The Global Navigators began their service learning journey on Tuesday, July 12 at the Future Leaders Underprivileged Children's Centre (UCC). After a hearty breakfast at their hotel, the students boarded the bus to start their 30-minute trek to the UCC, located in the Airport Hills neighborhood of Accra.
Upon arrival we were greeted by Madam Mabel, the headmistress of the school, who welcomed us with open arms. She then invited us into a classroom to hear about the history of the school as well as the expectations for the students as volunteers. Future Leaders UCC was created by BIlla Mahmud in 1998 to give children living in his community an opportunity to receive free education. What began as a small group of students being taught by one teacher under a mango tree has now bloomed into a two-story school with over 300 students currently enrolled.
The Global Navigators were able to observe each classroom on their first visit- from the nursery all the way to junior high school classes (the equivalent in the U.S. school system to the sophomore year of high school). On Wednesday, the CIEE students were broken up into pairs and/or individually and were assigned classrooms to begin their journey at Future Leaders. From grading papers to singing nursery rhymes, the Global Navigators dipped their toes into the flow of a normal school day at the UCC. Most students are working alongside classroom teachers, giving the students the opportunity to assist with lesson plans and offer support to students working on assignments.
Before leaving Future Leaders for the day, the students concluded their morning session with recess. Some Global Navigators decided to teach the UCC students how to play sharks and minnows during their downtime, which began with a few students but quickly grew into an intense competition with almost 40 participants. After their first full session of service learning, the students shared their highlights on the bus ride back to campus.
"[My favorite part was] seeing the respect that the students have for their teachers," said Laila, "along with the respect that the teachers also show their students."
After spending her first day in the nursery classroom, Lucy Q. said, "I liked seeing how the older kids take care of the younger kids in the classroom. Even if they're only one year older, they comfort each other."
Even after just two days, our Global Navigators are excited and eager to continue their service learning journey at Future Leaders over the next three weeks!
Today''s Twi word of the day is sukuu which translates to school in English. The Global Navigators are looking forward to their mornings at the Future Leaders' school!