I’m learning that the infrastructure in Ghana’s North differs significantly from that in the South.
The rural north faces much higher poverty levels, lower literacy rates, and farther distances to travel across tougher roads to reach “modern” comforts – electricity, running water and flush toilets. Sikote doesn’t have these things. Bolgatanga has some. Tamale has more. And the Central Region where Accra is located has even more.
Today, the St. Louis delegation joined the local minister, Reverend Simone, for another dedication ceremony – “electrification” of a local school. My mind immediately thinks of electricity for the projector I use when I teach, or the climate control of the buildings in which I teach. Here, electricity means that students can still see their teacher when the windows and doors close to keep out rain. It means students can have ceiling fans to move the stifling hot and humid air around the room in the rainy and in the dry seasons. It means the teachers and administrators can begin to imagine having a computer room for children to learn and play. Now that’s electrification.
The Ghana Project folks raised money to fund the work. Both the Americans and the Ghanains agreed on the cost. The Americans raised the sum in US dollars and the Ghanains electrified the sum’s worth of Ghanaian cedis (the currency exchange would have allowed nearly twice the amount of electrification!). As a result the celebration was extra sweet for the Ghanain administrators who had only thus far wired half the school and now realized that they had actually been allocated funds to complete the entire job!
This morning’s most amazing moments for me came as a result of the dedication ceremony being videotaped. The camera activity attracted some school children who have been in pen-pal type exchanges with American children. Their excitement and playfulness posing for the cameras, singing songs, and reciting their poetry set the stage for a very good afternoon.
In the afternoon, our band of six returned to Sakote so the videographer, minister, and fundraising chair could shoot footage to tell the Ghana Project’s story back home.