The last class with teachers
I beg them to raise
Hands to ask questions
But, they, like the students
Need repetition until finally
A brave soul takes a risk
Asks a question and a heated
Discussion ensues to boiling
When I raise my hand and clap
For them
They discuss, they debate
In the end we find common ground
Where learning occurs and hopefully
Translated to “Ah, I see what she means
About talking.”

Frisbees, soccer and laughing
Outside the classrooms
Waiting, waiting and more waiting
For a meeting with elders
Teachers,district heads
To sit, to listen to speak
About animals, vaccinations
And school, About being appreciated
Not being appreciated
Honesty, Disappointment
Apologies from elders
Until finally they understand
This work, the time, the labor
Pok and Ayamdooh give
Is truly from their hearts
And not about salaries
Of which there are none

Thank yous, smiles, gratitude
Hugs by some who remember
Hugs to some who never knew
That hugging is loving and
That is all

we want…Is
To know love

Sex Ed

Ayamdooh normally teaches this with me.  I, the girls and he, the boys.  Today, Pok, a man who as a child went to the stereotypical Catholic school.  Beatings and whippings if a student even thought of sex.  Driving to Yua, he asked me what he needed to know.  First, I told him some of the questions students would ask (based on other classes). When I asked what answers he would give students,   no body parts were mentioned, and his vocabulary about sexual body parts consisted of words like, “you know.”  So, Pok said “penis” and “vagina” for the first time in his life, in the car on the way to Yua.  We laughed as we hit potholes and our bellies ached.  I explained that students must learn that saying the names of these body parts is no different than saying, “arm” or “leg.” Once they have permission to say them, the words lose some of their mystique.

Pok was brilliant in his class.  I could hear some of what he was saying through the concrete walls of our classrooms.  I think Pok said “penis” and “vagina” in stories for the rest of the day and told Ayamdooh all about it when we got back to the hotel.  How exciting to finally be able to say these words and no one will beat you.

The girls learned to say, “No,”  loud and clear.  It took several times to get all to join in, but eventually all girls said, “No” pushing their arms and hands in front of them, as if to say, “back off.”  They watched the Condom DVD and afterwards they answered and asked questions.  One thing they have here in Ghana is the female condom.  I don’t know much about them but I will have to find out as it is mandatory in all clinics to carry both types.  Ayamdooh was going to get me some before I left, but he couldn’t find any.  I was going to make a DVD for them with the help of a gynecologist.  I will see what I can do in the next year.  I was asked to to this two years ago but didn’t realize these condoms were supposed to be available in Ghana.  The nurses show pictures of them and then I am the one that gets the questions about them.

I handed out condoms and funeral pockets.  The girls agreed that many of the boys and girls have sex during funerals because parents aren’t watching them.  They laughed when I showed them how to pin the pocket under their dress to always be prepared.

Don’t worry, we also discussed the importance of abstinence and I uncomfortably talked about some other options other than intercourse if they were wanting to be sexual.  Whew, I was glad when that part was over.  I am not easily embarrassed about this, but talking to a group of girls who basically only know about intercourse only after they have it, knowing nothing else about sex, explaining how to fool around was making me sweat.

When class was over, I told them I loved them and that is why I teach this in the manner that I do.  I feel protective of them.  In unison, They all said, “We love you too,” and we had a huge group hug.