AUSTIN JAMES FRAZER (IRVINE, CA, USA)
Having two weeks between the end of my summer job and the beginning of the Fall Quarter at the University of California-Irvine, I decided there could be no better utilization of my time than to volunteer abroad. Because i wanted to help where i thought my help would be appreciated most, I set my sights on Africa. After searching the internet and stumbling upon idealist.org, I followed the link to the Global-Cultural Solution (GCS). A few e-mails and a phone call later and i was registered to go.
My project was for two weeks in mid-September. I was registered for the Sports (Football) and the Education programs. I coached soccer, gave rallying short speeches at games, and taught English and Mathematics at the Junior High School. My coaching experiences were good and my teaching experiences were wonderful. I was the coach at four practices and saw the teams play three different days. I was able to teach two entire consecutive schooldays. The kids were especially welcoming. Lamir was an exceptional hostess and cook, and coach Shaibu was a good guide around town.
There are four teams (Under 17, 14, 12, and 10). They practice together. When enough of the kids showed up to justify splitting off into age groups, then I exclusively coached the U-17 team. The others were coached by Shaibu. The players were welcoming, and someone always translated important instructions for those less versed in English. They were appreciative of my presence.
The classroom experience at the public school was absolutely thrilling. The public school teachers were so excited and so enthusiastic to have me teaching in their classroom. The headmaster suggested to the students that they ought to boast to their parents and their friends that they had a white man teaching in their school. The students were great. All were attentive. A few (always on the teacher's right, coincidentally) were exceptionally capable and were extraordinarily bright. All of the students were respectful and pleasant. The moments teaching in the junior high school at Sukrong-Bethlehem were my greatest in Ghana. The students and teachers do the best they can with what they have, and they do it smilingly.
I hope GCS continues to promote its missions and programs of goodwill. I hope the school continues to educate Ghanaian youth. I hope the football academy continues to win games.
This was an amazing experience. The staff were helpful. They always kept in touch via telephone. They practiced decreasing supervision which was very nice. When I was new to Ghana, I was picked up and shuttled from the airport to Ho. I was always with at least one, usually two, and sometimes four staff members. Two accompanied me to Sukrong. The coach would always walk with me in the village at first. Eventually, as I grew more comfortable in Ghana, I was able and allowed to travel by myself. At first, just in the village, then to Asamankese. Eventually, I was given the freedom to travel to and from Ho. This allowed me an increased sense of ownership and independence. I thank the staff for that.
The staff members were always friendly and supportive. They showed me the art of fetch-and-pour method as well as about the dangers of strange proposals. The coach and his sister were great. The public school teachers were amazing. This has been an incredible adventure, and I will always remember it.
(Medaase, Austin (Kojo?) …Please request for my contact and I will be glad to share more with you!