It was not my intention to become a scholarship committee, and yet here I find myself in the midst of the perfect storm of crushing need, resources abroad, and year-end urgency.
Lets back up.
Six more months ago our friends Lynn & Skip were living on the other side of the faculty bungalow. Skip teaches at Ashesi, and Lynn in the village schools.
Lynn is the kind of person I aspire to be, deeply compassionate, fragile, thoughtful, and a very good cook. She is so comfortable in her identity that just being in the same room makes you feel like the kind of person you always wanted to be. Like a sponge wiping up a spill, her personality absorbs the anxiety I have about where I am on that journey.
[Lynn with teacher]
Lynn brings a message of non-violence to the village schools. She believes when children are treated with respect and dignity, even when their behavior is not positive, they will try harder to respond with a more proper behavior. Fear is not the tool of good teacher. Pain is not a good motivator.
[Lynn presents to the teachers]
She heard from the teachers how students were not motivated to study for high school entrance exams; there was no money for tuition. In Ghana, schooling up through junior high is relatively free, but high school has a tuition that starts at about $300.
[Lynn teaches folk dancing]
So last May, Lynn offered to provide scholarships to students who passed their High School Entrance Exam. Up to this point, that number has been one or two each year. In October, the results from the senior high school entrance exams were published. Margaret, the school headmistress notified Lynn that thirty village students had passed, and Lynn asked if I could help with the distribution of the scholarships.
Ministry is always more fun when you share the load, so after Lynn contacted me, I met with Adams, a student I have high regard for. I explained the project to Adams and he organized some students to help. Adams recruited Yahaya, and Affum, and the trio become the guys. Yahyah is an orphan from Village of Hope, Affum is Ashesi’s first student from the village of Berekuso, and Adams, an amazing leader. It is a good team.
[The Guys: Yahyah, Affum, Adams & Rev. Steve]
The Guys are helping for a variety of reasons. Some knew Skip, some just like doing stuff with me, and one is helping his village. They are good young men, who received their education from scholarship, so perfect for guiding this project.
We sat on our back porch having coffee and eating digestive biscuits, figuring out how the project would work. These young men already have such amazing leadership and problem solving skills. I just bring up a situation, and they clarify the question, determine a method for answering it, and then seek the best, honorable solution. I watch in awe. They ended up interviewing twenty students, eighteen who qualified. Those that didn’t, had just showed up, I guess, because they heard the we were give out scholarships.
[Adams interviewing a student]
In the next installment read how the scholarships get funded.