What difference do five books make in the life of a child growing up in the abject poverty of a Ghanaian village? How can five books combat the red dust carried on humid breezes, generations of third grade education at best, and the lethargy brought on by the intensity in of the sun? Do five books make a difference in a country where tribal traditions clash with modern life?
Do two days of teacher training by an American teacher turned priest really have an impact on Ghanaian teachers who have grown up in a culture of strict and archaic teaching methodology?
To these questions I answer an emphatic yes. Culture change is slow. Changing the culture of the children to embrace books and reading as a means to gain knowledge is slow. But after eleven trips to Ghana I am seeing change.
This past week I have seen teachers coming to appreciate the importance of reading, of teachers committing to become life-long learners so they can bring better education to their students.
In the three villages where we are working, we see children loving books and choosing to read over other activities. We see the value of education being celebrated.
In Akramaman, where we have been working the longest, we see education being celebrated by the government with the construction of the first ever public high school in that area.
Reading camp 2019 has come to a close. Our time in Ghana is nearly spent, and our hearts are turning toward home. But there is a part of my heart that remains firmly anchored here.
It is the love of the God who first loved us that compels me to return to Ghana year after year. Jesus went about doing good, and that is his call on my life as well as the lives of all who follow him. In my life, and in the lives of our team and those we serve, he uses five books to make a profound difference.