Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wo ho te sen?.... Me ho ye (How are you.... I am fine.)

Hello Friends and Family!!

I am sorry for the long delay in my posts. I have been extremely busy and have not found the time to post! I have almost been in Ghana for a month now! On the 7th of February it will officially be a month! My days are so filled with so many activities, interactions, and TON of walking that my days go by so fast! I have been so busy these past few weeks with The City of Refuge, Save Them Young, Social interactions, and travel!

My work at City of Refuge has been very productive so far. As you know I am facilitating an empowerment group with three students. I do have a curriculum that I have previously used in my past experience however when I attempted to use it here it was not successful. The concept of empowerment, self-confidence, self-identity, and self-esteem are not fully understood or prevalent to the youth here in Ghana. I had to take some time to think of how to present these concepts in a way that Ghanaian students would understand and relate. I spoke with the Administrative assistant Sir Stanly, who gave me great advice and direction of how to approach these topics with the students. So as of now I am going back to the basics! In the class we have been discussing different emotions and their meanings. This has been very successful; the students now have an understanding of emotions. The next step in my “progressive” Program is developing a sense of what “Identity” is to the students. I find that the more literal and basic I am the more the students tend to understand. This program is defiantly a work in progress. Throughout this process of amending my original curriculum has made me evaluate the difference in the cultures and how children learn differently based on their experiences and environment. This placement has defiantly been challenging, thought provoking and has given me the opportunity to be creative!
At Save Them Young, I have not completely defined my role, goals, and purpose for working there. I do have those three students, which I work individually with for an hour on social skills, sensory development, and cognitive development. However, there are so many children at Save Them Young I feel guilty working exclusively with those three students. I have divided my time there into two categories; 1. Social work Practice- Individual work the four students 2. Love and Attention - during this time I spend time with all the children showing all the children attention, love, and maintain the Chaos. The children there rarely see an Obruni (white person) and they have very limited exposure to affection and love. My only conflict with the second part of my day is answering this question… “Is it better to show the children to love, attention, affection for a limited time, then when I leave they will most likely not receive the positive attention (quit Cold Turkey). OR is it better to not show attention, love, or affection at all and when I leave it wont be any different?”
For those of you who know me, you know I love children and not giving the children attention or love would NOT be easy for me! The more and more I think about how the children will be affected once I leave the more I pull back. I have stopped thinking about how I am affected when I’m with the children, and focused on how they will feel in the near future when I leave. Other then my internal conflict I am doing great there. It’s still very chaotic and disorganized however; I love my time there. Also if you have a comment about internal struggle please SHARE!

Well so far my travel has been pretty limited. Last weekend I went to Cohobate beach about an hour outside of Accra. It was more of a resort for tourist. The trip took about 3 hours to arrive to the hotel. Sadly my friends and I were not the smartest and neglected to make reservations. We ended up sleeping in TENTS! What was defiantly an experience, I mean when else can you say “yeah I slept in a tent off a Ghanaian beach!” It wasn’t too bad actually. The beach was beautiful, although the day was cloudy and the sun didn’t shine as we’d hoped but it was still very relaxing! At the resort we met a group of English students who have spent the last three weeks touring Ghana. They worked at the local schools in Tema and they also helped out at Save Them Young! It was exciting to share stories of the children and our ideas about how to help the orphanage. This next weekend I am hoping to travel with a few friends and a teacher for City of Refuge, we haven’t decided where yet but I’ll let you know ASAP!

Social Interaction!!
So I have Three American Friends that I’ve met through Beth (supervisor).
Katy is from my school and in the same program that I am in at Carthage so we previously knew each other.
Amy- She is working for Beth and her husband’s non for-profit organization in Accra. She is a Social worker from Portland and will be going back to school to get her MSW.
Rikki- She is a family friend of Beth’s and is completing her student teaching at City of Refuge. We travel to and from work together so that’s nice to have company!
Michael- I met Michael in Ghana last year when I did the j-term trip with 27 other students. He was one of our tour guides and now he is working at the University of Ghana with exchange students.
Well that is it for now! I will post sometime next week!

As always Thank you for all your love and support though my adventure!

Marya J


  1. I love you Marya! I miss you too of course but I know you're doing amazing things right now!!

  2. Um, Michael is this a sign Marya??? :)

  3. Bhaha Michael is here! He's in Accra working at the University as the ambassador for exchange students! I'm hoping to see him this week! I'll let you know how it goes!

  4. Now I'm excited for you for other reasons ;)

    Have fun!!