Whilst being in Ghana I have become great friends with a man called Solomon Yamoah. He left the comfortable life in Scotland and returned to Ghana to set up a school, Wisdom Ways Academy. I have questioned Solo many times about making that decision but he always says he just felt it was his calling. I think that is how many repats feel, but nonetheless Solo has been very brave. Solomon is the owner and Headmaster of his school. The children respect him so much and he looks out for them too. I know the phrase is somewhat overused in the Ghanaian context but he really is like a father to many of them.
Wisdom Ways Academy is located in a town called Narhman, towards the north of Accra passed Haatso. Because it is an unknown place it is often overlooked when big people are trying to be philanthropic. If you don’t know where it is you will easily pass it and get lost. In fact that’s what my friend Ernest and I did when we first went to the school. The taxi driver didn’t know where this town was and so we drove down a dirt road until we realised we were most certainly in the bush. It didn’t even occur to me that we had passed a settlement of any kind. I don’t know if Narhman even passes for a village.
Either way, the children at Wisdom Ways have been preparing for their graduation–in Ghana every end of year is a graduation. Unlike their middle-class counterparts in the urban private schools, they won’t get school photos taken of them annually. I had the idea that we would change that, so I took my Canon DSLR down to Narhman and went to take the children’s photos. The day was buzzing! Young people love new technology, they want to understand it, play with it, perform with it. In a place like Narhman it quickly becomes clear that I might one day be someone’s “when I was a child, a lady came and showed us….” story. Simply because of how rare the encounter might be.
Being in Wisdom Ways was strange for me though. The children call me Madam or Aunty. I am neither of those! I remember doing the same for older people when I was young too and I wonder if they cringed as much as I do. The other thing is that children are so much more open minded. Yes, language can still be a barrier (I know they were wondering what dialect of Twi bastardisation I was speaking) but they’re always keen to overcome it. We sang, beatboxed, danced Azonto.
Here’s a video I published in 2016 about my day at Wise Ways Academy in 2015.
Live life like
no one’s watching you can see yourself on the camera.