
  
    
The beach, where 5,000 homeless people live.
  
After our guided tour of Accra, we were pretty wiped out, so we grabbed some lunch, said our goodbyes to Samuel, and headed back to the hotel. We chilled at the beach for a bit, played in the waves and watched the sunset. It was a great end to our time spent in Ghana 
I’m so grateful for the past four weeks and the opportunity to serve in Ghana. It’s difficult to put into words what I gained from this journey as I’m still reflecting about it. If anything, it was quite a humbling and eye-opening experience. I never realized how many things I took for granted in my life until now. 

I can only hope that our service and time spent there has made an impact in some way. A big thanks goes out to Sally, our host/guide, and Mr. Boadu, our other homestay. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to have such a successful experience. So, this concludes our journey. Thank you so much for reading; I hope you enjoyed our trip as much as we did!

Thanks for reading,

~Tamar

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Goodbye B.F.A

Today was our final day at Blessed Fruit Academy here in Ghana. Our goodbyes began yesterday when we took a trip to Lake Bosomtwe with the teachers and a few students.

 

Lake Bosomtwe
  
  
After the boat ride
  
Yoshika and the students
  
Danny and a child at the beach
  
Danny, Yoshika, and I with the BFA teachers
 We were able to enjoy a beautiful day at the natural lake, which is the largest in Western Africa. We were treated to a nice boat ride on the lake with all of the students and teachers. It was one crowded boat! 
Today the school held an official thank you/goodbye ceremony for Danny, Yoshika, and I. The director, headmaster, and some teachers said a few words of appreciation. The director of the school was kind enough to give us personalized gifts! 

  
Afterwards, we were able to give out the materials to each students. They were so excited! We also gave the younger classes bubbles and balloons, which they really enjoyed.  

The students receiving their materials
    
  
Students with their crayons and bubbles
 
It was a great way to wrap up our time spent at the academy and conclude our service work in Ghana. 

Thanks for reading!

~Tamar

Paint Stains and Tan Lines

Hey everyone! 

After a week of painting, we finally finished decorating the outer wall of the school. The previously blank wall now has the alphabet, numbers, math symbols, shapes, and the school crest on it. It was well worth the hard work; we take pride in our paint-stained hands and drastic tan lines. 

 

The finished wall
 
 
Alphabet
 
 
The school crest
 

 

We made sure to leave our mark šŸ™‚

Over the weekend, Danny, Yoshika, and I purchased a computer and printer for the school. The computer will be used to teach the students basic tech skills, such as typing and creating documents and folders. 

We noticed that many of the students don’t have their own materials. If they don’t have pencils or paper, they have to buy it from the school. Since many of the kids don’t have much money, we decided to buy more supplies so that each student can have a sketchbook, a notebook, colored pencils, crayons, and pencils. 

We have two days left at Blessed Fruit Academy. Tomorrow we will take a trip to Ghana’s only natural lake with the teachers and some students. Friday we will hand out the materials to the kids and say our farewells. It’s been quite the experience helping out at the school. I’m glad we had this opportunity and hope that we’ve made a difference, big or small. The teachers, students, and directors of the school are very grateful; they even put our pictures on their school banner to commemorate us!
  
  
Anyway, we have a week until we head back to America. Hopefully we’ll get to explore the country a bit (and possibly chill at the beach??).

I’ll keep you updated! Thanks for reading!

~Tamar

New BeginningsĀ 

Hey again!

Danny, Yoshika, and I have been very busy! On Monday we went into town to buy some supplies for the students. We saw that they were in need of basic school supplies, so we bought enough pencils, erasers, and  notebooks for each  student. We also purchased some art supplies for the school. 

   
   
The school was also in need of a drum for their upcoming Independence Day  march, so we supplied them with that as well. The headmaster, teachers, and students were very excited. 

  
We also started another project! The director of the school had plans to paint the school name, the alphabet, and other things on the wall, but he hasn’t had the time. So, we offered to do it.  Today we started painting numbers on the wall. 

First, we had to make the stencils for the alphabet. It was tough work because they didn’t have scissors for us to use. Instead, we used a razor blade and carefully carved out the letters.  

   

  
Once we finished that, we began painting the wall. Some of the teachers even joined us!

   

  
  By the end of the day, we were sweaty and tired. Despite our exhaustion, we were happy. There’s something about manual labor that’s very rewarding.  Having a tangible end result made it easier for me to know we were making a difference. We will continue to paint the wall throughout the week. 

 
 Thanks for reading!  
~Tamar

Week #1

Hello friends!

We’ve been in Ghana for about a week now. Our bodies are finally adjusting to the time change as well as the climate. No more restless nights! 

This week has been full and exhausting as we have been teaching at the school everyday. We changed our schedule from teaching five creative art classes a day, to two art classes and assisting the teachers for the remaining time.

The teachers at the school are really funny. Yesterday, a few of them took us to the fishpond nearby. There, we walked across the most questionable bridge I’ve ever seen.  Each unstable piece of wood shifted and threatened to break as we slowly made our way across it. 

 Once across, Danny, Yoshika, and I were treated to a canoe ride around the pond. 

  1. The kids at the school are getting used to us. Everywhere we walk, we are greeted with a wave or a hand shake. I’m constantly being asked to ,”snap me,” meaning take a picture of them. In other words, they’re not at all camera shy! 

   

The teachers are very funny. It’s difficult to understand them at times, but they’re enjoyable to be around. One of them is working hard to teach us the bible so Danny, Yoshika, and I can go to heaven. 

Next week will be pretty eventful.  Danny, Yoshika, and I will start painting some of the walls on the school. We’re also going to take a trip to a natural lake with a few of the teachers and students on Thursday. 

The wifi here isn’t very reliable, but I will try to post as often as possible, so stay tuned!

~Tamar

First Day of Service

  Today we started volunteering at the nearby school, Blessed Fruit Academy. It was not at all what we expected, or at least what I expected.

 My understanding was that the three of us would be together, assisting the teachers during the creative arts classes. Instead, Danny, Yoshika, and I are split up and teaching our own classes throughout the school day. Yesterday we were given the lesson plans. Unfortunately, we don’t have the supplies needed for those lessons, so we’re going to have to wing it. 

It’s the first day and we’re already faced with a challenge. We will have to spend most of our free time planning lessons and buying supplies. Who said service work was supposed to be easy?!

  At least the kids at the academy are very well behaved. It should be a lot of fun teaching and getting to know them these next few weeks. 

~Tamar

Touchdown in Ghana!

  

  We made it! Yoshika, Danny, and I landed in Ghana around 8am today. It was quite a culture shock the second we step foot out of the plane. We were instantly greeted by the sticky, humid air and the hazy sky. 

Our flights and navigating our way through customs went smoothly; the bus ride from Accra to Kumasi was a different story. What was supposed to be a 4 hour bus ride to Kumasi turned into a 7 hour ride in the sweltering heat. Eventually, we made it, safe and sound.

  
 We are currently at our homestay in Kumasi, along with one other volunteer. Sally and her family are very kind (the people of Ghana in general have been really welcoming).   Tomorrow, we will catch up on some sleep, get aquatinted with the city, and begin our journey! 

~Tamar