Developing, Engineering, Educating, Volunteering.

Goodbye Ghana!

A few hours ago I returned from the African continent back to a surprisingly sunny Britain, and I have to say the past few weeks have simply been amazing.

The Ghanaian children’s enthusiasm has continued to amaze me, and whilst we went there to teach, I think we too have a lot to learn from them. It’s undeniable that people in Africa are far less materialistic than those in Western countries, but it also seems apparent that they’re happier than us. It does make you ask the question of why we are so obsessed with money and success in countries like England, when this seems to have no correlation to happiness.

Anyway, back to teaching! This week I began with teaching transformations, which includes reflections, translations and rotations which I planned with my friend Stuart. These were the first lessons that I had taught alone since arriving, and I have to say I really did enjoy the challenge this brought. Whilst team-teaching can allow you to focus more on individuals, working alone does provide better value for money as the teacher is teaching a larger volume of students. I tried to make these lessons as interactive as possible, through getting them to complete and design mazes to discuss translations, and reflecting the pupils outside. They seemed to take to this well, and also appeared to be enjoying it.

The next lesson I had prepared was a bit different. As I study Civil (& Structural) Engineering, I wanted to show the applicable elements of Mathematics and Physics through a tower challenge. In groups of between five and six, the pupils had thirty minutes to design and produce the highest tower that could support an egg (and not drop it!). They all got into it, and I have to say some of the designs were actually quite impressive! The cheers at the end clearly showed they enjoyed the lesson, and the fact that some of the towers were able to hold the egg at some height showed they were able to work out solutions that worked. This was pretty great, and I was incredibly happy that the lessons this week had gone so well.

On rolled Friday, our final day at La Bawaleshie. We decided to hold a sports day, where the day begun with volleyball and cricket, and later rolled onto egg and spoon races, sack races and ‘over-and-under’. As expected, this was great fun, and the children (along with us!) had a great time. As always the Ghanaian pupils got somewhat competitive, and we had to try to settle a few arguments that arose from supposed cheating! Though in the end, Anna’s and my team won!

So then came the emotional farewell, and we left the school with a number of boxes full of books to start their library along with all the sports materials we had brought from England for these school, paid for by Warwick in Africa. The pupils were unbelievably excited by this, and I think this reminded all of us how something like this, which may not seem like much to us, can make a huge difference to the children here.

We spent our final few days seeing the remaining sites in Accra, as well as relaxing on what can only be described as an incredibly beautiful beach. We were all incredibly sad to leave in the end, and I am sure we’re all going to miss Ghana an absolutely massive amount.