Jan 172010
The Incredible School of Rural Dalive

It is a scientific fact: when students take a leadership role in their own education rather than blindly swallowing a teacher’s “answers”, these students develop ownership, pride, and confidence in their learning, and the results are rich.

Similarly, in development work for impoverished communities, if the community seeking aid actually helps to diagnose and solve its own needs rather than being spoon-fed an outsider’s “solution”, the resulting projects become more wisely planned [...Read More!]

Jan 162010
Ghana Will Miss Efo Kwabla!

It is currently five in the morning: the time that most punctuality-abiding Boston Public Schools teachers and students arise each morning to make it to school on time.

Here in this mosquito-infested hotel in Accra, what on Earth awakes us at this shocking time? Alas, it is time to escort our dear efo (brother) to the airport!

Dan (born on a Tuesday, and thus called “Kwabla”, in Ewe) is the son of [...Read More!]

Jan 152010
The Tale of Kwame Peter

Seth (pictured in the white shirt) told us a funny true story tonight…

Noble YCC Treasurer, Seth, was sleeping peacefully in the guesthouse, when a young boy from town appeared at his door.

“Seth,” the little boy said (pronounced “Set”), “do you know where is Kwame Peter?”

“Huh?” said Seth, “There is no Kwame Peter living here. You have the wrong house.”

“No, no,” insisted the boy, “I know I saw Kwame Peter here! [...Read More!]

Jan 142010
The Grand Quiz of YCC, Sogakope!

“Children,” boomed the Grand Quiz Chairman, “are you happy?”

“Yes!” yelled the two hundred schoolkids in the audience.

“I asked,” hollered Chairman Moses Kawkaw with a grin, “ARE YOU HAPPY?”

“YES!” sang Sogakope’s youth at the top of their lungs, “YES!”

Today’s Grand Quiz was brilliant on about ten different levels, which became clearer and clearer as the day went on.

At first, however, I didn’t really understand the concept. I did know that Bright Star [...Read More!]

Jan 132010
The Ghana-Americas Connection

“Why do we feel so at home here in Ghana?” Dan and I have been asking each other.

Slowly it’s dawned on us: it’s not just that the people are amazingly friendly and kind, though that helps. It is that the echoes of our American culture are everywhere here in Ghana, because, we are now understanding, the echoes of Ghana are everywhere in America. Oh the power of the African diaspora!

Here [...Read More!]

Jan 122010
Heat and Development in Ghana

It was too hot today to exist. My fellow YCC Ghana volunteer, Dan, and I spent most of the baking hours attempting to work while draped on chairs and benches and other surfaces, trying to remember to breathe and drinking giant bottles of Voltic Water and Alvaro Non-Alcoholic Pear Malt. The ceiling fans whirled wobbly circles at their maximum speed and only seemed to stir the thick air soup slightly.

This is [...Read More!]

Jan 112010
The Barriers in Flying Students from Ghana to Britain

How can you bear to do it? How can you send the baby of your womb out across oceans, into this wild, scary world? Moreover, how the heck do you help pay for it?

The roosters sprinted across the yellow dust between the parents of YCC children and the YCC staff as John stood up to speak. He started the meeting at 2:20, only twenty minutes later than scheduled, [...Read More!]

Jan 102010
An Awards Day Intro to Youth Creating Change

A delightful way for a teacher to be introduced to her future students is to attend an award ceremony celebrating their previous year.

It is scientifically proven that if a teacher comes into a classroom thinking about the talents and strong brains of her pupils, the pupils in turn will achieve greater academic success. We humans have a nice way of rising to high expectations, don’t we?

So huzzah and tra la [...Read More!]

Jan 092010
Where the Volta Meets the Ocean Meets Food Poisoning

Under the curve of Mother Africa’s head, before her long neck, the blue Volta river spills forth from Ghana and meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Today we had a free time before the Youth Creating Change holiday party tomorrow, and so American Dan, German Alexander, and I went with Ghanaian YCC Staff Member Collins to the meeting of the waters.

Seth pointed to Dan as we were leaving. “You,” he said, “you bring [...Read More!]

Jan 082010
Epic Fundraiser Shopping in Aburi

“Please do not be offended,” said the soldier at the Volta River roadblock, “but are you a spy?”

“No I am not.” replied Dan respectfully.

“Are you sure?” asked the soldier, eying Dan’s fancy camera.

“I am sure,” said Dan.

And thus began our epic journey to the distant hill town of Aburi to fulfill the mission of Backpacking Granny: 1) Take seed money from the U.S. to Ghana to buy hand-crafts, 2) which Dan [...Read More!]