Eye-opening trip for Isle of Wight teenagers
IT was an eye-opening trip which widened the horizons of these 12 young people.
Students from Ryde School spent 14 days in Ghana, teaching children and decorating classrooms at Nako School, near the town of Wa.
Each student had to prepare and deliver lessons to their African counterparts. Among the lessons they taught were geography, German, music and personal hygiene.
The teenagers and their two teachers also worshipped at Tamale Cathedral, went on safari, and learnt about the slave trade in Accra on their life-changing trip.
Ryde School and Nako School have been linked for around 10 years, and this is the second trip made by students. It was led by Canon Graham Morris, vicar of All Saints, Ryde, and organised as part of our Inter-Diocesan West Africa Link (IDWAL).
Mary Caddick, 17, hopes to pursue a career in medicine, so she and Freya Williams, also 17, prepared a lesson on menstruation and the female reproductive system.
“They had had lessons on human biology, but they still had lots of questions that we tried to answer,” said Freya, who is now preparing to head back to Ghana between A-levels and university.
Alice Gordon and Pip Andrews, both 17, took an inflatable globe and flags for their geography lesson, while Issy Terry and Rhiannon Cobb, both 16, handed out 30 recorders to the pupils for a music lesson.
After the school day, the students went back to paint classrooms and help with building work. They also organised an England v Ghana football match.
During their time in Tamale, the students visited a village where two children had died that day, which helped them to understand some of the challenges faced by Ghanaians. They also experienced High Anglican worship with a rock band during a three-hour service in the cathedral.
“I’d never been to Africa, and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Issy. “But I wanted to explore a new culture and get some experience.”
Luke Wilson, 16, said: “It was good to get a general awareness of what’s going on in that part of the world, and we’ve brought back a burning passion to want to help.”
And Pip said: “One thing I took from the experience was how happy they all seemed, even though they don’t have very much. We have plenty in our country, but we aren’t always very happy.”
Graham Morris, who chairs our IDWAL committee, said: “I was thrilled by the way these young people adapted to cope with the language barrier, the food and the culture. And I was seriously impressed with their lessons.”
The links between Ryde School and Nako School started 10 years ago. Ventnor worshipper David Tamcken visited Ryde School to talk about IDWAL, prompting staff and students to send money raised via the Global Rock Challenge to build classrooms in Nako. The link developed, and the first set of students visited two years ago.
Around 40 students applied to go this time, and each had to fill in a written application, detailing what they would bring to the trip. Each of the 12 selected then had to raise around £1,400 to pay for it. Among their fundraising ideas were teaching the violin, selling cakes and making greetings cards.
Teacher Jocelyn Drabble said: “We want to thank the diocese for this opportunity. Without Graham it wouldn’t have been possible. And our students coped so well, and learnt so much about themselves.”