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The short story behind my surprise birthday party:
My cousin was posted to teach in one of the communities in Banda; which is in the Krachi Nchumuru District of the Northern Volta. When he left for his post, I called to check on him and the conversation we had on that very day got me curious. I told him I will visit. He told me not try as my waist will not be mine when I finally get there due to the bad road network, but I insisted . I finally got there despite the stressful journey and it was actually worth it .
I discovered a business avenue and quickly made up my mind to give it a try but when I got to the town for my business deals I was disappointed and heart-broken seeing boys and girls at that school hour going to farm some carrying Kokonte, Charcoal, Yam and and other stuffs to markets in the nearby villages. I run to my cousin in the school and lamented on what I saw but he laughed and told me to relax because the community as a whole does not value education. I remembered that night was very long for me as I was not able to have a good sleep. I woke up early to start my interview or you can call it Anas undercover….lol!! I interviewed those going to school, those going to the farm and the market . Hmm….the information I gathered was funny, interesting and annoying.
I remembered that night was very long for me as I was not able to have a good sleep. I woke up early to start my interview or you can call it Anas undercover….lol!! I interviewed those going to school, those going to the farm and the market . Hmm….the information I gathered was funny, interesting and annoying.
To start with, most of the students lack parental care and control. Parents find it difficult to provide the needs of their wards. Most of these parents do not value education; they believe they are wasting money on the child and nothing tangible will come from their education since farming is their mainalways want their children helping them in the farm.
Upon several observations, and interviews I discovered that most of their parents are very poor. The funny thing is, most of the men have three to five wives and each of the wives have more than three children so the poverty level in their homes is extremelyfeeding, teaching and learning materials are hard to come by. Some of the children, especially the boys, have to go into farming and other menial jobs to support themselves and their families. On the other hand, the girls go in for men their fathers’ age for financial support. The unfortunate ones end up getting unwanted pregnancies which lead to them dropping out from school.
Another rather interesting issue is their expensive funeraluse their harvest money to perform funeral rites of their relatives who died many years ago. Music, cooking and changing of clothes go on for weeks. Expensive funerals are rather exchanged for their wards education and their welfare.
I tried to have a one-on-one chat with the children; especially the girls and followed them to their various homes and met their parents . There is a ripple effect in the sense that, since the parents were not sent to school by their parents, they don’t see the reason to send their own wards.
I am happy my little talks touched some of them and it made them stay the in classroom. Anytime I went there, I took with me, books, pens and pencils, and mathematical set which were given out to those who were punctual. The current third year students in Junior High School (JHS) who registered for BECE are 106 in number and all are under one hut. The teachers said my input has increased the number because last year, only 46 registered. On my birthday, they thanked me and threw a party for me; which is not really something I consider doing for myself.
The RAPiD is continuing to impact the youth in our own small way and as a National Co-ordinator, I will continue to do my best for our communities.
I am planning to organize an excursion for them next term to see the beautiful things outside their village; hopefully that will be an eye opener for them.
By Believe Enyonam Amewotse Lead RAPID Co-ordinator