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Archive for December, 2013

Football

Many thanks to Andrew Jacobson, our wonderful nephew and a professional soccer player for FC Dallas. For our last two trips he has donated professional soccer balls of the most durable quality for us to give to schools in Ghana. Ghanaian children love to play and idolize their national team players, but schools can rarely afford to buy a ball. In this photo, the tattered ball on the right is one that Andrew donated two years ago. For football fields, the students attempt to clear the rocks on a flat patch of dirt, they use sticks for a goal.  Image

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How many donkeys can you load into a Moto-king?

How many donkeys can you load into a Moto-king?

Part of the trip has been dedicated to collecting photos and stories for the 2015 Gone to Ghana calendar. The calendar is the primary fund raiser for our feeding and nutrition programs at a primary school and a center for malnourished infants and toddlers.  These live, adult donkeys (maybe burros?) piled in a ‘Motoking’ is one of the scenes from everyday life in rural Ghana that will make for a perfect calendar entry. 

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What a poster!

What a poster!


This afternoon we will all attend the Grand Opening to celebrate the completion of the Social Center complete with wonderful Ghanaian drumming, dancers, the high school choir, Jolof rice for dinner, and speeches. Marilyn and Lou Schuster, co-founders of Yakote Women Farmers, have personally financed as well as received donations to build this multi- use building deep in the heart of the Nabdam district of northern Ghana. A significant purpose is to provide a place for women to learn income generating skills and to store food staples. In the naming of the Center and the advertising of the Grand Opening, Marilyn and Lou have desired to be without grandiose recognition, but that is just not the Ghanaian way. This week Jonas Timbire, the local assemblyman and a good friend of Yakote Women Farmers, surprised us by posting this large banner on the building. So much for staying ‘under the radar’.

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Dangerous outlaw Marilyn Schuster avoids arrest.

Dangerous outlaw Marilyn Schuster avoids arrest.

Today I made a new friend in Bolgatanga. Driving into Bolga it seemed odd that there were so many police standing on all of the corners. But, we went about our business. I dropped Lisa off to get information at a commercial driving school and then dropped Lou and Denise at Roots Ethiopian Coffee House. As I turned a corner at the end of the street, having dutifully signaled the turn with my arm out the window, I was flagged down by some police officers. The junior officers announced that I needed to be wearing my seat belt. The senior officer came over, jabbed his finger at the registration decal on the window, and pronounced that it was expired. I said I didn’t know anything about that as the car belongs to my friend, a lawyer in Accra. He then moved onto lecturing me on seat belt use and directs one of the officers to get in the car with me as I’m under arrest and will need to go to the police station. He directs me to drive up the street and says my car will be held and I will need to appear in court tomorrow. However, instead of directing me directly to the police station, he then tells me to make several turns, essentially driving around several blocks and then asks me to pull over by some shops. He tells me that he and his friends need some help and if I can help them he will be my friend. Should I be relieved our outraged by this turn of events? Relieved I think. I ask if 20 Ghana Cedis ($10) will do. He says it will and that he will now be my friend. Just to prove it, he takes my phone and enters his contact information so that I can call him if I ever need help. As he got out of the car, I failed to notice that the passenger door is not securely latched. As I turn the next corner the door swings open, nearly mowing down several pedestrians. The day could only improve from this point on.

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 These Kindergarten and pre-K children share this desk while at school.


These Kindergarten and pre-K children share this desk while at school.

Riding motos, we pass within an inch of a cow’s hind end as we head on a path across alternating flat, parched grasslands and gullys of red bedrock. Twice we pass small groups of lean farmers wandering the bush with a metal detector, searching for the best spots to dig for gold now that harvest is over. 

 
We arrive to some nice surprises at Guanwarre school. First is that a new building of 3 classrooms has been added. Each grade level, except for the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, now has their own classroom. Also new is a borehole for clean water, students no longer have to walk to a nearby pond to fetch water. And then a very sweet surprise, some Guanwarre parents have started a school garden. This year they grew white beans that will nicely supplement the food staples that we are buying for the feeding program. 

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