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Posts tagged ‘GMHhope’

Online vs In Line Shopping

While talking with my husband the other night he questioned why I needed to be in Ghana two weeks before my team arrives to run the Reading Camp. Well, a lot has to do with online vs in line shopping. There is no online shopping here in Ghana, so everything is in line or the queue. With a list of things to do and purchase as long as my arm, traffic jams that make New York City look like a country road, and crowded, maze-like markets, it is a wonder that I only need two weeks.

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Today Mercia and I needed to purchase eight dozen t-shirts. We use 12 dozen for Reading Camp but thankfully Ascension Episcopal Church, Westminster, MD, sent four dozen with me. The t-shirt shop is deep in Makola Market in Accra. This is the market for locals, however, after 13 years of shopping there, everybody knows my name.

The queue at the shop consists of a long bench and two plastic chairs. I waited for 90 minutes, moving along the bench to the chairs to get closer to being served. Finally, it was my turn. I chose red, orange, yellow and lime green shirts for the children. Of course the ones I wanted were on the top shelf so the shopkeeper had to get a long ladder, climb to the top and throw them down. Once the eight dozen t-shirts were packed in a large plastic bag, I couldn’t even lift it. We employed Gladys, one of the market porters who couldn’t weigh 90 pounds soaking wet, to carry the load: 30 umbrellas, my eight dozen t-shits, two dozen t-shirts Mercia bought and I think a pot or two. The 30 umbrellas belong to a totally different story.

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I truly am in awe at what these girls can carry. Once those items were safely in our car, we turned our attention to fabric. One of the reasons I shop online at home is so I am not tempted to buy more than I need. Fabrics are both mine and Mercia’s weakness. How can I choose just one? Luckily for me I was buying for a friend and I needed to pick out four fabrics. Plus I needed one for the team, maybe one or two more? Imagine miles of fabrics.

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Okay, ten fabrics, a coconut, some pineapple, grilled plantains and small bag of ground nuts later, we had spent four hours shopping for fabric. Since it was now after 5 o’clock, our drive home would test our nerves, but for sure, we will be returning to the market tomorrow and many other days. If only amazon could deliver the 200 pounds of rice we need to buy directly to the villages.

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Reading and love – by Zach Neumann

ZachToday is the final day of reading camp. This was my fifth reading camp in Ghana and each year, the final day brings a swath of thoughts and emotions as we say goodbye to our children in our village.

I am sometimes asked why I come to Ghana to do a reading camp in a village in the middle of nowhere. Does it make a difference? Do the children who attend really get anything from it? I can say wholeheartedly and unabashedly yes. The children we work with crave love and affection. Poverty robs them of their childhood innocence and carefree being. While we are with them, they know they will be taken care of and fed. They know we will play with them and sing with them and read to them and just be their friend. They know they will be loved. Is that not at the center of every one of us…….to be loved?

Cate was in my class last year. She is around 9 years old Cateand when I first met her, she could identify her letters and read a few simple words. At the start of reading camp, we give a reading assessment to determine which group the children needed to be in. I tested Cate. She came in, sat down, and smiled shyly at me and said “Uncle Zach”. We hugged and began the reading assessment. The growth in her reading ability blew be away. She reads beautifully!!! Such growth from last year, when she struggled with words like “the, bear, down”. Participating in reading camp, even for just a short time, gave her a chance she would never have had. She loves to read and she knows that reading holds the key to her future. Cate can read. Cate has a future. Cate has hope.Star

Children love to sing, no matter where in the world they live. Our village children are no exception. My first time in Akramaman was in 2008. I sang a few silly songs and made a silly noise with my throat (think club mix beat box). The children loved it and tried to imitate it. Every year since 2008, children have run up to me when I arrive in the village and they do our sound. They remember the songs we share with them. And when they sing, the joy on their faces tells of a deeper joy and love that they know. Someone came to be just with them and to love them. After we are gone, the will have those songs, those books, and those memories to remind them of our love for them. They will remember and know that they are loved and cherished. Likewise, we will remember they giggles, their smilies, their hands seeking ours and it will fuel the flame within us and draw us back to this place.Camp

Reading and love. We teach them to read while loving on them and instill in them a love for reading. We give more than just books and crayons. We give them hope. We strive to give them a chance, an opportunity and a future that they would otherwise not have. Love motivates and moves us. Our love embraces, uplifts, and encourages them. And God’s love empowers us all.

P.S.  At the end of the Reading Camp Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope and all the volunteers were presented with this plaque from the teachers at St. Paul’s Preschool/Kindergarten.  Congratulations

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