9 Degrees North: Full of Promise
By the young women of Northern Ghana and their mentors
In 2012, I reviewed a book entitled 9 Degrees North: ABC’s of North Ghana. Now, Full of Promise adds to the story.
Tools for Schools Africa Foundation is a registered Canadian charity begun in Red Deer with the shipment, in 2006-2007, of two 40-foot containers of school books and supplies.
Today, 63 ambitious and bright girls, attend school because of this charity. Something to celebrate!
The ABC book used the wonderful work of many artists, and this is a book with a heart warming personal touch. The girls tell their own stories in their own words. Those who put the book together did not edit their speaking, so we hear the heartfelt thanks, and the future plans directly from the students. They’re delighted to be going to school; they are ambitious and hopeful.
First, a map showing Northern Ghana, then we are introduced to Ayisha K, who tells us about being a school prefect. A prefect must set an example of citizenship and industry for the other students. Ayisha enjoys the responsibility and she does very well.
Then we hear from Samaya, Marta and Lawura.
Samaya is the only girl in a family of five children, her parents are dead. Sending her to school is a financial sacrifice for the family, but she works very hard and hopes to become a nurse.
Marta is 18 and from a large family, because her father has three wives. She works selling groundnuts to buy school supplies, and also has worked as a head porter carrying loads on her head. She has big dreams and works hard.
Lawura is a very successful student but there is little her family can do to help her remain in school.
These students are not complaining but working and praying there will be opportunity for them in the future.
Life in Ghana, as everywhere, means jobs to do. They make shea butter, which is used in the making of salves and lotions. The fabric of West Africa is dyed into batik patterns varied and beautiful. We learn how they prepare koobi (fish) and okra soup.
One life lesson comes from a grandfather to his grandson; it offers love and wisdom in one package.
All this and much more about the Ghanian life, but the students’ words make this book sing. There are 24-plus beautiful, happy women pictured in this book.
The president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson, is quoted here: “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough. …”
These girls have big dreams.
Women and men from our city dreamed a dream and this is the result. The Department of Architecture from University of Manitoba helped by building a residence there.
The world is such a small place when you and I can help a young person make their life and their country a better place to live. A win-win situation in anybody’s language.
Peggy Freeman is a local freelance books reviewer.