We recently returned from a two week trip to Africa. The highlight of the trip was hosting Edify’s first Ghana Family Experience. There was a small group of 13 people (adults and children) that not only observed the schools we are partnering with but actually taught classes. We have worked with James Tooley, author of The Beautiful Tree, to help build a small chain called Omega Schools in Ghana. Over the past 18 months we have provided capital for 9 Omega schools, with each school educating 500 students K-8th grade. James and his Ghana partner, Ken Donkoh, were kind enough to invite the families into the schools to teach. What a joy it was for the parents to see their own children (ages 10-15) in front of the class teaching and learning from the Ghanaian children! Needless to say, we learned a lot of things. Below are a few highlights from my family.
Our 13 year old, Kimberly, enthusiastically embraced the entire experience. After the first day of not knowing what to expect, walking into a school of 500 Ghanaian children, she commented, “I have never felt so popular in my life!” We would have children running up to see us and to touch our white skin. They would be chanting, “Obruney, Obruney!” which is Ghanaian for “white person.” She was blown away by their love for us and their love for Jesus. The extremely warm welcome looked very different than she expected and she found it difficult to leave the schools at the end of each day. She loved the children and the opportunity to teach. What a joy to watch as her Dad!
Kimberly was a natural in front of the class teaching English, Science, etc. Conversely, Leslie, my beautiful wife, enjoyed being with a small group of struggling students to help them in a personal way. Many of these students were between 10-12 years old and in school for the first time in their lives. Leslie was terrific in helping them with reading and basic phonics.
One afternoon, Leslie was unaware the other classes were taking a 15 minute break. As she became aware of activity in the courtyard, she apologized to the kids and sent them out for their break. To her surprise, the kids were back in less than a minute and told her they would rather keep learning English. Leslie was both touched and thrilled by their eagerness and excitement to learn. If only kids in our public schools had this desire to learn.
I had the opportunity to work with older students, ages 12-14. I taught everything from how to build a small business, supply and demand, cost of goods and making a profit. I also taught on the importance of character and the heroes of the faith. After three hours of teaching one morning, Colin Reilly, another dad with the group, and I stopped to take a break. We looked at each other and said, “This is exhausting!” That was after only a half day of teaching. I can’t imagine what teachers feel like after nine months!
Please take the next two minutes of your time to thank God for these loving children in these low-cost schools. Pray they will continue to grow in their knowledge of Him and His love for them. Pray they will continue to have a hunger to learn. Pray for the teachers who make very little money, yet give themselves to educate these children every day, all day, for the entire school year.