It all started last year at a German Christmas market, where Anna talked about a friend who went to Kpawumo children’s home and really enjoyed the experience. We decided to take a trip to Africa and see for ourselves. Plans got real pretty quick and the time for our trip arrived. The first three days in Accra gave us a first impression of Ghana and some time to adjust. From our perspective three days is certainly enough to spend in that area to see the most important things of Accra and have a variant choice of different activities, i.e. a day trip to Elmina castle and the Kakum National Park, as well as a beach day at Bojo Beach.
Then, the day arrived where we should actually travel to Tamale. We settled into our host family and prepared for the next day – our first day at school in Kpawumo. The children were really open towards us, especially the younger ones had taken a curious interest. A school day consists of teaching, playing games during recess and teaching again. The time school starts is not always the same. Sometimes students are late, sometimes teachers are and sometimes the weather prevents everyone from being there on time or at all. One shouldn’t be afraid of giving classes in subjects you don’t know anything about or you might have never even heard of. The children are grateful for you being there and doing your best. They even help you at times you’re lost. If you come from Germany like we do, one thing you should not expect, is classes like you know from home. Students in Ghana are used to a more receptive way of teaching – consisting of a lot of reading and afterward explaining from the teacher. Nonetheless, they are open to try new things and are very interested in scientific experiments where they can try something themselves. Other methods like pair work or even group work can work at times but still need some getting used to.
By the end of the second week we actually felt like we belong there and the children seemed even more open than before. Especially the older ones were now paying more attention to us. The time frame of two weeks was too short to really get to know the children, so we would suggest spending at least one month in Kpawumo if possible even more. The games during recess were quite confusing at first because there definitely is a language barrier. But we managed to learn most games by simply playing them. New games and ideas are greatly appreciated by the children and we hope they will continue to play the ones we taught them!
One thing you shouldn’t miss when visiting Kpawumo is the nearby Mole National Park. The nature is just astounding and seeing the animals in their natural habitat is simply fascinating! The landscape is nothing like it is in Europe and absolutely worth seeing.
At first, the days seemed like weeks or even months because we experienced so much and made a lot of new and so very different impressions. As a Caucasian you definitely stick out and are the centre of attention simply due to your looks. But this also paves the ways for new meetings as Ghanaians are very friendly and open towards you. In the end, the time just flew as you got to know the people in Tamale and especially Kpawumo children’s home and we couldn’t believe that our time was already over. We really enjoyed our trip and look forward to coming back one day and seeing all those friendly faces again!
Mpaya for reading this and we hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did!