This Saturday, I went on one of the most nerve-wracking, ultimately rewarding field trips of my life. Courtney and I had planned a day trip for the kids at the orphanage to go to the University of Ghana campus to play soccer on one of the fields. Jackie, another CIEE student, offered to come along and help herd children, which was ultimately more helpful than we ever could have anticipated.
During the week, we work with about 5-10 children at Hope Community. On Saturday, there were 32 children waiting to come on the field trip with us. I had thought the youngest we would have was 6 years old; oh no, we had 3-year-olds. Jackie and I had chartered one tro-tro to take the kids to campus, thinking we’d only have 15-20 kids at most. So yes, we did indeed cram 32 children and 5 adults in one tro-tro. And yes, I was praying fervently the ENTIRE ride. Courtney and Jackie took a separate tro-tro and met us there a little later, but I rode in the front seat with the driver, along with the two staff members from the orphanage that came along to help. Add the tro-tro mate and all the kids, and it was packed. Like, kids were triple-stacked packed. I could tell the driver was nervous; he was driving very slowly and very carefully, very much unlike a tro-tro driver. Pastor Ashley came out on the balcony from the second floor of the orphanage before we left and yelled at him in Twi, probably telling him to keep his kids safe and bring them all back in one piece. He also yelled at all of us adults to make darn sure we counted the kids before we came back.
We got to campus and bought two large bags of water sachets (drinking water comes in plastic sacks here), which the kids consumed very quickly. Courtney had also brought cookies for them, and I bought FanIce and FanYogo at a mart on the way (Ghanaian ice cream, also served in plastic sacks.) The kids proceeded to the soccer pitch, where they began to play and popped the ball within the first 10 minutes (not their fault, it was overfilled with air.) Oh well, they just kept playing.
We spent a fabulous afternoon out in the sun, rolling about and giving piggyback rides and generally enjoying the children. Around 4:00 we packed them all back on a tro-tro with the orphanage staff and sent them on their way, and the three of us oburunis made our way home from campus. If there is any reason why I am in Ghana, I am convinced it is for afternoons like this.