Tuesday, March 16, 2010
So, over this past weekend I got the opportunity to go to a disabled and rehabilitation school just outside of Kumasi, up north. I will be putting together a PowerPoint presentation and a short video documentary of the school, so I was able to spend the weekend up there with the kids and was able to explore the Ashanti Region! The actual school is very very nice! The kids there are absolutely wonderful! They are the happiest people I have met so far! They laugh all the time and are just enjoying life! Before they came to this school most of these kids had either been abandoned by their families or locked up in cupboards (some were put in wells) to keep their neighbors from knowing they have a disabled person in their house. The owner of the school, Uncle Ike, actually went on a campaign to go and find and rescue these kids that were secluded from society. These kids aren’t only from Ghana, but even from some of the bordering countries like Togo. It was absolutely heart breaking to see that people are shut out if they are even missing an arm. The students are nonexistent because it is seen as a sin and disgrace. The causes for these amputations and other physical problems didn’t all just come from birth defects. Most of them came from car accidents and tro tro collisions, but once someone loses a limb, their life and all opportunity is gone for them. But I was wondering why I never see kids with Down syndrome, autism, or other mental disabilities. There isn’t even a school or sanctuary for people with those types of problems. I asked why and I was told that the babies are killed at birth…I was shocked…I couldn’t believe what I was being told! But back to the school, when I was getting a tour from one of the girls, she showed me the last room, where the people that have the physical disability where they can barely move and can’t talk. The one boy used all of his strength just to move his hand to greet me, it was so warming but depressing at the same time. Then I actually had to leave the room because I started crying because the thought that the person I just met that could barely move, probably lived with farm animals in a barn or some other unsuitable living situation. And to think that parent could throw their child out of their lives like that is really disheartening. Then when they had their church service on Sunday, they put us in the high chairs…in the front of everyone…ahh…it was awkward…haha! But some of the students’ parents were invited to come see their kids and progress, but during the service Uncle Ike got really mad because he knew that the parents came all that way to come to the school, but the parents didn’t even say hi to their kids…so, Uncle Ike had the kids stand up and point to each of their parents. But the reason the parents didn’t want to openly say hi to their kid, is because they were ashamed of what they produced…so sad. But other than that, my Twi improved this past weekend! They know English, but not more than I know Twi, so I was really forced to get phrases and words engraved into my mind. It was good though! Then we also took a side trip to Bosumtwi Lake. It took a couple of hours to get there by tro tro but it was worth it! The lake was actually where a meteorite hit a long time ago so it was all forested and green all around, it was really pretty! Oh, another side not, I took my first bucket shower! Haha! I really like Kumasi and Offinso (where the school was)! It was the legit village, but it was really scenic, AND they had really nicely paved roads! If a road is paved here (in Accra), 80% of the road is made up of pot holes. But ya, the weekend was awesome! I will never forget it.