School Sisters of Notre Dame – Africa

Transforming the World through Education

Notre Dame Secondary School Sunyani

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Ann Coleman picked me up at the Novitiate this morning at 6:10 AM. We drove over to Notre Dame Secondary School for the student Mass at 6:30 AM. Can you believe it??? The school has about 800 students and out of that about 780 are boarders. The Mass was held in the dining hall. They are in the process of building a new dining hall but today they were just putting the roof on it. The have a chaplain for the school. He does some teaching and says Mass for the school three days a week. Well, the Mass didn’t actually start until about 6:45 AM. The girls were saying that there was no water in the showers this morning so many were late.

After Mass the students have one class and then they have breakfast. This morning’s breakfast was millet which sort of looks like brown cream of wheat but they like it very much. S. Carolyn took me around to see the boarding areas after Mass. There are about 18 girls in each room. They have two buildings now. Before the second one was built there almost twice that number in each room. The shower rooms and bathrooms are in two separate buildings which are pretty nice. The school has three wells (bore holes) to accommodate all the needs.

After that brief tour we met up with Ann and she took me back to the sister’s house for some breakfast. S. Kathleen Feeley was also there. Kathleen teaches in four of the formation houses here in Sunyani. She teaches “whatever they ask me to teach.” Right now is the History of Religious Life and English composition. They are all lucky to have her.

When we went back to the school, we toured the classroom facilities. I wanted to get a little video of the girls but some were too shy. We did get the senior prefect and three of the other prefects and had a good conversation. The girls are very articulate and their English is very fine. I was very impressed.

The educational system in Ghana is a little hard to figure out. Right now there are four years of secondary school but next year there will only be three. Two classes will be sitting for the West African exams. The Form Three girls are upset because they will never get to be the head of the school. There is definitely a cast system and they will never get to be the Brahmins of the school.

The government just supplied some new science equipment but someone from Accra has to come to open it and check it so it is just sitting in a classroom for now.

S. Carolyn just took over as head of the school, but she wants to make sure that everything is in order before the official handover. She works too hard but she is so qualified and professional that it will only make the school better.

They have a lot of dreams for the school. It is not owned by SSND. It is a government school now so all the money and sweat equity that SSND has put into it can only be counted as a labor of love and not a real resource.

Tomorrow we take the bus to Nsawam. I think it will be easier that driving from what our experience was on Sunday. Sister Irmina and I will stop and visit at Nsawam and S. Mara will go on to Accra. She flies to Kenya on Thursday.

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