A special day at a special school

Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
Trip End Jul 17, 2011

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Flag of Ghana  ,
Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today we were supposed to visit a vocational education high school but there was a miscommunication and the school actually was not in session. This may be because tomorrow is a holiday in Ghana, a big one, National Day, which is equivalent to our July 4th.  So we had some extra free time in the morning which I used to read for class and of course nap, because that sleep is a precious commodity.  Heather, Francis and I wandered out to get some lunch at a nearby chop bar.  We had a general idea of where it was but because we had arrived by van the first time we weren't completely sure.  To add to it, the streets are actually concentric circles that intersect rather than a block system which makes it very easy to get turned around and lost.  We found it and had some lunch.  The portions are huge and Heather and I took home enough for lunch another day.  Our afternoon visit was to New Horizons School which is a school for students with special needs.  During the regular semester some NYU students volunteer there.  The school itself has been in operation for almost 40 years and was started in a woman’s house who began educating her own daughter since there were no schools then that would take her.  Her daughter still goes to the school now and she is 54.  By word of mouth the founder asked other families with special needs children if they wanted to send them to her to learn.  Many denied they had special children but a few agreed and the school was started in a church basement.  It now has its own building and teaches about 165 children and adults with physical and mental challenges.  They rely on tuition, donations and benefactors to run the school and they often have groups of American volunteer students coming to help with the students.  After students reach 18 they can go to the vocational education or sheltered workshop areas where they can learn sewing, fabric rug making, basket making, batik dyeing, kente cloth weaving and mat making.  All the crafts that the students make are sold at a shop on site.  A great souvenir opportunity as well as a way to help this very amazing school.  We got to tour the classrooms and meet the students and teachers.  One little boy was so cute he came around and said hi and shook everyone’s hand.  As we were leaving to go to another room, he came up to me and gave me a big hug shouting "mommy!".  It was super cute.  The classrooms were small but there were only about 8 students per room with a main teacher and 1 or 2 volunteers to help.  The rooms were colorful and well decorated.  Since they have limited funds they only have a part time physical therapist and that’s it, no speech pathologist or occupational therapist.  Also the day we were there the electricity had been out for most of the morning.  It was a little bit sad to see the children in a relatively poorly supplied school but happy to see the dedicated staff and volunteers working with children that would otherwise not get any education or skills at all.  After the visit we had some free time to read for class and of course nap.  Dinner was with the group at Sunshine restaurant, where we had believe it or not pita and hummus and chicken vindaloo.  All in all a good day.    
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anna Nicholas on

Lori..how wonderful to hear of the woman starting the school for her special needs child....how ahead of her time..Her daughter being 54yrs old...Wish you had a picture of the little one who hugged you and called you Mommy..I bet he was adorable..MOM

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