Volta Region Mountains

Volta Region Mountains

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I’m Christian now? Wait, what just happened?!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL….not at all what I expected…I got the culture shock that I asked for…let me tell you that. Let me back up. I’ll explain my day. I wake up at 6:30am so that I can leave the house by 7:00am and get to school by 7:15am. The gates lock at 7:15, so I have to walk fast. Then I get to the school and I see some one that is in my class walking to class as well (I went to school for a couple days last week to meet my classmates and find my classes). So, I’m walking to my class room and all of the boarding students are doing their chores i.e. sweeping, raking, scrubbing, dusting, etc. (the boarders wake up at 5am everyday to do chores…). Then I get to my classroom and some of the students are there already, they all greet me! They are all extremely nice and welcoming! But every single person told me that my uniform was too big and that I need to iron it. I was getting tired of hearing it. It’s not like I could do anything at that moment. Then they told me to take of my necklace. My necklace is small, but it has names on it: mom, dad, aidan, kellen, alec, sara, and sunny. And when I had to take it off, I almost broke down crying. I felt like I was officially giving up my life in Seattle. It was early and all the attention was on me, and ya. I was just stressed. But everyone was just being nice and welcoming me and cluing me in! Then we had to go to Morning Assembly (this happens every morning for 30 minutes before classes start (school starts at 8 and ends at 2:20)) and everyone lined up according to grade. They put me in form 2, so all of the older kids boss the younger ones around. If a from 4 girl tells a form 2 girl to “shut up and come here”, that form 2 girl better get over there! The older students can hit the younger students AND make them do chores! Anyways, during the assembly there was a preacher, and he was saying that god is good, and that we live through God and stuff. I don’t have a religion so I was just going along with it. Then when I got back to class, the teacher decided to not show up (the teachers live on campus…how do they not show up?) so all of the students were asking me: do you have a bible? What religion do you follow? Do you know how to pray? Do you even pray? Where do you go to church? Do you know the story of Adam and Eve? Do you pray when you wake up/go to bed/get food? And all of these questions. I said no to all of them of course haha. They were shocked! They didn’t even believe me! I thought I had lost all of my friends at that moment, they were disgusted with me. They thought I was going to hell. Then they all offered to give me their bible because I need “help” and God brought me here for a reason…I did not take it! I said “oh no! I can’t take your bible! I would feel so bad!”. But in the end, some girl gave me her ‘A Prayer a Day’ book…the class made me read scripts from the bible, out loud. Then they made me summarize what I had just read…WHAT IS THIS!! THIS IS SCHOOL! NOT BIBLE STUDY! Then they asked me if I listen to Kanye or Beyonce or any of those singers, and of course I do! They said “you are worshiping the devil by listening to that kind of music”…OMG. Then they said that if I don’t pray, then I won’t wake up the next day…hey, I have been good for almost 17 years…I’m still waking up every single morning. Even if I don’t want to. I’m not against religion at all; I’m completely respectful towards it! If someone wants to believe in God, then go for it! I will watch. But this one little girl (she’s 15, but tiny) comes and sits next to me and wants to pray. She held my hands and told me to close my eyes and repeat what she says…sketchy huh? After 5 min, she says “You are now converted to Christianity”. I WAS IN COMPLETE SHOCK!!!!!!!!!!!! This kid just scammed me into a religion! Now everyone only talks about religion to me and reads stuff out of the bible and tells me what to say. They even wrote me a thing that I’m supposed to say when I go to bed and wake up. When they asked me the next day if I read it, I lied and said I did, I’m definitely going to hell. But the thing is how I can go to hell if I don’t believe it! Then they asked how man was born, I said “from an evolution of the species of apes over billions of years”, WHY WOULD I SAY THAT! I should have just said “God loves”, and I could have saved myself from a 30 min lecture on how man is here and what not. Why won’t the Teachers show up! But some teachers did show up, and the classes that were taught that day were: Science, English, general living, and history. They have a block schedule, so the classes change each day. One thing I noticed about what they learn is that the schools don’t teach them about the world, just Ghana in itself. And every lesson is backed with a moral. These kids have no idea what a geyser is, because they don’t have them in Ghana. They don’t know where Denmark is, because it is “irrelevant”. They don’t know about cultures in other countries, because they don’t have the same culture in Ghana. And the English class is basically a bible with spelling mistakes that the students need to correct i.e. is the “g” in god capitalized? The school is a cult!! And I’m the devil that needs to be reborn and saved! Everyone is trying to help me because they all want to go to heaven. Everyone also wants me to go back to Seattle and convert everyone, and go to church. That is NOT going to happen! I’m not going to force someone to change! All of the girls and guys look the same because the hair has to be less than ½ a centimeter long. So, everyone is bald pretty much. The only ways you can distinguish a guy from a girl are the clothes or earrings. There is no creativity or individualism at this school. The students sleep, do shores, go to “school”, eat, do chores, “study”, bathe, then go to bed. Then, today at school, I had one class, math. And the teacher came late. We spent 50 min learning how to subtract, and then divide that answer by 2…i.e. 45-44=1. Now ½=0.5…it was so frustrating! And I wasn’t taking notes on it because it was so simple! Then the teacher kept asking if I were confused…and I just kept saying “no sir”, a million times. Then we had a 35 minute break, we have 3 throughout the day. Then we had an “opening assembly”, which means too many teachers didn’t come to school today, so they have a 3-4 hour assembly consisting of gospel songs, holy songs, church choir songs, readings from the bible, and announcements from the headmistress. By the way, stealing, lying, cheating, raping, disrespecting your teachers, and breaking the school rules are bad. Just in case that wasn’t logic to the everyday person, I just clued you in. Late in the day a famous soccer player came to the school, everyone went crazy. I had goose bumps from the shrills. It was exciting though! He went to this school, so he came to share his stories with us. Also, when a teacher comes into the classroom, the students must stand up until they tell you to sit. And when they call on you, you must stand up from your seat to answer the question, with your left hand behind you. The left hand is disrespectful here. By the way, the food is really good! They have like a mini market strip, and you can get whatever you want! And the cooked food is all homemade! Yesterday I had Ghanaian fried rice. And today I had a Ghanaian spring roll. The food is really good, and they make it in front of you. Only the day school kids can get food at the strip, the boarders need to eat in the dining hall. But we all just eat in the classroom. I get plantain chips every day, they are the best! But anyways, sorry the form of this really long blog. It is really messy thrown in with some random tidbits. There is just so much going through my mind that I just kept writing. I hope this makes sense…haha if you have any questions, go ahead and ask! After reading this, don’t think that I hate school or Christians or anything. I’m having a great time here, and I am just completely shocked that people are THAT religious, and that religion is practiced in school, and that there is no world view. Love and miss you all!

5 comments:

  1. Very interesting, Celea. What a different world you've stepped into. Do most young girls and boys go to school (ie. is everyone your age in school) or do some work or do other things? Can't wait to read more! Love you, Erinn

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  2. Yes, it is very different...but each day I'm getting used to it. So, Ghanaian law is that students up to the age of 16, MUST attend school. I've been told that the families in the Northern parts of Ghana do not send their children to school (even though boarding fees and tuition is paid by the government. The only payment a family would make, are the school fees, which are very small). They would rather have their sons cattle. And figure that their daughters will get married off young and would just work in the house and cook. But some northern students do get sent to school, because all secondary school are boarding schools. So, going to school, and living on campus, makes the family decision to attend school simple. Apparently, there are about 350,000 secondary school students that attend school in Ghana. So, 1 in 3 girls attend school. And 1 in 4 boys attend. So, it's not the greatest, but because the government just started paying for school, it has been increasing each year! But there are about 2,000 students in my school, which I think is good! Love you Erinn!

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  3. Shirley Dawson, now a1/2 time resident of Roch.January 27, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Hi Celea! I'm an old (really old!) friend of your Ya-Ya and I've just moved to North Carolina and guess what? There may be some similarities! The south U.S.A. is also a bit religious happy and it can be interesting as an observer but annoying when it seems to "cover" some really nutty thinking! And too, I believe that public education here is far inferior to what you've known in Seattle (or from my NYState experience.) But you really aren't in school in Ghana for the formal education, right? It's all that other stuff that you are soaking up...even religious attitudes of others! Don't sweat the small stuff....you're obviously a brave and smart young woman...but do be careful....your grandmother worries!

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  4. This is quite an experience for you. But, now that the initial shock is over, we are certain you will do fine. It's a good thing that school attendance is increasing. This will be a slow process, but at least it's a start.
    Keep the news coming! Love from G-Ma & G-Pa

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  5. My god.... I don't think I would last at that school, but good job for keeping with it! Will power!!!

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