My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

One Incredibly Busy week---with no internet...

Sorry for those of you who follow my blog. It has been an INCREDIBLY busy week and our internet has been down, so I've been trying to keep up via my phone, but that just doesn't workwhen it comes to typing out a blog. So, I'll try to give you the week in snapshots...

Monday was Daddy Joe's birthday. The kids woke him up early with Happy Birthday and then John and Mama Theresia really got him wet with buckets of water first thing out his door! It was a fun day though as all the kids prepared birthday cards for him and that night, we all sat outside together and then ate cake together. Daddy Joe gave a speech to all the kids at the end of the night talking about how they should make better choices for their future. It was a sweet time of family celebration.

Tuesday, Kristie and Sydney O'Leary and the FTO team came out to the school to visit with the kiddos. It was such a joy to have them here. It was a amazing because the last time that Kristie was in country, we hadn't even started building, so to see the growth that a year could bring...that was pretty cool! Our students were all prepared with little speeches or songs for our visitors in every classroom. I was so happy with all of our kiddos and the way that our teachers interacted with our visitors was such a positive experience. After they toured the Children's Village site, we all took off to visit 7 Continents. I hadn't been there since I returned to Ghana in August. It has been an incredibly busy few months!! And the place looked amazing! The ladies are doing an awesome job creating their bags and our friend Angie Doe has been organizing the jewelry room and it looks beautiful!
I was so impressed by how organized the place was! And Robert, our sewing trainer, is coming up with some new designs and the bags are turning out just lovely. Excited to see what we'll have when we come home for Christmas!

Wednesday, a lovely new friend came out to visit us. Her name is Rebecca and we got connected through a mutual acquaintance named Dan. Her and her friend started a project here in Ghana called ABAN (check them out at www.aban.org) that works with young single mothers or street girls. Most of them were recruited into their training program from Accra. We were excited to connect and see how we could partner together to better each others programs. She spent the majority of the day touring around at our 7 Continents location in Tema New Town and then
came to the Children's Village site for a bit before heading out to return to their place. She was super sweet and we're looking forward to visiting her project probably in the next week or so!

Thursday was our PTO meeting. I've been enjoying our PTO meetings, for the most part. There are parts that I don't understand as they only translate so much of the meeting for me, but Thursday's PTO meeting was incredibly discouraging to me. The parents brought up the issue of discipline in our school, which is already a sensitive topic for me as I feel like I'm constantly battling with the teachers about how to use our discipline system effectively (CONSISTENCY IS KEY!!). But, the parents came to us practically begging us to allow our teachers to cane the kids. They said our disciple wasn't harsh enough and we don't want to be known as an undisciplined school. I was already a little sensitive about being called an undisciplined school as Mama
Theresia had made a comment to me about that earlier in the week, and then again with all the parents. Schools here require students to remain sitting and silent at all times and while I believe there is a place for that, I also see how so many students here lack critical thinking skills because the teachers simply teach and teach and teach and the students do none of the learning on their own (rote instruction). I tried to stress that to the parents, and they finally agreed that they understood why we wouldn't cane, but we needed to come up with harsher punishments for our students. It left me feeling tired and weary and sometimes I wonder how to bring Kingdom Culture to a culture who resists change so strongly. Needless to say, it was a frustrating end to a long day...

Friday was our field trip for our P1-P6 classes. The students were so excited and everyone was in uniform and they looked amazing! The buses were running on extreme Ghana time. Students had made it to the school by 7 and we didn't end up leaving the school til 9 something, but that's how it is here...TIA.

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