Trip to Ghana - Saturday 7th to Tuesday 17th February 2009.

Miss Ryder, Mrs Neale and Mr Middleton

Day 1 (Sat 7th Feb):
We boarded the British Airways flight from Heathrow (Terminal 5) to Accra, Ghana at 2:35pm. The flight took 7 hours and we enjoyed the food and watching High School Musical 3.

Day 2 (Sun 8th Feb):
Lydia met us at our hotel and we got a bus from Accra to Kumasi. It took about 5 hours and we got very hot. We finally arrived at our guest house where we would spend the next 6 days. The rooms were very pleasant and we were very pleased to have air conditioning! In the evening George and Lydia visited us and we were able to catch up on all the news at Garrison Basic School.

Day 3 (Mon 9th Feb):
Breakfast took a long time to arrive, so we were nearly late for school, but finally we ate our omelette and eggs and walked to school with Lydia. It took about 10 minutes and we got our first glimpse of the Garrison Basic School at 7:30am. There were lots of children of all ages and they were excited to see us.

 

We were introduced to many teachers, then taken to the school hall where the children from Garrison Basic School and the Junior High School joined together to perform some songs and dances to welcome us to their school and country. It was great and we felt very welcome.

In the afternoon we were taken into Kumasi to do some shopping with some teachers called James and Alex. I really needed a hat as my head was getting hot, but we couldn’t find one, they promised me we could look again tomorrow (and so the story of ‘The Hat’ begins).

Day 4 (Tues 10th Feb):
We arrived at school in time to see the marching – each class lines up from Year 6 to Year 1 and they march on the spot singing until it is their turn to march into their classroom. A bit different to our action 10 but it worked really well and got the children moving.

 

Today, we took the gifts from BPS that we had bought from the money raised on our non-school uniform day. The teachers were very excited about the musical instruments, song books, CD player, skipping ropes and play equipment they received. It was lovely to see the teachers having a go with everything. We were looking forward to teaching the children activities and games from BPS using the things we had brought with us.

 

The whole of Year 5 squeezed into a classroom and we taught them some songs with the actions. They really enjoyed them and they, in turn, taught us a Ghanaian song with the actions.

 

After lunch, some of the teachers took us to the Mansyur Palace in Kumasi, where the Ashanti King lives. The Ashanti is the region Kumasi is in. Each of the 10 regions in Ghana has a King. We then walked to the central market – it was massive! The heat, combined with the number of people and products on sale made it an exciting shopping experience. Of course I was looking for a hat, but couldn’t find one even in a market that big!

Day 5 (Weds 11th Feb):
One of the teachers, Mabel, picked us up and drove us to school to ensure we weren’t late after a long wait for breakfast again! When we arrived at school, there was a difference; on Wednesday mornings, the school worships together through music and dance. It was very interesting and we tried to join in much to the children’s delight!

We decided today to teach the KS1 classes some games we play at BPS – no easy feat with up to 60 children in a class and a very small, uneven playground! We did our best and the children loved learning how to play many games in teams and on their own, like under and over, and skipping. We found out that because of the heat and limited resources, the children rarely have PE. They were SO excited and had a really good time! Small groups of children then taught us some clapping games which I know Mrs Neale is looking forward to sharing with the PALs so they can teach other children here at BPS

 

I was very excited today as James and Alex were taking us to a Cultural Centre in Kumasi where they said I could get some drums for school. We walked from the school and arrived to a small, high ceiled shop with lots of Ghanaian artefacts. It was great and there were many instruments and other items for us to choose from. Mrs Neale and I bought many items which will be displayed and used by our children at BPS when we return.

There were a few more shops nearby, so we decided to do a bit more shopping before we headed back and guess what, yes, I FINALLY bought a hat!! Mr Middleton spotted it first – a very fine, hand made, straw hat. I was very happy! (So was everyone else as I could stop going on about it!!)

In the afternoon we travelled to a lake called Lake Bosomtwi, about 50 miles from Kumasi. On the way, the front tyre on our mini bus blew out so we had to pull over and change it. Simple you would think? But no, our driver didn’t have a jack to raise the car, so our Ghanaian friends flagged down other cars to borrow one. We eventually were in luck and our driver changed the tyre. The lake was very quiet and we had a pleasant walk round part of it watching the fishermen throwing their nets out to catch the fish. Lydia bought about 12 little fish to have for her dinner.

 

We had barely arrived back at the rest house when the thunder, lightning and rain started. The rain was very, very heavy so we stayed undercover watching it whilst we ate our dinner. It was exciting but only lasted about 1 hour.

Day 6 (Thurs 12th Feb):
Today, we taught some more songs and games to the children. We had managed to share the time and teach something with all 12 classes, so everyone was very happy. I decided to gather the new school council together and had an interesting meeting with all 12 children (1 from each class like we have at BPS). The older children had a better understanding of their roles, but as it was still very new, the younger children didn’t say too much. We gave them notebooks and pens to make notes and share the council’s ideas with their class after each meeting. We discussed the members making posters to remind the children at Garrison Basic School to use a rubbish bin for their litter. They thought this would be a good idea.

 

We had a taste of a Ghanaian dish called Fu Fu. It was a type of dough with a fish or chicken stew. We ate like the Ghanaians, with our hands which felt a bit strange, but we enjoyed the food.

One of the teachers invited us to her house for lunch which was very nice. She made us Banku with okra stew. It was similar to the Fu Fu with the dough but the stew was made out of the vegetable called okra. In the stew there was beef, a whole fish and a crab. It was very hard to eat with our fingers but we tried it. This was not our favourite meal, but it was very interesting going to a Ghanaian’s house.

After that, we drove to George’s new school where we were welcomed in a fantastic way. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for long, but headed to a cocoa farm. We had a very enjoyable time walking through the cocoa, orange and banana trees.

When we arrived back at the guest house, Alex (French teacher) bought us some kebabs. They tasted very nice but Mrs Neale thought the meat was lizard, eek! Fortunately though, she had misheard, they were actually part of a chicken – phew!!

Day 7 (Fri 13th Feb):
Unfortunately today I didn’t feel very well but made it into school to say a HUGE thank you and goodbye to the children and staff. They were very generous and gave us gifts for our classes and the whole of BPS. We were sad to go, we could have quite happily stayed at school for longer, but our bags were packed and we had to get a bus to the coast at 12 noon.

Lydia, George, Alex, James, Juliet, Mabel, Mary and Charles saw us off at the bus station. We were off to Cape Coast to the east of Accra for the weekend to be ‘proper’ tourists. Our journey was more comfortable than the last bus ride, although we missed our stop and ended up doing a 4½ detour to get to our hotel! Oh dear, never mind. We arrived after 8½ hours to a Ghanaian resort by the beach. It seemed very nice, but we were very tired so we went straight to bed.

Day 8 (Sat 14th Feb)
In Ghana, Valentine’s Day is National Chocolate Day. Alex had given us each some Ghanaian chocolate to celebrate which was very kind of him. We had a nice breakfast and ordered a taxi to take us to the Cape Coast Castle. It was very close and we enjoyed a few hours looking round the historic landmark. Although the Ghanaian’s called it a castle, it was in fact a slave fort on the coast which had a very sad past. We did some more shopping (of course), and then returned to our hotel to spend the rest of the day on the beach.

 

That evening, Mr Middleton was very excited as Wales beat England in the rugby. I have to say Mrs Neale and I didn’t really mind either way, but it was funny to watch Mr Middleton waiting for the score to be text by his son at the end of the match, as the hotel didn’t have a television for him to watch it on!

Day 9 (Sun 15th Feb):
After breakfast, we took a taxi with the same driver as yesterday, Kofi, to the Kakum National Park. It was about an hours drive, but the roads were quiet as it was a Sunday. On Kofi’s advice, we arrived early which we were pleased about because it was much cooler. We followed our tour guide up the side of a valley to the top where we were going to walk through the tree tops on bridges suspended 120 feet in the air! It was exciting, but scary as you had to walk across ‘Indiana Jones Style’ (in my opinion) bridges. They swayed a lot and we held back so there was only one of us on it at a time. There were 7 bridges in total, with a platform in between. We had a very good view of the trees both at our level and below us (although I have to confess, I didn’t look down once)! After all that excitement, we enjoyed a few quiet hours on the beach.

 

Day 10 (Mon 16th Feb):
Our last day. We spent the morning collecting pretty shells, racing the waves to pick the shells up before the waves broke – it was fun! We walked along the beach to watch the fisherman hauling their catch in. It took a very long time, but they managed it in the end. After a light lunch, we then walked the other way to some rocks and pretended we were professional photographers by taking lots of ‘arty’ shots!

 

Before too long, Kofi was there with the taxi to drive us the long 3 – 4 hour journey back to Accra airport. Apart from breaking down a couple of times (!), we arrived at the airport with lots of time to spare. It was quite a small place, with not much to do but the time passed quickly enough. The flight home was overnight so we tried to sleep as much as possible. It was rather bumpy, but we landed safely 30 minutes early at Heathrow on Tuesday 17th February at 6:15am. We were home and the weather was about 10 degrees warmer than when we left!

We enjoyed our trip to Ghana and feel confident that we have built on and formed new friendships and links with the teachers and children at Garrison Basic School. We look forward to continuing developing the partnership between them and us.

Miss Ryder

 

Drawing of a teacher and children
 
 

St Andrew's Road
Bridport
Dorset
DT6 3BJ

 

Headteacher: Mrs. D. Brown (BED Hons NPQH)
Tel:
01308 422846
Fax: 01308 458710
Email: office@bridport.dorset.sch.uk