AARON RUDOLPH-teen missioner
Our week at reading camp was very fun and interesting. I learned a lot of things from our week with the children. A lot of different things happened, to the kids and us, which was life changing. I found that if we gave examples they would use that exact example instead of being creative. I was working with art so I noticed a lot of this happening. Also I saw that the teachers loved to make the project along with the kids.
The kids were very nice and happy people despite what was happening to them and around them in their country. Every day I would have more and more kids crowding around me asking me things and hugging me and messing with my watch. Even though I was an art teacher and saw more kids then the regular teachers, I had them for a short time and didn’t talk much other then to say “good job” or to give them directions. The last day was the hardest and the most fun. I went out to play “football” with Evan and had ten at least ten kids crowd around me and hug me that I had never seen or talked to before. There was also one girl that I didn’t teach and didn’t know run up to me and hug me as we were getting on the bus to leave. Over all, this trip has been a wonderful and loving experience.
JANET NEUMANN- returning missioner, teacher
Today marks our last night in Ghana and I can’t help but reflect on how quickly the time flew by. It feels like just yesterday we were collecting our 42 luggage bags from the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana. Being a returner, I definitely brought some experience and insight from my previous experience in Ghana. I had a deeper knowledge on how to better interact with the children at our school, how to best dress for the crazy, hot Ghanaian weather, etc. This year was different from last year. We had many more children in our reading camp. Originally, we planned for 100 and ended up with close to 140 students!
This year I worked with Class 5 students. These were the students that were beginner levels readers and the grade levels ranged from 1st graders to 3rd graders. I was surprised that grade 1 could have a student that was 11 and another that was 9 years old. Attending public school in Ghana is not at all similar to attending school in U.S.! The lack of resources such as quality and educated teachers, lack of funding for books and supplies, lack of technology in the classroom all make it incredibly difficult for students to prosper.
I distinctly remember the first day of reading camp. One of the things that I enjoy most about camp is watching the kids grow. They start camp in a scared, timid manner and by the last day, they are excited and energetic. They are acting the way children should! The highlight for me includes watching their excitement about reading and learning something new. One experience that stands out in my mind is about a student that I had last year. Her name was Alberta and when I saw her I instantly recognized her. She had grown taller and her eyes lit up when she walked into the classroom for the first time. I gave her a tight hug and told her how excited I was to see her again. I could remember her reading last year, it was fair but she struggled quite a bit.
Library time rolled by and we took all the kids to the porch and brought along two bags full of books. This year we were conducting camps in two different locations. We had more villages that were sending us students, so we didn’t have a formal library. Our library was the porch outside my classroom. I sat on the ledge of the door and Abigail brought a book to me and asked me if she could read for me. I was listening to Abigail read, when I noticed a book that Alberta held. She was reading a Dr. Seuss book out loud and she was doing so well! I was so proud of her. She had come a long way and I had something to do with it. My mother-in-law, Becki Neumann+, worded it beautifully, she said, “The first year I came to Ghana, it was for me. Every year since then, I come for the children.”
What we do here has a ripple effect. We spend a week, but we leave a lasting impression in the lives of these children, that carries over throughout the year and touches not only the lives of these children, but also many others.