in my last blog i mentioned something called the "pee-tree." this isn't code for anything....
we visited many schools while we were in ghana. some of them were private while others were managed by the government. it was easy to see the difference between the two. the private schools had some method to the madness. the rooms were still small and extremely hot but teachers were teaching and children were learning. as i walked through one of the classrooms i couldn't help but notice the things that were being used to educate the children.
in one of the class rooms the teacher had chalk but no blackboard. you could see where he had been writing on the wood panels that made the wall. it was very difficult for me to read but it seemed to do the trick for his class. the children were in awe of these white people who had come to visit their class. they were initially frightened by our cameras. apparently old tradition says that the camera of a white man can take your soul. i think we convinced them otherwise but it was still difficult to get them to smile.
because of the generosity of our church we were able to take 115 soccer balls and over 8400vitamins to these schools. when we first began collecting the soccer balls i was a little pessimistic that it was the best thing to collect. i mean wouldn't they be better off having access to some of our wealth? shouldn't we do a clothing drive instead? soccer balls?!? it wasn't until i saw the reaction of the first class that i understood. soccer is king in their country. everyone is familiar with it and most love to play it. the problem: balls are expensive and difficult to find. when we walk in toting all those soccer balls it was if we brought them gold.
our host also informed us that soccer is a great way to get people talking about faith, teamwork and unity. the area is saturated with muslims and he said giving these kids soccer balls communicates a couple of truths to them and their families. 1)the Christians care about you and brought you this ball 2) our differences can be bridged through a game...creating opportunity to talk about our faith...which can ultimately lead to someone hearing the truth about God and ultimately seeing them come to faith. all of that through a little $10 soccer ball from wal-mart.
we also took them children's multi-vitamins. when our host told them about the vitamins he said "if you eat one a day you will grow strong,wise and beautiful. But if you eat 2 they will become poison and you will DIE!" the kids were excited about the 1 a day vitamin but look scared about the possibility of eating 2...even by accident. our host knew the vitamins were sweet. he also knew the kids would eat too many at one time if they didn't instantly become respecters of the vitamins. it was awkward and funny all at the same time.
the final thing we gave them were frisbees. Each class was awarded a soccer ball, vitamins and a frisbee. the catch:: they had never seen a frisbee before! when we threw it for the first time they ducked as though it might cut their heads off! once they realized it was a safe toy they smiled with tremendous joy.
it was so interesting to see the lunch lady cooking food for all the children outside in a pot over a wood burning fire. it was crazy to think the kids would run over to the concrete slab and pick up their bowl of food fromthe ground and eat it for lunch. it was so humbling to walk into a classroom where a little boy was using a small branch off a tree to point to words on the board leading his class in a phonetics exercise. it was overwhelming to visit a school that has 860 students and 12 teachers. nothing about it was familiar but somehow it all made sense. they were learning....in their own unique way....they were learning.
oh yeah...almost forgot the "pee-tree." in one of the classrooms that had 120ish 4-5yr olds we heard the teacher rattle off something in their native tongue. all at once every child got up, went outside (apprx 15 feet from the building), dropped whatever pants and underpants they may have been wearing and proceeded to urinate....simultaneously....all mixed in gender....with absolutely no direction. literally! never seen anything like that before.
let's just say....after that we watched where we stepped!
don't forget to pray for the widows....here is another beautiful and strong woman to lift up.
more to come.....