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The Making of I Am From: Voices from the Mako House in Ghana

Part 2 | By Elizabeth S. Wolf

To host a local poetry program with the Mako children first-hand was a wonderful experience - and it was just the start. In this post, you’ll learn what went into the making of our book, I Am From: Voices from the Mako House in Ghana.


Through teamwork, storytelling and mindful programs, we can empower the Mako children to write their own narratives and build bright futures - one word at a time.


Each child was given a pencil and composition book to use in their writing sessions. Just a few years ago, Mako kids had to share pencils and make a single piece of paper last for a week, so to see each child with white space and endless writing possibilities brought pure joy. Each kid got to kept their writing books so they could revisit their work and continue to write. At the end of each writing session, our friend and fellow volunteer, Katherine, took a picture of the day’s writing from each child’s book. This worked very well as it gave each kid a chance to show off their writing while still capturing their work ourselves. We invited the kids to read, or have us read, some of their poems every session. For those too shy for public reading, this was still our chance to find something to praise in every piece.


Katherine typed up the poems, and Samantha, created the base of our manuscript. Each child got to review their drafted poems and finalize their work. We made some corrections for handwriting or phonetic spelling errors, in consultation with the Ewe- speaking house parents.

Samantha hosted an arts and crafts workshop where the kids designed book covers and pictures to accompany the poems. We used all of the children’s artwork and curated photos of our children and the places they call home. We wanted to curate a book that was authentic to the human experience of Mako children.

Shortly after, I returned to the states - as did Katherine. Samantha stayed behind to continue her long-term advocacy work with Mako children and staff.


Fortunately, I have friends in the self-publishing community. My friend Isabell VanMerlin stepped in to walk me through the publishing process on Amazon. All of this book-making was done swiftly, so that we could courier the books back to Ghana. In June 2023, while Samantha was still on the ground in Ghana, she hand delivered the children their very own books. Our main goal remained to place these books in the hands of everyone who participated in the project.


Happily, we succeeded. All the kids, the Mako staff and all participants involved now own copies of I Am From: Voices from the Mako House in Ghana. As said by our beloved driver Sadiq, this book brings joy.

These books are being sold on Amazon. All proceeds benefit the Mako Children’s Fund, supporting the kids who told their stories through their poetry. We will be hosting additional workshops and further creative projects with the Mako kids in the future. Watch this space for further developments.

We bring you poems by our children. Enjoy:


Edmund, Age 10


I Am From


I am from Akplamafu 


where wonderful farms are located. 


I am from mud houses with thatch roofs. 


I am from trees 


Where trees smells like apples 


And rivers flow with milk. 


I am from a shed with bows and arrows 


for hunting. 


I am from a thick bush with heavy rainfalls.


 

Selina, Age 17


Black is beautiful


Sitting pretty 


Elegant

 

Love is black 


I am black and proud 


Never think you are not beautiful 


Africa is blessed


 

Sefakor, Age 16


Africa 


Bends 


Every


Nations 


Attention




How to Support These Children & Their Poems

To support these beautiful kids, please read and share their stories. You can purchase their book of poems, “ I Am From: Voices from the Mako House in Ghana” here.



Every dollar counts in providing continuous care for our kids. Become a member of our EveryChild and Scholar Collectives, make a one-time donation or get involved as a volunteer or board member today.




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