Our first 10 days in northern Ghana culminated with a visit to Guanwarre school this morning. Because there are no roads and the trails are spiderwebbed in all directions through tall grasses, we arranged to follow the headmaster to the school at 7 am. It was wonderful to see the growth at the school. For now, they are using the original adobe/mud schoolhouse for two classes, but the bulk of the 117 students meet outside, each class with its teacher and blackboard under it’s own tree. There is a new, cement block building consisting of three rooms awaiting a visit from the building inspector, after which it can be occupied. The current headmaster has wisely grouped the children by grade, rather than clumping them together in large groups of varying age and ability. Though there is a committed headmaster and one professional teacher, the other teachers have just barely completed high school and are paid a pittance of $50 per month. Even so, the Guanwarre students seem to be getting a reasonable start on their education with the students engaged in their learning. We were very favorably impressed.
And remarkably the feeding program, now operating for 2 years in the months from January to June, seems to be going without problems. It warms our hearts to see that the Guanwarre children are definitely looking healthier with better skin and less extreme leanness. We met today with some of the mothers that participate in cooking the food, and they expressed satisfaction with the food supply, storage, and preparation. The teachers too reported that the food is being stored and prepared competently. It is so rare not to have conflicts and issues. Ghanaians are generally communicative and, therefore, not hesitant to let you know of problems. We are so pleased at the success of this program and its benefits to the school and in the community.
In a country where the many schools have no toilet, a particularly notable development is that of a toilet building for the school. On starting the feeding program two years ago, all of the mothers who volunteered to cook tested positive for typhoid fever. They all received treatment with antibiotics, along with most of their children. Typhoid is transmitted by the fecal-oral route. Contamination can happen either by flies landing on feces and then on food, or by contaminated hands. We are hoping the enclosed toilets has reduced the contamination of food by flies. One aspect of the feeding program is to retest the cooks while we are here.