Summer school, football coaching and a haircut

Apologies for the delay in the latest blog post, but since I last wrote seven new volunteers have arrived and five of those have left. They’ve been completing a large variety of work. Chris Minch has settled in well to the role of Assistant Volunteer Coordinator. His time has been taken up by airport pickups, inducting volunteers, helping at the summer school and football training and also researching other NGOs in Ho. He is also blogging for KickStart Ghana this summer. Anna Gilthorpe and Rianna Kelly were working at two local Kindergartens assisting the teachers with their work there. Rianna has now taken the lead at the summer school and reading club; planning and executing the lessons with the assistance of Chris Coco and myself. Chris and George Wadsworth coached Dynamo FC and you can read about what they thought of their time in Ho in their blog post. Last, but not least, we had Jeffrey Smith and Adenike Oke from JointSight productions who are working with KickStart Ghana to create a series of videos that showcase our work. I can’t wait to see the finished films!

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Jeffrey and Ade hard at work.

The KickStart Ghana Summer School, working in partnership with St Cecilia’s, is in fully swing. I’ve been really impressed with the attendance and motivation of the children to learn. We had 80 children, with parental consent, initially sign up and in the first week the average attendance was over 70. The children, moving from primary to junior high school education, have been studying maths, English, science and citizenship with their Ghanaian teachers and then completing extra-curricular work with KickStart Ghana volunteers. They are working on the following areas:

  • Physical development
  • Social and emotional development
  • Language and communication skills and
  • Cognitive development

We are hopeful that by the time the children head to ‘big school’ in September they will be confident in public speaking, be able to use their imaginations and take new approaches to problem solving in the classroom. We also hope that will have enjoyed some of the educational games that we have been playing.

Football coaching with Dynamo FC is going really well. Chris, Daniel, Christian (Dynamo FC Assistant Coach) and I have been working with all of the teams on a variety of drills. Last week we split the men’s squad in to two teams, one managed by Dan and the other by Chris and I. Not unexpectedly the three of us got rather competitive about the heights of our respective managerial skills and this led to a friendly bet. It was decided that the losing managerial team would have to wear the football shirt of their biggest rival (Tottenham for Dan, Sunderland for Chris and Arsenal for myself). Rarely has so much rested on a single training match! I’m relieve to say that, despite some dodgy refereeing decisions, mine and Chris’ team edged out a 1-0 victory and Dan was forced to wear the beautiful lilley white of the mighty Tottenham Hotspur. Of course, Dan said that we were “lucky” and we are all looking forward to a rematch later in the summer.

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‘Team Agbogah’
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‘Team Coles/Minch’
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Chris just having an innocent conversation with the ref…
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Big support from the people of Ho for the training match.
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The loser.

In other news I successfully managed to get a haircut without losing all of my hair like I have in previous trips, Anna and I won big in the casino on her last night and Coco, Rianna, Chris and I went to Prampram this weekend to relax on the beach. We had a lovely time apart from the one hour interrogation we received from two off duty immigration officers about whether we had overstayed our welcome in Ghana. I’m happy to say that they decided to let us stay in the country by the end of our chat.

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Anna and I living the highlife at the Golden Tulip Hotel and Casino
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The path to Prampram.
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Prampram beach.

So, as per usual, Ghana is throwing up surprises, laughs, head scratching moments and the occasional challenge, all of which I’m enjoying.

I hope everyone in the UK is well and that England have secured the Ashes by the time you read this.

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