We’re doing something a little different this month, as Ben, our photographer in Ghana (who is also a construction partner with Building for the Future Generation) interviewed a Hasowodze teacher for us – Christopher Osi Asibley. Here is his interview.
How long have you been a teacher at Hasowodze?
I have taught in the school for 10 years.
What’s the current condition of the school?
The whole block is torn apart. The floor is pot holed, the roofing sheet is gone – the sun rays scorches the children in hot weather. When it rains the children have to move to other classrooms.
The school building is very old and weak, if it collapses our lives are at stake. The Basic Four to Six classrooms were built on marshy lands and the surrounding area becomes flooded and muddy when it rains.
We don’t have an information technology or and science lab, which makes teaching and learning very difficult.
How will a new school building change the village of Hasowodze?
Wow, a new school building! It's going to uplift the children's tempo of coming to school. The school will be environmentally friendly. Parents will feel safe for their children to come to the community school instead of letting them walk to school elsewhere. Teachers posted to the school will also feel safe to come here and teach.
How will a new school building change the children in the village?
It will reduce the number of street children in the community. It will help the children to have access to basic education so that they can acquire knowledge to improve their lives. It will help the parents save money by withdrawing their children who go to school at the nearby towns to attend Hasowodze school. It will add to the infrastructural development of the village.
How many primary school kids do you know are farming the cocoa fields full or part time?
More than 50 primary school kids are farming on the cocoa field. Many of them do coconut business too, including the girls.
Are these kids going to school too?
Children usually work on the cocoa farm and do the coconut business as part time workers to get money to feed themselves and buy some of their school needs. The boys are usually hired to climb the coconut trees and they are very tall – some grow to be over 80 feet! The boys pluck the coconut while the girls carry them to the parking side at the roadside from the coconut farm. This is very dangerous and tedious work for the kids.
On the cocoa farm, while the elders harvest the cocoa, the children convey them to one place. Then while the elders break the cocoa pods, the children remove the beans and gather them for fermentation. Sometimes, the elders and the children carry the fresh unfermented cocoa beans home and ferment them there due to thieves. After seven days of fermenting, the elders and children go to the farm and carry the fermented cocoa beans to their drying location. After the dried cocoa beans are sold by the farmer, the children are paid. From time to time, the boys absent themselves from school to go for a By-day Job (usually weeding on the cocoa farm) for money.
Some of the children do not go to school. Others are truant. Some of the children do not go to school because:
- They are not happy at school because of the nature of the school building and the classrooms;
- They had to go and work for money for feeding because the school does not have a feeding program;
- Lack of teachers at the school;
- Low population of the school does not encourage them to attend.
How has the condition of the school hindered Hasowodze from hiring teachers?
New graduates coming from a big school can not be convinced to stay here and teach. They will file a letter and pay their way out to be reposted to a different school with better resources. The ones that stay only do that for a year.
Why is school important for the village of Hasowodze?
The school will enlighten the community. Teachers will feel safe and have the will to come to the community. Education will be well taught in the community. Because I believe that: 'The world's knowledge comes from school.'
Many thanks to Ben for getting this interview with Christopher as well as taking all the photos. The above photo is of the teaching team at Hasowodze Primary School. We thank them for their dedication to their students and for their perseverance in teaching in a dilapidated school building. We are honored to have the opportunity to build them, and their students, a brand new school – a building that will truly empower this community.
Yours in empowering Ghana's youth,