By Steve Hubrecht
Local students who helped to start constructing a school in Ghana a year and a half ago are delighted that the building is now finished.
The David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) students, eight in total, went to Nyameyekrom in Ghana during their March break in 2013 as part of a Me to We and EF Educational Tours volunteer trip, and during their time there helped begin what would turn out to be the year-long process of building a more permanent school for the community.
The village sent the volunteers a photo of the finished building, when it was completed earlier this summer.
It feels good knowing I took part in that to see how happy they (the villagers) are in the photo, said trip participant and now DTSS graduate Ashley Hecher, adding the villages old school was made out of bamboo and other impermanent materials, and that the roof was falling down when the students arrived.
The new school we started building was cement, we actually started the foundation and made the bricks, said Ashley, adding the students used sand, powdered cement and water for the bricks, first mixing the mold and then letting the bricks dry.
Other local students on the trip were Aleshia Maclean, Courtney Marie Seaman, Makayla Wilder, Nicole Ivers, Rochelle Mathieu, Sarah Miller and Victoria Mailo. In an April 2013 Pioneer story on the trip, the participants said they found Ghanaians friendly, the residents of Nyameyekrom particularly welcoming, the work hard, and the whole experience quite rewarding.
Ashley said many of the participants are eagerly planning to take part in another Me to We volunteer trip to Amazon in Ecuador during the upcoming 2015 March Break, led by the same pair of East Kootenay teachers (Elk Valley teacher Kerrie Purdy and local Columbia Valley teacher Debra Fisher) who arranged the Ghana trip.
Its amazing for students to get out of the classroom. They learn so much. Its quite an eye-opener, Ms. Purdy told The Pioneer a month ago in an interview about the upcoming Ecuador trip. Some students came back for our last volunteer trip (the Ghana trip) and actually got more involved in the community. You cant teach that in the classroom. Its uplifting to be part of that.
The 10-day Ecuador trip includes a tour of Quito, volunteer work in the Me to We Amazon village helping build a school (or other needed infrastructure work), evening Spanish sessions, rainforest hikes and more.
Me to We is a non-profit group that operates many charitable endeavours, including organizing leadership training and volunteer trips to developing communities.