It has been a strange and difficult year for Amos.
You may remember him. He is a teacher at our school in Bagri, the first school that Savannah built in this impoverished area of northern Ghana. We have written about him in previous newsletters (and a very short film about his life is on our website).
In March, the Ghanaian government made the sad decision to temporarily close all schools in Ghana due to Covid-19. This of course included the school at which Amos teaches. The restrictions also meant that food prices soon began to rise, and Amos and his young family immediately felt significant financial pressures that have continued throughout the year.
When the government allowed schools to reopen for the older children, Amos was among the returning teachers. He has had to adapt to a somewhat strange world, much of it of course recognisable now to all of us: locally produced face masks, liquid soap, hand sanitisers and – a Ghanaian twist – specialist ‘Veronica’ buckets (dustbins with a tap to allow for hand-washing). All have been funded by Savannah.
Through the dedication of teachers like Amos – and despite the challenging backdrop – our schools again entered pupils for the national exams in the summer. Again, our pupils did exceptionally well. But, even more important even than sitting exams, the blue schools are continuing to offer hope during these difficult days. For the desperately poor children of this area, once the schools are fully reopened they will again provide a Christian education and a meal each day – never more important than in economic recession.
For the children of the linked villages of Danko-Buree there has been a particular excitement during the virus period as they have watched their beautiful new school being built. Building has now reached roof level and, God willing, the school will be Savannah’s ninth in this area. So for these village children there is a thrill in anticipating the wonder of receiving an education for the very first time.
While life is not without problems for Amos himself, they would be worse without his teaching job – which has come to him through the support given by Savannah. As part of our teaching training programme, he received help to obtain his training qualification and has now been teaching in our schools for over a decade. For Amos and his fellow teachers there is something else to look forward to in 2021 when God willing Savannah’s new teacher training centre will open. This centre in the local market town will give much needed support to teachers across our schools providing training, collaboration and resources.
So, notwithstanding the dark days of 2020, there is much cause for hope as these villages look to the new year of 2021. And for Amos, there is something greater even than these things. It is the message that he shares in school assemblies and that he takes as an itinerant preacher to remote villages Sunday by Sunday: the message of true hope only contained in the gospel. The teacher training centre will therefore not only support day to day teaching, but also will provide Christian instruction to help individuals like Amos.
As we reflect on all that has happened this year, we can honestly say that it has been a year like no other in our history. It means that we cherish your prayer and your generous support more than ever. We certainly need it. Amos is not able to thank you personally. It is a great privilege to do so on his behalf, and on behalf of each of our pupils and staff in Ghana.
We do not know what 2021 holds, but we join with all of our friends in Ghana in wishing you a happy Christmas and God’s blessing for the new year.
On behalf of the trustees,