January 14, 2014

Africa Part Two – Wisdom Academy

Posted in: Family

The purpose of our trip to Ghana was for Andrew and I to offer our skills to the community. The plan was that I would teach and Andrew would work at the medical centre fixing teeth. However, Andrew wasn’t happy with the sterilisation procedures at the clinic and was not going to work in an environment where diseases could easily be passed on from one person to the other. In the end, Andrew ended up teaching with me at Wisdom Academy. We were so happy it worked out this way because both Andrew and I agree that teaching those beautiful souls at Wisdom Academy is what made our trip so incredible. Andrew and I were given Class 5, we had 19 students and we decided that we would pinpoint students who were behind in areas of the curriculum and Andrew would spend extensive 1 on 1 time with them while I taught the rest of the class. The students who worked with Andrew felt so special and would always fist pump the air when Andrew told them that they would be working with him for the day.

The school system in Ghana is so far behind compared to western schools and it took me a while to accept it and work with it rather than against it. The lack of resources this school and most schools in Africa have is beyond ridiculous. All I had to teach with was a blackboard, a duster and piece of chalk that would constantly snap. All the students had was a pencil and a text book. If they wanted to sharpen their pencil they would do so on the brick walls of the classroom. Despite having nothing, Andrew and I were both astounded by how incredibly intelligent these kids were, all of them had the potential to thrive if they were just in the right learning environment.

In Ghana, the only way to end the cycle of poverty is through education and everyone knows this, parents want their children in schools, kids want to be in schools, they know this is their chance for a life of less struggles. What Andrew and I found so inspiring about the students at Wisdom Academy was despite the difficulties they face on a daily basis, they were some of the happiest, most loving, caring and respectful little people we have ever met.

As you can imagine it was incredibly hard to say goodbye, as the minutes counted down to our last school day ending, those students hugged Andrew and I so tight, grabbed our faces with their hands, looked us in the eye with their beautiful black eyes and said, ‘Please don’t forget us.’ We will never forget you Class 5, how could we.

^ This is our grade, Class 5, they have never had a class photo before so Andrew and I decided to create one for them. I’m looking forward to them receiving this photo.

^ The only resources I was given while teaching at Wisdom Academy.

^ At my desk in my classroom.

^ All the students are squashed into these wooden uncomfortable desks, sitting on top of each other with very little room to move.

^ Two of my students. I mean come on, how beautiful are they!

^ Another one of my beauties.

^ These kids had so much spunk, they were so much fun to hang out with each day.


wordpressschool3^ Andrew taking the grade outside for a maths game.

^ Learning how to write an email. Ironically, ICT is part of the curriculum even though there are no computers in the school and most of the students have never even seen a computer before.

^ I said to my students, if you could write an email to anyone in the world who would it be? They all said they wanted to write an email to their president telling him what he needs to do to make Ghana a better country.

^ Once students wrote their emails in their exercise book, Andrew helped them type their emails up on the computer, it was a painfully slow procedure!

^ Reading them The Twits by Roald Dahl on my iPad, this was their favourite part of the day. That book is seriously amazing, it translates so well regardless of culture.

^ One of the first things they said to me when I arrived at the school was, ‘Can we have a look at what your money looks like in your country.’

wordpressschool^ Andrew giving the high school students after school tuition.

wordpressschool4^ As you can see none of the classrooms had walls, this was a problem when it rained, all the student’s books would be drenched as they continued working while we waited for the rain to pass.

^ My absolutely favourite photo, Andrew with our grade.

^ Hi Beauties!

^ Towards the end of our time at Wisdom Academy Andrew said, ‘We should see if the kids can read.’ Andrew took each child outside the school where they sat on rocks and students read a book we downloaded onto my iPhone. We wish we did this earlier so we could help a lot of them develop one of the most important life skills that we all take for granted, reading.

Wordpressschool2^ Andrew helping one of our students learn his 2 times tables with rocks.

^ Andrew and I educated the school on the importance of looking after your teeth.

^ Andrew addressing the primary students at Wisdom Academy.

^ Teaching the students the right and wrong way of brushing your teeth.

^ On the last day as I was saying bye to all the students at the school, so many of them came up to me and said, ‘Madam Helena, I will always brush each tooth in a circle, no more straight brushing, I promise you this!’ It was so cute.

^ Andrew teaching the high school kids what can happen if you don’t look after your teeth.

^ They didn’t like this picture!

^ Kids taking down notes on how to look after their teeth…so cute!

^ Visits at our home from our students.

^ All these children have been rescued by Rev. Laud (pictured) and now get to go to school through sponsorship. If you would like to sponsor a child you can do so by contacting Rev. Laud here. I can personally vouch for TANF, working with Rev. Laud, who is the only person in charge on TANF, it is clear he just loves his country and wants to improve his country through education, one child at a time.

In order to capture the spirit of our students in Class 5, the students at Wisdom Academy and to say thank you to everyone who donated, Andrew created this video. This is my favourite video of all time!

The cast in this video include:
Children from Wisdom Academy – many of them have been rescued by TANF (the organisation we worked with)
The Lunch Lady at Wisdom Academy – her moves are crazy good
Our grade Class 5 – you guys are awesome and we miss you
Local village kids – many don’t go to school, but they sure can dance
Kwaku – The boy we fell in love with and inspired us to start my fundraising page which raised over $8,000
Rev. Laud – The person we lived with and who is the soul operator of TANF, we miss you Laud