I Could Get Used to This…

Tonight, Tuesday July 6th we had our first evening computer class with the kids who live here at the school. There are about 50 of them who stay at ECSO.

From what I can gather, they range in age from 11-14 or 15 years old. Most of them are “boarders” and their parents pay for them to stay/live here overnight when school is in session. I haven’t figured out when school actually ends and begins but I think it is similar to the year-round schooling model with two to three week breaks every few months. In addition to the boarders, there are about 10 orphans that the Boateng family boards and looks after.  It is truly amazing to see the way things operate here. The children are so independent. They do their chores every morning and evening, cook for themselves, do their own laundry by hand and stay busy without the help of video games and television. They are in a healthy routine, are very well behaved and very respectful of adults (my name is Madamme Kim pronounced Keeem or “Mama Ghana”). They are also very interested in my writing so many of them were gathered around to watch me type as I edited my posts on Microsoft Word from the past few days.

The boys love the computer lab!

The school day has come to a close on Wednesday, July 7th . Tabea was instructed to help me in the computer lab so for the past few days we were trying to get order in the court. Prior to Madamme Kim being around, the students would run to the computer lab, push and shove until they are through the door and then scramble to squish into seats. it was driving me nuts so now we are teaching them to walk to the computer lab, enter three at a time and sit quietly until everyone has a station. There is one class for each grade level so with only 11 computers and potentially 40+ kids in a class, it can be quite chaotic. I taught the students to respond when I say, “one, two, three, eyes on me”…and in their Twi accent they say, “one, two, eyes on yoooo.” This attention getter seems to work and I also learned one that they use here. The teacher says, “put your finger” and the kids put their finger up to their mouth and respond by saying, “on your lips.” We continue to work on mouse skills with the younger students and today with the third graders, we typed in MS Word. They each took a turn writing “my name is…I live in…My hobbies are…my favourite food is…” they filled in the blanks. We are going to continue working on word processing with third, fourth and fifth and drawing with the first and second graders. Fun times…just like home! Ideally I would like to introduce the Flip video camera to the kids since they do have Windows Movie Maker on the few of the computers. I think it would be super cool if they could put together a video of the school to gain sponsorships and funding.

Dinner last night and lunch today were both awesome. So far I have eaten either rice or fried plantain with some form of tomato broth or stew for just about every meal. Last night our dinner was really tasty. We had cabbage, carrots, green pepper all cooked in a thick, spicy tomato sauce with sweet fried plantain (my favourite). Lunch today was jollof rice which is rice cooked with some form of tomato paste to make it red and then you put another type of spicy tomato based sauce on top for flavor. I will tell you one thing, Ghanains know how to cook with tomatoes and tomato paste! The days are starting to go by faster now that I have a routine. My cell phone is working really well so if any of you are able to buy a phone card for calls to Ghana, you can reach me at 0548695261. I’m not sure if you need a country code or something but I’m sure the card would explain how to dial. I know you can pick up Ghana calling cards downtown Chicago. It is sort of expensive for me to call others so I’m holding back as much as possible. Also, I am easily able to get Facebook on my phone so I have and will continue to update my status. I am hoping to post to the blog at the very least once a week…hopefully more often so keep checking back for updates!

Germany is playing Uruguay tonight so Tabea and I will join Mr. Boateng’s daughter Emilia, her sons Nana and Kwabena and some of the school boys in her home to watch the big game.

Emilia and Kwabena Boateng

Nana (my new best friend) and Kwabena – Mr. Boateng’s grandsons

Tabea and Nana (wrapped in the Germany flag) after the loss

Game night-We sat in Emilia Boateng’s house with many of the boarding school or orphan boys and cheered for Germany (a few were cheering for Spain). The tv reception was great and it was a hoot to see the boys watching soccer…completely mesmorized.

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About Kim Zimmer

I am a technology integration specialist at Vail Mountain School in Vail, Colorado. My passions include training teachers in the use of technology, teaching technology to students, listening and playing music and travel.
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2 Responses to I Could Get Used to This…

  1. mom and dad says:

    Kim – what a relief and sense of pride to hear you describe your journey and adjustment to your new way of life there. A few minutes on the phone with you here and there have made us a bit anxious at times as to how you really are doing… your gift of writing has explained it all so well. The school will surely know that “Madamme Keeem” was there!!! We are in Denver right now – dad on the golf course, Jackie busy with bridal party things…I will cruise these lovely streets of Cherry Creek Colorado. We miss and love you…keep up the great blogging. A video presentation to be used as a fundraising tool is a great ideas!! Go for it…love, mom & dad

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