when i go forwards

you go backwards and somewhere we will meet.

                                                          –radiohead

That’s listening from both ends when you stumble upon a podcast well on its way. Meeting will take place around episode 57 I reckon. Going forwards is much easier.

Things you want to know but didn’t know you wanted to know.  99% Invisible is just brilliant. Fascinating things in this world of ours just waiting to have their story told.

It was the podcast on Kowloon Walled City that caught my eye. We used to live in proximity to it and mum would tell stories from her childhood…about not wanting to but having to wander into the maze to deliver sewing for my grandmother. This, after hiking over a mountain or two to get there, and then again to return home.

Favourite episodes thus far:

13-Maps, they don’t love you like I love you.

Infinite City is a piece of art. Not the ideal book for commuting with so slowly and sporadically reading my way through it. Beautiful maps and beautiful words telling the stories of SF.

 

28-Movie Title Sequences 

Such potential for being the best part of a movie and definitely sets the tone for what follows. It is being added to the on-going list at school of Art Jobs We Now Know We Can Have.

 

47-US Postal Service Stamps 

I like that stamps give you an option of being thoughtful with it if you choose. Tiny works of art that complete a piece of mail. Am equally fond of postmarks and postboxes. And so I have to say the National Postal Museum is a pretty awesome place. But then again, I think post offices themselves are pretty amazing too. Like the Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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or the Nsawam Post Office, Ghana.

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Which brings me to the fine little tune that concludes podcast 47–the work song, by Ghanaian postal workers at the University of Ghana.

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I had to rewind, if that’s even what it’s still called, and make sure I heard it correctly. Yes, Ghanaian.

Go check out the genius that is 99% Invisible.

ghana in twenty

december 2012-january 2013 . ethiopian airlines

ghanaian school for a day

Was looking forward to being able to catch school in session in Ghana but never thought I’d get to experience it as a teacher.  I was asked if I wanted to take the Basic 3/third grade class as their teacher was absent and they would be sitting in their classroom the whole day by themselves. How can one say no to a group of kids ready to learn?

As it was the first day back from break, there was all school assembly which gave me a little time to look for materials and come up with some sort of a plan. We started off by making name tags–using a small portion of the massive stash of labels discovered during an earlier craft/supply closet clean out. Kids love labels…especially fluorescent ones. One of the girls still had hers on the next day and excitedly showed it to me as I was saying my farewells to the class.

 

Our classroom–transformed from a corner of the activity centre rather quickly after all school assembly. It was amazing to watch the learning space appear.
Our classroom–transformed from a corner of the activity centre rather quickly after all school assembly. It was amazing to watch the learning space appear.

I tried getting the kids to tell me what their school day looked like but that didn’t quite happen so we settled for a list of possible classes: Citizenship, Mathematics, Science, English, Creative Arts, Religious and Moral Education. I of course wanted to know about creative arts. There was some mention of dancing and I asked them to teach but they declined, which was rather disappointing as I have seen several of them dance before and they have got some good moves. We went with story writing in the morning and puppet making in the afternoon. I did eventually come across a timetable. It was hidden in the yellow cupboard in the picture below that I didn’t know was The Class Cupboard.

We had a great day. The sun was shining, there was a breeze blowing and goats were wandering in, out and through our classroom.  We read a Dora story–Puppy Takes a Bath and had a discussion about pets, naming pets (not common), characters, setting, problems and solutions.

Not sure how Dana snuck this photo in between all the math classes she was asked to teach that day.
Not sure how Dana snuck this photo in between all the math classes she was asked to teach that day.

In the class story we wrote together, Buster the goat (I insisted we name him and that’s what they chose) was chewing my bed and here were some ways to solve the problem:

  • sack the goat (still not quite sure what that entails)
  • cane the goat
  • kill the goat and eat it

I suggested we keep thinking since Buster is a friend and we didn’t want to hurt him. These were our kinder alternatives:

  • build him his own house outdoors
  • go to the market and buy him a goat friend so he has someone to play with
  • grow food in the garden so he can eat that instead of chewing the bed
 The rest of the morning was spent planning and writing our own stories.

 

authors and illustrators
authors and illustrators

After lunch, we looked through all our puppet making tools and materials and made either one of our story characters or created anything else we wanted–animal/person/creature.

creative arts : )
creative arts : )
our finished puppets and the Basic 2 class in the distance
our finished puppets and the Basic 2 class in the distance

We concluded the day by sharing our stories and attempting to clean up the art materials which seemed to have blown everywhere.  I learned the next morning that I had been unnecessarily concerned at the state we had left the classroom in as clean-up and sweeping is in the schedule–it takes place before school starts.

...all taken care of the next morning.
…all taken care of the next morning.
Almost ready for the second day of school...wish we could've stayed for it!
Almost ready for the second day of school…wish we could’ve stayed for it!
Classmates and Miss Dana saying goodbye…or better yet, see you again.
Classmates and Miss Dana saying goodbye…or better yet, see you again.

 

Quite the experience and there really is not much else more enjoyable and fun than learning with kids.