Thank God it's Friday

14th October 2005 at 01:00
MONDAY The classrooms in this village school in Ghana have concrete walls and big holes for windows. The children - who are incredibly well behaved - call me obruni (white person) or Sandra because they can't get their tongues round Andrea. I'm trying to get my tongue round Twi, the language of the Ashanti tribe. There are four-year-olds here who speak Twi and English.

TUESDAY Voices, animals and crying babies wake me at 5am, plus radios and a TV (unless it's raining, when the electricity goes off). Then there is singing and drumming - music is big here! I ablute by means of a bucket shower. Over at the school, the children are carrying out their first task of the day - getting into four teams to clean the red soil yard with bunches of twigs. They then sing the national anthem before filing in to lessons.

WEDNESDAY I'm in class 3 today and we begin with English grammar, reading from books each shared between five. Books, all in English, are precious and locked away at night. At break a girl runs to the pump and comes back with a bucket of water on her head for the children to drink. After break we do ratios in mathematics followed by religious and moral education. The children are told about a golden stool descending for the first Ashanti king, followed by the story of the Last Supper. They go home at 2pm.

THURSDAY It's "bring your girl child to school" week. The children march through the village and all the parents follow them back to school. Each girl has organised a group or personal performance, even a play. It's all been thought up by the girls themselves. Brilliant! The girl who sings "Oh, Jemima, look at your Uncle Jim" (as taught by me last week) gets resounding applause.

FRIDAY Today the school is closed for a teachers' meeting. I do my washing and am grateful to the girl who offers to fetch the (cold) water from the pump. My stuff, drying outside, excites some interest. Apparently local women go commando, and my purple polka-dot boxers are worth walking the length of the village to see!

Andrea Ennis, a student at Lancaster university, has spent three months in Ghana as a BUNAC volunteer. If you have a diary to share (no more than 450 words), write to TES Friday, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or email friday@tes.co.uk. We pay for every article we publish

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