Natalie’s Ghanaian adventure

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BACK from her travels in Ghana, Wigan Evening Post reporter Natalie Walker speaks about her experiences teaching underprivileged children.

There is nothing more rewarding than a child’s smile and nod when they finally understand what you have been trying to teach them all morning.

Natalie Walker with one of her pupils in Ghana

Natalie Walker with one of her pupils in Ghana

Working through the Ghana Volunteer Project, I helped out at the Underprivileged Children’s Centre, in Teshie, Ghana.

The school was set up by Sir Billa Mahmud. Using his basic knowledge he started to teach a few children under a mango tree.

As more youngsters arrived wanting to be taught, he moved to a bigger tree and finally, three years ago he hired a centre in Teshie.

The school is for pupils from very poor backgrounds and some children are orphans. There are about 11 classes, from nursery to 16. It is all outside but the rooms are divided with wooden boards with a corrugated iron roofing.

Each morning there is assembly. All children line up in their classes, say the Lord’s Prayer and sing. They then lead out to bongo drums. They then have their classes and at 11am have an hour break. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they have food.

In the mornings I did one-on-one teaching with nursery children. They are all so lively and are constantly jumping on us, asking to be carried and they love to play with our hair.

But it was in the afternoons that I found my feet as I jumped into teaching a class.

One afternoon I chose to sit in on class 3, which was taught by Daniel Anang.

He then offered me the chance to teach English - singulars and plurals and left me to it. From then on, I carried on teaching, firstly sticking to English as that was the only text book I knew, but then I broadened it to maths, environmental studies, ICT, religious and moral studies, and dictation.

I was not given much instruction other than I can teach, but I soon found my feet and realised, that although very different from England, there was some sort of order.

Now read part two ...