Girls project and school building in Africa: Beuel „Wäscherprinzessin“ returns from Ghana

Girls project and school building in Africa : Beuel „Wäscherprinzessin“ returns from Ghana

For three weeks Ariane Clever got to experience the joie de vivre in the summer camp of the Don Bosco brothers in Ghana. Also the misery in the slums, as the acting „Wäscherprinzessin“ says.

As a student at the Liebfrauenschule in Bonn, Ariane Clever (26) was not unfamiliar with Ghana in West Africa, almost 5000 kilometres away. Her former religion and physics teacher Dorothea Hahn (69) has been supporting girls' and school building projects there for 23 years. Hardly any school festival or event of the Catholic girls' high schooldid not also serve to collect donations for Ghana. In the meantime Hahn has already been able to support projects in Sunyani and Odumase and a number of villages scattered in the bush with more than one million Euro.

Ariane Clever, who now studies food chemistry in her fourth semester and is also active as Beuels' current „Wäscherprinzessin“ Ariane I, used the semester break to fly to Ghana with Hahn for three weeks and to get involved in the summer camps of the Salisian Don Boscos for the children of the region (the GA reported).

The two women had further donations in their luggage, which were brought directly to the projects or the needy via the St. Josef Parish Festival and the Women's Committee of the Laundry Princess. I haven't been able to see so much of the country in three weeks," says Clever, "but what she was able to see immediately upon arrival in Ghana's capital Accra frightened her despite her preparations for Africa.

Joie de vivre and affection

The confrontation with poverty and the slums in the big city was more moving than they thought. "There were people wholived on one pallet," she recalls. The eight-hour bus ride to the Sunyani region was also an ordeal compared to European conditions. But everything seemed to be well tolerated by her because of the joy of life experienced everywhere and the attention of the people shown to the light-blonde haired Bonn woman.

"Above all the children all had to touch me again and again, touch my skin and my hair", says Clever and laughs. Since these encounters never took place aggressively, but always with a smile, she quickly got used to them and never felt threatened. Usually she was simply the "Obruni", which in Twi, the local dialect spoken alongside the official language English, means "white". "But that was never meant to be racist," the African traveller quickly adds.

She began her days in the community of the Don Bosco brothers, usually early in the morning, shortly after six o'clock, with a morning prayer. After a breakfast with lots of cocoa butter and spreads, their day began in a village 15 minutes away, where 100 of the 500 children of the three Salesian summer camps were already waiting for their coaches and animators. Ariane Clever was no stranger to working with small children. She also trains the tennis kids of her club in Beuel. "It gave me a lot of joy," she says. The children were all very well educated. Mostly by older siblings, whotake them with them everywhere. Apart from cheerful laughter, there was little screaming to be heard, although she perceived the country as "very loud". Everywhere there was people talking and music made.

Again and again she was supposed to dance to the joy of the children. "I must have looked very clumsy in their eyes," recalls Clever amused, adding that even the youngest children could move incredibly well and rhythmically. She was not only impressed by the youth work of the Don Bosco brothers, but also by all the things that the Bonn Ghana Project has been able to create in the meantime.

And she was happy to be able to buy Dorothea, a twelve-year-old named after her former teacher, a pair of new crutches with the money from her women's committee, which will help her make her life a little easier. "It was certainly not my last time there," says Clever, who will not forget the three-week trip to a strange world for her life.

(Original text: Stefan Hermes, Translation: Mareike Graepel)