Explore
Questions/Comments?Contact Us

46 posts categorized "Legon Service"

Meet your Session 2 Program Leader: Steve Nappi

Nappi Picture

 

Hey Everyone!

I am one of three program leaders for this session 2 trip to Ghana departing this weekend!

To tell you a bit about myself, this will be my third time as a program leader to Ghana with CIEE and I am most excited to return! Here in the states, I currently live in Mass near Sturbridge with my wife and our dog Abby! I recently was married in May and my wife and I are enjoying our adventures and terrific experiences are a new married couple! I have been teaching special education since 2008, I received a bachelors degree in psychology from Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vermont and hold a masters degree in teaching and leadership from the University of New England in Portland, Maine.

I was born and raised in Portland, Maine and taught special education (k-12) in Maine from 2008 until 2015. Since I moved to Mass in 2015, I hold the position as a special education teacher through the district of Monson, MA. Primarily I teach middle school but also work at the high school too.

When I am not teaching, you can most likely find me at the golf course as I am an avid golfer! I also enjoy playing with my dog and everything about New England sports (Go Pats!)!!

I am most excited to meet the students going on this trip and watch them experience a new culture and grow as individuals. As I have strong passion for Ghana and am very close with the students and staff at the school we will be supporting, I am excited to have our students meet, build positive relationships and make positive impacts during their time volunteering!

Again, I look forward to meeting everyone, please take care!

- Steve Nappi

Good Bye Sweet Ghana


Service
Leadership
Farewell Dinner


Ghana has been such a great experiences! We have learned a lot about Leadership skills, culture, and a deeper understanding of self. Today was the last day at our services site, it was a very emotional experience for us and our students. We had the opportunity to take group pictures, play games, dance, and say our final good bye. Many participants gave their students gifts such as school supplies, reading books, and soccer balls.


We followed the day with our final presentations, which highlighted personal development for each global navigator. Each participant had the opportunity to listen to others reflect on their growth in Ghana. Many discussed that they are more adaptive, free spirited, and how to be more collective perspective in life. Thereafter, we had our final dinner at The Lord of the Rings, a fancy restaurant near our hostel. There we were able to relax, laugh and reflect on our experiences in Ghana. As the night ended, one of Ghana’s biggest celebrity entered the restaurant named Shatta Wale. His entrance was a great way to end the night as we took pictures and chatted with him. Ghana has been great experience for all of us. We have learned so much in these three weeks and so thankful for Ghana.


Service

Teachergroupphoto

IMG_3164
IMG_3164
IMG_3164

Christalgroupphoto

Service

IMG_3176

Leadership

IMG_3235
IMG_3235

 

IMG_3266

Farewell Dinner

Good Bye Sweet Ghana


Service
Leadership
Farewell Dinner


Ghana has been such a great experiences! We have learned a lot about Leadership skills, culture, and a deeper understanding of self. Today was the last day at our services site, it was a very emotional experience for us and our students. We had the opportunity to take group pictures, play games, dance, and say our final good bye. Many participants gave their students gifts such as school supplies, reading books, and soccer balls.


We followed the day with our final presentations, which highlighted personal development for each global navigator. Each participant had the opportunity to listen to others reflect on their growth in Ghana. Many discussed that they are more adaptive, free spirited, and how to be more collective perspective in life. Thereafter, we had our final dinner at The Lord of the Rings, a fancy restaurant near our hostel. There we were able to relax, laugh and reflect on our experiences in Ghana. As the night ended, one of Ghana’s biggest celebrity entered the restaurant named Shatta Wale. His entrance was a great way to end the night as we took pictures and chatted with him. Ghana has been great experience for all of us. We have learned so much in these three weeks and so thankful for Ghana.


Service

Teachergroupphoto

IMG_3164
IMG_3164
IMG_3164

Christalgroupphoto

Service

IMG_3176

Leadership

IMG_3235
IMG_3235

 

IMG_3266

Farewell Dinner

My Experience in Ghana: 2 Weeks In

Screenshot-www.rtve.es-2017-05-11-09-14-55.png

For this trip, we've been staying at the International Students Hostel (ISH) at the University of Ghana, Legon.  It's a college setting, so at first glance, the environment is pretty similar to a typical dorm.  However, it's different from my home in the U.S. because of the weather, for sure, as it is really humid here.  There's also the bugs, mosquitos included, which are usually a big issue only in the evenings and night, but are known to spread diseases like malaria and therefore force us to take daily pills.  Bathrooms are likely the biggest change from the U.S., because running water is not available everywhere, and toilet paper is usually not provided. 

The social culture here is also different, because everyone seems to be very extroverted.  It's a really friendly society and you're expected to always greet strangers you come across.  The diet here is also something to get used to.  Everything is very spicy, and Ghanaians typically think of "no spice" as the equivalent of "no taste", and because they don't want to serve food with no flavor, they tend to overdo it.  However, the fruits like mango and pineapple here are very fresh and sweet!  They also have some signature dishes like red-red and deep fried plantains, which I've never had before but are absolutely amazing.

This past week at Future Leaders ICC, I taught several subjects, including compositional writing and paragraph structure, basic Mandarin, long division, magazine parts and formatting, and music theory/singing.  Writing a paragraph was hard for everyone at first, but after I went around and helped everyone a couple times, most of them had some idea of how it works and a couple had mastered the format! 

Mandarin lessons were very interesting for them, and I was really surprised when kids of all ages from other classes began greeting me using the words I had taught my class.  What I've realized is that they quickly absorb anything it is that they care about and want to know, regardless of their starting ability, but if they don't want to, they won't learn it.  I had no problem with the latter type when we learned long division, which I was really impressed by but which also made me relieved, since it's a hard concept to teach and to comprehend.  Learning about the formatting of a magazine was harder for them, as they had trouble differentiating between columns and ads, and couldn't quite grasp the concept of bias.  Music was amazing for about 90% of the class, but the remaining students were really frustrated when they couldn't pronounce the words or hit the notes.

A typical weekday consists of breakfast at around 8, then splitting to the two groups to leave for the service sites.  Although each school and each class is different because of the lack of rigid structure, each teacher and volunteer pair have come up with a somewhat set daily schedule.  Mine consists roughly of the teacher teaching English while I pitch in and grade for the first session, then taking over and teaching for the second session.  We then stay and play with the kids, singing songs and learning hand games, for the duration of the 30-minute break.  Afterwards, we head back to the CIEE office for catered lunch and then we participate in lectures and discussions for the afternoon. 

We usually go out somewhere for dinner, and we've been to places serving all kinds of food, from Pizza Hut in the huge, touristy Accra Mall to an authentic roadside kitchen.  We generally return to ISH pretty late, but sometimes, we go out to the night market or buy things from the seamstress.  And of course, before going to bed, we spray on some mosquito repellent and tuck the sides of the mosquito net under our mattresses!

Screenshot-www.rtve.es-2017-05-11-09-14-55.png

I love bargaining!  In the U.S., it's rare, but in Ghana, it's widely accepted and usually expected at roadside or open-air stores and markets.  Artists make their own crafts to sell, and we were taught the general prices of various items and how to bargain.  The key is to know how much the item is worth, stand your ground, and not be afraid to walk away.  More often than not, the same object can be found in multiple other stores, usually ones that offer better deals.  Bargaining is, as one of my groupmates put it, very empowering, because instead of the merchant having the unnegotiable upper hand, it's you who has the final say.  Economically, it may not be the best practice, but it's an amazing thing to experience and it really helps you to understand the culture through conversing with the locals.

-XiLin C.

'Global Navigator Voices' is a collection of blog articles and pictures by our very own high school study abroad participants. Follow their adventures before, during, and after their experiences abroad!

Last Days

*Service

*Leadership

*Excursion

 



About three weeks ago, CIEE Global Navigators came to Legon, Ghana on a mission to serve and learn about the culture of Ghana.  Students have built personal development for instance, taking  the initiative of solving problems and building relationships and understanding of service work in the communities.
As the students bring their journey to the end, they have been reflective on what they have learned and how they will apply this knowledge in their home communities.


Excursions:
We had the opportunities to visit  Bonwire in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.   Bonwire is known for producing Kente cloth. Kente is a colourful Ghanaian traditional fabric which is worn mostly on important occasions and celebrations.   A historian explained to the students the history of the Kente. The craftmen learned how to weave kente by mimicking a spiders web. Following our Kente lesson we  had the opportunity to watch the craft men weave Kente.
 
Please view our pictures below!

 
Bpicture

Service


AshpictureService 

 

IMG_3142

Service

IMG_3095

 

Excursion

IMG_3098

                                  Excursion

IMG_3126

Leadership

 

 

 

 

 



Last week in Gold Coast Ghana

 

THE LAST DAYS

SERVICE

LEADERSHIP

EXCURSIONS

 

Students continued to focus on service and leadership at the various volunteering sites: Future Leaders and Crystal School in Accra, Ghana. Participants learned to teach through observation and modelling. They learn to manage their classrooms, which continues to build their leadership skills. We continue to learn importance traits of leadership for instance effective listening, being adaptive, and resourceful. The administration and teachers at the schools we serve are very appreciative, as they have shown their gratitude continuously.

 

During our visit to the Ashanti Region we visited the Adinkra Village. Adinkra illustrate concepts of aphorisms using symbols. The symbols are placed on fabrics and pottery and mostly used by the Akans in Ghana. We participated in creating the ink. The ink for Adinkra stamping is made from the bark of the Badie tree. First the bark is shaved off. We then soaked the bark in water for one day and then pounds it in order to soften it. The softened bark is boiled for two days, producing a thick black ink. When the cloth producer is ready to stamp the fabric, a strip is laid out The stamps are dipped in the ink and then pressed down an equal distance apart across the cloth. We where honoured to actively participate in this ancient process. Each participant selected a Adinkra symbol then stamped their symbol on a cloth. Ghana has been an amazing experience for us, as we continue to learn the Ghanaian culture as well as serve the Ghanaian people. Have a look at our experiences once more!

 

 

 

                                                                                                 IMG_3031

Lessons on Adinkra Symbols

 

IMG_3033

 

 

Pounding the Bark Adinkra Symbols

IMG_3060

 

 

 

 

IMG_3085

 

Stamping Adinkra on Cloth Group Photo at the Adinkra Village

 

 

 

 

 

Ghana Sweet Ghana

The students continue to build  service and leadership skills. We have had so much fun in Ghana. During services the students get an opportunity to teach, mentor, and lead the population that they serve. Following our days is filled with exploring the city and practicing our Twi. This past weekend we had the opportunity to go to Kumasi and learn about the the famous and powerful Ashanti tribe.

When we took the journey to Kumasi which was a five hour bus ride.  We first went to the Manhyia palace of the Ashanti, where we learned the history of the Ashanti people. We learned that they where and are powerful people who believed in themselves and showed us the importance of effective leadership skills.

Services
Leadership
Excursion
Birthday

 

IMG_2996

        Manhyia Palace Museum


IMG_2996

                                                                Leadership Skills


IMG_2996

                                                                              Service

 


IMG_2996

Service

 


IMG_2996

                                                                  Birthday Celebration


IMG_2996

                              Manhyia Palace Museum

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Coast Castle visit through the eyes of Global Navigator XiLin

IMG_7517

Our day trip to Cape Coast was, although tiring, a lot of fun, very informative, and an absolutely necessary experience. It took a few hours of bouncing on the very bumpy roads to drive out from Accra, but the canopy walk at Kakum forest was definitely worth it! It was so beautiful but nerve-wracking at the same time, walking over 200 feet high. Afterward, we visited the Cape Coast Castle, which was built in the mid-1800's by the British to act as a major port for the slave trade industry from Ghana. In each of the pitch-black, stenched, cramped rooms, at least 200 people were shoved in and expected to either survive and be used to make a profit or die of hunger, sickness, etc. Ironically, in the floors above, merchants, officials, and guards lived a lavish life and sang hymns and praised God while hundreds suffered, and often died, below.

IMG_7502

The sculptures in the attached pictures represent an artist's depiction of real people who passed through this castle. This place provides a chance for the public to be educated about the cruelty and injustice that occurred and learn from it so that it never happens again, and also for the descendants of those slaves to trace their roots and mourn the atrocities their ancestors once faced. These pictures really don't do this place and the horrific events that happened in it justice, but looking through them will give a sense of the conditions thousands of people experienced.

IMG_7513

IMG_7523
The stark contrast between the qualities and spaces between the two types of places — the upstairs for the governor and officials vs. the dungeons for the slaves — sheds light on the horrible torture the African to-be slaves faced in the Middle Passage. The males were enclosed in a series of rooms where they had to fight to remain healthy, or else, they would be sent away to die. At the same time, the females were raped and otherwise forced to endure sexual abuse by the guards and officials and buyers. The cell, a tiny, stuffy room, was made specifically for misbehaving or disliked slaves and guards. The slaves were shut in until they died from something in the cramped, sealed, pitch-black space with no food or water. The guard was put in the entrance room for a couple of hours, then let out. The 'misbehaving' slaves were nowhere near as lucky. If a slave was sentenced to the cell, no one had the audacity to hope they would ever make it out alive...

IMG_7500

IMG_7501

XiLin C.

'Global Navigator Voices' is a collection of blog articles and pictures by our very own high school study abroad participants. Follow their adventures before, during, and after their experiences abroad!

Meeting our future leaders!

Boats

Maakye (mah-chyuh)! Good morning! Occasionally after our morning service session and lunch, we learned Twi, pronounced "chwee", which is the most common local language in Ghana, spoken by the Ashanti. We were taught the Twi terms for good morning, thank you, and please, among others.

Learning these everyday words is especially useful, as we can use them immediately with everyone wherever we look, whereas in language classes at home, what I learn in class is mostly irrelevant after leaving the room. Additionally, back home, not knowing a foreign language is a slight disadvantage, but it is rarely an inconvenience. Here, however, not understanding Twi may mean not being able to communicate with much of the population. Most do speak English, but I know that personally, their accent really throws me off, making it extremely difficult to understand them, especially on the first try.

Arriving in Ghana, the social culture was immediately noticeable. It's absolutely unacceptable to walk by someone without a greeting, and it's not at all uncommon for a stranger to walk up and start a conversation.  Driving style, timeliness, and clothing also greatly differ from in the U.S. In general, the culture promotes openness and trust in others, which is often strange but enjoyable. This way, it's much easier to learn more about and become immersed in Ghanaian social norms and traditions, as well as feel welcome by locals.

Food! There's so much variety in everyday dishes, from rice to chicken to yams. Unique dishes I enjoy include yam chips (fries but with yams instead of potatoes), their incredibly sweet mango and other fruit, red-red, deep-fried plantains, and potatoes. There were definitely several meals, however, where the spice was so strong that only a few people in our group could take it. An ordinary Ghanaian's interpretation of 'mild' is worlds away from mine. And their 'not spicy' may mean I'll be panting nonstop for the next hour.

After a couple days of orientation, we were split into two groups going to Christah School or Future Leaders and we finally got to meet the kids! I was assigned to the latter, and when we arrived, we were greeted by an energetic, unique series of dances.

I volunteered to teach the fifth grade class, which consists of 13 students around the ages of 11-13. This amazing class is no doubt the most intelligent and driven group of fifth graders I've ever had the privilege to meet, teach, and impact. In just a week, they've taught me not only how very fortunate I am but more importantly, how within reach everything is! I definitely learned the extent at which I, along with the rest of my community, take certain privileges for granted. Sure, we know that we are well off, more so than most of the world, but it wasn't until I came here that I really experienced that rude awakening. But the kids here work through it and are definitely on the path to success — mentally, they always retain a positive mindset — regardless of the obstacles they face on a daily basis, obstacles that we cannot even begin to imagine. For example, they have a chronic lack of school supplies, especially decent-quality ones. Their whiteboard markers are few and far between, and they dry out too frequently, despite careful use. Notebooks, books, and pens are scarce and precious to each and every one of the kids.

And of course there's the fact that there are hundreds of children on the streets at this very moment with no access to education whatsoever. In addition to the relatively good physical and environmental conditions in the U.S., we also don't realize enough how accepting our own society is, as well as how diverse our culture is. Ghana is definitely one of the most Westernized of developing countries, but yet, it is still uncommon for, say, the average school, even in the capital of Accra where we are, to have any foreigners, even African-born or Ghanaian-born. As a result, it's harder for locals to learn about, understand, and accept certain groups of people, as they are rarely seen by most.

However, my point is not to give a reason to feel sorry for these children, but to recognize how many advantages we truly have and how these children are still able to have so much intelligence and motivation regardless of being hungry or sitting in a makeshift classroom with ceilings that floods the rooms when it rains. (When it rained last week, it was a downpour like I've never seen, and the sound of the raindrops on the rooftops were so loud that students a couple inches away from me couldn't decipher the words I shouted. These kids weren't bothered at all, however. Several of them made the best of the situation, running through the rain then dancing across the room, dripping from head to toe. This small action inspired me because of their beautiful ability to make subpar conditions become a chance to laugh and appreciate and enjoy, instead of sitting in the corner in despair). They aren't lost souls floating around, as is stereotypically and commonly perceived. They have so much life and so much love to give. I dare say that many are likely more eager to learn than children back in the states. These kids deserve my respect, my admiration, and they have it. They work so hard and have so much drive to do well and to achieve that I can and should, in all honesty, try and learn from them. These incredible kids really are our FUTURE LEADERS!

XiLin C

'Global Navigator Voices' is a collection of blog articles and pictures by our very own high school study abroad participants. Follow their adventures before, during, and after their experiences abroad!

 

Charlie Whats Up

Today marks our half way point in Ghana. We are building relationships with the children.  The participants have been resourceful because the school has limited supplies. Students where rewarded with candy after solving very challenging questions. Some participated donated markers for their class.

We are continue to learn about Ghanaian culture for instance understand the importance of beads in Ghana. We learned that beads symbolizes a number of rites of passages in Ghana such as wearing femininity.  One day we had the opportunity to come to a bead making factory and participated in bead making. We painted the beads  and baked the beads in the oven.

Another big experiences in Ghana is the variety of the flavors of Ghana. We have eated Jollof, a popular rice dish and we had red red another famous dish from Ghana that is of blackeye peas with plantains.  

We continue to learn about Ghanaian culture and journey throughout our pictures.

Our weekly Activities

Services

IMG_2747

IMG_2377

 

IMG_2791

Food

IMG_2317

Excursions

IMG_2479

IMG_2525