Friday, September 14, 2012

Pra! Pra!

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This is a very common sight in this part of Ghana.  "Pra" is the word in the local language meaning, to sweep.  In the town where I live, only the home of the Village Chief has a yard that has grass sufficient to keep trimmed.  Most yards look like this piece of ground and are frequently swept.

During the first week of the new school term, the students begin by cleaning up the area around the school building and inside the classrooms.  These students are sweeping the yard in front of the school building, collecting the leaves fallen from the mango tree during the break.    The short brooms are stiff strips taken from a palm tree, tied together and do the job very well.  I use a similar broom to "pra" my bedroom, kitchen and work room.  The caretaker sweeps the yard at least three times per week.  Any grass, weeds, or branches that needed trimming is done using the cutlass (machete).  Students are good at using both tools although extended use by an "old guy" can quickly put a strain on the back and arms. 

The 2012-13 academic year began on September 4th and the first term will go until the middle of December.  I am again teaching mathematics and computer skills.  So far it looks as if the number  of students in each class will be at least the same as last year, about 70 in the
Form 1 (7th grade) and 60 students in the Form 2 (8th grade).  Even starting week three, not all students have come back as the second, but shorter wet season has begun and farmers are planting.  Classroom management requires continuous attention and getting to know all their names is an extra effort for me.  These two tasks plus staying healthy to allow me to come to school  and teach: on time, every day, all day are my priorities for the academic year.  If I am successful they will give me the opportunity to inspire.  

I look forward to the new academic year and sharing some more of my experiences in Ghana.


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