Category: ghana/Botswana 2018

A Very Special Well, Pineapples and the School for the Deaf

April 4. Today after breakfast in the concierge lounge, we drive approximately 1 1/2 hours passing through lines of stores and markets. All of these would make great photos, but it’s impossible to take them from the car. I take some intentionally blurry shots to try to convey the sense of passing through, but the are not successful. We stop to photograph another casket shop, his one featuring a large snake and a bird.

We visit our first local village, Okyerekwaa. Before going to the village, Daniel and I meet with the mayor of the village. Actually, she is the mayor of hundreds of small villages. Arriving at the village, we first walk a good distance to the spring where the village got its water before the well.

A large crowd has gathered in the village. The mayor and several other elders speak, expressing great gratitude for the well (but mentioning, as an aside, that they could use some toilets, too. One elder says that he would like a large portrait of me that they’d hang prominently in the town, which he suggests that they rename for us. When the plaque is uncovered, Phoebe learns that the well has been donated (yes, by us) in her honor. She is surprised and a bit overwhelmed. This may rank as one of the high points in a trip that is going to be jam-packed with highlights.

The well was dug by FASUL, an organization headed by Alex Eduful, one of the sons of the late Peter Eduful, the Ghanaian man who spearheaded all of the Kipharts efforts in Ghana and who became our friend. FASUL’s vision is supporting families in deprived communities to increase opportunities for their children’s future. Alex could not accompany us, because he is in Ghana finishing up his PhD, Oxford School of Geography and the Environment. His thesis, on urban geography, is looking at the urban transformation of (a neoliberal) Accra occasioned by the rise of increased foreign investments in shopping malls. But Alex has made sure that the details of our trip are in place, and four FASUL people will be with us on the trip.

We drive next to Mansokwa, a village in which the Kipharts built a school, which the village named for them, The Kiphart Community School. Our arrival creates a huge hubbub, with kids fighting for good positions in photos.

After Mansokwa, we go with Daniel to the Winneba pineapple farm that he runs. The farm was started some five years ago by Daniel’s father, Joe Kwarteng, and our friend, Dick Kiphart, and covers thousands of acres of land.  In addition to pineapples, mangoes are grown on a small part of the land.  We see some of the 100 workers that the farm employs, but because it is afternoon, and very hot, there is not a lot of activity. They are building a new factory on the farm, which is funded by a government grant that they won and which will allow them to produce juice from the pineapples, which will greatly enhance profitability. We drive through the Assin Farm, which is also a part of the pineapple empire that Daniel manages. Altogether, the farms comprise over. acres, producing pineapples that are exported to Europe.

We drive to the Cape Coast School for the Deaf, where we meet the leaders of the school, as protoclo dictates, and then are treated to a dance performance by children from the school.  We are amazed at how the children are able to perform together and in time to the music, despite being unable to hear the music. the drumming, which allows the children to dance together, by feeling the vibrations, is amazing.Susanna Eduful, Alex’s wife, comes to meet us at the Deaf school and brings her two adorable 3-year old twins, Emanuel and Ezekiel, who the leader of the dancers manages to involve in drumming.At the school, we also visit the farm, where the kids are taught skills they can employ after they graduate. Farming is an industry in which being Deaf is not a significant problem.

Phoebe loves the dancing, but says that the highlight for her was communicating with some of the children through the sign she knows.

We drive to our hotel, the Ridge Royal Hotel, and after a very full day, we have drinks with Susanna Eduful, who is a magistrate, and then dinner at the hotel with Daniel. Best spaghetti and meatballs I’ve ever had.

A Very Special Well, Pineapples and the School for the Deaf

  • Phoebe

    It was a great day and you captured great photos to go along with it!

    Love you,
    Phoebe

  • Lauri Pollack

    Absolutely fabulous.

  • Zoe

    Wow! Sounds AMAZING!!!

    L,
    Z

  • Wendy

    Wow, Dadz. Quite a day. In addition to seeing pictures of Phoebz, I love the photo of the lead drummer with his head tilted back and his mouth open. Looks like Joy to me.

  • susie Kiphart

    This is fantastic! I am thrilled that Phoebe is seeing and experiencing all these things and meeting all the people. Brings back a LOT of memories and having the next generation see this is gratifying. Wendy is correct, it is pure joy and it doesn’t have anything to do with possessions.

  • Sharon

    Phoebe is one lucky person to have you both! She’s learning from you how to make a difference. No greater gift.

  • Jean

    Your blogs are always great. I can feel the beat of the drums!

  • Gil cornfield

    What an experience! It’s not just another trip but a profound life affirming journey.

  • fred gordon

    this is a wondrous journey!

    and what a beautiful dress the mayor is wearing!

    great photo work!

  • Noreen Cornfield

    I agree with Wendy — the drummer photo is pure pleasure.

    Noreen Cornfield

  • Paul Woo

    What an amazing post. Your gift of water to the village and honoring Phoebe is was just beyond words… Terrific photos Arnie – your portraits of people are really really great in my eyes. Look forward to seeing more.

  • Ahdina

    Truly phenomenal!!! I’m enjoying every word and can’t wait for your and Phoebe’s blog emails to pop into my inbox each day!!

  • David & Eve

    Not bad for kids from Chicago! You guys are just super. Have fun.

  • D. J. (Jan) Baker

    Arnie – what a wonderful thing for Phoebe’s grandparents to have done in her honor! I can’t think of anything more memorable for her, either.

    Fabulous pictures and commentary!

    Best.

    Jan

  • Eve Levine

    Amazing experiences! Fabulous!
    Love sharing them! Thanks.

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