I travelled again yesterday, this time to visit Christie (the oldest girl at the orphanage) at her SHS (Senior High School). When we brought Christie to the school in October to start her first year of the Home Economics program she asked me if I would come and visit her on one of the visiting days, so I thought it was about time to pay her a visit. Around Easter I went to the bank to pay the fees for Christie and Atsu with donations from considerate people in Germany. The students bring home bills for each term (three in one year) which are to be paid at the bank and the receipt brought back to the school. Christie’s school also requested for some fees to be paid in cash at the school, such as my favorite; teacher’s motivation fee, house dues etc. So yesterday I decided to kill two birds with one stone and also pay the bills with a donation from a friend of mine in Sweden.
Around nine am I left the house, which is late when traveling according to Ghanaian standards. After the usual obstacles at the ATM I made my way to Kaneshie, a taxi ride that took me an hour. 3.5 hours in the trotro and yet another taxi ride later I finally arrived at the school a bit after three in the afternoon. I think Christie was as happy to see me as I was to see her. She hadn’t been feeling well lately but she has been taking some medicine and is recovering. I asked her how she’s doing at the school and she said the school and classes are good and when I asked her about the older students she told me they are kinder now than at the beginning of the year. The day we dropped her off at the school we, and the other parents and caregivers, hadn’t even gotten off the campus before the older students started hitting the first year students on the fingers with rulers. There have also been incidents where the other students are stealing clothing items and provisions. I’ve been told there is a tradition of penalizing at the SHSs here, as in so many other, especially boarding schools, across the world. It is a very unfortunate tradition, but nonetheless Christie seems very happy to be at the school and she’s always very grateful for the support. I was trying to encourage her by saying that next year she will be a second year student, and only after I said it realized that perhaps that sounded as an encouragement on the lines of ‘next year it’s your turn’, so I had to add that I really hope that she will not be treating the newcomers in the same way. She assured me that she wouldn’t and added that it’s wrong what they are doing. We said our goodbyes and before I left the school to travel all the way back to Accra Christie gave me a letter to deliver to Esumang, wishing him good luck for the exams, he is about to graduate from JHS and will soon start writing his exams. With aching back and legs but a happy heart I made the journey back.