Last week, Ghanaian school children took their final exams. This testing period brought our unfortunately-named neighbor, Dorcus (pronounced Dork-as), to us with questions such as “what is zoology?” and “what is a link?” and “what is an is-land?”
But on Friday, children poured out the doors of their schools. They were free — free for one whole, glorious month of break. Though the neighborhood kids have found creative ways to fill their time and have built a tree house, their favorite pass-time seems to be spying on us. They peek through our office windows and spend time dancing in circles singing, “Sister HIdi, Sister Blaychuh, Sister Lexa, Sister Justice!”
Photo credit: (right) Justine Porter (left) Alexa Ward
When classes resume in September, students (sukuviwo) will come back to school with retailored uniforms, Hanna Montana or Obama notebooks and Titanic-themed pens. Even J Beebs makes an appearance on the school supply shelf in Hohoe. Life for sukuviwo might not be as different as we imagined it was.
Though this isn’t exactly a summer break and things are much cooler than usual, winter break doesn’t quite exist in a country so close to the equator. Rather, it’s the rainy season break and the rain comes (etsi le dzadza) almost every day. This is the season for planting crops, house repairs and sickness (more rain means more mosquitoes and more malaria) and it’s an ideal time to let school out.
We’ve decided to take advantage of students’ free time by starting a leadership club at a local junior high school. For the next month, we’ll meet with a group of students once a week and work on leadership and creative thinking exercises. When school resumes, we’ll expand on our membership and challenge these students to take on projects that will improve their community. We’re excited to see where this club will lead us.
Photo credit: Heidi Swartz Miller