Let me start by wishing you a MERRY CHRISTMAS. I hope you are all still with me! It's been three months since I have written anything here in my blog. Three months which have brought along with them a lot of work with a lot of progress. I won't even begin to get into details. At this point, an overview seems like the way to go.
These months have seen the successful completion of my library/school/community book project. The Friends of the Pima County Library hand-picked over 300 absolutely beautiful books from their warehouse by subject request from the teachers here at St. Kizito High School where I have also just finished teaching my first term of Visual Arts. The library project was not completed with the donation of the books. There was also the task of finding funding for shipping these precious books. Unfortunately, projects such as this one do not receive any special mailing rates making these much needed efforts very difficult to accomplish. The mailing rates are astronomical but we did succeed in finding the funding via a funding organization. After many trips to the Ghana Educational Ministry to assure tax exemption at the Ghana end, we were finally able to mail and receive the books.
The books arrived safely and were officially received with a handing off ceremony. The ceremony included the student body, town officials, past school headmasters and several chiefs. It was a great event. The books are truly fantastic. I can now show my students what the cave and Egyptian arts we have been studying about actually look like!! A lot better than twisting my head sideways while standing facing frontwards in an attempt to strike an ancient Egyptian pose.
I am currently involved in helping St. Kizito move up from its lowest rated school ranking. The school is in a phase of development. It was awarded a Peace Corps Volunteer for this reason. Although I had planned to focus on some art projects, the need appeared greater in another area which caught my attention. The school has a brand new science building which remains unused because it lacks furniture and furnishings as well as laboratory materials. The book project got me thinking that I could possibly use a similar concept to bring over laboratory materials for the three labs, physics, biology and chemistry. I am also applying for grants to get money to build cabinets, furniture and put in plumbing for the buildings. The idea is that the science building will become a regional science resource center. At present there is only one resource center in the whole region. It is across the Volta River and too far for students to travel to make use of it. Since this whole project is for the school and about the school, there will be a further aspect to the project where students at Kizito and at a school in the U.S. (most likely in Tucson) will exchange ideas and work on a science project together. We will need a lot of people putting in a lot of effort to make all of this happen (anyone interested?) but the challenge will be well worth it. The students here in Mepe are bright, vivacious, intelligent and friendly with so much to share as well as gain.
With this, it is time to wish to you and yours and to our friends worldwide a very Happy New Year.
Amici italiani. Ti faccio gli auguri per BUON NATALE. Sono tre mesi da quando non mi faccio vivo qui col mio blog. Mi scusi e spero di recuperare qualcosa con una breve overview di cos'e' successo in questi mesi, sia alla mia scuola St. Kizito sia coi miei progetti per la scuola. E leggete il blog in inglese se potete perche' non e' uguale a questo.
Il progetto per portare libri dal'America per la minuscola biblioteca della scuola e communita' di Mepe e' stato un successo. Abbiamo trovato una organizazione che si chiama Friends of the Pima County Library che sono risponsabile per doni di libri usati dalle biblioteche della Pima County. I libri donati erano scelti per soggetto libro per libro dai Friends. Sono libri assolutamente bellissimi e cosi necessari per i maestri e gli studenti qui.
I libri erano ricevuti con grande ceremonia un giorno un mese fa'. Adesso sono nel loro posto prominente in biblioteca. Abbiamo la regola che i libri non lascino la campus! E debbono essere usati dagli student solo in biblioteca. Sono troppo belli e necessari da rischiare che spariscono.
Ormai, io sono passato ad altri progetti mentre continuo con l'insegnamento di Visual Arts. St. Kizito e' in fase di sviluppo e per questo e' meritato una presenza Peace Corps. Sto facendo di fare il piu' possibile per tirare la scuola fuori dalla sua posizione basso livello scolastico. C'e' un nuovo edificio per la scienza che dovrebbe funzionare come centro scientifico per la regione solo che al momento manca completamente mobile per le stanze e materiali per i laboratori. Mi e' venuto in mente di provare a trovare materiali per laboratori in America come con i libri e sto cercando fondi in forma di un 'grant' per i mobili e forniture idrauliche. Communque, aiuto di materiali di dovunque funzionera' se vi interessa! Pare che i miei progetti d'arte debbono aspettare un po'.
Allora, rimane solo da augure per tutti voi e tutto il mondo, per quello, un Felice Anno Nuovo.