Monday, February 27, 2012

Ete sen? Eye.

Today was a farewell at our office for a very good, kind man who has worked there for 18 years: John Korentang. He is retiring and was given a formal good-bye and thank you for his years of helping and leading others. One of his remarks held my attention: Ete sen (etah sehn)? It is a commonplace greeting in Twi (Tchee - first language of Accra), meaning: How goes it? "It" represents life. How goes life?

The answer is "eye" (ayah). All is well. Again, a traditional Twi response - all is well, no matter illness, financial reversals, hurt feelings, etc. In the whole scheme of things, all is well. What a fabulous philosophy. I'm keeping that thought.

My brother told me before we left, "You have a whole lot of new friends out there that you haven't even met yet." He was right. We have discovered commonalities and differences in both black and white that have made us richer and made us better.

Jane and Lee, one of the couples we have met here and thoroughly enjoyed in many settings - including the golf course, tennis court, and scrabble table.

Jane came up with several double and triple word scores, so she won, but I was very proud of my "hula, hick, and beggar." (warrior had some group help at the end - no points)

"You can take the teacher out of the classroom"...but I'll always be drawn to teaching. Every Sunday we have a different configuration of women who are trying to learn English. They meet in the garage portion of our "meeting house," and 2 weeks ago had no desk or white board, but they did have awesome workbooks supplied by the church. We asked for a small desk and got it. It's small, but provides a place to write.

David and I found this white board at a variety store, and it just fit perfectly with 2 screws in the wall that were already there! Voila! This helped the 2 teachers as they had the women look for and list 3-letter words from a song in the hymm book. They found them, spelled them, then read the list. My favorite, and theirs too, was w-a-y. The woman who spelled it, then pronounced it: "road." After she found out her mistake, we all laughed for 10 minutes!

The workbooks have exercises for learning letters and word patterns, and each woman has a book of her own.

When many women come, this one desk will never do. But for now it is so much more convenient than trying to write upon one's lap. The two teachers are naturally good instructors. They are awesome! They are teaching SDAIE tactics (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English) without having had ANY California training. Do I dare let the California Board know that they (the Board) did not originate good teaching??

This is our darling youth group at our Stake Activity last Saturday. It's 4 minutes, but stay with me here. They are a virtual celebration of "eye," - learning a new language, learning a dance, or living in a new culture, all is well. This is Africa.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I like looking at these...

Most of these pictures are what I see inside our office, but the last couple are what we saw from inside our windshield, and then inside our church. They all are things I enjoy looking at...

I just bought these 2 little African dolls this week - and I have them sitting on my desk. They are wearing the same traditional dresses and beads that we see everyday, but what I love is, the way the baby is tied exactly the same way the mothers carry them here on their backs.

These are 3 of our students on our Wall of Honor; they have paid off their loans completely. Their chosen majors are varied and range from management to certificated fields.

In the center is President Hinckley and his quote about the PEF students..."they will be a presence for good."

Three more of our "debt-free" students. We actually have 8 more to put on our wall now, and many more who have very little left on their balance. After the students pick up their checks, we walk out with them to read the quote, and tell them that they, too, will be on the wall one day. They have such hope and motivation to do well in school and repay their loans.

Golden case anyone wondered what happened to those things, they are sitting in the PEF office in Africa.

This man "decorates" my life! He brought me a Valentine card today with a candy bar and sparkling cider. Then he proceeded to remind all the young PEF students to get their special someones a Valentine by tomorrow.

On my bulletin board, I have half of our family pictures (the other half are on our walls in our "home.") All visitors stop and look closely - they are so kind to ask about our children and grandchildren!

We drove to Tema, not far from Accra, on a really nice road, and once we got there we enjoyed a few side-streets, and so did these cows. We are finding it easier and easier to avoid beef - on our plates and on the streets. When we looked out our window to the left, there were 20 more waiting to cross the street.

These are the cutest ladies. Two are teaching English as a 2nd language on Sundays - the one on the left, and the one on the right. The one on the right, Jocelyn Sowah, is actually a nurse during the week. The two middle ladies, Margaret Sosu and Theressa Dashie, are just 2 from a class of 22! I got to help one dear lady last week, and we high-fived after she learned to spell her name in English and say all the letters. We had such fun.