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Posts tagged ‘Akramaman’

Art 101 in Akramaman. By Bruce Neumann

Painting palms for caterpillar

Painting palms for caterpillar

Art for reading camp has changed! Last year I did a structured art project each day for the reading camp. This year I am to do some preset items and use my imagination to fill the time. At the 2014 camp, I had some boys who seemed to have a knack for painting, so I gave them leftover tempura paint. I commented to Becki that I would like to bring them each a set of water color paints for 2015.

Bruce's  Art Room Wall

Bruce’s Art Room Wall

Between those donated at the Christ Church VBS, and those we purchased, we packed up over 65 sets to bring with us. I also dreamily suggested that they would also love spin art, but Becki said that it would be too expensive. (Thank you Ollie’s for three $5.00 spin art toys!)

Camp day 1-25

Monday we did “Be My Friend” crowns, making faces on the crown points and adding “gem stones” to make them sparkle (thanks Oriental Trading Company).


Tuesday was brown bear lunch bag puppets, with precut facial features and wiggle eyes. This did not take all the time up, so I introduced them to water colors. I was just a basic introduction: dip your brush in water, shake most of it out, brush over a color, and brush over the paper. The kids were fascinated. One group crowded around me, pressing in closer and closer to see what I was doing.


Wednesday we did Very Hungry Caterpillar palm print paintings. I have four associates (helpers), who made samples before any of the three classes showed up. Agbi and Ebenezer, two of the associates were the two boys I had given the tempura paint to last year. The students wrote their name on a sheet of construction paper and brought up to the tall table. We placed a round sponge in red paint and transferred it to the edge of the paper. Agbi painted the student palm green, and Ebenezer painted their fingers blue. I then pressed the hand to the paper three times to make caterpillar body and legs. When we were done this exercise, I passed out water paint sets. None of the children had ever seen one before my demo on Tuesday, and they did not know what to do. Each student got two pieces of white bristol board and I showed them basic painting. I told them they could paint anything they wanted to, a tree, house, and flag; there was no wrong picture or color combination. Some of the children, just copied brush strokes I made, some made Ghana flags, w/ correct colors. They all made something and were reluctant to leave when class was over, the last class kept working into their lunch. By far the biggest art hit was the water colors!


We will have to wait for the spin art results….. but I can’t wait to see their faces!!

Thoughts about the village

Akramaman Village street

By Jason Wheeler,

On Friday morning we leave the hotel and drive to the village of Akramaman where we will be running the Reading Camp next week.  We enter the small village after driving down a long dirt road filled with potholes the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, and apparently the road has been greatly improved from last year.  Visually, the village is exactly what I imagined.  Emotionally, it is something entirely different.  I was told about the road conditions (poor) and the living conditions (poorer still), but until you see it, walk it, breathe it, and just absorb the moment of it; you really can’t anticipate the emotions that come with it until your feet are on the ground kicking up the red, red dirt.

When we step off the bus at the new

Our greeters at the preschool

preschool built, by the Grace of God, through the hard work of Ghanaian Mother’s Hope, a few children appear out of nowhere glancing nervously and curiously at our small group of strangers.  A few waves and “hellos” elicit big teethy smiles.  The brave ones step up and want to touch your hand or tell you their name, while others keep a little bit of distance.  More and more children keep appearing.  They seem to double in numbers every 10 minutes –  children of all ages ranging from about 14 down to the littlest 1-year-old toddlers.

We go to work unpacking supplies, setting up classrooms and coordinating lesson plans.  Bruce and I survey the playground and take stock of the tools and materials we will need to rebuild the swings.  The materials will have to be located among the small shops lining the streets of Amasaman.  The tools will be a mixture of well worn hand tools sent over from the States, combined with whatever we find laying around the village (and Bruce’s gift of ingenuity).

When our preparations at the school conclude, Debi takes us on a walk into the village.  The children come along, some racing ahead, others following behind, and still others grabbing us by the hand to walk side-by-side.  As we reach the middle of the village, we have become a small parade.  We weave among the huts and hovels of the village and are greeted with some smiles.  More children join the “parade”.  Sometimes, a laughing mother pushes their shy one towards us or asks us to shake their children’s hands.  I’m sure we are quite a sight, especially to the smallest villagers who rarely, if ever have seen an American.

Jason, in the white shirt, with team and new friends

Our parade takes us past a funeral at a respectful distance.  We proceed to the house of the village chief.  He is very pleasant and cheerful, but the experience of the moment doesn’t even sink in until later that I actually just met and shook hands with a real African chief.

We then continue our walk and reach the edge of the village.  We bid the children goodbye so we can walk down the dirt road towards the other school site to look at the new primary and secondary school.

Debi provides us with the history of how GMHope came to this village and Mercia talks about all the great things that have happened since, including the building of a new health center with nurses’ quarters, and the fact that these new facilities encouraged the city to bring electricity to the village.

We board the bus for the drive home, but are excited and ready to return for the start of camp on Monday…which suddenly feels like such a long way off.

Walking the dusty road

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