Laura’s second week update from Ghana

by | Feb 28, 2018 | Porridge and Pens Blog

Laura updates us on her second week in Ghana and the projects she is overseeing.

Monday 19th February: To really get to know and build a relationship with the eleven young girls on our new ‘Girl Power’ Programme I have begun my week again at our partner junior school. Here I have been able to monitor the girl’s food intake at two meal times during the school day at break and lunch and it’s certainly been interesting getting to know the school cuisine!

Following a review of costings out here, we would like able to introduce an additional three girls to a stand-alone feeding programme as part of ‘Girl Power’. These girls had been identified by their teachers and fellow students because they were not eating at school. The three latest girls are Esther, Sara and Abigail.

On this day I was also able to see our eleven girls for a short meeting after classes, where myself and Shirley (Ghanaian teacher and joint programme manager) were able to assess the condition of the girl’s back packs. This is in preparation after kindly receiving a donation of back packs from a local Rotary group. We were able to see that five of the young girls are very much in need with their straps barely hanging by a thread.

Later in the evening I returned home and got to enjoy some cooking time with Mabel, who I’m sure many of you are aware of, as she was provided an educational grant by Porridge and Pens. We had fried yam chips, yummy!

Tuesday 20th February: I was very sad on my journey to our partner junior school as a lady sharing my taxi was distraught as her young close friend had passed away that morning. I discussed this with Shirley and it really highlighted to me that the rate of young deaths here is significantly greater than back in the UK.

At school again I was able to spend time in the girls English lessons, it was also brought to my attention by one primary class teacher that two students were in desperate need of a learning exercise book. This is precisely the tools that we wish to equip these young girls with to prepare them for their best possible future.

We also gratefully received a box of donations from the UK including stationary and a lot of brilliant football boots! I think it would be worth considering for future donations that what would be really great for the girls would be a ready supply of class notebooks, around A5 size with lined paper!

Wednesday 21st February: I again spent the day at our partner school and reviewed the expenses so far of this month and to allocate the required expenses for the next three months. This is great so we can begin preparing ourselves for upcoming fundraising events!

I was also privileged to meet a specialist physician working on the emergency floor at Kumasi’s biggest hospital. He is arranging for me to spend some time on the children’s emergency ward where he says too often children are dying from preventable cases of malaria. He told me that government help is far too little and some families simply cannot afford the treatment.

As a disease very close to my heart I am keen to see the realities and impacts of malaria on children living in Ghana, something which affects all of the children we support through Porridge and Pens.

Thursday 22nd February: I allocated today to complete admin tasks for Porridge and Pens including updating the eleven girls’ profiles, review of costs and expenses and updating sponsors with the latest information. I was slightly limited however by an unreliable and intermittent WiFi connection!

Friday 23rd February: My last day for a little while spent at our partner junior school overseeing the ‘Girl Power’ programme. As all of the girls were in desperate need of uniforms, I was able to go to the market and buy the required fabric for this, we have also allocated a seamstress for the job who will aim to have the uniforms completed within 1-2 weeks so this will be amazing!

I spent break and lunch time with our primary aged girls and was also lucky to meet Sylvia’s little brother (who is just three years old). To say they enjoyed their meals would be an understatement – I’ve even pushed myself to learn “what have you eaten?” in the Ghanaian language of Twi, though sometimes I get blank faces!

Saturday 24th February: Saturday marks our weekly fruit drop to all nations orphanage. Myself, Kofi and Mabel attended the market to buy fruit for the 61 orphans to allow them at least three days’ worth of fruit per week. The children were however attending the wedding of one of the orphanages regular donors in the local area so we will have pictures to follow as the fruit is distributed next week by the founder!

Next Saturday we will also be able to spend a little more time with the children and find out some of their stories, with the youngest being just two years old.

Sunday 25th February: I went to church this morning which finished around 3PM and I am now preparing myself for the week ahead at Brightlingsea Free School!

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