Hola! Hi everyone! This is Ash, coming at you with some of my last updates from my time in Ghana! I know, it’s been so long ago, but I couldn’t just leave you hanging without the rest of how last summer went! I think it’s about time!
So here we go, my blogging from the summer:
I cannot believe that I am writing one of the last updates of this trip. We have about ten days left in this program, and honestly, sometimes it still feels surreal that I am even here in Ghana!
In this week’s update, I am going to talk a bit about some of my favorite people, a trip we took this weekend to cape coast, and historical events/ tragedies in relation to my current experience that may be emotionally triggering for many of us.
Last Tuesday-Thursday was spent at the school that my friend and I are volunteering in. Our work days this past week were both productive and hectic at the same time. During our time at the school, we were able to provide screenings and assessments for students in some of the classrooms. These students were taken out of the classroom where they were interviewed with questions regarding their visual and hearing abilities. They were scored, and these scores were assessed, and the CLED team that we work with will use them gage if any of the students require any special attention or medical attention.
This week, I was also able to tutor one of my FAVORITE PEOPLE EVER, Phyllis, who has a few speaking and visual impairments. Over our time together, I helped her learn how to tell time on a clock and how to spell and write her name. I was so encouraged when I gave Phyllis a worksheet for homework to guide her in writing her name and saw improvement in her work! Ya’ll, she makes me proud.
After the screenings and assessments, we also worked with CLED on a new project that they are beginning to do with students in Junior High (or middle school students in the U.S.). In this project, students worked with Rosie and I on filling out a template we created that asked them to identify a future goal and think about how to achieve it. The template asks about necessary resources, steps in mobilizing those resources, potential support systems, and setting smaller goals that will lead them to that bigger goal. We got to interview 20 students so far. CLED’s plan is to take those interviews and set those students with mentors that can help them in moving forward with their dreams.
Phyllis was actually one of the first students that were interviewed, and I was SO happy to be the one to walk her through the template. Ms. Phyllis wants to be a hairdresser, and a few days ago we were honored to meet with her mother and a local hairdresser to discuss a potential apprenticeship opportunity for her. Isn’t that AMAZING? I wish you could have seen the look on her face. (Ashley coming in in the future: SHE GOT THE APPRENTICESHIP!)
Anyway, taking it back to Friday, this weekend we took a trip to Cape Coast, Ghana. At Cape Coast, we experienced so many beautiful things! We got to stay one night at Oasis Beach Resort, where we saw an awesome performance with friends and ate GREAT food. Unfortunately we had to leave for reasons that I won’t get into, but the following morning, we took a trip to Biriwa Beach Resort, where we slept listening to the waves of the beach crashing against the sand. After a long night, I slept so, so well and showered in water so hot it burned my skin! The next morning, we had a good breakfast, and headed back on our way to Kasoa.
Over our time in Cape Coast, however, we went to the Assin Manso Slave River site and the Cape Coast Castle. There are a few “castles” in Ghana, or trading posts originally built by European traders. Visiting this castle was one of the most insightful, emotional, (and many other adjectives) experiences that I’ve had here in Ghana and really, ever. It’s one thing to learn about the history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the U.S., and it’s another to walk through some of the dungeons and trails where those who were enslaved walked hundreds of miles to and through, where many were beaten, killed, humiliated, and dehumanized on so many levels… I have many things to say about what I’ve learned during our trip to these sites, but I know that I can only keep you here for so long.
So, that’s about all for this week. It was filled with moments of joy and other moments of mourning. All in all, I couldn’t be more grateful for the learning experiences I’ve had, and that I got to experience them with my amazing team.