A primary school in Ghana, the site of a recent Baylor University mission trip, will benefit from a children’s book a Baylor student and teacher wrote about their trip.
Lakia Scott, a Baylor assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, co-wrote “The Children of Kyerekrom,” with Branda Greening, an education senior from Houston. Proceeds from book sales will pay for books, a printer, a copier and other school supplies for the Kyerekrom Roman Catholic Primary School.
Scott, Greening and eight other students and faculty members went to Ghana in May to work with the school and surrounding area.
“The school is already really rich: the idea of community, the idea of partnerships and the idea of having meaningful relationships with others,” Scott said.
“Those are really highly valued things, but the school didn’t have things we would find to be like regular things, like textbooks in the classroom. Teachers had desks but didn’t have drawers or school supplies.”
With the exchange rate factored in, the sale of 500 books would raise enough for the equivalent of $10,000 in supplies, Scott said.
The book’s focus is Nikki, a character loosely based on Greening. Nikki is an American visitor studying education who learns unexpected lessons in Ghana.
“It would provide a narrative of our experiences in Kyerekrom,” Scott said. “Because going to another country, that whole idea of privilege as Americans, we think we can do for others but rarely think that others can do for us. So this whole idea of learning things, though we thought we were just going to teach these children, was one of the main storylines.”
A book signing is scheduled Jan. 6 at the Baylor Bookstore, and the book is available on Amazon and at thechildrenofkyerekrom.weebly.com.
New teaching focus
Greening, who taught in the school for four days, said the trip affected her post-graduation plan in a major way.
On the trip, she realized she wants to focus on education in urban centers and on how children’s backgrounds shape their educational needs, Greening said.
“When you try to teach kids and you don’t really consider their background, it’s really hard for them to understand and comprehend and get something out of school, and I found that out the hard way through some blunders and awkward moments while teaching them,” Greening said. “I realized how important it is.”
Autumn Young, a psychology freshman at Central Texas College in Killeen, illustrated the book.
“It didn’t feel like I was illustrating a book for some random person,” Young said. “It was very comfortable working with them. I felt like I had known them for years. It didn’t feel a job for me. It was a lot of fun.”
“The Children of Kyerekrom” is meant to highlight the richness of culture, Scott said. The book’s Ghanaian characters have the same names as people the Baylor team met, and Young’s illustrations are based on photographs taken there.
Scott and Greening will deliver the supplies next year when they return to Ghana.
“It was really a labor of love,” Scott said.