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Published: July 27th 2013
Today, we were taking the kids from school to the beach. At least, that's what we thought (damn translation issues). Turns out that even though we were going to Kokrobite beach, we weren't actually going to the beach. It's also the name of a place. So we got to school at 9am, ready. The kids were practising their drumming and dancing they'd be doing. So cool. In typical Ghanaian fashion, the bus didn't turn up until 11am though. We all piled on. Now bear in mind that this bus was the size of a very small van, and there were 40 or so children with us....everyone was crushed up and sitting on laps. Georgina, one of the 11 year olds at my school sat with me, and she is now my new buddy and won't leave me alone! She kept stroking my hair saying how soft it was, and wanting to braid it.
We got to Kokrobite beach about an hour and a half later. The children all sat down in the chairs, and we finally figured out what was going on. The school is opening up another branch in Kokrobite beach, and today was the "grand opening" which is why the children were performing. Our job (the Obrunis) was to go round the village with the hedteacher and other staff (and random other adults the headteacher knew) and talk to the villagers. Some spoke only in Twi or Ga (two local languages round here) and others in English (that is where we came in). We were most unhappy at first, thinking we'd spend the day on the beach! But actually it was pretty cool. We got to see a really poor area, and meet loads of real Ghanaians who we wouldn't otherwise have met. Some of them have their kids in other schools, and others don't send their kids to school. They need their children to go out to work to earn money. Most of them were very welcoming and listened to what we had to say about the new school (called The Honourable Kids Academy). They were very friendly and I got to take some nice photos. The kids get very excited when they see the cameras, and pose, wanting to be in a shot, and then want to see it.
When we'd pretty much exhausted the whole village, we went back to the new school to the playground (which is really just a dirt area) where our kids had stayed, and they were now all ready for their performance, dressed in their costumes. It was heartening to see that some of the villagers we had spoken to had turned up to see what all the fuss was about There were some men wearing robes and chains, and it turned out that these were priests and village chiefs. We all filed past and shook their hands. Then a lady brought us out a snack of a pasty type thing. Upon inspection, it was definitely not vegetarian so I broke mine into pieces and handed it out to the village kids.
Our students did us proud. All the dancing here tells a story, which they act out. It was pretty cool. There were some speeches, and then they dragged us up on to the microphones to introduce ourselves to the villagers (at this point there were about 200 people there!). Fun times indeed.
Then, it just turned into an impromptu disco, with all the kids dancing, it was brilliant!I am getting to recognise some of the Ghanaian hits now, which makes me smile. Georgina was trying to show me some dance moves, but I spent more time picking up with little ones and bopping around with them on my shoulders. Then we found out that our bus had broken down (no surprise) so two tro-tros came to pick us up. Tro-tros are supposed to seat 12, but we had 27 of us, including the driver! We all crammed in, kids on laps. Georgina sat with me again. We stopped at the petrol station, and the next thing we know, our driver is ranting and getting angrier, at the staff (not the volunteers, but the actual staff, including the head teacher). Something to do with the fare. The headteacher got out, and 3 of the guys on our tro tro. And then another car that was with us pulled up. It ended up in a fight, with the tro tro driver pushing the guys, and them pushing him back. A few punches were swung, and then security guards got involved. The funniest bit was when the security guard picked up the tro tro driver (who was short) and physically sat him back in his driver's seat - I couldn't stop laughing! Another tro tro then turned up to get us (not sure how) and we all piled on to that one and sped off (as fast as a tro tro can go anyway) and left the driver ranting. Was very funny.
So tired now. Long day. But very entertaining!
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