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2007 Catawba College Alumna Teaching in Ghana

February 01, 2008

Category: Alumni, Politics

EbersoleLauren Ebersole of Hagerstown, Md., a 2007 Catawba College graduate who majored in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations, is spending several months this spring in Ghana. She is working at a school in Abura, a small town about 10 minutes from Cape Coast along the southern coast of Ghana.

Lauren, along with fellow 2007 Catawba College alumna Kelly Fearman of Canada, who majored in Business Administration with a concentration in General Management, are teaching at the Abura Literacy School. This school prepares underprivileged students to enter the regular school system. Lauren and Kelly's placement at the school, which is funded primarily through donations, was made by Cosmic Volunteers, an international volunteer organization. They will work at the school from January 12 through March 7.

Lauren reports that she and Kelly, along with three teachers at the school teach basic math, English, music, environmental studies, and social studies to around 55 students, ages 3-12. The school, she explains is actually "an open courtyard with people living around the outside."

Ghana MapLauren says Ghana "is a different world from home," but notes that she is having a great experience so far, "having gotten into a routine at work."

"I'm working with some of the older students," she e-mails. "I'm mostly teaching basic math, addition, subtraction, and some basic English and the alphabet. The work is very challenging because the students learn at such a slow pace. Expectations can't be too high though as naked children run around, women do laundry, and people get ready for the day, all in the courtyard that is called their school.

"The students do not have much, but they are eager and very welcoming. They make it worthwhile because they always run to meet us as we walk through the door. They are always smiling and laughing."

Lauren reports that in addition to visiting the local marketplace after the school day ends, she is making some in-country trips. She visited Kakum National Park where "we went on a night hike through the rainforest, slept outside on wooden planks, and then got up at 5 a.m. for a canopy walk 40 meters in the trees. The canopy walk was absolutely amazing, my favorite thing so far," she notes in an e-mail.

"We also went to a small village called Wassa Domama to visit a rock shrine. Our guide was a bit crazy, constantly climbing trees to get us fruit and such. At the rock shrine, he showed us how to use the vines to climb up the three to four-story rocks. It was pretty difficult, but lots of fun as well. For part of the climb, down we swung on the vines like Tarzan. Then, we went on a very short canoe ride because the wooden canoe had some leaks and we immediately began to take on water."

Lauren's upcoming plans include attending the Ghana Nigeria quarterfinal soccer match.


PhotosPHOTOS: Alumna Lauren Ebersole Teaches in Ghana