Day one of reading camp for me was both familiar and yet, new. In past years, as the bus with Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope volunteers drives up to a school, smiling children would come running. I love seeing the children waving and calling out “Auntie Janet, Auntie Janet.”
This year my greeting was much quieter, which was to be expected since this is a brand-new camp in a different Region of Ghana, the Eastern Region. This region is quite long reaching from the Volta river area to the Central Region. It is very agricultural. I loved seeing lush green vegetation. Most of the families in this part of the region are farmers.
Some children from the Botae village came to our camp in Twerebo last year so I was ecstatic to see three familiar faces. As we began getting situated, we could see many eager, smiling and happy children. You could tell they were so excited about us being there and camp to start.
The team began by assessing our space for the week; this school was unlike the schools we had been to before. The camp we were in two years ago at Twerebo consisted of four, dusty walls, and NO roof. This was a change! A school that was in good condition. It was dingy looking but you could tell that this building was cared for. How we treat things shows how we value them. This building was treated with love so education and learning was valued and respected here. The teachers from the village that were there to teach with us were smiling and ready to lend a helping hand.
As we started picking classrooms, I found a room that was perfect except it was filled with buckets, dust, roofing tins, “stuff”, that honestly would appear as trash to us in the U.S. I asked some teachers for help and before I knew it, little children came rushing in and began taking out things piece by piece. The teachers helped navigate and the children did the moving, it appeared as an assembly line. Soon, all the extra “stuff” was gone, and in its place was a beautiful classroom, full of potential.
Anything could become possible in this space. I thought to myself, it isn’t that I come here to do, I come to create possibilities. As I saw these children so willing to learn and help, my heart was filled with joy, these little children understood. They understood that school was important.
This is my 5th year and I keep coming back because I know the time I spend here makes a difference. Anything is possible with the right intentions. Understanding that education will open up avenues and whole new world, creates incredible possibilities. I love that I get to share my love of learning with these children and simultaneously empower them, one child at a time.
P.S. This is our first year at Botae. We have 40 children, five US volunteers, one Ghanaian, and nine Ghanaian Teachers.
There is another camp at Twerebo being running by a team of nine Ghanaian teachers. They also have 40 children.
Our third camp will run at Akramaman next week. That camp will have 100 children, two U.S. volunteers, seven Ghanaian teen assistants, and eight Ghanaian teachers.
Please send us a comment about this post to encourage us.
6 responses to “One Child at a Time by Janet Neumann, US Volunteer”
It is so much fun reading these blogs and seeing the joy on the faces of the children. Thanks for writing.
We are so glad to see your post and hear about your experience so far. It is inspirational to see how your work is so well received and clearly a blessing to these children. Prayers continue for you and for provision of all that is needed.
What a blessing you and the team are to the children and teachers! Keep up the great work loving those kids!
You all are doing an amazing job. I noticed myself how ‘good’ the buildings were from what I’d seen myself. It is truly unfathomable how the deeds we do can change lives so much. Bless you and your teammates for what they do. Bless the children and may God give them a thirst to find the possibilities in their lives.
Hi Janet! So good to see that the work is still going. One day I hope to return. Congratulations on the wonderful work you do there. Please give my warm regards to Debi, Zach, Auntie Mercia and whoever might remember me.
Auntie Janet, you inspire me! I love it that you keep going back year after year after year!! And I do know you are making important differences in so many children’s lives. Not only that, I am sure you are making a difference in the skills and lives of those teachers to teach alongside of you.
On behalf of so many I say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”