18 July 2010 – BASCO

Last Thursday I visited the Baptist School and Children’s Orphanage (BASCO) in Trotor, Eastern Region, Ghana. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the place is the boulder covered, grassy hillside that is incorporated into the campus. When we entered the gate and turned left at Simone’s Hall a lovely small hill strewn with boulders came into view. They were painted with various messages I was unable to read while chatting with Pastor Victor. From the bottom right going up the hill were three classroom blocks and at the top was the administrative building and the computer lab. At the top right was a thatch covered summer hut with 6 students sitting at desks with a fellow student writing on the chalk board. The girls’ bathhouse was to the left next to the outdoor classroom. Down the hill to the left was the school kitchen, a lean-to with side walls. Then the master’s dorm and the boys dorm.

What are the cons of BASCO?

It’s not Sandema. I will miss my friends in Sandema, paaaa. I will miss the dry heat during the first three months of the year, the relative coolness of the fall Hammatan and the expansive view across the flat savannah.  Trotor, the village where BASCO is, is located in the tropical rain forest of southern Ghana. It is in the Eastern Region, very near to the training site. It will be hot and humid. In Sandema not many people ever shouted at me or called to me using the hated words for the color of our skin, Obruni or Filika or…. Most adults who wanted my attention called me Madam. Not so in the south. There are more aggressive people there who not only shout Obruni but also try to touch or even grab you.

The housing is very different. My toilet and bathing room are outside of the house I live in. The kitchen is not yet built. I will have one room to myself. Electricity is only on in the living quarters from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Last con is that it’s a long hike to the main road, about three miles.

What are the pros?

I love the mission of the school/orphanage. Pastor Victor is an Independent Baptist minister. He wanted to start a school and an orphanage in an underserved area in Ghana. One of his congregants told him about Trotor. The school covers grades K through the end of Junior High. It’s located between two of the biggest cities in the Eastern region, Korforidia and Suhum but even so close to two cities it’s very poor and uneducated. The orphanage houses about 120 students from the area and the school brings in about another 150 local kids. The school offers one scholarship to each family in Trotor.

The buildings and grounds are clean and well maintained. The building I will live in is very nice. It has six wide steps leading up to a columned porch. They are both covered with tile. There is a large center room with two bedrooms on either side. The floors are also tiled and cleaned daily by students.

Although my toilet and bathing room are an outhouse it is only in the sense that they are outside the main house. They were just built in hopes of getting a Peace Corps volunteer. They are tiled with an art deco patterned band about chair rail height. They are ready for running water with shower head and flush toilet.

It is located in the village. It will be easy to interact with the villagers and to do projects with them. They speak Twi and another language so I can build on my small small Twi vocabulary. Twi is a widely spoken language in southern Ghana so I will be learning a language that will be useful outside my village.

Katherine, another 50+ volunteer, lives within 2 hours Trotor.

The school has a farm and animals.

It is not Sandema. It’s a totally new place. It’s a tropical rain forest. It’s a private school not funded by Ghana Education Services. It’s a new place with new challenges.

It’s closer to Accra Movie Theater and beaches.

The headmistress is a wonderful, dedicated young woman. She is enthusiastic and curious. I am looking forward to being able to mentor a younger woman.

They seem to appreciate their volunteers. Two of the painted boulders are in honor of past volunteers and Simone’s Hall is in honor of the first white volunteer to come to the school. They will throw a party for me when I arrive. They invited me to the party for the German volunteer who is leaving in August. Sorry I will be in America. Well not too sorry.

Deborah, the head mistress, said that a taxi will come from Suhum for $5.00 GHC to take us to town.

I have a bazillion ideas about what I could do at this site. I am excited and eager to face a new challenge. Let’s see what Peace Corps says and does while I am on home leave.

 -vc

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2 Comments

  1. October 30, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    we are always using stainless steel shower heads for our bathroom ;

  2. November 18, 2010 at 7:54 am

    plastic shower heads are cheaper and you can easily install them, they are not as durable as brass showers heads but good enough ;~:


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