Friday, 4 January 2008

New Year

Hi Folks
The weeks fly by, and I feel very settled here in Bolga, it's home now! It is still very warm, although it's called the cold season, just a bit cooler at night thankfully. It hasn't rained since October, and isn't going to until April or May, so the ground is already very dry and dusty.
December was the month for festivals, celebrating the harvest and Farmers' Day etc. I went to several festivals, really enjoying the dancing, drumming and wonderful costumes - more so than the long, long speeches in a language I couldn't understand. The energy and exuberance of the performances was wonderful.

At Christmas I travelled half way down the country, to a more tropical climate, enjoying waterfalls and a refreshing swimming pool. For New Year I went northwards to Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, for a taste of French luxuries like cheese and patisseries and French bread, what a treat!

I'm desperately hoping I succeed in putting up some photos today, it's so unpreditable....

Despite all these distractions, my work is picking up. I have made contact with quite a few schools and identified the need for training for PTA and School Man Committee members, and am working on a clearly laid out handbook. I'm working closely with staff at Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly Education Service (the equivalent of the City Council) so hopefully my work will continue after I leave.
Although I have now got used to the hard conditions here, I was really shocked to visit a village primary school with 956 children, including 300 in the nursery, with absolutely no resources, water 5Km away, no toilets, but a very dynamic new Head and committed team of teachers, struggling to do their best. The schools get 2 pounds per child from Ghana Ed Service to provide teaching resources, building improvements, staff training etc. The parents and community are expected to find the rest, which is hard in such an impoverished part of the country.

I am pleased that we have raised quite a bit towards helping schools to get boreholes, I'm not sure exactly how many schools because Jessie is still collecting the money. It's not too late to contribute- please call her. She is coming out in mid January for a few weeks, I'm so looking forward to her visit.

I think I have been successful with some pics - work out for yourself which is which!
Dancers at Sekoti Festival
Mud Cloths in Burkina Faso
Baobab Tree
Loading Sheep onto a bus
Latest marriage Propsal
Mona monkey at the monkey sanctuary
All dressed up ready to dance

Happy New Year Greetings for 2008