Mary Fisher - Teaching English & Other Subjects in Ghana
Just a few months ago I arrived in Ghana, and I can hardly believe it is all over already. I was based in Kumasi for 3 months, between March and June, as a teaching assistant at Christ the King of Kings School. I was helping with a class of around 40 ten year olds, who were quite a handful, but brilliant kids.
The highlight of my placement was my second last day at the school, as I had organized for them to give a short performance to the school, and other Projects Abroad volunteers. I had felt inspired to arrange this after seeing how they enjoyed doing some drama games as well as singing and dancing. I set about looking for a script, but realized quickly they didn't really exist, so after asking the guys at Projects Abroad they said Bible stories were what most children knew best, so I started writing a script.
We did five scenes from Jesus' life, and I got them to sing four different songs in between. I cast children to various roles, and they all became very excited. I was amazed at how quickly they learnt their lines, I gave them out on the Friday, and by Monday they knew them all! From the day I gave them the lines, we had ten days until the performance and limited resources.
However, the children just seemed to know what to do, and were keen to do it. This kept me going, and whilst it was hard to maintain a low noise level, we managed. At the end of the week, we had all five scenes under our belt, much to my amazement. I also managed to get some paint and large sheets of paper left over from other volunteers, and they drew some pictures for the scenery. I was rather surprised that some of them didn't really know how to use the paint properly.
Then the big day arrived, and when I walked into school I could hardly believe my eyes. The owner had got some plastic chairs, a small canopy and a sound system! They had spoken about this, but I was unsure if it would happen or not. I suddenly felt a lot of pressure! It had escalated beyond anything I could have hoped for, it had snowballed, and all I could do was sit back and watch with great interest.
The children came down, all 700 of them from various classes, and sat around the playground, and up in the corridors, looking down through the bars, and were all quiet. At the end of the performance, some of the girls had arranged a dance routine, and we had a dance off with some of the boys, and before I knew it we had the whole school up dancing! Including staff and a couple of the parents who had come along! I could not believe my eyes. The atmosphere was amazing. I felt such a sense of satisfaction at seeing them all so happy, and knowing that I had helped in doing so, even if just for a short time. That is the thing in Ghana, what may seem like nothing to you, is a really big deal for them.
I like to think that I inspired some of the other teachers to do something similar in the future, they were certainly talking about it. It just gave them a chance to see what can be done in a very short amount of time, and allowed the children to do what they do best, be children.