Last year our students made pen-pal friendships with a class of 5th grade students from Accra, the capital of Ghana. We wrote three letters, they wrote three letters. We asked questions, they asked questions. We realized that Ghanaian kids also played video games, they realized that some Takilma kids get to live in school buses! (We also realized that our Ghanaian friends were mostly quite wealthy --swimming pools, servants, chauffeurs --which helped dispel some of our stereotypes about Africans; our Illinois Valley lifestyles also possibly changed our Ghanaian friends' stereotypes about Americans.)
Yet we couldn't have forged these friendships alone.
These friendships were coordinated by Yo Ghana!, a small Portland nonprofit that facilitates pen-pal relationships between children in Ghana and Oregon. Needless to say, about every other Oregon classroom is from the Portland area, providing Ghanaian kids with the perspective of city-dwelling and suburban-dwelling Oregonians. And then came us -- Oregon's only rural representation in Yo Ghana! (to the best of my knowledge).
We had such a fun time that we're doing it again!
Stay tuned for news of our first batch of letters --- our younger children who choose to dictate their letters, or write letters in their own spelling, will need grown-up help to type their letters and/or translate their spelling into conventional spelling. Please consider volunteering :-)
The Domie Diary