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Nyamata: A Ghana Student’s Day of Half Joy and Half Pain

Me teaching in Sogakope, Ghana last year!
Me teaching in Sogakope, Ghana last year!

Note from Lillie Marshall of Last year at this time, I was in my third of three glorious months volunteer teaching in Ghana.

Now, back home in Boston, it is a joy to maintain contact with Ghana friends… and today we have a special treat: an article from Sogakpe, Ghana high school student Nyamata John Bright about a day in school that brought him half joy, half pain! This article is a powerful insight for all Teacher-Travelers into the similarities and differences between students around the world, especially as a debate rages in the United States about how to best help students who experience bullying and hardship.

Take it away, Nyamata!

My 50-50 day was the day I had a half day of joy and a half day of pain. It was just three days after I was admitted to the Senior High School. That day I woke up early, bathed, and collected money. I set for school. That morning, I was very happy because my money was increased.

When I reached the school, I met my friends and we started chatting. The bell rang for assembly, and after assembly we entered our rooms. Since we were new and not all of us reported the first days, we had not started learning, thus we were left to get to know each other. So I went to meet some new mates. We introduced ourselves and started telling jokes, folk tales, life stories and so on. The jokes were very interesting and funny. Some new student also reported that day and I went to find some information about them. They also said some funny stories about themselves, which made me laugh a lot.

The author, Nymata, himself!
The author, Nymata, himself!

The bell rang to break for foods. The foods that were there were very delicious, and they made me spend all my money without knowing. The break was over and we entered our classrooms. Then a teacher came and started dividing us into 4 different “houses.” We were given house jerseys. We teased and argued at each other’s house and jersey. The jerseys were in 4 different colours: red, blue, yellow, and green, and some teased, “Red is a dangerous colour, so they are also dangerous people!” and so on. After that, we had a sport competition. We won and we were given awards.

At the second break, I was a little bit hungry, but I thought food would be available at home. After the break, a teacher came to tell us stories. We laughed and I said to myself, “Today is the happiest day in my life!”

We closed school, and at that time I was very hungry, but I knew food would be waiting for me at home. I got to my house, removed my things, got to the kitchen, and started opening plates and pots… but nothing seemed to be in them! The more I opened empty containers, the more I became angried. I asked my mum whether there was any food, she just said we should go to the farm and uproot some cassava and yam so she could cook for us. The farm is very far from the house, but I had no choice.

We went and uprooted the cassava and yam, and it was already evening, and I was very hungry, such that my eyes turned red. My mother cooked the foods and served it for us, but suddenly something just went wrong! My brother insulted my mum! She was so angry, she sacked all of us out of the room without eating the food! Tears started flowing through my eyes like waterfalls.

Sogakope students (not the bullies!)
Sogakope students (not the bullies who beat Nyamata!)

I left the house to go and ask my friend to lend me some money. On the way, some gang boys came to me and asked me for my money. Without letting me finish my sentence, “I don’t have money,” they started beating me! I ran home and went straight to bed without noise. I was feeling pains all over my body so that I could not even enjoy my sleep.

Thank you so much, Nyamata, for sharing your story! Readers, it would mean a lot to our guest writer if you leave comments, questions, and your own stories, so comment away. Want to read other great Ghana student stories? Click here!


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Tom B.

Saturday 26th of October 2013

I was sad to hear how your day ended. It seemed like you were having such a good day! You seem like a very intelligent young man and a talented writer. I hope you continue to develop your writing skills and share what you learn with others!

Abby Murphy

Thursday 14th of June 2012

I hope I never feel the way they do. I wish I will never feel that hungry.


Thursday 6th of October 2011

Wow, I really learn a lot from people like these. I hope I never get a 50 50 day with pain and joy, I rather have only the joy 100 and pain 0.


Saturday 16th of July 2011

Wow, I can't even imagine how it would feel to be that hungry. Sounds like an awful day. But, we all go through them and usually we'll learn a lesson from it, even if it may not be clear to us straight away.

I hope you're settling in to school now, and that those idiot gang boys leave you alone.

Stay strong, or as we say in Korea, 화이팅! (fighting!)

Genesis Lumahan

Tuesday 3rd of May 2011

I can tell students everywhere tease each other. I can't believe your eyes turned red from hunger. That's awful! What did your brother say to insult your brother? Also, in this story, what does it mean to "sack" someone? That's horrible. People must be really desperate for money nowadays. What a bad ending to your day ):

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