Laura’s trip to Ghana
Porridge and Pens’ Laura Collins is spending two months in Ghana, to supervise the start up of two new projects, Girl Power and Fruit Drop. Here she describes her time since arriving…
Monday 12th February: I arrived late at midnight in Accra, Ghana’s capital.
Tuesday 13th February: I commenced my travel up to Kumasi where Porridge and Pens projects are based. This trip involved a six hour bus ride though I luckily had some help finding my way by Ghanaian friends Kofi and Christian. I arrived at my accommodation that evening (certainly had no pancakes).
Wednesday 14th February: Waking up early I travelled via traditional Ghanaian transport to our partner junior school which was around an hour journey. At this school I was able to educate and distribute the reusable sanitary pads that were purchased through money raised from the recent fundraising campaign. The girls in most need were provided with these, for example, a thirteen year old girl who would use tissue whilst on her period or would skip school altogether. Another young girl receives just one cedis (equating to 20p) per day from her guardians to pay for food, water and sanitary items, she therefore saves a small amount daily for her pads yet can only afford three pads to last her five weeks. It was very upsetting to hear that such a basic need is unmet for so many girls. I also learnt a little of their culture and how from a young age they are discouraged to dry their underwear outside due to fear of embarrassment. We discussed the importance of thoroughly cleaning and drying underwear and their reusable pads.
I began to learn more about the 11 young girls recently enrolled on our new programme – ‘Girl Power’. Many of the girls are separated from their parents. Most commonly the reason is because the parents cannot afford to provide for them. I met one girl who has been abandoned by her mother and lives alone in one room caring for her eight year old sister and her four year old brother, her mother will send them a very small living allowance to get by. As the programme expands we would like to offer a place for her little sister Jacqueline. I hope to get to know this young family more throughout my trip and maybe even pay a visit to where they stay. It is great for me to get to know all the girls and to learn the impact of the programme on their lives and education.
I finished midweek with a traditional Ghanaian meal – peanut soup, rice balls and fish.
Thursday 15th February: I spent the day with Shirley (who manages the Girl Power programme in Ghana) and visited her family in her hometown around two hours from Kumasi. This is a tradition that is completed when visiting Ghana.
Friday 16th February: I returned to our partner primary school after getting caught up in the African traffic! I spent this time visiting all of the girls within the Girl Power programme and the different classes that they attend and viewing their school reports. We currently have eight primary students and three junior high students enrolled. It is fortunate that, as of this week, we have looked at costings and are able to support four more students with feeding fees. We have already had reports from teachers of potential students who have very difficult home circumstances and as a result are not eating at school but I will be able to update you as we find out more about these girls.
I was able to finish the day spending a few hours in the library with the Girl Power girls to help to practice their reading of English literature.
Saturday 17th February: Mabel, Kofi and I woke up around 7am to visit the market to get fresh fruit for our new Orphange Fruit Feeding Drop. It was incredibly busy and chaotic! However, after a lot of haggling we bought bananas, oranges and pineapples for 61 orphans to have a fresh piece of fruit daily for one week. We took traditional Ghanaian transport, which took around one hour, to deliver and distribute this fruit. Hopefully you have been able to view these pictures on Facebook!
To say these children were grateful would be a massive understatement. They, along with the founder, has blessed every one of you who has supported this new programme, so thank you.
We were able to visit a second orphanage within Kumasi which we aim to help in the future where possible, however this was less in need of fruit as they already have a small supply.
Sunday 18th February: I had this as a rest day, ready for next week to begin!