Monday morning, April 27,  saw young children enthusiastically singing songs and reciting sayings at the Community Day care Centre in Amudurasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Comfort and I introduced our guest, Ietje Rijnsburger, to the children and their two care providers during a brief visit to Comfort’s home village.

Ietje is the artist and illustrator who produced such great portraits of our family while she was staying at the African Rainbow the previous week. She travelled on Sunday with our son and his friend to Kumasi to witness the tenth anniversary of the enstoolment of the Ashanti King, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

Not only is Ietje an artist, she is also a teacher in her native Holland. She interacted with the children with humour and enthusiasm, and it was clear that she has a love of children matched equally with a love of learning.

The Day Care Centre opened in October and currently has 86 children registered to attend. The project was first conceived by my wife, Comfort, when we approached the Government of Canada for funding to enable us to construct the Centre. We did not receive the amount which had been requested but were able, through community labour and the provision of land for the building by the chief to begin construction. When the initial funds were exhausted, we set up the Africa Sankofa Fund (http://africasankofafund.blogspot.com) as a registered charity in Canada. Family and friends offered their assistance and collected and donated money, enabling us to complete the first two rooms.

Ietja’s visit to the Centre was short but it is my hope that we will be able to attract people like her to come and spend more time with our caregivers to share ideas and experiences. Early childcare offers the opportunity for children to interact and learn social skills; to develop their innate creative abilities; to improve motor skills and body awareness. It will never take the place of a mother’s natural nurturing – rather it enhances that which mothers already provide their children. For any readers of this blog who might be interested in such a holiday experience, contact me to find out what might be possible.

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