Today was our last day in the schools—calendar countdowns over, all the supplies finally left in the hands of the children, and all of the teary “yehvus” (white people) packing up and thinking once again about America.
There was not much official academia today, but there was indeed celebration. The children had a Wednesday morning church service while the “teachas” set up, putting up decorations, and making the classrooms as inviting as they may have ever looked. Snowflakes cascaded in P-5, and the alphabet danced across P-1 through 3, bright banners bearing handprints decorating every classroom wall, charts, art, classrooms spilling over with colors and creations. The entire Bakpa-Avedo school shone with an array of students’ work beckoning the children, and testifying to the work we’ve all done here these past weeks.
The students returned to those cheery classrooms as the service let out, quickly energizing and practicing final presentations before the ‘assembly’ began. Hardly the stereotypical monotone-microphone assembly; each class got up and sang, chanted, and danced, displaying bits of the knowledge we’ve gained to their parents and friends. The headmaster and elders spoke, thanking the BSC group for coming, as we presented the supplies that we had gathered; crayons, pencils, paper, science books, children’s literature, and a myriad of resources to aid the teachers and children in their learning.
We all celebrated with dancing; drums set a capturing beat as some of the students, dressed in what looked like traditional Ghanain garb, moved with practiced skill. BSC students and professors jumped in to dance along—which ended up looking mostly like a very jolly garbled chicken dance. Much laughter was had as we flapped around, and after the ceremony closed in grateful prayer, we swept joyfully to the classrooms for an African “open house.”
Happy chaos ensued for the next 30 minutes as children attacked their Gummy Bears and showed their parents and friends the bright classrooms packed with evidence of their learning. Slowly, though, the BSC students were dragged away from the Bakpa-Avedo students as we said goodbye and loaded the bus. Many teachers fighting tears all day finally caved, as we cried at leaving these beloved faces. As the bus pulled away from the children and the school, there was silence, save for a stray sniffle, or the quick cry of a student’s name as we waved furiously our “goodbyes.”
We drove back to Sogakope in complete silence, each lost in thought or quiet tears, but we continue (forward ever!), and have already begun packing for the beach. The group plans to have an intensive rest and rejuvenate time, paired with equally intensive reflection on what has happened over this month, and the connections we have forged with our friends here in Ghana.
Out of respect for that time, we will not be updating the blog while at Cape Coast, but will return again with updates on Monday. Instead, we ask your thoughts, wishes, and prayers as we in turn look at all we have done here and all we have gained, and decide how we can grow from this magical experience in Africa.