Fasting is part of the seven pillars of Islam which Muslims must follow. During this time Muslims fast for self-control, to gain a better understanding of Allah’s gifts and for compassion towards the deprived. This is not the first time I am fasting in a school but it is the first time I’m fasting during my final Exams. The main difference between fasting here in ASA and back at my Senior High school apart from not working much is the concern the staff members give us. Before we started fasting they made sure everything was ready for us and when we started, they kept on checking on us. This show of concern and love really touched me.
Fasting during my final exams is a new experience for me and I don’t find it all that difficult only tiring. During Ramadan, we have additional prayers to recite and this takes time. I wake up at 4am to start fasting and finish by 4:30am. I then take my bath, pray and the rest of the time till 6:30 I go to the class and library to learn. Also ASA granted the Muslims permission to stay in the classroom when it’s time to eat. This helps us make up for the time we use to pray. The teachers have also made time in their schedules for us to have time to pray so that we do not miss classes. We have written almost all of our papers and writing them was ok even though I was fasting. I was afraid of how I will write a three hour paper while fasting because we are mostly advised to send in water to help us through the paper but Allah was there for me and I wrote the papers without any difficulty.
The fasting is coming to an end and it was one of my best fasting times. This is because of the concern of the staff and the measures they put in place to make us feel comfortable and at home .The experience was akin to the one I have at home and I want to say thank you to the ASA family for being there.
My Experience In London Exchange program with St. Paul’s Girls’ School Sightseeing in London ASA Gala
I was filled with joy when I was selected to take part in
the exchange program between St Paul’s Girls’ School in the UK and the African
Science Academy (ASA) in Ghana. Being a first time out of country travel
experience, I was scared and excited at the same time.
On departure day, I was very vigilant and careful because I did
not want to miss the check in process and details. It was quite difficult for
me because I also wanted to observe other travellers and guess if it was their
first time too. I had a sound sleep when I finally boarded the flight. ‘Excuse
me ma’am, tea or coffee?’ that was when I woke up and realised we had 15
minutes to land at Heathrow airport.
I had a lot of first time experiences during this program. My first culture shock was the weather. As someone who grew up in a country where the weather is mostly warm, London was extremely cold for me. On some windy days I could feel the wind carrying me back to Ghana. Another thing that took me by surprise was how cashless London is. Every transaction is about swiping and tapping. It took me some time to get used to the oyster card especially. I recall instances where I had to go back home for my cards so I could live a normal London life. I was open to trying most of the food I came across. There are some I enjoyed so much and there are some I will never try voluntarily. I ordered smoked salmon and Fiorentina Pizza at my first dinner out. I may never try those meals again because I struggled to eat them. The fish felt like jelly in my mouth and the pizza bitter because of the spinach topping. My favourite meals were fish & chips and burgers. I found myself eating more of those during my stay because it felt close to home.
I had the chance to present my story
and experience so far at the St. Paul’s Girls’ school Assembly on the Monday
after my arrival. Ella Boot and Miriam Agiru also shared the experience they
had in Ghana. Ella and Miriam are the two exchange students who came to Ghana
in December 2018. They were also my hosts during my stay in London. I lived
with Miriam and her family at Bromley South for 4 days and later moved to
Hammersmith to live with Ella and her family.
I experienced teaching and
learning at the school during the week. The senior school had just ended their
mock examinations and were going through the papers in class. One thing that
was completely different from ASA was their school day structure. There are
free periods and a lot of peer-to-peer tutoring. ASA does the A-levels in a
year instead of two so free periods are rare. The senior girls’ had a whole rest room with a
kitchen where we would go relax, have tea and toast when we had no class. The
study room is also very conducive for prep studies. The school setting in a
whole is fantastic. I was also amazed that the students could use their mobile
phones in class. At ASA, phones are allowed only on the weekends or during
I spent my
free days sightseeing at Central London. I visited the Colleges at the
University of Oxford, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tates Modern, the Science Museum and
the Oxford Museum. I also had the opportunity to watch the musical of Dolly
Parton’s 9 to 5 at the Savoy Theatre
and went shopping at Primark.
I spent my last Friday evening
at the ASA fundraising gala. Ella and I left school quite earlier than usual
since we had no class and rushed home to prepare for the evening. It was an
informal dinner setting coupled with fundraising and fun activities. I
interacted with a number of influential people and some past ASA students from
Edinburgh University. Together with the old students; Adwoa and Aisha, we sang
a song from Becca titled “African Woman”. There was also an Adowa performance
by Adwoa and a poetry recital by Aisha. I also had the platform to share my
story and show gratitude to our sponsors, supporters and trustees.
My trip was a memorable one. I felt like I had experienced every bit of London especially Central London the few days I was there. I am grateful to ASA and St. Paul’s Girls’ High School for giving me this incredible opportunity.
The 2019 ASA GALA Black women in Sci-Fi Raffles, Networking, Performances
On Friday 15th March we held our 2019 fundraising Gala at the African Centre in London. It was a delightful celebration of the African Science Academy and it was especially wonderful that we had 4 alumni who are currently studying at Edinburgh University down in London for the event. We also had the privilege to have one of our current ASA students at the event, who was participating in an exchange programme with St Paul’s Girls School.
On arrival, guests were welcomed by an amazing exhibition on black women in Sci Fi, created by students from ADA College in London.
The focus of the evening was to celebrate the ASA students and so they took centre stage, with amazing performances from dance, poetry to a wonderful song entitled ‘African Woman’. We also had speeches by Efua Adabie (Headteacher) and Tom Ilube (Founder and Chair), as well as, a presentation by the two St Paul’s Girls students who had visited ASA in December, together with Emily, their exchange partner from Ghana. Finally we had a panel discussion with the ASA students who answered questions about their time at the school.
We had so exciting raffle and auction prizes donated by the following organisations:
A Bolga basket and textiles book from The African Fabric Shop www.africanfabric.co.uk
A collection of natural soaps by Friendly Soap www.friendlysoap.co.uk
An African print headscarf from Knots UK https://knots-uk.com
A piece of African print stylish clothing from Mam-Maw https://www.mammaw.com/
A selection of books by African authors by Orbit www.orbitbooks.net
An array of African music CDs from Sterns Music www.sternsmusic.com
Copies of some brilliant signed books from Zadie Smith www.zadiesmith.com
A sculpture made from Zimbabwean serpentine stone from African Kitchen Gallery https://africankitchen.gallery
2 tickets for a Black History river cruise from Black Hisotry Walks www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk
A hamper by Award-winning hairstylist Charlotte Mensahs own Manketti Oil products http://charlottemensah.com
A signed version of an early manuscript for Swing Time by Zadie Smith www.zadiesmith.com
Thank you for all of these donations!
In addition, we had handmade jewellery by our very own ASA alumna, Aisha, and an anonymous donation of framed pictures on the night, which we added to the raffle. Throughout the evening we had delicious West African cuisine by Soul Delish and we ended the evening with wonderful music.
In total we had around 120 guests attend and raised more than £34,000.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the event. It was wonderful to have you there and we appreciate your support.
Getting to meet new people and interacting with them has always been fun for me but the fear of fitting in or been accepted has never left my mind. Coming to ASA I thought my stay or break was going to be boring since it was going to be the first time away from family and home. This was because I thought I could only have fun with my family forgetting that family is not necessarily blood relations. I was wrong because even though I missed home sometimes my stay so far has been a memorable and enjoyable one.
Christmas is always a time for one to reunite and share love with family and friends. It does not matter where you spend it but the people you spend it with. My holiday started from the day we started preparing for our Christmas party and within that time it was all fun for me. ASA made me feel the joy of Christmas starting from the time we got into the month of December right up to the day of our Christmas party. It was a great experience for me personally as I got to meet some of the ASA alumnae from the first and second cohort. During the party, I got to really experience the diversity of ASA as I even learnt how to do the Ethiopian traditional dance. I enjoyed every bit of the performances especially the performance of the ASA staff. The party was over and it was time for us to vacate and go home, and for me I was going to a Ghanaian host family.
The day my host parents came for me at school, they did not even treat me as a visitor but rather like their daughter. They took me to meet some of the external family that same day and when we got home, to my greatest surprise there was a welcome event for me. The next day was a Sunday and we all went to church after which we went to meet some other family members. I was accepted and treated like a daughter; my host family was there to listen to me when I had problems and comfort me when I needed it.
During my holiday, I was taken to the Accra mall, Palace Mall and some nice places in Accra. I was so excited to have gone to these places especially the mall mainly because that was the first time I had been to a mall. Some of the best experiences was being taught how to speak ‘twi’ by the grandmas of the house, eating some of the Ghanaian food I could not eat like fufu with light soup, yam with garden egg stew and Hausa koko. The best was fufu and light soup not because I enjoyed eating it but because I also learnt how to pound fufu.
One thing I learnt during the break was that the people you spend it with matter more than the place. My host parents did not even know me but my stay with them was so memorable; they gave me gifts like money for hair braiding, a pair of shoes and a dress for new year. The best gift of all was the new name they gave me; Jennifer.
This awesome experience wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for ASA. So, I say thank you ASA!
On Friday the 16th of November, four of ASA staff members attended the PSGN Awards held at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. We left the school around 4:30pm and arrived at the venue at 5:30pm. There was enough time to network and take pictures before settling down for the ceremony. We were honoured to have His Excellency Ian Walker and other prominent people in our midst.
The host, Bernard Avle was very humorous and eloquent. The ceremony started on a high note with a performance by students from British Columbia College who graced us with amazing singing. Soon after the performance, the MC gave the welcome remarks. After the introductions, Mr Rutt gave a very precise welcome address followed by a speech from His Excellency Ian Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana.
There was another performance by East Airport International School; a drama about Caesar coming back to earth in order to change things around, when he got down he actually realised things were not as bad as he thought. They finished off their performance with a choreography and a song. Then came another speech from Mrs Efua Asiedu, the West Africa Manager of Cambridge Assessment International Education. After this, there was another performance by DPS International School.
Time for presentation of awards came and the first category was for best teachers. One of the recipients of the award was our very own Levina Owusu. She received a Teacher Certificate of Recognition. The look on her face showed that she was surprised but she truly deserved the award. To keep people engaged in the program another performance came from the British Columbia College. It was now time for students awards; the first category was IGCSE followed by O level and lastly A level. I must say it was really competitive and almost all the award winners won just by one mark. Awards were given for best student in a particular subject and there were recognitions for people who got A*s as well as best overall student for each level.
It was thrilling to find out that six of our students were recognized for excelling in Mathematics . For Mathematics there was one winner and six recognitions and all six recognitions were for African Science Academy. ASA was the only school which had the highest number of recognitions. I remember words by the host “…you are from Tema Community 6 and 6 of your students got recognitions. What is your recipe?” As we all know Levina the maths teacher got an award too so why wouldn’t her students excel. Simply our recipe is Miss Levina and all the staff members who work relentlessly hard to achieve excellent results. The overall student for the year was Leo Owusu who had 4A*s in his A level.
After each category there would be performances by various artists people. Some of the people who performed were Manifest ,a rapper, Samuel a rapper as well and traditional dance performances by various schools. The ceremony ended at 21:15 pm and there was refreshment. We kicked off from the place at 21:30 pm to our various places.
I would like to thank the Lord Almighty for making this day a success and also for guiding the ASA alumni through their studies and for the good results. I hope that the ASA flag keeps rising higher and higher each academic year therefore I wish the next cohort the best in their studies!