Saturday, 22 January 2011

Accra Street Academy

When we go away, we all have a small set of people for whom we bring back presents. There are four large females and one small male in mine.

So in Accra, I went with Maggie to the National Arts Centre, a grand name for an extensive collection of tat shops. A bit unfair as the tat was largely well crafted & unlike much you can buy in Leeds. Nevertheless, nothing too functional & H forbad me to buy jewellery.

After getting something suitable for Oliver, we had moved a long way from the entrance to the market & it became rather less well organised (that’s a kind of joke); then we saw two Victorian-era school desks in the sun and heard yound children chanting in response to their teachers. This was the Accra Street Academy where Jamestown street children were brought to a level that the junior schools would later accept: reading, writing, 'rithmetic.

What these people were doing with only charitable effort was breathtaking: locals, and a horde of German volunteer students. We were shown the boxing ring and the skills centres, and saw the children getting their square meal of the day.

Isaac is seen in the picture stood in front of the new skills centre - he is the 2-i-c, and a product of just such a school himself. At age 26, he has devoted his life to children who would otherwise have 0 (none).

We watched batik being fashioned as a useful skill for the children to learn, and I knew what this would cost on the tat market: when we asked the lady her price, she was torn between raising the price by a factor of 10 (what you do with a European tourist) and telling the truth (what you do with new friends). She told us the real cost so we bought quite a lot and rounded the price up. It was cheap - it's what I've brought back for my nearest 'n' dearest.

But I've got Isaac's address and other details. I'll send him my surplus Ghanaian Cedi, and try to find a way of supporting the school tangibly and regularly. They need pretty much everything. More to be seen here.

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