August 2, 2012
by Kamaria Carnes
Since the Ghana program is offered through the School of Social Welfare we participate in a week-long community service project through Cheerful Hearts, a service based organization dedicated to the education of Ghanaian children. Our group split up into three different projects: teaching, malaria outreach and child labor. Today was our second day and it went pretty well!
The school environment at this particular school is a lot different from my experiences with schools at home, so initially it was difficult to adjust to the culture of the classroom and the amount of noise. But eventually we got the hang of things and the presentations went smoothly. As part of the lesson, we had the kids make flyers that promote Malaria awareness. All of their posters were very creative. I was impressed!
After class we had recess time with the students. We taught the younger kids the hokey-pokey, red light, green light and other games that we all played as children.
We then visited a Liberian refugee camp that was built about 20 years ago in the midst of the violence and war going on in Liberia. We had been given the background of the Liberia conflict and of the refugee camp, which was completely new information to me—I never knew how closely linked Liberia was to the United States and how our country has played a role in their government.
The conditions of the camp were very similar to the conditions of those living in Kokrobitey Village where we’re staying, but knowing that some of the residents traveled to the camp on foot with the just the clothes on their back made the sight a lot harder. Because I wanted to be respectful of the residents and didn’t want to treat their home like a museum, I refrained from taking pictures of the camp site.
So far this trip has been really challenging but I’m glad that I’m here experiencing all of these things because a lot of this information would have been a lot different had I heard it back at home as opposed to being right here in Africa.