During this week I have seen many parts of the village. I have been to their Catholic Church service, taught in the primary school, and met with the Chiefs of the village. All of the volunteers, there are 8 of us, live together in Wilson’s home. He is a blind older man and is so sweet. We eat at “Vinolia’s Inn Restaurant” she feeds us three meals a day and her food is delicious. We drink water out of plastic bags known here as “pure water”. It is government issued water that is brought to the village on a truck so that they have safe drinking water. We can buy packages of these water baggies in the small market within the village for 2 cd’s which in America is only some change. Bucket showers are something that I have grown to appreciate, it may not be anything like the showers at home but it is really refreshing after a long day in the Ghanaian heat. However, I do miss the running water that is used to flush toilets. I have a new appreciation for the abundance of drinking water and running water that we have in the United States.
The people here seemed very indifferent of us at first but I learned quickly that as soon as I wave or say hello they get the biggest smile and are very friendly. Majority of the people I have come in contact with are very kind and are extremely hardworking. Many of the women and children fetch water from the river ,which is a good distance away from everything, almost 8 times a day. I have absolutely fallen in love with the children. They are all so sweet and polite. I just want to take them all home with me and I only just got here. One of the little girls names is Joyce. One day we were standing together and she goes “I will remember you even after you leave here”. It was one of the sweetest things I have ever been told. I also have a few students that I teach who have helped me settle in this past week that I have grown fond of.
Compassionate Journeys strives to bring awareness to the children who are trafficked in this area. They are currently in the process of building a home for some of these rescued children. I had the opportunity to help by making and moving bricks that will be used to build the home. It was hard work but knowing what it would be used for made it all worth it.
The Catholic Church service was conducted similarly to many other Church services I have been to. However, it was all conducted in Ewe which is their main language used here. I didn’t quite understand mostly everything they said but you could see the joy the people had as they worshiped and sang. Their church was a building with windows and benches. It was extremely eye opening seeing that you can come together and praise God anywhere.
We also had the opportunity to meet with the Chiefs, elders, and clan leaders of the village. They were very welcoming and said that Tafi Atome was now our first home and Florida would be our second.
The schools here are much less structured than any I’ve been to in the U.S. My first day at school I was put into a Level 4 class with Tatiana. It was our first day and the teacher was out sick so we had to figure out a way to manage around 25 students all on our own. We started by getting to know the students and then tried to figure out their normal schedule. English is known throughout the village, however, their ability to understand it and speak it fluently is not all there. We managed to occupy their time for 4 hours by teaching basic math and English. We may not have achieved much teaching on our first day but it was an experience unlike any other I’ve had. I am starting to get the swing of things now though. It may be difficult but once you help a student with their work and they understand and say “thank you” it makes it all worth it. Many of the students are quite intelligent.
One morning we were told we were going to wake up at 4:30 am (which back where I am from would have been 12:30 at night) to go on a village jog. Of course each of us was hesitant at that idea but afterwards I can easily say it is one of the best experiences of my life. We walked up to a group of children who were so excited to see us. We got into lines and began jogging. The older ones remained in lines and the younger children ran ahead. They never once stopped chanting or singing songs. The happiness that each person had was radiant and was a great start to my day. I asked many of the children “do you like to run?” and they would smile and say “yes”. So we ran while it was still dark till the sun was rising.
Tafi Atome and all of the people within the village have been very welcoming.