When we arrived at the school the children were singing, dancing and clapping to the beating of drums. I asked one of the teachers what the hoopla was all about; she told me that every Wednesday the children worship. It was very adorable and touching to see the children so excited to worship. They then came out of the classroom to sing the Ghanian national anthem (and of course hugged us afterwards).
Once the masons arrived at the site, we started bringing the mortar over to finish the floor. We then brought mortar over to put in the lintel (support above the windows and door frame). During a break I was sitting with one of the students in my lap while watched the other students run around the field. For some reason I felt very peaceful. At that moment I remember thinking how much I did not want to leave Worawora, let alone Ghana. I became very attached to Worawora and the community. It was pure joy working with everyone. The term “obruni” became a term of endearment for the team.
Derrick told us the project is 95% completed. The masons and carpenters just have to finish a little bit of the floor, repair a hole in the roof and place bricks on the front wall. We decided to work a half day on Thursday before we left for Accra.
Our second full day of work was exhausting. I have never worked so hard in my life — moving bricks from one side of the field to another, shoveling packed dirt to make the floor of the classroom level, throwing rocks in the dirt floor out of the building. Luckily it was a cloudy day, so we did not sweat as much as we could have with the sun beating down. The second part of the day we mainly mixed mortar for the masons. The site became a huge obstacle course with bricks laying around all over the place and children running everywhere.
What a sense of accomplishment! We were a good team and worked well together. Even though I was exhausted, I tried my best not to complain. I kept myself busy and kept moving to deter my mind from thinking about lunch.
In the evening, we read to the children again at the library. This time we split the children up into two groups — classes 1-3 and classes 4-6. My group read to classes 1-3 outside in Derrick’s family’s courtyard.
Our first day on the job we had breakfast at 7:30am and left for the site at 8:30am. We played with the kids for a little before we started working and then everyone, including the children, helped us move huge bricks from one side of the field to the other. The children’s strength is unbelievable! I certainly could not carry one brick by myself, and these kids could carry them on their heads!! I felt very ashamed and weak.
Our next task was to mix the foundation for the classroom floor — sand, one bag of cement mix, water, and rocks. We carried big pans of the mixture to the masons to lay on the ground. We also mixed mortar — sand, one bad of cement mix, and water to fill the gaps between the bricks and keep them in place. We broke for a delicious lunch at 12:30, a Ghanian traditional cuisine — “Red Red.” Red Red consists of fried plantains and black eyed peas in a delicious red sauce. This became my favorite meal.
When we returned back to work, all the children were gone. It was nice to have some peace and quiet while working. The rest of the day was pretty slow — bringing pans of mortar to the masons and making more mortar. There was a limited supply of tools, so only 2 of us could help the masons laying the bricks. The rest of the bricks were drying in the sun on the other side of the field.
After our first day of work, we had a delicious meal of mixed veggies and potatoes with Ma Tess’ version of fried fish sticks. It was delicious, especially with the mango chutney we bought from the store. We then went to the local library, which was founded by Derrick’s family and read to the children.