Dagara music…drums, bells and “rattles”…

Before the break I made a personal promise to my teachers that I would find a music teacher!  I really stuck my neck out because I really had NO idea how I was going to make it happen!  I knew our children needed to learn the cultural music here and I am aware that a few of our students are especially drawn to music and instruments.  But we have few funds and even fewer resources (contacts for teachers).

Then last week, after church a musician from the choir followed me to my car.  Gerome asked me if I was interested in bringing music to our students.  Really?  Oh yes!  Really!  Gerome plays at the Dagara Music Center – a world famous group who tour throughout the U.S., Europe and Africa.

Gerome teaching how to play the rattle

Gerome teaching how to play the rattle

He just returned from the U.S. (John F. Kennedy Music Center in N.Y.) and he is bringing his talents to Joy2theWorld International Christian Academy!

The children are learning how to play drums (tones, rhythms, beat) and they are playing a joyful noise!  All the children are able to play some instrument (either the drums, rattles or bells).

I still believe that God listens to my promises (and prayers!) and helps us every day!  Some ask how we can continue to build on so little…it is because of generous sponsors and donors who keep us alive and growing.

Maybe some day, one of our own will be playing at the Kennedy Music Center too!

Abigail is smiling!  So happy to learn the rattle

Abigail is smiling! So happy to learn the rattle

KG2 drums

KG2 drums

Completing a year of the Sanitation Project 2013-2014 in Medie, Ghana

Joy2theWorld is very proud to partner with Rotary International and Rotary Clubs in the U.S. and Accra to complete the Sanitation Project we started March 1, 2013.  It took a team to produce the planning, negotiating, educating, financing, building of community cooperation, (long, hot, filthy) digging, bulldozing, spreading, planting and finally celebrating and photographing.

I will take this opportunity to appreciate Mohammed Sulemana’s hard work, patience, persistence and perseverance.  He played an important role in every stage of this project.  Mohammed worked tirelessly to make this happen and to get the cooperation of all the stakeholders…the community, the politicians, the government agencies, the contractors and more.  I cannot imagine this project’s success without Mohammed.

It was Sarah Ehrlinger, working full time on this project for Joy2theWorld, to raise the funds through Rotary and help us realize our dream to clear this toxic waste and improve the quality of life for the Medie community.  Because of her ingenuity and contacts with Rotary (as a Rotarian Ambassadorial Scholar) in the U.S. that we were able to fund this project.

Joy2theWorld had a team on this project that persisted and projected the completion NO MATTER WHAT!

Of course, we are forever grateful to Rotary International, Rotary Club of Houghton, MI (Past President Cindy Enderby) and President George Opare Baidu of Rotary Club of Accra-West, GH for the financial assistance to make this project come to life.

Joy2theWorld started this project assuming it would take 6 months and we would be free to start our school.  It actually took a year.  For this reason, we thank and acknowledge the staff and teachers and especially the children who have thrived in spite of the diverted attention of the Office Manager (Mohammed) and Proprietress (Kathleen Gibbs).  Now that the project is complete, you have our full attention!

And, last but not least, we are grateful to the community of Medie who listened to our promises and believed in us.  They participated in classes, Community Labor Day projects (where all the community arrived with rakes to clean the streets along  with the waste company),went door-to-door educating and today are celebrating with us – the fresh air, the clean land, the working public W.C. and dreams of a future open market place that will impact the economic stability of the whole village.

The "before" pictures

The “before” pictures

Thank you one and all.

Here are the pictures that encapsulates the

Children walking on toxic waste dump collecting aluminum to re-sell.

Children walking on toxic waste dump collecting aluminum to re-sell.

year of the Sanitation Project 2013-14.

Cleared, secure , clean land ...the "after" picture

Cleared, secure , clean land …the “after” picture

Zoomlion team ready to help community clean up

Zoomlion team ready to help community clean up

itEveryone works together on Communal Labor Day

The community came together to clean streets

Building a septic tank 7' deep

Building a septic tank 7′ deep

A plaque to acknowledge all the stakeholders in this project.

A plaque to acknowledge all the stakeholders in this project.

30 tree seedlings will grow exponentially during the rainy season to provide shade

30 tree seedlings will grow exponentially during the rainy season to provide shade

Completed W.C. with 5 toilets for men and 5 for women

Completed W.C. with 5 toilets for men and 5 for women

Banner & shovels at site for ground breaking ceremony

Banner & shovels at site for ground breaking ceremony

Bring in the heavy equipment!

Bring in the heavy equipment!

Here comes Cindy!

Here comes Cindy!4.

Completing Term 2 – and Successful PTA Meeting

A lively and happy PTA meeting started our final day in school for Term 2.  It was standing room only for parents who came to thank us for another great Term.  They said they were so happy because their children can read, write, speak English and they have so much to talk about when they get home!

Yes, we are all concerned about a bus…we desperately need transportation for our kids to get to school safely…but overall, parents were so thankful to Joy2theWorld and to the donors and sponsors in the U.S.A.

Happy parents at PTAfull house at the PTA meetingStanding room only for parents at PTA watching kids perform

The children performed a cultural dance and sang familiar songs as the parents watched with pride.  Of course, we had best student KG2 (David) and best student KG1 (Bevelyn) and many, many (9) who received prizes for no absences during the term.

Passionate about education

Passionate about education

The students have a week off, returning Tuesday, April 15 to begin Term 3.

Bevelyn - best student - KG1 Term 2

Bevelyn – best student – KG1 Term 2

Children performing for parents

Children performing for parents

Teacher, Charity is translating

Teacher, Charity is translating

Kelvin KG2

Kelvin KG2

David top student KG2 Term 2

David top student KG2 Term 2

Alice, no absences

Alice, no absences

Joachim, no absences

Joachim, no absences

We have a busy Term ahead of us as we finalize the year with lessons in math, writing, English and creative arts.  Our teachers have done well and will also have some time off to prepare for the next Term.

We will be starting our renovation in the next month as we add 3 more classrooms!  We are creating a classroom for Primary 1 and another room for those with special needs – tutoring one-on-one.  We have 1 ADHD and 6 with Dyslexia – so we will be rotating these children into our special needs classroom.  We need computers for this and we will put the computers to good use with our advanced students – rotating them into the special needs classroom.  This way, everyone will see this is not a room for children with problems, but a room for special training.

The teachers received  Professional Development training on dyslexia on how best to reach our children.  We all watched “Like Stars On Earth” (Khan Productions) which is an excellent reference to better understand our kids with dyslexia.  Then we (teachers and I) discussed teaching practices and methods to give our students an advantage.  We will begin implementing these practices even in the 3rd Term.  When we can tell the parents that some very bright, creative, famous people with dyslexia have learned and succeeded,  then they will recognize the need for their kids to stay in school.

But for now, we slow our pace for a week as we prepare for Term 3.  Children will be at home on spring vacation until April 15.  Teachers and staff will be preparing classrooms and lesson plans.

Thank you to all of you who are donors and sponsors.  This is only possible because of your generosity.

 

 

 

Learning about science in KG1….air! and then there is music and dance!

Learning about air...in KG1KG1 (4-5 year olds) are learning about air…that we need air for breathing…air makes things move…and air helps clothes to dry.  Did you know?   So much fun learning stuff with friends.  Everything is so important to learn when you are in Kindergarten.  It’s a busy day here at Joy2theWorld International Christian Academy!

Please sponsor a child for ( $90 for the term or $30/month) and change a child’s life from no education to a lifetime of learning.

Go to GoFundMe at http://www.gofundme.com/47mymc and change history.

learning cultural dance

learning cultural dance

Learning science with friends

Learning science with friends

When a fan moves the air....

When a fan moves the air….

Help us bring the children to school!

School Bus for Ghana kids!

School Bus for Ghana kids!

Joy2theWorld is pleading for your help!  We need a safe way to bring the children to school every day.  Many more children will come if we can provide transportation.   We can also put this to good use on our field trips!

Maybe your church or club would like to help with this project…We’ve been praying and we know that we will have our bus in God’s time….Can you help?

Check out our GoFundMe page at http://www.gofundme.com/7iaar8

Sanitation Project is transforming the community of Medie

These days it is quite common to see neighbors come by and marvel at the activities surrounding the Sanitation Project – a partnership of Joy2theWorld, Rotary International, Rotary Accra-West and U.S. Rotaries – as waste is taken to an official waste dump and a clean, flat area is appearing.  The project is approximately 90% complete but this update shows great progress!

What a perfect opportunity to teach our children about caring for the environment.  Mohammed teaches students about keeping our environment clean – personal responsibility for throwing our trash into the trash bins!  He also taught about various types of dirt and how rich Ghana soil is for agriculture.  It is up to us to use this land wisely!

Children learn about our environment

Children learn about our environment

The community is involved in this project

The community is involved in this project

Removal of waste completed with heavy equipment

Removal of waste completed with heavy equipment

The waste removed, dirt crushed into the earth, and latrite (absorbing clay) layered on top

The waste removed, dirt crushed into the earth, and latrite (absorbing clay) layered on top

Field Trip to Bojo Beach

yet another group pose with a view of the beach

Our 28 students participated in a field trip to the private Bojo Beach…  The kids studied about salt water (and clean vs. contaminated water), fish, boats, shells and waves.  But it wasn’t until they changed into their suits (provided by Beth Brady, a Farmers’ Insurance Agent in Houston, TX) and ran through the sand that they realized all that they were learning!

We started out our excursion with a prayer for a safe journey… then all wore life preservers on the boat ride to the beach.  Mohammed began singing “If you’re happy and you know it, say Amen!”  “AMEN”  little voices heard as they crossed the water.  Later Mohammed said “I just wanted to distract the children so they wouldn’t be so afraid.”  Good thinking, Mohammed!

Barbara is buckled up for the short boat ride to the beach

Barbara is buckled up for the short boat ride to the beach

4 kids ready to sail!

4 kids ready to sail!

Pushing off from the dock

Pushing off from the dock

Once on the beach, the children realized all that they had learned about salt water, sand, shells and boats.  They were timid at first, but then began to play in the sand and waves.  Two teams searched for shells.  And others just sat in the water and waited for the waves to roll over them.

Kids heading for the beach

Kids heading for the beach

Feet in the water

Feet in the water

Feet in the water

Feet in the water

Everyone had a wonderful time!  We were all exhausted and the kids slept in the bus on the way home!  What a day!

This was a day of great fun and included a learning experience.  It was a day to enjoy the beauty of Ghana and understand how important it is to keep our environment clean.

Re-post of Help Wanted Ad to teach at Joy2theWorld International School in Ghana, West Africa

(First posted February, 2013 when Joy2theWorld International School was just a dream.)

So many of us are very busy and wish we “just had the time” to make a difference “like THAT”. Some of us think that we don’t have enough money, enough spare time or enough courage to make a difference “like THAT!”

But you do.

Some of us are great observers…watching from the bleachers…or in front of the TV news. But if you ask those people in the game on the field…they are having the most fun, getting the most joy and satisfaction.

You can too.

And of course, many of you have many responsibilities that you are committed to and believe that someday, when the schedule and demands are less stressful, you will take the time to make a difference out there.

You will.

Today, we are offering you 3 great ways to Make a Difference!

1. You can volunteer to come to Ghana for 2 months (July-August) to teach Professional Development classes to teachers here in the rural community of Ghana.  Many of our teachers have a high school education and are starving for new ideas and new approaches for reaching our children.  The children will win from this too!  If you have some teaching experience, you have a gift to give.  If you want to create your own “lab” or research study, you are welcome.   If you want to experience a different culture over a short period of time….we have it here for you!  You can live in a rural community, meet the community leaders (Chiefs, Assemblymen, Director of Education, etc.), and travel on the weekends to experience the beautiful sites of Ghana.

Your agreement to teach includes room & board and the opportunity to experience life in a totally different culture…an adventure you will NEVER forget!

Ghana is located in West Africa, a democracy noted for its Peace and great sports team (soccer)! Yes, it IS very HOT! but August is one of the cooler of the HOT months (12 out of 12)! :-)

Some Kids who want to go to school

Kids at St. Joseph the Worker 2013

kid at rural school

Contact Kathleen at hmkathleen@joy2theworld.org for more information. We will send you the application and travel information.

HELP WANTED

2. This opportunity is for someone with a desire to Make a Difference for children ages 4-8 who need preparation to attend 1st grade. These children lack the support at home to learn what we take for granted….they need to know their colors, numbers and even the self discipline to be in a classroom. They come from loving homes but their parents are probably illiterate and poor.

We have an opening for an Early Child Education Teacher or teacher assistant (and now, a 1st grade teacher!) willing to commit to one year of teaching young students. This is a longer commitment and will require some “rolling up of our sleeves” and transformation.

You will work closely with a Ghanaian teacher….after all, our children need to be taught Ghanaian culture along with their numbers, right? So the opportunity is for this volunteer to learn so much about Ghana, children and love here.

For those of you out there who need work but can’t find a job right out of college….imagine this international experience on your resume! But the greater experience is meeting and living among wonderful Ghanaian people.

These are children after attending our school for 4 months.  attachment wp-att-1561″>

Teacher - Madam Charity

Teacher – Madam Charity

Teacher  - Sir Amos

Teacher – Sir Amos

 

 

 

 

 

Come join these teachers for the summer (Professional Development Classes) or for the next school year.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST…

3. And yes, this is a stretch! We are building a school to open (Phase 1) in early, 2015! If you want to physically take part in the construction, building bricks, masonry, carpentry, and all those wonderful skills that you know like the back of your hand…and maybe mentor some young Ghanaians in these technical skills… We welcome your engineering and environmental experience.

You are wanted and needed here! You can choose to bring your favorite tools (within reason, of course!) :) Some of our kids have seen pictures of tools…but never had the hands on training you could offer. Tech (shop!) classes are taught with Theory…pictures but no equipment.

This opportunity will open soon and be ongoing. You can come on your 2 week vacation, or for much longer…of course!

Consider these invitations to get in the game! Yes, you will be responsible for your airfare, some personal expenses. But what you will get in return will far exceed anything you spend.

If you think true happiness comes from reading an article in a magazine, think again. You will find happiness from giving of yourself. You can make a huge difference in the lives of others here. I promise. So, get off the bleachers and on to the field….

Of course, if you wish to donate to any of these projects…your donation is greatly appreciated! All of these need financial support and we count on our friends to help us. Please use the DONATE button here on this website…you can even designate the area you would like your donation to be applied…

Questions? Contact Kathleen at hmkathleen@joy2theworld.org.

This is what our students look like after 4 months in school!

 

The guys after playing soccer!

The guys after playing soccer!

Meet Christian, Joachim, Wisdom, Patrick and David!  They are shining examples how 4 months can transform a child’s life.  They were playing soccer during break and stopped for a moment to pose for my camera…good friends, laughing and playing.  Their education is rigorous too.  They are learning about spelling, reading, counting (and a little adding and subtraction), soil, water and tides.

When I asked little Joachim (KG1) “what did you learn today?”, he answered “sounds of the alphabet!”…phonics!  Now I am told, they all speak English outside of school too.  Parents come to greet us and thank us for their children’s education.

 

3 friends meeting before school

3 friends meeting before school

This is a picture of 3 friends – Mariama (who is new and will get her uniform next week), Gifty and Hannah-Kekeli.  They love coming to school and learning!  Now when I ask “How are you?” They say “Great!” or “Wonderful!” instead of the rote “I am fine”.  Our children are learning to express themselves in class and on the playground.

Please help us make a difference in these children’s lives by sponsoring a child.  The tuition is $90 per term or $30 per month.  The families must still pay a small fee to be part of the responsibility.  They appreciate what you are doing and feel as partners in their children’s education.  I am always proud to say “American friends are helping with your child’s tuition.”  They will always remember that.

 

Who are you “being” today? Pick your own character quality every day

The whole class Jan 31, 2014Beginning this Monday, February 3 we will have 30 students attending Joy2theWorld Christian International Preparatory School!  Our numbers are growing as word is getting out that our students are learning more!

We started a new practice to develop our understanding of ourselves and others.  Each day our students choose a character word or attitude to live by for the day.  They can choose “smart”, “kind”, “brave”, “polite”, “helpful”, “hardworking”, “creative” and many more.

They learn more about the character trait as well as learn that they get to choose who they are each day.   We are all different.  We all encompass many qualities.

Our children are in their second term and learning spelling words (phonics), counting by tens, and learning about their environment.  Our field trip this term is a trip to the beach.  So we are learning about fresh vs. salt water (and safe water vs. contaminated water), fish and tides.  The trip will include a short ride in a boat that takes us to the beautiful, clean beach.  We are coloring pictures of fish and boats for homework.  Word is out that a friend is sending bathing suits from the U.S.!

We are also learning about Genesis and how amazing and creative God is to create the moon, sun and all the planets …then the waters …and how tides are created.

Here are some of our new students:

Florence - Nursery

Florence – Nursery

David KG2

David KG2

Ivy - Nursery

Ivy – Nursery

 

Blessing

Blessing