Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Boy's Day Out"

Last Monday we had all of the boys over to the volunteer house. There are 16 boys but Jonas and Adolfo weren't back from school so there were only 14 at the house. They were all so excited that they were on their best behavior. I have never seen 14 children be so quiet before and listen so intently. We made telescopes out of toilet paper rolls and let them decorate them with tissue paper. Then we had them decorate plain paper and make paper airplanes. They were so involved in doing the projects and it was so cute how much concentration they put into it. The younger boys had a much shorter attention span and so it did not take them a long time to do everything but they were so excited to get to come to the volunteer house and get out of the orphanage. At the end, we gave them all toy whistles, and biscuits. Even though they were small prizes, they were so excited and were so grateful. They are still blowing the whistles at the orphanage.
On Saturday we went to the beach again. The kids had such a blast. They have asked everyday since if we can go to the beach again. Spencer and I were digging giant holes and burying them in the sand so only their heads were sticking out. They thought it was the funniest thing and none of them wanted to get out of the holes once they were buried. They were only get out once a wave came up and washed the sand away. Even some of the younger kids were are a little afraid of the water, like Agogo, wanted to be buried and wouldn't get out.
Kwashie, Akua, Kweku, and Barbara had a blast "bathing" me at the beach. They were using seaweed as the "sponges" and sand as "semena" (soap) and were bathing me, just like we bath them at the orphanage. It was really adorable to see them imitating what we do to them. Needless to say I was covered from head to toe in sand when we got home and brought home about 1 pound of sand in my bathing suit.
On Friday morning, we are organizing a field day for the kids since they are on vacation from school. We are going divide them in to 2 teams and do a bunch of relays and then get oranges and biscuits as a prize at the end. Here are some pictures from the "boy's day" and the beach!!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Things at the orphanage are going really well right now. 2 weeks ago a lot of the kids were sick and pinkeye was going around the orphanage. Almost all of the kids had pinkeye but now they are all healthy and doing great.
Last week we took the older kids for a hike. There is a giant hill in the next town over, so all 18 of us piled into an 8 person tro-tro for the 10 minute ride to the hill. It wasn't a very hard hike but the kids enjoyed just getting out of the orphanage and doing something different. It only took us about 20 minutes to get to the top and the view was amazing. Promise, age14, could see the village he was born in from the top of the hill and he was really proud to show the other children. Grace, age 10, one of the oldest girls at the orphanage, was very mother-like during the hike. We had 14 kids with us and when we got to the top of the hill she counted to make sure all the kids had made it to the top. Then when we were going down the hill Spencer, one of the other volunteers, was the last one and he was wearing flip flops so he was slowly making his way down the hill and Grace kept calling back to him to make sure he was still OK and was still behind us. It is really amazing how all the children become their own little family with the older children really stepping in and acting like a mother to the younger children. Especially the older girls, take on a lot of the responsibility around the orphanage and caring for the younger kids.
On Saturday we had a "girl's day" at the volunteer house. They each made their own jewelry box out of empty tea boxes and decorated them with tissue paper. They were so immersed in the project that as soon as they started it got silent. When they were done with that, we gave them mini pedicures and painted their toenails. Before they left, we gave them little goodie bags with markers and paper, and activity pads. Today we are going to have a "boy's day". We are going to make paper airplanes and telescopes out of toilet paper rolls, and we have little goodies for them. This morning all the boys were really excited!
On Saturday we are going back to the beach so all the volunteers can go back one last time before we all leave and the kids are getting really excited. Here are some pictures from the last trip to the beach, the hike, and the "girl's day".

Monday, March 21, 2011


On Saturday we took all the kids to the beach and it was amazing!!! They all had so much fun. We rented a big tro-tro (bus) for the day for 100 cedis and all the volunteers, staff, and kids piled in. I think there were 37 of us in total. Lauren's parents are here visiting for the week so they came too, but they took a taxi because there was no more room. The sister's at the orphanage made a huge container of rice to eat for lunch for everyone. We got the beach around 9:30 and spent the ENTIRE day in the water. A few of the younger kids were scared of the water at first but they all ended up going in. The waves were HUGE and our kids were fearless!! They were all being hit by waves and laughing. The younger kids usually stayed close to shore and rolled around in the sand. Joe, age 4, LOVED the water. I would hold him and go out into the waves and they would be hitting us and he would laugh and didn't want to get out. Mishack, age 2, who is the younget kid at the orphanage was a fish. He spent the whole day in the water. He wasn't scared of the waves at all and laughed when the water hit him in the face. Vlad rented a board from a little shop and so all the older kids were taking turns riding the waves into shore. Some them would get hit by the waves and get thrown off the board, but they will were having a blast.
All of the volunteers got really bad sunburn. We can't be out in the sun like all the children and even though we kept reapplying sunscreen, we all got really burned, especially since we were in the water all day so the sunscreen kept washing off. Even with the sunburn, it was well worth it. We were all exhausted when we got back home and we all slept really well Saturday night. In about a month, we are going to try and take the kids back to the beach, because it is only about an hour away, and they enjoyed it so much! Me, I am excited!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Clinic

On Thursday, We took Ernestina, age3, Kwashie, age 5, and Meshack, age 2, to the clinic to get their rashes looked at. Gus and I went with Dr. Kwame, who takes care of all the medicine at the orphanage. They have had a recurring rash, that become open sores, and it will get better but then it always comes back. The clinic is in Agona-Swedru, which is a 45 minute tro-tro ride from Bawjiase. The clinic is a small room with ceiling fans and consultation rooms along the side wall. The room is packed with people waiting for their name to be called. We got there at 10:30 am and gave the insurance cards to the front desk. For 6 cedis a year, you can get basic insurance coverage through the government and are able to get treatment from the government clinics. We sat and waited for close to 2 hours for them to call out name. Once they called our name, Dr. Kwame had to fill out information for Mishack and Ernestina, because they had not been to this clinic before. Then we sat and waited for our names to be called so they could get their vitals taken. They called each name individually and it took another hour or so for all 3 of the kids to get called. After we got vitals taken, we had to wait again for our name to be called to get a consultation with the Doctor. When you go in the room, there is a nurse recording information and the doctor sitting at a desk. She looked at the rash and asked a few questions and then wrote a prescription in the child's chart. We were only in the consultation room for about 5 minutes. She handed me back the chart, which is a folder with blank pieces of paper inside, to go get the medicine from the pharmacy. The pharmacy is right outside the clinic and everyone who was waiting inside all day was now outside waiting to get their medicine from the pharmacy. Gus and I took the children home, around 3:00 pm, and Dr. Kwame waited for the medicine. He didn't get back to Bawjiase until 7 pm. This experience really makes you appreciate the efficiency of Western medicine. Even though there is a wait in an ER, they are as efficient as possible at getting you treatment. Most people at the clinic were being treated for malaria, and even though many people die from malaria, most people who live here have gotten malaria, so treatment is usually just an injection, and then oral medication for a few days and they are better. Hopefully we all stay healthy while we are here.
Next weekend we are taking all the kids to the beach for the day, so I will make sure to write all about it. I am soo excited!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Going to church

This past Sunday I had my first experience at Church in Bawjiase. Pastor, who runs the orphanage is Pentecostal. There are a few Pentecostal churches in Bawjiase and then once a month all of the smaller churches meet in the big church in the center of town for church on Sunday. This past Sunday, the church was at a smaller church. The service was help in a school building, with about 50 plastic chairs set up. They have speakers set up and microphones and there are 2 people playing drums. People get to church between 9-11 am and then church goes anywhere from 12-1 pm. The women wore beautiful handmade dresses in colorful pattern fabrics and almost all the women have their hair covered because that is considered, proper dress. The beginning of the church service is a lot of singing, Most people stand up in their seats and clap their hands and sing along. When a song was finished, another person would stand up there and either talk, or begin a new song. It was difficult to understand anything they were saying because the whole service was in Twi. They had someone translate the readings from the Bible in English since "Obrunis" or "white people" were there. The whole experience was so much more informal than church services in the United States, but everyone seemed to be so much more prayerful and involved in the service. I saw someone fall to the ground in prayer and a few people were crying while they were praying. I wish that I had been able to better understand the service and what was going on.
This upcoming Sunday March 6 is Independence Day in Ghana and there is a parade a festivities planned for the day. I will make sure to blog about it!

Friday, February 25, 2011


This morning I got up at 5:15 to go work on the farm. It is too hot during the day to work so most of the work is done in the early morning or in the evening. Last year when I was here, I walked to the farm a few times but there was nothing planted. It was just an overgrown field. I went to the farm with Nana who is the orphanage secretary. The farm is about 1 acre and the orphanage rents the land. They have cabbage, and yams planted. The cabbage are almost ready to be harvested, and should be ready by the middle of next month. They will sell all the cabbage at market to make extra money for the orphanage. The yams will hopefully be ready in August and those will be used to feed the orphanage. Right now, the orphanage buys yams at market but they are very expensive. I weeded the cabbage that is almost ready to be picked for about an hour and was still back in the orphanage for bath time. I never knew that weeding could be so therapeutic, but it was so quiet and peaceful and no one else was around, except for lots of flies, and a few frogs. One was hiding under a cabbage leave, which surprised me a little. Next time I go to the farm, I will try to take some picture to include in the next blog post.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Back in Bawjiase

So I have arrived back in Bawjiase safe and sound! It is so great to be back here and I missed the kids sooo much. So much has changed around here since my last trip. For starters, we have a new volunteer house. It is a little bit farther away from the orphanage, but it is really nice. It is a lot bigger than our other house, and it has a bathroom inside, and ceiling fans were are AMAZING!! Still no running water, but I forgot how much I enjoyed taking a bucket bath. At the orphanage, the children have grown up so much. There is a lot more structure at the orphanage and the older kids are encouraged to be independent and take care of themselves, because they have to learn how to have these skills when they leave the orphanage.
There are 2 new children at the orphanage, Joe and Felix. They both came around Christmas time. Felix is older and he is really great with the younger kids. Joe is one of the younger boys and he is so sweet, but very quiet.
Yesterday we went to the new orphanage site. It is AMAZING!! They are in the process of constructing a roof and digging the well. The new building is so much bigger than the current orphanage. There are 3 rooms for boys and 3 rooms for girls, each with their own bathroom and shower area. There is a dining area, a staff room, a study room, a storage room, and Pastor's room. The kids are so excited to move it. They were also able to purchase the land behind the orphanage for sustainable projects such as raising goats and chickens for food for the orphanage. Hopefully this week I will take a walk out to see the farm and I want to see if I can work there a few days.
I am so glad to be back inBawjiase with all the children!!!