This last week has been another mini whirlwind. My life at the moment seems to resemble the mini tornadoes that we get here - you see them picking up in the distance, small little whirly wind torrents that pick up all the plastic bags lying around (did I mention that there are literally huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuundreds of them scattered around here - it's awful!) and spin them around in the air like playful little black and white birds. It's quite bizzare in the middle of the hot day, when everything else is moving so slowly and you haven't seen or felt a breeze in literally days!
Anyway, it's basically been another busy one, with a whole mix of things going on! The headlines from work include...
Manager very happy with the 4-day HIV/AIDS workshop that we ran last week for 120 children - report written and sent to head office as an example of good practice. Will try and get some of the videos of the chldren singing HIV/AIDS songs on here soon!
I finally met with the Child Welfare Supervisors - these are teachers in schools where World Vision has 'registerd children' who sign up to take on this extra respnsibility. You know how you can sign up to sponsor a child in a developing country, well this is exactly what World Vision's 'Registered Children' are. The sponsors pay for the children to have enough books, pens, a school bag, and a uniform so that they can go to school. In some cases they will also pay for maybe a goat, to increase the families secure livelihood, for example so they can pay for a new uiform when he grows out of his old one or new books when he starts a new year, or a bike to make the long distance to school slightly easier.
The children are identified to be the most vulnerable in the most disadvantaged areas here, and the role of the Child Welfare Supervisors is to make sure that the child continues to attend school. They will notice if any of the registered children are absent and will meet with parents and the children to find out why. The most common reason for the youngest children is health problems, although some children avoid going to school if they are late as they are worried they will get into trouble and so don't go in at all. For the older children, many are expected to help with household duties, with the farming, or take on work to earn money, which means they stop going to school - these are just some of the issues I'll be working on. The sponsors write letters to the children, and the supervisors take them directly to the child's house and read them in the local language to their parents. The children often write replies too which is very sweet! There are over 1600 registered children here so you can see this is a huge job to keep on top of them all!
Also had some exciting news - I heard from somebody who wants to apply for the Special Needs position here that sarts in September - so I've been upping my knowledge of what the role would involve and what some of the issues are here. 'Special Needs' is so different out here than at home, and children who struggle in class are often left behind or left out completely, without any support at all. It will be a super challenging role, but is a very valuable one! Needless to say I told this, but also told them how amazing Zebilla is to encourage them to come! :)
I also met with some people who will benefit from World Vision's Secure Livelihoods Programme - a real mix of people from lots of different communities near and far, who are all either living with HIV/AIDS or caring for vulnerable children such as orphans or those with HIV/AIDS. They have each gone through an applcaton process to be awarded some funding to help them with their small enterprises. They included farmers, tailors, carpenters, petty traders (such as sellling water by the roadside), pito brewers (an insanely strong alcoholic local brew that the locals love), and hairdressers too. We discussed how they can best manage tehir money to make a profit, and what kind of savings they can look forward to at the end of the month. To give you some kind of perspective, most said they would aim to save 10GHC, which is about £4! To them this is a huge step forward - you could tell how anxious they all were about making sure things went well, it's not often that oportunities like this come around.
And, as usual here, there were many workshops taking place all at the same time, so I had some fun going along to each of them. There was a Catholic Youth Jubilee, a 4-day workshop for girls who are showing promise in Science, Maths and IT, and one for commuity health volunteers on nutrition for babies (which was the best one as they all brought little ones, and the was food cooking practice - yum!).
I have also had some great opportunities to get some practice in on the moto too, and have to say I think I am getting better and better (except for when we went to visit one school and I was so busy enjoying the view that I didn't see John ahead of me making the turn right, an so I drove past the school completely and almost got lost oops). As John is leaving soon I went to visit all the schools he had been working with, so that I can continue the relationship until the new TSO (Teacher Support Officer) and MSO (Management Support Officer) come in September (woop!). The schools aren't actually in at the moment (Easter break) so we ventured into some of the communities markets instead, and had a bit of fun with the locals there. We are such interesting creatures to them that even in one vilage when we went to buy water, the whole market practically came over and stood in one long line just looking at us with curiosity! The Ghanaians like a good laugh so it doesn't take long to break down the barriers - the photo is of John with one lady who told us she was wearing a million dollar headscarf (which in old Ghanaian money is probably true!) - she just loved to have her picture taken - what a character!
Oh, and its been HOT HOT HOT. 113F / 46C and scorching - some days I honestly can bearly move!
All of this plus a visit to the misionaries for dinner (amazing singing! and even more amazing poppy seed cake!!), practising my cooking skills (whilst John and Bev are still around so they can be my guinea pigs in case my recipies lead to disaster!), our obligatory popcorn and movie night, and planning for the party at the weekend. Pheweee I wil miss how busy and full life can be when J&B leave!