Wednesday, October 03, 2007


We're back from Axim, Ghana, with seven of us GCJ Ghana alums plus one grandson spending three weeks in Ghana. Alas, no internet access so no opportunity to update this blog while we were there.

As reported earlier below, we brought with us 7 suitcases, of about 50 lbs each, of elementary/junior high level science supplies and equipment for Manye Academy -- microscopes, measuring instuments, charts of all kinds, resources for teachers, etc.

Why Manye Academy? Manye is the school which 20 of our orphans attend. The school has welcomed the group of children the WHH Board has selected to live in our children's home, and receive assistance in education. The Director, Mr. Browne-Umar, is trained in science himself and wants to improve science education in his school. Maryane visited the school in May '07, and discovered that although the school and teachers have both a school goal and a goal set by the Ghana Dept of Education to improve science education, there were virtually no supplies or equipment with which to carry out the learning in the Ghana Science Curriculum. Thus was born our "science project". Working with Mr. Browne during the summer, we enlisted the help of many friends, and local Northwest Washington teachers (thank you!) and pulled together a basic collection of teaching aids. This represents our "thank you" to the leadership and staff of Manye for their acceptance and dedication to education for all children, regardless of prior educational deficiencies.

The school put on a colorful and moving dedication, complete with student color guard and drill team and all students present in organized formation in their beautiful blue shirts! What a welcome!!
We were especially honored that Professor Nokoe, the school's owner, was present. Prof. Nokoe is also the Acting Chancellor of Ghana's University for Development studies, and has extensive scientific training himself, holding a PhD in Biometrics from the University of British Columbia.

Some of us with science training and interest worked with the teachers in workshops designed to review the materials and explain the workings of the microscopes, etc. We also met with Manye students, and Suz did an HIV-AIDs workshop with the students. Professor Nokoe hired a bulldozer to build a playfield for use by the school and also our Western Heritage Home Scholars, as they are known by the Manye staff and students. Our team walked the path through the little settlement and up the hill from the school to the WHH Facility. The school looked great---it had been fairly recently painted blue, the school color, with the blue shirts on each student matching the blue. We sensed the pride and dedication of students and staff.

Now for some speedbumps before and after the school, to protect the children who have to cross the busy street from the speeding vehicles---a constant danger in this area. Indeed, one of our group witnessed a tragic traffic accident on the highway just outside of Axim in which a four year-old boy was struck and killed by a truck. The newly paved streets are a great improvement in holding down the dust, but now the traffic dangers have increased.