Exhaustion has set in but I have met the most amazing children. Princess and Damon, and Jeffrey and Comfort and the list goes on and on. They all want to the know The Secret and Yes!!! they have all agreed to SHARE THE SECRET.
From the time that I set foot in Ghana, four weeks ago, we have been planning and moving about to get ready to share The Secret to Being Strong, a coloring book that teaches children how to stay worm free. Yes I am talking about germs and worms. I have seen how dull children become when they are so sick from worms. It is such a problem that the health department deworms primary schools 2-3 times a year. The children learn all about germs and hand washing. Putting it all together and reinforcing the message with a book that can be colored and song to be sung–that is the true secret.
We have given out books in Cape Coast, Greater Accra and Volta regions–so far 1,400 books are in the hands of children along with crayons. We have spoken with 50-60 parents. We have reached out to public schools and private schools. The range has been from very well spoken and understood English to schools where Mercia needed to tell them in local language. The roads have been very long, very dust, very bumpy –even in the city. The children were so excited in every school. The literally jumped for joy.
For me, the most fun was having Drew Davidsen,
award winning jazz recording artist, spend a week here and travel the roads with me. Drew wrote a great song to go with the coloring book story. Many children had never seen a guitar and to teach a new song with such an instrument was truly exciting. Anita Dudek, my prayer partner of 25 year and his mother, was also here to share in the fun. Best of all she was able to capture the moments on video. Drew’s energy and compassionate spirit for these children is inspiring. We traveled to one village that was very far into the bush. Our van barely made it. As we began traveling to the next village the van got stuck. We walk for an hour. There the children do not go to school–it is too far to walk. So heart wrenching.
After a very sad good-bye to my wonderful friends, it was time to assess all that we had done and prepare for delivering the coloring books with Mercia and I as the team. Fr. Victor Acquaye arranged for us to visit 6 schools in 3 days with more than 900 books and crayons. These were Accra city schools. The rooms were very crowded with little light and circulation. There were so many times that I had tears in my eyes. These are very bright children who want to learn but conditions are hard. Many children sell pure water on the streets before coming to school. There were boys and girls who are teen and in class 2 or 3. Fighting back tears is becoming a habit.
What have I learned from this experience? First, teachers matter. In the school where teachers were as interested in the program as the children, the classes already knew pieces of the secret and could read quite well. When the teacher had a lack on interest, so did the children.
Second, shoes are called slippers. Brushing your teeth is also very important. Most children like Kenke and Banku. Apples are always the first fruit that they mention. Sharing the secret with your mom is most important. Children love a camera. And most importantly, I have learned that a smile goes a long way in sharing a secret and I am the most blessed person in the world to be sharing it with wonderful children in Ghana. I believe The Secret to Being Strong is a Secret to be Shared. Share this with your mom and your friends.
Heading to bed. Akramaman has a preschool graduation tomorrow. On the road again!!! Blessings, Debi