My boys!

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Throwing themselves on the floor in laughter!

Throwing themselves on the floor in laughter!

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Kids Giggling Outside My Room!

I was in my room for the night and I heard giggling outside. I sat quietly until they knocked on the door. I asked, “Who is it”? All I could hear was laughter and whispers. I said, “Come in”! This is what I saw.

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Kwame & Kweku Acquah, Stephen, Patrick, John, Nana & Wofa all decorated with chalk. They danced around the room laughing, throwing themselves on the floor, dancing and yelling. It was fantastic! One of my best memories here. Kids being kids! Enjoy these few photos.

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Mama Sarah

Mama Sarah

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John

John

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One coat finished!

One coat finished!

One coat finished!

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Painting the school desks

Painting the school desks

Painting the school desks

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Paint! Paint! Everywhere!

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Kids helping with the sanding while it rained outside

Twelve days until I head back to the States. Much has been accomplished and much is left to complete.

This week there were several dozen desks for the kids as well as tables, benches, teacher’s tables and chairs. They were all donated by four amazing women from Australia, Sam, Rachel, Madi & Sophie. So, now the painting begins. We are battling rain, mold, termites and inexperience and we’re having a blast.

Above you can see some of the kids pitching in to help sand. I’ll post some of the painting pictures at the end. We have completed putting one coat of oil paint on each piece of furniture as well as on the our hands, legs, arms, hair, faces and a couple of nearby trees. Laughter has filled the air during this whole project. Again, I am amazed by these kids and their work ethic. When they work, they laugh, tell stories, sing and give lots of advice. It sure makes the time go quickly. At the end they all feel pride for a job well done.

This Thursday the carpenters will begin taking down the wood that has held up the ceiling while the cement is drying. It will take 3 days. They finally said we could paint the outside once the wood is down. So, painting will begin on Monday. Only gives me a few days before leave. We’re all working hard to get as much as we can done in the mean time. The manhole is being covered. The windows are ready to be installed. The burglar proofing for the windows is being pounded out. The list seems endless, yet we keep plugging away.

I’ll try to get some pictures of the school up before I head for home, however no promises. I think this will be my last visit to the internet cafe. I don’t want to miss one minute with the kids and this project.

Thank you, once again for all of your support. Sending huge Ghanaian hugs your way!

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Love these kids!

Love these kids!

Love these kids!

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How Do I Go Back?

How do I go back when:

  • Each morning I walk into the loving arms of 35 children?
  • Simply walking through their gate, I receive cheers and hugs?
  • All of my waking hours have been outside for the last three months?
  • Five cents will buy a package of crackers and I feel like I’ve given a pot of gold?
  • Children need to be held as they grieve the loss of family – time after time after time?
  • A meal for 40 people can be made in a large stew pot over and open fire for less than $10?
  • People surround me only want me to be happy and to feel loved?
  • The stars shine so brightly that I can easily see the Milky Way?
  • The moon is out, Wofa reminds me that I told him that we will always be looking at the same moon?
  • Kwesi is constantly saying, “Mama J, up please?”
  • Wofa’s silly dancing and faces keep me laughing?
  • Each person jumps out of her/his chair when I arrive and offers it to me?
  • The children are heard through my window each night singing and laughing?
  • Kwame Acquah is here to help me even before I know I need help?
  • Gloria comes to my room each day, just to hang out, read and play with the iPhone? And the sweet conversations we sneak in?
  • The kids knock on my door every day and I ask, “Who is it?” and most of them yell, “It’s me!” (except Kwesi – he yells, “It’s me, Kwesi!”)?
  • At any given moment, I can find Kakra, Maafia and Gifty arm-in-arm giggling?
  • Patrick tries over and over to connect with the new volunteers and is heartbroken each time s/he leaves? Then, Mama Sarah and all the others do the same.
  • No matter how little food there is, they will all personally offer me their food and say, “you are welcome.”
  • Little Aggie pretends to fall asleep on my shoulder and just when I’m ready to put her down, she’ll peek up to see if I’m looking and then giggle and say, “I love you sooo much!”
  • Appiah, who speaks so seldom to volunteers can’t walk past without touching, tickling, pounding, or just throwing his head back in a “what’s up?” kind of way?
  • Ajingo finds quiet time to simply share his heart?
  • Mabena asks all the volunteers to call her Grace and then asks me to call her Maabii (her favorite nickname from her friends)?
  • Josephine works from sun up to sun down and never complains, simply serves? I especially love when I take her picture, she always laughs?
  • Joyce shies away whenever attention is on her?
  • The kids come to my room each day to play games or write on the white boards that Dawn sent?
  • Each day I learn how to love better and more purely?
  • Kids come to my room each day simply to read a book?
  • The fireflies are beginning to flash in the night?
  • We sing songs and dance EVERY day?
  • Crazy dance parties occur OFTEN?
  • The kids put on their African clothes and dance for me with such joy on their face?
  • “Ahhh-Woooooofa!” – when I yell, “Ahhh-Woooooofa!” like Jennifer Wilson did when she was here and Wofa looks up with a BIG GRIN?
  • Kweku Acquah takes time to figure out the words in English to explain something to me?
  • Cobii, Francis and Gifty’s noses never stop running?
  • Time after time, Sarah, Aggie or one of the kids will be the cause of me laughing until I cry?
  • Aggie and Mama Sarah and I share such sweet sister time?
  • The kids are just learning not to hit each other?
  • The teachers are learning not to cane?
  • The school desks need painting, the school needs painting?
  • The landscape around the school needs to be done?
  • Crying huge tears happens daily simply thinking about going?
  • Little Richmond is so angry and causing fights constantly just trying to figure out how to live in this new place with 35 other kids?
  • Francis always looks like “Pigpen” on Charlie Brown because he LOVES to play in the dirt?
  • Olivia is always wanting to help me do things the right way?
  • Kristen is able to wrap her daddy around her little finger?
  • Stephen is fighting his way through life?
  • Emma is so very gentle with his two little sisters?
  • Martha takes such sweet care of her big brother and little sister?
  • Big Richmond is just beginning to connect with me?
  • Ama (Juliet) is always making gifts for the volunteers and in her own quiet way she sees everything?
  • Esi always plays music on her cell phone for the kids?
  • Isaac (Kweku) comes home from school on weekends and does crazy things like jumping in the water that has collected in the deep pit?
  • Richard is beginning to feel proud as he is working so hard on the school building?
  • The twins Porcia and Pollina are learning that friends come and go, and sisters are forever?
  • Mary is just starting to open up with me?
  • Ruth is always taking care of her twin sisters (like a mother) even though she is only 12 years old (including washing all of their clothes and making sure they are behaving)?
  • Augustina is just figuring out about boys?
  • Julius is starting to be more like a brother to all of the kids?
  • Obeng has begun to be playful with me
  • John is constantly teasing me by imitating me or speaking Fante like I should understand what he’s saying?
  • Nana is being silly and trying to make me laugh?

Maybe the question is not, “How do I go back?” but “How can I remember all of this?” or “How can I remember to cherish each day as the days go by soo quickly?” or “How can I remember to love people in each moment, knowing that I may never see them again?” How do I remember to be grateful for each convenience I have in my life?” and of course, the most important question, “How do I ever thank my loved ones for all their support while I got to be on this great adventure?”

I love you, Bruce! I love you, my family and friends. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And most of all, “Thank you, God for choosing me for this journey!”

So, if I seem quiet or sad at times, please understand that this will be an adjustment for me. My heart has been cracked wide open and filled and filled and filled with love. This is not the first time. Thank you to all of you who have helped to fill my heart. My life is sooooo blessed!

Eighteen days left here. I’m doing my best to make each moment of each day count. Right here! Right now!

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