Cultural Exchange at Camp Helen Brachmanprint story
July 24, 2012
Wow this summer is flying by! I have spent the last 2 months at a summer camp, called Camp Helen Brachman (CHB) in Almond, WI that serves inner city youth from Milwaukee. This is my 4th summer on staff here and I absolutely love it! However, this summer has some awesome new programming. Renee Farwell, from Mawuvio's Outreach Programme (MOP) is actually a previous staff here at CHB and was able to return this summer to do a cultural exchange between her students at MOP in Ghana, Africa and our campers from Milwaukee, WI. Renee runs several programs throughout the day teaching campers about life in Ghana and how her student's lives are similar and different from their lives. I have had the opportunity to help her with some of this programming and have taken some pictures of different activities we have done.
One activity that we did was teaching our campers how to cook a type of Ghanaian rice called Jollof. We built a campfire and Renee brought traditional grinding bowls from Ghana that our campers were able to use to grind up tomatoes and onions. The ingredients included onions, tomatoes, rice, carrots, and seasonings. The ingredients that were available to us at camp were not exactly what are typically used in Ghana, but we made due. We mixed the ingredients together and cooked them over the campfire. We also ate the Jollof with our hands which is the way Renee’s students at MOP usually eat it. Overall, the campers thought the rice wasn’t too bad…but felt it needed some hot sauce :)
Another activity that we have done is sharing writing. This has taken on many forms. Some of our campers have written letters to one of the student’s at MOP. Renee has profile information and pictures of many of her students so a camper can choose a child they would like to write to. We also have taken pictures of our campers holding a picture of the child they wrote to so that we can show the students at MOP who wrote them their letter. Some campers have also written “how to” books about how to do something that they do here at camp that Renee’s students may not be as familiar with. These books have been written about how to make S’mores, how to play basketball, how to put up a tent, as well many other topics. Renee and I will be taking these books to Ghana with us to share with her students.
A third activity we have done is painting the Ghana flag. Renee has shared with the campers what the flag represents. The red represents the blood that was shed while Ghana was gaining their independence, the yellow represents the gold that is mined in Ghana and along the western coast, and the green represents the vast amount of vegetation found there. The star in the middle of flag represents the unity of the people and their pride in the independence. The campers got to make their own flag to take home with them.
We have also had the opportunity to Skype with many of Renee’s students at MOP throughout the course of the summer. The campers have really looked forward to and enjoyed the opportunity to speak with children their age in Ghana. Overall, the cultural exchange has been a great success and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here will bring!
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