Schools and Tears

Yesterday, we had our last two lectures at the University of Ghana. The last was absolutely captivating as investigative reporter Anas A. spoke on breaking stories about a child prostitution ring and prisoner abuse in Thailand. His lecture was inspiration and at times, truly unbelievable. The opportunity to uncover scandals and deep social problems is something that Anas said the Ghanaian media should take advantage of. Later we walked down the road on a fun trip through the neighborhood to find the soccer field at the elementary school nearby. We brought our own soccer ball and a few of us played but I stayed on the sidelines to take pictures and observe the fun. And it was so much fun. The children here are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and they are full of bubbly energy and excitement. We took a bunch of photos and the kids were thrilled to see themselves in the screen of the camera. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I had a really great time hanging out with the kids and watching the soccer game.

Today we went on a field trip to a school in a Muslim neighborhood called Nima. The children prepared heart warming performances for us with dances, songs and poems. It made me cry it was so sweet. The school was in an impoverished area that we got to through very thin corridors and it was a bit scary thinking about the possibility of a fire (one happened last year in another depressed area in central Accra) in a neighborhood with so few entrances and exits. During all the performances, one girl in a pink shirt, probably about four years old, watched and sat with us silently. She had short hair, a single gold earring and refused to smile even when the other children were squeaking with glee. After a while, I realized she didn’t attend the school but had snuck in to be with us. Other children had pressed up against the windows during the performance. This girl didn’t speak English but she latched onto us when we got up from the performances and then stuck to my side. One teacher tried to lead her out but I held onto her hand even as we were leaving.

The children here are often left on their own, even at very young ages, because the community acts as a family unit and each person looks out for one another, especially the children. When I had to part ways with the girl in the pink, she cried and immediately my heart broke. Leslie, our director, left a $100 donation with the school and I asked her if we could request it be used to send the girl to school. There are over 60,000 children in the area of Nima and only 25% attend school because their families can not afford school fees. I can only hope that girl will be able to attend school and I have certainly been inspired to begin looking for credible sponsor organizations to pay for education.

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