Last weekend I had another opportunity to live like a local Ghanaian. On Friday, Auntie took Jessica and I to the seamstress to pick up our Kente dresses. Early on Saturday, Jessica and I went with Auntie and some of her "mates" (life-long friends) to the engagement party of the son of a woman that she went to secondary school with. I must admit that I felt a little anxious and nervous about going because I was unaware of the traditions and not to mention... the soon-to-be bride and groom! When we arrived at the engagement party, I noticed it was very similar to an American wedding and reception with a few minor differences. For example, the groom's family offers the bride's family a dowry as compensation for the bride "leaving" her family to join the groom's. The idea of family was a very strong aspect during all parts of the ceremony as Ghanaians say that it is "the joining of two families into one."
Another opportunity that I had last weekend was to go visit the botanical gardens in Aburi, which is a small city on the top of the mountains outlying Accra. At these gardens, Phelicia, Jessica and myself got a tour of many different local and tropical plants that were protected on the grounds. For example, we got to see and taste cocoa pods, see a tree that spontaneously shoots up its roots to form new trees, and a type of small fern that closes up its leaves when it is touched. No joke! Needless to say, this discovery kept me occupied and side-track for the remainder of the tour. :) It was amazing to see things that I've never seen before and it made me think about what other plants and animals I am unfamiliar with.
It is my "5th" week of school this week, however it is only my 2nd FULL week. Surprisingly, these last 2 weeks have gone and are currently going by smoothly. I finally feel completely adjusted to the different school environment, however I think it will definitely take me some time to adjust back to the U.S. education system upon my return. I also have taken on a few more things in the classroom. This week I am doing Math with the children, as well as English. We are learning ordering of numbers, and patterns. I did end up bringing in my colored pattern cubes today and it was effective in showing the students patterning and ordering. I also made some flashcards for the students to learn their 2-letter sounds (wa, at, pa, ha) and showed them how to work with a partner to use the cards and "quiz" each other. I was pleasantly surprised that most of the students were at least somewhat responsible with the cards and were looking at and rehearsing the sounds. I think with a little more practice they will have it down! This week I have also introduced to my teacher the idea of reading a book every day at the end of the day. I figured that this is good way to engage the students AND listening to my "proper" English, as they call it, would teach the students how to use English more efficiently. Today I read the story, "Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears" and they absolutely loved it! Thanks so much for the donated book Mindy, and third graders from West Side Elementary in Elkhorn, WI. :)
Well until next time.
By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!