gmhTODAY 15 gmhToday July Aug 2017 - Page 97

Jacqui Kanode In 2010, Jacqui learned about Awaso from Monica McClintock. Jacqui is a retired special education teacher, member of Morgan Hill’s Advent Lutheran Church, and a San Martin resident. Her church holds a supply collection event each July. She has made four visits to Awaso, typically staying for a month or longer. Her first trip was dedicated to the setting up the school. In addition to working in support of the UNICEF curriculum in place, she developed the Academy’s administrative framework for teachers and employees. She learned that what seems to North Americans to be a series of “delays” is the normal pace of “Ghana time.” She credits the change of pace with bringing her into a better understanding of and alignment with the more relaxed way of living in Ghana. She’s become adept at adjusting to the cultural differences. Jacqui speaks of Father Paul’s advice as her “mantra.” He frequently says to her, “Keh Cra, Keh Cra,” which means “little by little.” Jacqui wishes she had visited Ghana before beginning her teaching career in the U.S. She said the difficult conditions faced by the teachers in Awaso increased her appreciation for California’s education system. She brought her class- room management skills to Awaso Academy in 2014 and is particularly grateful to see how such things as positive rein- forcement are now being used successfully by teachers there. Last year she made her fourth journey to Awaso to continue providing curriculum enrichment and in-service teacher training. As she put it, “I am here to support God’s vision as seen through Father Paul’s eyes.” GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Maryann Kantmann Maryann has been to Awaso three times. She learned of the project at St. Catherine’s Church, while Father Paul was studying at Santa Clara University. “I joined the first group that visited Awaso in 2010 and assisted by interviewing potential students, sewing uniforms, and providing in-services for teachers,” Maryann said. “We worked with the villagers to complete the school and build the principal’s house. It was a remarkable time. The talent of the villagers was surprising to me. The work was done without benefit of electrical power. They made bricks by hand, and carried in water in jugs on their heads. I made friends and gained appreciation for the Ghanaian people and their culture and had a joy-filled time working with the children, who are so bright and eager. I went there to give and came home having received much more.” Last year, Maryann returned to Awaso to help work with teachers and young students for two months. Since then, she’s been fundraising, providing school supplies, sponsoring a student, and promoting the annual Ghana Dinner fundraiser. “We have been fortunate to have the support of the local Ghanaian community. Their contributions have been invaluable, and it has been a joy getting to know such good people.” Asked what would help the efforts, she said, “The quality of Awaso Academy’s education is superior, but the school does not receive government support, so fundraising is a continuing challenge. Funds for housing teachers, expanding the middle school, and scholarship money for the children are all needed. All it takes is $40 a month to change a child’s life for the better.” JULY/AUGUST 2017 gmhtoday.com 97