The First Day: Through the eyes. . . . .
of a Child:
The bus has come with the obruni! The first day of reading camp has arrived; it is time for books and fun and books and art and books and smiles. Did I mention books? (Our suitcases were filled with over 500 books) The lure is so great that even a child too sick to stand up arrived early to start the day. She was sent home in tears, hopefully to recover enough to return tomorrow. Children experience acceptance, encouragement, and love, teachers’ love, our love, God’s love.
of a Ghanaian Teacher:
The day began with travel, a lot of travel. Several teachers and a headmaster travelled from the Eastern Region, and most the Trewebo teachers travelled from Accra. Translation: the Ghanaian teachers travelled 1 to 3 hours to come to camp, and the Eastern Region teachers came knowing they would be doing their own cooking and sleeping on mattresses on the floor of some building as yet to be determined. (It turned out to be the church.) Did I mention that the 8 students from the Eastern Region would be in the care of the teachers 24/7 for the 5 days of camp. Why do they come? They are committed to their students; they care that they learn to be better teachers; they care that their students learn as well as possible. They truly care.
of an American Team member:
As we arrived at the school the dirt play yard was swarming with children, excited, smiling children. Those who had come in previous years called out our names, “Auntie Janet, Uncle Zach!” And they asked “Where is Auntie Helen; where is Auntie Kim; where is Uncle Bruce?” (Uncle Bruce was sick; he is well tonight, and will go tomorrow). After reading assessments were complete, the fun begins. Teachers take their classes to read, to make an art project, to read some more, to visit our library. It is a chaotic and busy day. It is a day that reminds each of us that love has a face, and that for these children GMH missioners are that face.
The first day of reading camp is about hope, the hope of new books, of art, of loving and caring. Seeds are planted and watered all week long. The first day of camp is about commitment, teachers both Ghanaian and American committed to making a better world for children, and the commitment of children to show up and do their very best.
Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (Luke 14:27-28) Changing the future of the children of Ghana requires commitment. We have born our own cross; we have counted the cost. Faithful, committed service that spans two cultures, two countries, two continents, is changing the lives of the beautiful children we serve.
Written by Pastor Becki Neumann of Christ Church, Anglican, South Riding, VA. Pastor Becki, a former early childhood educator, is the Teacher Trainer and Curriculum Developer for Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope.