In March of 2011, we had an expected due date for this miracle... November of 2011. The wait was long but filled with wonder and amazing experiences as we prepared for what was to come.
Perhaps our "labor" (sans epidural, alas) was the passage to Ghana via United Airlines. Or, more fittingly, stalled labor. United needed a massive dose of virtual pitocin, it seems, because the miles we walked through the airport didn't seem to be helping!!
Learning that we had reached our fundraising goal for the school was much like seeing our miracle on ultrasound and hearing the heartbeat for the first time... it made it all the more real.
Arriving in Ghana was like a beautiful birth, the receiving of the miracle. Our days spent with our Compassion children seemed like such a time of welcoming and celebration, fitting for the journey we were on.
Now, the hard work begins -- we raise this miracle to the full potential it was created for.
The bricks were awaiting, the sand piled and ready.
We held a ground breaking ceremony for the new school construction at the Village Of Life on November 11th, 2011, the day we aptly remember and appreciate not only our freedom, but the cost of that freedom and all those who have given their lives to secure it.
The older children came out to mark the occasion with songs and drumming. The sound of their rich voices blending together with the African drumming was glorious.
The smallest of children were invited to take a break from their class work and join in the celebration. They did not need a second invitation as they began to gather around us, breaking into joyful dance.
We have a video of one of their songs, but until we have a more stable internet connection, we will simply share the photos.
The priest of the local church, Father Joseph, blessed the site of the future construction with water -- water in Africa signifies life. Blocks were set with strings to outline where the building would be constructed.
We took turns breaking ground with a pick axe we had been provided. What a feeling it was to dig into the soil that would soon provide beyond measure for the children's futures.
While plunging the axe into the soil three times, I'm trying to imagine having to work with one of these axes in the blistering heat of the mid-day sun, as it covers the feet in the dirt and dust that it is kicking up. All with limited access to running water and showers. Sure puts my office job in perspective back home, in the comfort of cleanliness and air conditioning. These people work SO hard.
Soon, the ground we broke together will give way to a building much like this, where children fill the classrooms, laughter can be heard, learning is prized and attained and the cycle of poverty will continue to crumble under the weight of hope.
First set of classrooms originally built at the Village Of Life.
The inside of one of the classrooms.
Current lessons on the board.
Seeing all these children gathered in the classes was incredibly beautiful.
As much as we wanted to stay, we were too much of a distraction to them at that moment, so we left them in their teachers' hands so that classes could resume in peace.
Joshua, who enjoys Minecraft, a video game that includes the use of this tool (virtually, of course), begged for a turn with the axe when the ceremony was finished. George took pride in teaching him how to do this... he is such a great father figure in the lives of all the children he encounters, even mine.
"Hey, mom, this will make a great Facebook photo for my friends to see!" :o) -- Joshua, 13
Day 1 -- Ticket Revoked?
Night 1 -- Altitude 0m
Day 2 -- The Adventure Continues
Day 3 -- (Pre-Posted) Dear Ato Sam
Day 3 -- Enyan Abaasa (Meeting Ato Sam)
Day 4 -- Precious
Day 4 -- (Pre-Posted) Double The Joy
Day 4 -- George & George (Meeting the twins)
Day 5 -- Back To Accra
Day 5 -- I Like Tacos!
Day 6 -- "Bobble Boobs"
Day 7 -- Breaking Ground