In Ghana, when you arrive as a visitor to someone’s home or workplace, it is customary to be asked to state your mission in that place.

“Please, what is your mission?”

Our mission is to work as volunteers in the most sustainable, helpful way possible.  We hope to use the skills and knowledge we are privileged with because of our Oberlin education and previous work and volunteer experiences to aid Sankofa Mbofra Fie in its development.

Okay, fine.  How will we do that??  For the last week, we’ve been asking ourselves this question over and over–brainstorming, delegating, re-evaluating, and brainstorming again.  It has taken some time to figure out how we should spend out rdays and what we can do that is actually helpful.  It’s been challenging to discuss these things with the teachers here.  Our understandings of documentation and fundraising are really different from theirs.  Our hope is to put systems in place to facilitate the accountability necessary to get grants and more sustainable financial support.

It is completely overwhelming and exciting at the same time.  We feel like we have something tangible to offer and are working to stay focused on attaining small goals.

This week we hope to:

1. meet with officials at the district office to find out what we need to do to get NGO certification and other certifications

2. buy supplies for and build bookshelves to outfit an office space and house the growing library in the children’s home.

3. take detailed inventory of all supplies and personnel.

4. create templates for documentation of children’s medical history, donors and donations, finances, etc.

5. write a detailed project proposal and budget for the construction of a new cement school building.

6. begin to research possible grants.

At the same time, we are planning to do afterschool activities with the children including phonics and arts and crafts.  We also plan to have several afternoons where the children teach us their local language, Anansi stories, and dance.  We are excited, hopeful, and very hot.  All things considered, we’re really doing okay with village life.  We’ve turned our space into a cozy little home, and we’re getting better at communicating with people in English and even in Fanti.  We even have become markedly less afraid of cockroaches.

Progress towards our goals will be slow, but we are moving forward, forward.

-Sarah / Maame Serwaa