Saturday, March 19, 2011

3.5 of 3 (or maybe 4) -part camp series

So, the first term ended. Christmas came and went. While the students were back on the camp during their holidays we were able to get around and see each of them and their families, and make sure all was going well towards preparing for the 2nd term. We visited another former student of the Buduburam School for the Deaf. He had already been attending the Cape Coast school, but for the past term was refusing to go back – he preferred to stay on the camp and play pool (billiards) with his friends. We couldn’t change his mind.

Blamasee and I went to the eye doctor a couple of times. A couple of years after having his hearing severely damaged from a beating he also got kicked in the face while playing football and has had vision problems ever since. I’ll do a separate blog entry about just him one day in the future – it’ll be a fundraising effort. He’s a smart guy, a hard worker, stubborn and a pain in the neck at times (but who isn’t? most of us have our moments). And he’s also getting to the cut-off point for assistance received through Liliane Fonds.

I was also in contact with Marvelous’ father. He and his wife are no longer together – and that was the main problem for why Marvelous wasn’t attending school. The father seriously wanted Marvelous to get into school – but it was too late. The names of the students for the 2nd term had been sent in, and it wasn't clear if it would be possible for an exception to be made. The father was on it, though, and I believed that he’d be successful. Once in awhile I’d call and find out that they’d been to the school, talked with Mr. K (the sort-of Admissions Officer/former headmaster). I was encouraged and was sure that Marvelous would be joining the other kids for the 2nd term at school.

Mary was another story – I had a hard time finding her house on my own, so I went with Blamasee, and, as usual, the mother wasn’t at home. We left a message that she should try to find her way to Elizabeth at the Harmony Center – but, we’ve not heard from her since.

Rachel – well, she was too old for the funders I had, the family didn’t put in any effort of their own – not even to attend the meeting that was scheduled last August – and she was learning sewing on the camp - - - so, I let it drop.

Aaron – he and his sister still weren’t back. I’m not happy with the sister for lying to me. And now with the troubles in Cote d’Ivoire, I’m only hoping that they’re safe.

For Blamasee – one of the ones who was most serious about wanting to go to school – someone was helping me to figure out which supplies Blamasee had, what was still needed, and to use donations to acquire those things. And on his own, Blamasee found some work and used the money to purchase his own school uniforms! I was very encouraged by this.

The day scheduled for the students to go back to school I borrowed the truck I used to use while on the camp. Marie Mah was sick and her sister said she’d go back the following week. Hovee’s brother would take Hovee the following week. Marvelous’ father was still working on getting Marvelous into the school. Blessing and her mom showed up. And – happily – Blamasee was also there, early and ready to go.

Steve, Blamasee, Blessing and Blessing's Mom

Hard to explain the feelings associated with seeing Blamasee there.

In 2004, when I was just beginning with the school for the deaf on the camp, Blamasee was fighting attending the school – he didn’t want to accept that he couldn’t hear well enough for the other schools. He denied the need. Over time, he started attending the school for the deaf more and more regularly – and eventually became one of the better students. He’s now become the leader, in a way, of the deaf kids who are on the camp. They all look up to him, follow him, listen to him. He’s the one with whom I’ve spent the most time over the past year. He also is the one who can give attitude. When he stayed at the Bethany House the night before going to the eye doctor he refused to stay in the rooms where the Hope for Life members stay – even though no one was there at the time (although, it shouldn’t have mattered even if he had to share the room with a Hope for Life member). He refused to use the showers that the HFL members use in the main part of the house. (I didn’t learn all this until afterwards – and then I let him know what I thought about that - - - he and I have moved on.) He’s also the one I’ve seen mature the most. I’m very proud of him.

Blahmasee having his House Mother and Mr. K inspect his supplies

A week or two after school started, I was waiting for someone at the transport station close to where I live – which is also close to where Marvelous’ mother lives. I’ve only met her a couple of times, so didn’t immediately recognize the woman who was greeting me. She doesn’t speak much English, but I was able to understand enough to know who she was and that Marvelous was now staying with her again, and not the father - - and not in school. Hoy. I was disappointed – I had really believed that he’d be in school. What to do? I planned to call the father soon – but still haven’t gotten around to it.

This past weekend, roughly 2 months into the 2nd term of school, along with Elizabeth and Joe (an SMA lay missionary who’s recently arrived and will be taking over some of my work, as well as working on the camp as a nurse), I went down to the school for the deaf in Cape Coast. Marie Mah’s sister and Blessing’s mom both sent supplies for their kids, and we also brought some supplies for Blamasee. I couldn’t contact Hovee’s brother until too late for him to get anything to me.

It was wonderful – as usual, Marie Mah came running and jumped into my arms – almost knocking me over. Before long, we were surrounded by all four of the kids we came to see. And suddenly, from around the corner of one building, Marvelous came walking – with his usual big smile on his face. Amazing. And before I knew it, there were 3 other former students from the camp – Ghanaians whose families, on their own, had taken the initiative and responsibility for the registration process and entered their children at the school. It was kind of amazing to see everyone again – this small group (8 or 9 “kids”) of former students that I’d seen every day in the past – now together at Cape Coast. Nice.

hmmm, can't remember all the names, but 3rd from left is Hovee, behind him, with his fingers up, is Marvelous. The white guy is Joe and next to him is Ofori. Then Blamasee, me, Blessing and Marie Mah

We went to visit the Headmistress, who was out, and then to Mr. K – he seems to be the kids’ favorite.

I can't remember the girl on the left or the guy behind her, but after that is: Marie Mah, me, Hovee, Mr. K, Blamasee, Blessing, and Elizabeth

He took a lot of time to tell us how each of them was doing. After over an hour he was called to meet someone who was looking for the school, and we were taken to meet the housemothers. Blahmasee showed us his dorm room, the bed (which at the moment also had Marvelous’ mattress – since Marvelous arrived late, there were no beds available, so at night his mattress goes on the floor). And he showed us the bag where he stores his clothes – and which is in tatters (I need to remember to find him another one).

Again, the boy and girl whose names I can't remember, Hovee, Marvelous, Elizabeth, Blamasee, Ofori, me, Blessing and Marie Mah

The rest of the day:

Finally, we had to go – I was hungry and there’s a little place next to the Cape Coast Castle. We ate there, and I stayed to read and have another beer while Joe and Elizabeth took a good, but depressing tour, of the “castle”.

Elizabeth at the "Castle"

On the way home, a stop at one of my favorite places for a peaceful feeling and a view, Weda Lodge (I just call it “The House on the Hill” - and there are no websites to link to so you can see this wonderful place).

me and Elizabeth at one of Weda Lodge's vantage points


End of the camp series (although, I’ll still be writing about the camp, of course – just that the series I started forever ago is kind of old news) – I’m not going to do the fourth part that I had thought would be connected to this series which started I don’t even remember how long ago. I’ve taken too long to get this far so the momentum has been lost -– I had all these thoughts I wanted to write about, things that had happened, people, etc. I wrote about the people and so on – but the thoughts can wait for another time – maybe.


At 1:32 AM, Blogger MJ said...

It's so good to see pictures on here again--especially ones with you on them too. It's nice to be able to put a face with the names of the people and the stories you write about them and how and what they are doing.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

hey Steve, nice stories and good to see all the people on photo's.


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