Esinu in the sand crying (again)

Several of the little ones (Esinu, Portia…) have huge crying fits and roll around in the dusty sand while bawling. Of course I want to pick them up and console them, but I’ve learned to let that one go.


Falling on the motorcycle (again)

Maxwell and I decided that every time I come back to Mafi Tsati, we have to fall while riding the motorcycle because we fell last time and we also fell today. Similar situations: because of the sandy ground, we started slipping and when he quickly tried to maneuver, something go caught. Last time it was his pant leg he caught on the pedal, today it was the radio he had dangling from the handlebars. My ankle is now a kankle… Stop riding on the back of the bike, you say? Naaaah! It’s one of the best parts of being here!


The code-word for candy around here is “toffee” and now that I’ve pulled out my little purple plastic bucket with a lid concealing a bag full of Skittles, the kids keep following me around asking, “toffee?” “toffee?” Mauto, one of the neighborhood girls who helps me with my bath water, was brazen enough to follow me in the dark after my bath tonight to beg me for “ten toffee?” Can’t blame a girl for trying!



First Gmail!!!

Maxwell wrote his first email! I’d sent him a short message via my phone while he was practicing other features on the computer (yay for it actually sending). When he opened his very own gmail inbox for the first time, he was thrilled to find that he had mail (I wish I had a video of it!). Read his Thank You email below…

Trip to Ghana: $5,000. Helping someone access email for the first time: Priceless.

IMG_7782The email he sent me to share with all of my friends who supported the trip:
It interest me to express much thanks to you for the wonderful work
you did for me to make my dream of having computer a reality. In fact,
my ultimate appreciation goes to God, for through our redeemer, Jesus
Christ, your source of knowledge and strength.

I wish to say without any reservation that we without your
contribution and support, my plan of having a computer would have
suffered a major jeopardy. I thank God for your life and pray for a
bigger success in your business endeavors. It is therefore my fervent
hope that this computer will not only restore the much needed
communication between us, but also but smiles on the faces of all my
students and all the staff members. Mr. Anand and his family should
also take their share of thanks for the provisions they offer to me.
May the upliftment and blessings come faster, in the name of God.

Finally, I wish all of your friends who have contributed towards your
journey the best of luck in all their endeavors. Thank you and may God
bless you all.

Yours faithfully,
Maxwell Zutunu
Mafi Tsati, Volta Region

Portia knocking on the door (Mowwwgwet?)

Last year, Portia just called me “yevoo” (foreigner), but this year she started calling me Margit (Mowwgwet, actually ). She’s taken to the habit of knocking on my door when I’m in my room and calling my name. Because she’d already said it 5 or 6 times by the time I’d grabbed my camera, turned it on, switched it to video, I was only able to capture this little bit… Too funny. She’s so freakin’ cute!

Art Project with 5th and 6th grade

Last year when I cane to Ghana for the first time, I wasn’t prepared with supplies to teach at the school because I didn’t know what to expect, and so consequently didn’t know what to bring. Of course, this year, I knew what to expect and so had time to plan and prepare. I thought it would be cool to bring the supplies to do an art project based on the cloth paintings of the Senufo people in West Africa. My class had just completed this art project at the end of the school year, so it was fresh in my mind and I was excited to share it across cultures. The project is done on untreated canvas with sharpie marker and a diluted tempra wash. I ran the idea by the teaching staff, and they were very excited about it. We decided on a “celebration of Ghana” theme, focusing on plants and animals (all the kids ended up choosing animals…)

Step one was tracing and/or drawing the animal and designing patterns within. Step two included transferring the design onto the canvas with sharpie, and the last step is adding the wash around the animal. The finished products will be hung in the new kindergarten building. The 5th and 6th graders were very excited about their first-ever-art-project!

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Roasting Gari

Cassava root is the staple food which grows plentiful in the lush soil here. Monday is market day, so most of the moms around the village have been busily roasting gari all day long in preparation. After pulling the cassava out of the ground, peeling it, and running it through a grinder, it’s roasted over an open fire to dry it out. The end result is very much like the kind of fiber powder you might add to a smoothie, but the color is white. Many families combine their gari together in huge sacks and send it off to market on trucks. How they split up the money, I’m not sure…

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6th Grade Clowns

During a recess break, some of the 6th graders (and Maxwell’s Dixon) stayed in to beg me to “capcha,’ capcha!”

(aka “please take my photo”)


Motorcycle Diaries

The view from the motorcycle on the way back from the market.