Kwabla Kwao community lies desolate in the Kwahu Afram Plains South District. Considered a cut off community, many essential services such as portable water, electricity were non-existent. The deplorable state of the road network is even enough to deter the person aside from the fact that you have to expend 35 minutes to cross the Volta river to gain access to this community.
Like in other geographically isolated communities, Kwabla Kwao residents still rely on collecting rainwater and water from rivers for household use and sometimes drinking. The only toilet in the community belongs to the school.
With such a profile, many professional teachers dread posting to this community. For over 49 years since the establishment of the only school in the community, no female teacher has set foot there.
The status quo changed when Portia, a trained teacher with Diploma in Education from the University of Cape-Coast accepted her national service posting to Kwabla Kwao D/A Basic School in the Kwahu Afram Plains South District against the background the aforementioned circumstances.
Initially resistant to the idea, she couldn’t turn her back on the people when the whole community trouped to the school compound on the news of her arrival as the first female teacher.
Having spent most of her life in the city, fitting into the new environment was a gradual process. She had to let go of all the gadgets she came with because there was no electricity.
Fortunately, she understands Ewe, the language of the people so she could easily interact with them and make friends.
Initially, Portia had to share a room with a male colleague since the school had only four rooms for the staff of the school; all of which has been taken by the headmaster and other teachers except one.
She actually enjoyed that arrangement since she didn’t have to deal with the fear of leaving in a room without a ceiling alone. The situation was however reversed after another accommodation arrangement was available for her male counterpart.
The staff quarters had no toilet and bath facility so the teacher had to use the school washroom as a bathhouse by day and bath outdoor in the shadows of the night.
Initially, she was earmarked for class three (3) but was later sent to the Junior High School (JHS) where she taught Social Studies and Basic Design and Technology (BDT), Home Economics Option.
She applied innovative techniques to her teaching which made her student enjoy her class and thus became punctual.
She also introduced Friday games to induce students to come to school on Friday since they were in the habit of absenting themselves because of the weekly cleanup exercise.
With her capacity as the Women’s’ Commissioner of National Service Personnel Association (NASPA), she organized programmes to sensitize the girls in the district on teenage pregnancy and also donated used clothes to the surrounding communities.
At post, her only source of joy was the students who kept her company to share their challenges and crack jokes. She learnt a lot from them as they also did.
Though she has completed her service, her presence in the community has inspired many of the girls to take up their education seriously. She has become a role model for many of her students and left indelible footprints that only time can erase.
Portia is among three other national service personnel who was awarded by the National Service Scheme at the maiden edition of NSS Awards for their initiative, resilience, contributions and impact they made during their national service period.
Source: NSS Corporate Affairs Directorate