The Jirapa Town Kindergarden is located right next to the guest house.  One morning I peered through the chain link fence to watch the children at play.  I didn’t stay incognito very long as the children ran towards me shouting “Masala” (white person).   I caused quite a ruckus as the nun who ran the school approached me with a stern questioning as to what I was up to.

After a few minutes of profuse apologies, I explained to Sister Bernadette that I was the mother of kindergardener myself and was interested in seeing a Ghanaian kindergarden and that I also had some school supplies to donate.

I returned 10 minutes later with some assorted pens and colored pencils and was invited to spend some time in the classroom.  The children sang some songs to me, I sang to them and I gave them the chance to ask me questions about life in the U.S.  I could tell from their questions that they were curious and clever. The teach admonished them not to keep calling me Masala, but instead to call me “mama Genice”.

I was struck by the complete lack of resources.  There weren’t more than five books in the room.  The children used blackboard slates and chalk for writing practice.  When there aren’t enough slates to go around, the children write on the floor.  Some parents help out by purchasing small essay books for their kids to practice on.  But, most families can’t afford the 20 cents for the books, so their children do without.

I regreted not being able to bring the books I had collected from Jiana’s school.  I simply couldn’t carry them along with my backpack and other donations.  I felt compelled to do something and so I went with one the teachers to buy some school supplies.  We went to a nearby stationary store and book store and was dismayed by the empty shelve and lack of available school supplies .  I found only two books appropriate for kindergardeners and the essays books available were of inferior quality and expensive even by U.S. standards.  I bought what I could and was left wondering how I might get some quality school supplies to this remote community.

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