A crucial part of our Anansi selection process includes the “Home Visits.” We go to the remote villages where our students live and talk with the parents, the students, their teachers and visit their homes. I don’t know exactly how to share this experience with you as my words cannot paint an accurate picture, but I’ll try:
The drive varies depending on the village to be visited that day (Our students come from 19 different villages in the Central Region of Ghana. We have over 100 applicants this year and will choose 36 as Anansi students). This past week I went with Daniel to two villages about an hour and hour and one half drive from Mpeasem/Cape Coast. The highways are two lane, but reasonable, the dirt roads leading to the villages are challenging and the roads within the villages difficult to manage. Most of the time we walk. Me with my trekking poles and Daniel slowing down to stay with me while I try to navigate getting over streams and up rock and down sand. It is a physical work out.
Their homes: Most are small and made from cement blocks or clay. All ten of the homes we visited on these two days had electric light, no water piped to the house, no cook stove nor television nor refrigerator. Most roofs were made from sheet metal. One creatively held down with old tires on top of the metal. We visited with the students and families outside the houses seated on either plastic chairs or wooden stools. We were always offered seating.
The people: Regal is the first word that comes to mind. All Ghanaians learn at an early age to carry any heavy load on their heads. This practice leads to perfect posture and thus a “regal” bearing. Everyone. They are poor so their clothes are often worn or at least well used. Most village people are a bit shy, very gracious, proud and welcoming. While walking from one home to another in Benyadzy, a man came to greet me. He was the father of one of our Anansi students selected last year. He was so very proud of his son and so thankful to Anansi for our help that his whole face lit up as he talked with me. I have rarely felt so valued as when that man thanked me. He returned later with a gift of six oranges, a pure from the heart gift of thanks along with a warmth in his eyes that will stay with me for a long time to come. I wish you all could have been there.
I hope this description of the people you all are helping passes a little of their gratitude on to you.