Hi all, With things in the states heating up because of the debates, things in Ghana keep moving along. Ayamdooh has given his heart and soul to animals and children of Ghana. I want to share this story with you about his work in a village the government sent him to be a veterinarian. He is away from his family for 5 days a week and is working in a village the size of Yua. It is rural and lacks resources but 20 minutes away Ayamdooh visits a local waterfall and a lake.
Waterfall near village where Ayamdooh now works
Dear Jan, the day has been a hard and tiring day. This nice horse had hydrocele and swelling of testis. I had to spent a lot of time to operate. The owner could not afford full cost and I could not leave it to be suffering like that. Thanks for the local anaesthesia you gave me. I had to sedate it and use local anaesthesia as well to reduce the pain. I will continue to do my best for the needee. Hugs
Ayamdooh operating on a horse
“Goodbying” was fun, difficult,etc. But, the person who had the hardest time with it was Clementina. She was weeping and trying to control that on top of having some malaria symptoms.
The school bought a volleyball net and ball and were playing when I arrived today. So, of course you know the first thing I did. Played with the girls and then luckily the boys came out. They were really good whereas the girls were “girly.” Excuse the expression but I think you know what I mean. I tried to help them but some were afraid of the ball and others just didn’t know how to move. I talked to the coach of the boys and asked him to coach the girls. He said he would try but they often don’t come out.
Then as I was driving away, many of the students came running out of the classrooms and in unison waved goodbye and mimicked my “happy dance” that I do in classes when someone does something really great. Very funny and bittersweet as always.
Ayamdooh and I talked about this being the best trip because I got everything done that I wanted. Nothing was left to do “tomorrow.” I didn’t get sick at all and the students really seemed to pick up on the teachings.
The teachers this time weren’t as enthusiastic as other times to come to classes. Apparently they expected me to provide food and pay their gas. So, I said forget it and taught the students which is always more fun anyway.
With Clementina teaching now, i am happy they will be getting more of the learning they need
My beautiful Yua children. I love them all.
Yua woman in her new shirt from the U.S.
Yua woman wearing one of my many hats
The women made shea butter again from bags of shea nuts I bought them. All of the containers but 4 are for the women and one for the medical clinic. They now use the butter regularly for skin irritations and for cooking of course.
There is enough shea butter for all the women who made it and the clinic.
So, that is it for this trip. So much has happened and I didn’t write about all of it. The adventures and the growth are never ending and I am most grateful to Akunz for first introducing me to these beautiful people and their village. It is with a heavy heart that I have left. On the other hand, I am glad to know I will be going back and seeing more progress with the animals and the students.
Until next time…Hugs, Jan
Joshua is a dedicated, sweet man who wants all of his students to succeed. He is rare in that he cares about them so much. I really love working with him. Plus, he corrected my spelling and my grammar when I was teaching.
Clementina is modeling her new skirt. She was a trooper. She hung out with me all morning while I played volleyball and said goodbye to the kids. She finally told me she was having malaria symptoms. We took her home.
Clementina modeling her new skirt from the U.S.
Clementina shows the girls how to sew funeral pockets that she sewed in my class 5 years ago when I first taught them.
The girls tend to get pregnant at funerals so this pocket they put inside their dress, holds a condom. They loved making them.
Pok teaching sex ed to the boys and handing out condoms.
A volleyball in Yua? I was so excited, I had to play with the girls…and the boys.
The students were drinking out of that green container on the floor. One cup, not cleaned between people drinking from it and put back in the water. Ugh!!!
We talked about hygeine in sex ed and I found these buckets with a spout. I suggested each student bring their own cup or calabash. The students said they were really happy to have these. Old habits die hard though, so I will see next time if they use these. Fingers crossed.
I told Ayamdooh and Pok that I really didn’t want to go home without seeing Julius. Finally, my last day, Julius drove up to the truck on his motorcycle. We hugged and I felt in that moment, my trip was complete.
He told me that he had been teaching awhile ago when a few women walked into his class. They were from a very large NGO, Afrikids. They asked where he learned to teach “like that.” He said from, “Madame Jan from the U.S.A.” They then asked him to come to a meeting where other teachers and other head masters would attend. He will be talking about these new teaching methods and how they have changed the way his students learn. I know he would take it with him. I feel really grateful that I met him and had the opportunity to work with him.
The Reading Group this year was much bigger than in previous years. We still accomplished the goals of learning to project, have eye contact and speak with expression. We had a great time.
Walking in Yua
Reading group in Yua church
A friend of mine, Chaya made a DVD of you tube videos of animals. We used it for Gentle Handling classes as a way to teach that animals can learn, use their brains and have loving relationships with each other and their humans. It also showed how animals react to negative reinforcement versus being loved and treated well.
One video was of a chicken pecking at the picture of a chicken amongst other animal pictures.
Once the students saw I was handing out pens for trying to answer, getting the correct answer and explaining how, why or the meaning, almost everyone was raising their hand. In contrast to other days to when barely a hand goes up. At least now they know not to say “yes” in unison if they don’t really understand something. They risk being called on to tell me what they understood. Saying, “no, I don’t understand” gets them another explanation and possibly a pen.
When I asked the class what they understood about the chicken, one boy, Paul answered, “The chicken is identifying itself.” I almost fell to the floor. This was such an advanced answer especially since I had not said it and it was more than “chicken.” Which was the common answer. He got 2 pens and a writing notebook for that one.
Since I can see many of the students struggling to find more than just one or two word answers. It is really hard because they are speaking in English and being asked to think rather than just repeat.
Enter: Clementina. She explains things for them in english but with an accent they recognize.
I can’t wait to see Paul in 5 years and find out where his life has taken him.
Ayamdooh spent two years writing up a study that just got approval for publication in “Pan American Medical Journal.” “Mapping as a tool for predicting the risk of Anthrax outbreaks in Northern Region of Ghana” is the title.
I have always felt lucky to be working with him and to know him as the great person he is. His integrity and willingness to help others whether it is convenient for him or not, are some of the reasons I respect him.
Ayamdooh, me and Pok
Ayamdooh modeling his new shirt
Do you remember Clementina? The blog is called “Clementina wants to be a doctor.” Now she is a teacher in Primary classes. When she surprised me with her presence in Yua, I asked if she wanted to help me teach. She jumped at the chance and was full speed ahead going to the classes even before I arrived for the day in Yua. She is loving teaching english and reading to them.
Clementina is a teacher
One boy today waved goodbye to her and said, “Tomorrow.” They really like her. Too many of the teachers don’t even show up for work. They get paid low salaries and are not well trained. Unfortunately many of them are more interested in the paycheck than the students. Not so with Clementina. She wasn’t working before she visited and even though she isn’t getting paid, she feels useful and wishes she had a teacher like herself when she was in Primary.
So, I feel really great having someone take the reins after I leave. It will be fantastic to see how much better these kids do in JSS when I come back because of her. I really hope she sticks with it. She is truly beautiful, inside and out.
We stopped today on the way to Yua to help a man get the rope untied from around his sheep’s leg. When Pok talked to him, the man told him how he loves his sheep and would never hurt them.
man and his donkey
Ayamdooh removed a tumor from donkey’s ear and is following up with owner
Buying fabric for funeral pockets on way to Yua
Yua woman on bike
Leticia, Pok’s daughter in her new jewelry and clothes
Dog lives in the house and gets treats
Wisdom with Honda and his “wife.” They won’t go anywhere without the other.
woman with earrings
The Poultry Program is going strong. Women are still giving an egg a day to a child, whether their own or someone else’s. As a result, they say the children are not getting as sick as they were before this program. It is time for me to buy more chickens for these beautiful women.
Yua woman with earrings
I gave each woman a gift of earrings or a necklace. The rest of the clothes and earrings will be given to the other women by Imposia. They were so happy to “feel more beautiful than before,” one woman said to me.
Imposia told me that the people of Yua are stopping the travellers from Burkina Faso when whipping their animals. “We will not let you come to Yua for vaccinations next time if you continue the beatings.” Fantastic!!!!
They thanked me for helping their children in school and said they will continue to teach them to be kind to animals.
Legs tied together
Sitting in his lap
On a motorbike
Bike stops working
Puts goat on the ground
She bangs her head
Trying to get up
I want someone
To do something
I stroke her neck
She calms and quiets
A big man pets her
He unties her
Another man takes her home.
She will be slaughtered today
But why shouldn’t she
Have her last hours be kind
I cried for her
Knowing I had done
What I could