Our Lil Helpers

July 1, 2009

Francisca pretending to paint Courtney's leg

Francisca pretending to paint Courtney's leg

Today is Ghana Republic Day, the day Ghana was completely free from British rule. All the orphans had the day off from school so they hung out with us all day. We divided the work today. Maylinn, Eric, Mark and I started to fill the trench. Katie, Courtney and Lindsey began painting latrine, and David and Anna tackled the sink. The children did anything they could to help, starting by carrying all of our tools out to the latrine.

I was excited to see David and Daniel in high spirits. Right out of the van they greeted us. David in one hand and Daniel in the other, they escorted me to the work site. The twins spent the entire day next to one of us. Anna lent them her camera, and for the next hour they ran around taking pictures of anything in their path. Then they painted with Katie, Courtney and Lindsey, practicing their colors. It was a huge weight off my shoulders to see the once secluded and melancholy twins, laughing and interacting. Little Francisca is a worker bee. The four-year-old was in the mix the entire day. She painted the edges of the latrine with her brush and slid on over-sized work gloves to shovel dirt.

Sabion and Francisca listening to my iPod

Sabion and Francisca listening to my iPod

One of my favorite parts of today started when Francisca came to hangout with me while I was shoveling, and I let her listen to my iPod. A giant smile immediately spread across her beautiful face. Sabion, who is a couple years older, was passing by and wanted in on the fun. I showed him how to change the songs and turn the volume up. With one headphone in Francisca’s ear and the other in Sabion’s, the pair went and sat in the shade of the nearby shelter, and listened to music, giggled and bobbed their heads for about an hour while I dug. Bless, a boy of about 5, joined the pair and they gladly shared. The Giffty, Bethy and Deborah, older girls of about 13, came around, delighted in the new gadget, they took it down near the latrine. There they discovered Anna also had and iPod. An instantaneous iPod party occurred right then and there with eight children. It was adorable. We ended the day with a painted latrine, almost filled trench and the sink set up and almost working.

Katie showing me how to work the loom

Katie showing me how to work the loom

After we got all washed up, we visited Kanta Village, famous for their beautifully woven kanta cloths. We entered what looked like a large warehouse with ten 50-foot-long Kanta weaving looms. The majority of the length was made up of brilliant colored yarn. Hanging on the walls were various sizes, colors and patterns of these cloths that are traditional Ghanaian garb. An American peace corp worker showed us on his loom how to weave. Katie, Anna and I tried it out. They use their feet, hands and tools to weave, but they do it at super human speed. Most of us ended up with some form of kanta cloth.

I’m sitting here I’m loading the blog at the DIVOG office, which is a side of Richard and Robert’s home (the two Ghanaians that have been taking care of us). All of a sudden I hear African drums and a trumpet. Before I know it the building is surrounded by 50 singing and dancing Ghanaians. One of Richard’s closest friends has passed away and they are celebrating his spirit that will never die. Richard brought me out into the action, where he showed a slid show. He proudly explained each photo of his friend. Then he handed me a drum and tried to teach me how to play. These people are incredibly kind and happy, while they have so little resources and so many hardships. What gives us very blessed Americans, to get so depressed so easily?

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One Response to “Our Lil Helpers”

  1. Matt Dunagan said

    Hi, I’m Mark’s brother. It’s wonderful to read your blog each day to get an idea of what he’s experiencing there in Ghana. Thank you for taking the time to provide such thorough, interesting, and descriptive write-ups. Great work you guys are doing!
    -Matt

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