Saturday, December 20, 2008

Meet Michael of Sankofa

As I tumbled out of a taxi onto the street of Eguafo, Ghana for a day of teaching at Sankofa, I felt tired. Maybe part of it was that the whole cram-six-people-into-Kojo's-taxi-for-an-hour stint was getting a little old; I love my husband, but sitting half on his lap and half on the metal wire sticking out of the taxi seat was not my idea of quality couple time. Glancing back at the other volunteers extracting themselves from the car, I could tell they were a little sick of it too.

After paying Kojo, we all began to troup down the street toward the trail that would lead us into the village and thence to school. While kicking up orange dust and shouldering my backpack, I was hissed at by a man nearby. Don't worry; hissing is simply a way of getting attention in Ghana. I once saw a Ghanaian man do it at the New York airport. He got pretty frustrated when the airline attendant didn't seem to pay any attention to his obvious efforts to get help.

But I digress. I turned my head to the hissing man, who held the hand of a tiny, chubby-faced child. He spoke to me in Fante, then tried to pass the child's hand to me. I looked at him blankly until he managed to say, "School. You take."

I smiled and nodded, reaching for the little fingers. They were yanked away and I was given a glower all the more impressive considering the giver was maybe three years old. I tried to comfort him by saying, "Bra. Yeko skool." (Come on, let's go to school.) Giving a half-angry, half-fearful squawk, he shrank against his guardian's legs. When I squatted down and held out my hand again, the little man bravely stepped forward, waved a hand at me, and declared loudly, "Ko!"

I began to laugh. He was telling me in no uncertain terms to go away and I couldn't help but admire his tenacity. His guardian shrugged and grinned, taking the little hand again and following us to school.
That wasn't the last time I saw Michael, as I learned he was called. His cheerful, determined little demeanor was very endearing and he became my favorite of the younger children. My husband also came to enjoy the little one. Here he is playing with Michael, in the red and white, before the PTA meeting.

It seems I am destined to love little boys named Michael. I have a little one at each orphanage now, though New Life's Michael is grown to a young man of 14 and doing well in junior high school. Sankofa's little Michael still has many years ahead of him. Please donate to save Sankofa today, and help Michael to be a young man who goes on to get a good education.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow... he's adorable.

I love this blog. Wish I could be in Africa right now.