|Sixth formers: Daisy Crisp, Jack Bowskill and Cameron Love spent the half term in Ghana as guests of Garrison High School in Kamasi.
The Garrison school is Sir John Colfox’ “sister school” in Ghana. The students were accompanied by Mr O’Brien and Mrs Holloway.
The exchange has been now running for 4 years and the Colfox students were building on the previous work by Mr Middleton, Mrs Schantz and past students. Staff and students from the Garrison school have recently been guests of The Sir John Colfox School and we have established a strong bond between the two schools.
The trip was an educational experience for all involved, the differences in resources was very stark. In a year 9 class there were 67 students being taught. The “Staff room” was outside under the shade of a tree, we quickly understood how lucky we are in England to have a fantastic learning environment.
Before the trip Daisy, Cameron and Jack did fundraising in the form of quiz nights etc. When they were in the Garrison school they asked students and staff what they needed. They then went and spent all the money raised on 6 whiteboards for the classrooms, pens for the whiteboards from the market and 10 double desks. This was an experience in itself as the students went up to the carpenters and had to barter on the costs of the desks, arrange delivery times etc. Mr O’Brien and Mrs Holloway commented how proud they were of the students as the trip will make a real difference in Garrison School.
A highlight of the trip was a visit to a cocoa plantation. This was run by Kaupa Kokoo who gave us a presentation how the company operates under the fair trade mark with money reinvested in the poor farmers and social projects such as clean water, sanitation, mobile hospitals and education benefiting from the “premium” they make. The cocoa is sold to Devine chocolate which can be bought in shops in Bridport. Daisy was lucky to meet the president of Kuapa Kokoo who have over 70,000 members. She was a very impressive lady.
The group visited the Kamasi market which is the largest market in West Africa, they also visited the Cape Coast University for research on their extended projects. The university is on a huge campus and compared to the Garrison School very well resourced. Whilst on the coast we went to the slave fort for a guided tour which was very moving especially walking through the “Door of no return”
If you would like to read the students account of the trip they kept a blog which can be found on http://soundofghana.tumblr.com/
Daisy summed up the trip in the blog “Feeling quite out of place back home already which is strange, people don’t wave to you when you drive past like they do in Kumasi! and you don’t see endless goats and chickens wandering around wherever you go, I will miss that.”