Visitor's Diary

People's visit from outside the village is one of the most exciting things for children. Please find visitors' diaries and get ready to visit Bognayili yourself!


<June 2016>

The other day, I finally got to visit Bognayili Village in Ghana! A few days have passed since I got back here in New York, and I find myself reminiscing about my days in Ghana – a wonderful discovery after discovery, so amazing that it almost feels like it were all a dream.

There was a little girl who took my hand and came along with me whenever she found me around the village, and I have been regretting the fact that I did not say a proper goodbye to her. She was only about 3 years old, and we had no real conversation given that she was shy and that we had a language barrier, but I knew from instinct that she was a smart girl. When we went to the building site of a clinic, she somehow found a way to come and stand beside me, holding my hand, even though children were not allowed to come inside the site. I was amazed at how clever she was. And I simply came to think that there should be an environment in which she could study as much as she pleased, if that is what she wished for.

I wished that these children had more options for the future, and live a life in a way that they could choose what they wanted to be. It may sound like I am meddling, but I found out that that was what the people there really wanted, and that they were going right in that direction with all their effort, for a better future. Men gathered during the night in the darkness to talk about rice farming, even during Ramadan. Women came to work with new samples of cotton products, including those that were not due yet. I was amazed at their seriousness and dedication to the development of the village.

I felt that this was probably a result of MY DREAM project and what Hara-chan, representative of MY DREAM, had nurtured together with the people of Bognayili. They are like a family, bonded with trust for one another. What I had learnt during my short stay in Ghana may only be a part of something bigger, but I realized how their work required great responsibility and will.

This also relates to the words of Hara-chan which had struck me, that it requires about ten years to be able to establish human security in a developing country, and that she would like to take MY DREAM project as a model case to show this to the international community. The main concept of human security, as she learned during her time at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the need to ensure freedom from want, freedom from fear, and freedom to live in dignity. Even though this is the objective of international development, many projects are carried out within a 2 to 3 year timeframe due to budgetary reasons or the need to give a result in a short period of time, and in many cases, the root cause is left unsolved. In that sense, MY DREAM project is full of meaning and possibility to prove to the international community that projects like this require time. I hope this helps to change the perception at the international development level, so that more people will be happier in this world.

The last part may have been a little too serious… but I would love to visit Bognayili again soon, hoping to hear the little girl talk about her dream, and to see her studying hard at the kindergarten!ーYumiko Kajie (Photo by Yumiko Kajie, Translation by Ayumi Enomoto)

先日、ずーっと行きたかった、ガーナのボナイリ村を訪問してきました! ニューヨークに戻ってきて数日が過ぎようとしていますが、ガーナでの日々が夢だったんじゃないかってぐらい、心地よく、感動の連続だったことを思い出しています。

村での滞在中、毎日私を見つけては、私の手をずっと握ってついてきてくれる女の子がいて、なんか最後ちゃんとバイバイできずに帰ってきちゃったなと思ってずっと考えていました。彼女はまだ 3 歳ぐらいだし、恥ずかしがり屋さんだったし、言葉の壁もあるので私たちの間に会話はなかったのですが、絶対頭のいい子だなってことはわかりました。建設中のクリニック見学の際に、大人しか中に入ったらダメだよ!って注意があったにも関わらず、大人のバリアをすり抜けて、気づいたら横にいて、また私の手を握ってくれて いました。その時に、おっ、なかなか賢いやっちゃな!と感心しました。きっと勉強もできる子になるだろうなーって考えた時に、この子がもっと勉強したくなったら、思う存分勉強できる環境はあるべきだなと単純に思いました。


なんかきっとこれが MY DREAM プロジェクトが、代表の原ちゃんが、村の方々に寄り添って育んできた結果なんだろうな、信頼関係で成り立つチーム、家族みたいなものなんだなーと思いました。また、この短期間のガーナ滞在で私がわかったことなんてちっぽけなことだけど、でもそれがどれだけ責任があって、覚悟のいることかは身にしみて学びました。

またそれは、原ちゃんの言葉で私が心を打たれた一言にも繋がっていて、彼女が言った、発展途上国で“人間の安全保障”を確立するには、少なくとも 10 年ぐらいの期間をかけて構築する必要があるってこと。それをこのMY DREAM プロジェクトをモデルケースにして国際社会に提言できたらいいなと思ってる、という壮大な想いでした。彼女が外務省時代に取り組んだ“人間の安全保障”の主な認識は、「欠乏からの自由」、「恐怖からの自由」に、「尊厳ある人間生活」を確保すること。これが国際開発の目標なのに、なされるプロジェクトの予算や短期間で実績を求められる関係上、だいたい 2〜3年のものが多く、実際に根源的な問題の解決にはなっていないケースばかりで、その認識を国際開発レベルで、この MY DREAM プロジェクトをもって変えていくことができたら、もっともっと世界中の人が幸せになるだろうなと、さらにこのプロジェクトの意義と可能性を感じています。

最後硬い話になっちゃいましたが…、次に村を訪れる時は、あの女の子が、私の将来の夢はねー…、なんて話しをしながら、幼稚園で勉強を頑張っている姿をみたら、とてつもなく嬉しいだろうなーなんて妄想をしながら、また近々遊びに行きたいなと思っています! —梶江由実子(写真提供: 梶江由実子、翻訳:榎本 歩実)

<June 2016>

I heard a lot about this village form my old friend, who is living in NY.

It’s just amazing! You should see once what she has been doing for the people and when children see a Japanese person, they say “Yu-kari, Yu-kari”, you could hear her name. That’s how she made effort in this Bognayili Village.

On my first visit to Bognayili, the car from Tamale airport brings us to the village. Sometimes the car jumps up and down right to left,,,, yes we are going Bognayili even no paved road as we call it.

People on the way to Bognayili stared at us with friendly face but no fear. Now we are really visiting Bognayili! On our arrival in Bognayili, so many children came to us to say “Hello and Welcome!” All of sudden, the time and atmosphere has changed. It was so slow but gentle,,,

Big sister or brother takes care of small child, running around, wants to play with us, Mother start cooking with fire on the porch having small baby on the back. It used be like that when we were small and long long time ago…….

If I think about it now, I’ve never watched the time during our stay…it was not necessary at all, not like living and chasing by time in our town.


If I just think about this village, this peaceful scenery comes automatically to my mind. The time I have shared with the people of Bognayili was fabulous. And Yukari is surrounded by children, thinking about their future and happiness. The time and rule is not always the same as our measure, but she is with them. I am sure you will love Bognayili through her heart….like I did. Yuko Von Niederhäusern (Photo by Tomiko Yazawa)








きっとあなたも恋する、、この光景に、、、ー祐子  Von Niederhäusern(写真提供:矢澤 とみ子)

<December 2015>

Late December 2015, I paid my third visit in Bognayili. As I stay further North in Ghana as a volunteer from JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), I had many chances to come to this village with assistance by Yukari. The purposes of my visit this time were to conduct research on traditional medicine and perform "Kamishibai", a picture-story show that tells how a fetus grows in its mothers's womb.

MY DREAM School celebrated its third-year anniversary and there are many ongoing projects including the clinic project, however I think it would take a bit more time for all the people in Bognayili to receive adequate health and sanitary services. So as to respond to villagers needs in health, instead of certified health workers, there exists traditional healers who conducts treatment with herb, weed and tree branches. During the visit, I had a chance to meet three traditional healers and one traditional birth attendant. Although I am not quite sure about its effectiveness, I learned that seeing traditional healers is more common and they play important role for people. I also learned that when traditional healers find that they cannot cure a wound or disease of their patient, they actually refer them to a clinic or hospital in the town. It seemed they are trying to incorporate strengths of both traditional and advanced health services to meet people's needs. I wish someday for people's health and better futures of children, the health and sanitary environments of Bognayili to be further promoted.

"Kamishibai" titled "Secret of navel" was of my masterpiece that tells how a fetus gets bigger in its mother's womb. I also prepared a doll of baby size (3kg in weight and 50cm in height) so as to enable children to better understand the difference in size between a baby and a tiny little fetus, while having children to get inside of a uterus model. I myself as well, learned these things from a letter by my mother written for a class named "life" when I was in primary school. I remember I was very pleased about that experience, which made me decide to do something for children in Ghana. I trust there is little opportunity for children in Ghana to learn such a thing. While children in Bognayili are relatively used to listening to "Kamishibai" which had already been introduced by Yukari's mother, there are many children outside who have never had a chance to have a story told by somebody. In Japan, children learn how to associate what will happen next from pictures and understand deployment of the entire story through their daily learning, which is not the case in Ghana. Every time when I perform "Kamishibai", I am excited to find children's reactions. They listened to "Kamishibai" vey carefully with their eyes wide-open. One of the children said when she was inside the uterus model, "Mother's womb was wet and warm." I hope something will remain in their minds from their experiences. I thank again for such a precious time I spent in Bognayili.ーYuri Ogasawara (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer/ JOCV)(Photo by Kanako Otani) 


MY DREAM幼稚園も3周年を迎え、村ではクリニック事業も進められていますが、全ての人が保健医療サービスを受けられる環境はまだまだで、伝統的治療師(Traditional healer)が存在し、ハーブ(草や木等)を用いた治療が行われているのも事実です。今回は3人の伝統的治療師と1人の伝統産婆(Traditional birth attendant)に興味深いお話を聞くことができました。治療薬の効果は定かではありませんが、伝統的治療師が村の人々にとって身近で、重要な存在であることを感じました。治せない場合は、町の病院やクリニックに紹介することもあり、お互いの長所を取り入れ、協力して医療に携わっているように思いました。村の人々の健康、これから生まれてくる子供の未来のためにも、さらに保健医療事情が改善、向上していくことを祈っています。



<November 2015>

Bognayili has over the years received help from organisations like MY DREAM. org which has brought appreciable improvement in the lives of the people in the village. MY DREAM. org has provided many projects that have improved the lives of the community. Now the nursery and kindergarten children do not have to school under a tree but have classrooms, MY DREAM. org has helped some young women in the community have source of income through sewing items that are sold to generate income, the sheabutter producers in the community get extra income from selling Shea butter to MY DREAM. org. MY DREAM. org is doing so much to improve the life of the people of Bognayili.

Nevertheless, life in the village is still difficult. Poverty still is an issue in the community. Children wearing tattered clothes to school, walking bare footed. Staying in the community for few days will make you wish you could suddenly conjure things to meet the needs of the people. But it seems it is going to take some time and help from benevolent to raise the standard of living of the people but the community has a great future and with MY DREAM. org, and the cooperation and volunteerism of the people, Bognayili will surely be a model village for Ghana and beyond.

I believe MY DREAM. org has ignited the spirit of volunteerism in the people of Bognayili. The community members are enthusiastic and committed to developmental projects in the community. They provide communal labour for MY DREAM projects and are willing to do all they can to support the projects and make them successful.

Visiting the rice farm funded by MY DREAM. org and worked on by the community gave meaning to the Japanese word ‘itadakimasu’ which literally gives praise to the farmer who produced the food. It was a very scotchy afternoon and we saw that three snakes had already crossed the path to the MY DREAM rice farm, but this environment did not discourage MY DREAM team in Bognayili from working on the farm so that lunch can be provided for MY DREAM School which will go a long way to improve the performance of the children at school.

I spoke with Mr Zak, who is based in Bognayili and a member of MY DREAM team in Bognayili and he was excited by what MY DREAM. org is doing for the community. He said he was happy someone who is not a community leader or a political leader could set up an NGO and do so much to help their community. He added that the future of MY DREAM. org is bright and that will reflect on Bognayili’s development.

Photo: Accra team members gathered in November 2012 for the second-year anniversary of MY DREAM School. Stan is the second from the left.

ーStanislaus Acquah (Accra Staff of MY DREAM. org) (Photo by Stanislaus Acquah who's the second from the left)

ボナイリ村は過去数年にわたり、MY DREAM. org等の団体から支援を受け、村人たちの生活向上を実現してきました。MY DREAM. orgは様々なプロジェクトを支援してきました。その甲斐あって、子ども達はもう木の下の幼稚園ではなく、屋根のある幼稚園に通うことができるようになりました。幼稚園に通う子ども達のお母さんはMY DREAM. orgの支援を通じて手作りのガーナコットン製品を売り、収入を得られるようになりました。シアバターの作り手のお母さん達は、MY DREAM. orgという買い手を得ました。MY DREAM. orgの取り組みにより、ボナイリ村の人々の生活は着実に向上しています。

そうはいっても、ボナイリ村の人々の生活には未だに様々な困難が山積しています。多くの子ども達はぼろぼろの服を着て裸足で学校に通っています。村に数日間滞在してみれば、村の人々のニーズがいつの日か満たされるようにと願わずにはいられなくなります。人々の生活が一定のレベルにまで到達するにはもう暫く時間がかかりそうですが、ボナイリ村は、MY DREAM. orgや人々の温かい協力、ボランティアの支援を得ながら、いつの日かきっとその目標を達成し、ガーナの他の村々のモデルとなると信じています。

MY DREAM. orgは、ボナイリ村の人々の間にボランティアの精神が芽生えるきっかけとなったと思います。コミュニティの人々は、自分たちのコミュニティの為のプロジェクトを発展させることに熱意を傾け力を注いでいます。MY DREAMプロジェクトのために自ら汗水垂らし、プロジェクトを成功させるために努力を重ねています。

村人たちが稲作に励むMY DREAM田んぼに足を運べば、「いただきます」という、農作物を育ててくれる農民たちへの感謝の気持ちを表す日本語の本当の意味がわかります。ある夕暮れ、田んぼを訪れるまでの道で、三匹の蛇を見かけました。ですが、そんな過酷な環境も、ボナイリ村のMY DREAM農民チームの頑張りを後退させる理由にはなりません。村人達がこうして地道に育て上げる米は、MY DREAM幼稚園の子ども達の昼食となります。子ども達はまさにその昼食を糧に、育っていくのだと思います。

ボナイリ村に住むMY DREAMチームのメンバーであるザックは、MY DREAM. orgの村の発展を目指した協力にとてもワクワクしています。コミュニティのリーダーでもなく政治家でもない人々が、NGOを立ち上げ、コミュニティのために尽くしてくれることをとても幸せに思うと話してくれました。そしてザックは、MY DREAM. orgの未来はきっと明るく、そしてそれはボナイリ村の発展に反映されるだろうと付け加えました。

ーStanislaus Acquah (MY DREAM. orgアクラスタッフ)(写真提供:Stanislaus Acquah、左から2番目)

<February-May 2015>

It was February 15th when I visited Bognayili for the first time. I went there since I heard that there were an event called “Clean Up Exercise” and a ceremony to present footballs from NPO DOoooooooo.  At the entrance of the village, I found a villager who looked nervous but excited! When I met his gaze, he waved his hand for me. Many kids were smiling at me and welcomed my visit in the village. Then almost immediately, they kept asking me a lot of questions such as “what’s your name?” haha. After I briefly introduced myself, they pulled my hand and took me to the kindergarten “MY DREAM School” They gratefully showed me around there as who should say “Look! This is our kindergarten!”

I’ve visited some villages so far and I think that every single village in Ghana has different atmospheres. Bognayili was where the word “easygoing” fits and is so calm that I could feel as if I came to the countryside in Japan.

Through the Clean Up Exercise, I started cleaning the village while continuously being asked my name by the kids! Since everyone held my hands and I couldn’t pick up trash, we decided to compete for the amount of trash to pick up as a tactic “who can pick as much trash as possible.” The tactic worked and kids were happily picking up trash. Kids who picked up a bunch of small trash came to show me the trash. Kids who picked up large trash banged their own drums. Kids who picked up the trash I pointed out also looked very proud. Kids who held a trash bag filled with the trash were showing great enthusiasm. Everyone tried very hard to look around and pick up trash, which was very impressive for me. I hope that the idea that trash is not to be “picked up” but is not the things“to throw away on the ground” would become widely understood in the first place among the kids through this activity.

The girl I met when I was moving to change a location for the exercise is an about three-year-old girl, “Mariam.” Even though she was smiling at the camera a little while ago, she was in floods of tears on the middle of the street right then for some reason. She might be crying since she couldn’t keep up with everyone’s walking pace. She was left alone from everyone. I walked up to her, saying “what happened? what’s wrong?” Then I said “let’s go together” in Japanese and started walking, while holding her up. When she got a little bit calm down from her crying face, my arms reached my limit to keep holding her. She took my hand from there until we got to our guest house. She waved her hand with her happy face and told me that she wanted to see me on the next day. I looked forward to seeing her all right at my next visit. 

Through the ceremony to present new footballs, finding the players looking at and touching them happily made me also feel happy. After the ceremony they showed me a heated match with the new football. When looking closer, I found that there were a kid wearing a too-big-for-him spike, a kid wearing a sock only for his right foot, and little kids kicking balls barefoot on the ground. I believe that they kick a ball because they just love football even though they don’t have necessary gears or tools. Anyway, I felt that we should start at the very beginning with“what one likes, one will do well.”

I ate Ghanaian local food (TZ) made by a village folk and Japanese chocolates at night since it was a Valentine's day. Then I took a bath with a backer of water under the starry sky, laid down next to each other and slept while chatting about the ones they are in love with and their dreams. I felt that this was such a day I would call “time money can’t buy.” 

I went to a shea butter center on the next day and learned the process to make shea butter for the first time. It’s embarrassing but I didn’t know how much time  and efforts it would take to make it. I was wondering how much money people working on it can get eventually, while it’s sold at a modest price in Japan. 

I’ve read the article through Yukari’s post on facebook that women in this village want to make more money for education to their children. Dreams of children are dreams of this village. The future for children is the future for this village. It was a good opportunity for me to think what we can do in order to make it happen. 

At my third visit, I went to the village with Mr. Doya, the representative of NGO DO8. The dry season was close to its end so more green was seen in Bognayili. The village folk welcomed me, smiling like always.  When I put my luggage and was sitting on the bench under the big tree for a break, I saw them tearing leaves. A girl who can’t speak English and I who is not good at English understood each other somehow through the local language and I found that they were preparing for today’s dinner. I also found that these leaves were ayoyo (mulukhiya). She was preparing our dinner even though she has reached the final phase of her pregnancy. Mothers in Ghana are energetic against this hot tough weather.

When I was dressing ayoyo, a girl called Fatima was coming to me, holding a bowl on her head. Right next to her, a chicken was threatening her like crazy and gabbling “quak quak.” She got scared and was crying and running to us in a hurry. The bowl on her head was filled with water but it was spilled every time she run so her face was soaked when she finally reached us. That scene was so cute that I was laughing but I stopped when I found the water she was carrying was actually for us to clean our dirty hands after dressing ayoyo. Fatima, I’m sorry that I was laughing at that moment and thank you for the water.

After preparation, I went to see boys in the village practicing football. Indeed they are pretty old at playing football. I wish that someone from the village will become a professional football player in the future through practicing with the ball gifted by DO8. My precious friend, Mariam was smiling at me and running to me right after she found me. I was happy that she remembered me. She still looked in good health. She played with me till late and then she got tired and couldn’t go home by foot so I carried her. I asked a village folk where her home was and spent time with her, noticing that she had grown up and got a little bit bigger and heaver. This moments with her flew so fast. 

The next day was a 30-year-old birthday of one of my folk, who came as a Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers with me in the same year! I chatted with him and other volunteers and it quickly became midnight! It’s enviable that he was able to spend his birthday in such a wonderful village. I’m sure that he’ll have a great year at his 30 years old. 

I went to see the MY DREAM School from the morning next day. I saw many children practicing English and calculation, while being a bit distracted by foreigners carrying their cameras in droves. 

I felt the importance of “education” through my visit in Bognayili even though I only saw part of the village life. I think that difficulty is not receiving education but creating environment for education through understanding the importance of education. I hope that children’s dreams will be expanded more through education. 

At my third visit, I went to the village to participate in a workshop organized by an another volunteer member. At sunset on this day, the color of the sunset was like a color I’ve never seen and it was very beautiful.

However, there was a storm at night! Considering how the sky looked like, Northern Ghana seemed to just get into a rainy season. We daringly turned off lights and took a bath with a bucket of water under lightening! The way we took a bath was the way we can never experience in Japan! It was a luxurious time. Of course, we slept outside next to each other at night. However, I couldn’t see stars because of the unfortunate weather.

On the day of the workshop, kids seemed wondering what would be happening. My fellow volunteer planned a craft workshop through which kids put and paste a piece of African fabrics colour by colour like a collage, which would in the end turn to be a big rainbow that is similar to the logo of MY DREAM School. Shee explained about colorus again and again and asked them “what is this colour?” The answer was supposed to be “blue”, for instance but they kept saying “yellow.” She showed them different colours but their answer was always“yellow", which made me a bit worried... When workshop started,

as I worried, I found they didn’t understand colours. Some of them were completely confused maybe because they couldn’t understand what I was talking about in English. So I used gestures which I’m good at. More I used rudimentary Japanese like “Glue! Paste! Here! Good job!”, more I got into explaining to them. They called me as if to say “Look! Look!” and showed me the fabrics they put together. Some kids put pieces of fabrics as they want. Some kids got bored and fell asleep. Some kids asked me to see what they made. It’s interesting to see a variety of individual characters of children in the school. When I offered them a compliment, they were smiling from ear to ear as if to say “I made it!” Before the workshop started, I had been worried that they wounldn't understand colors but in the end I came to believe that it was a workshop through which they don’t necessarily need to understand colours yet and it’s all good if they can feel happy by getting compliments for what they had done themselves. Asking them to understand this kind of things is just our one-way demand. There is their own uniqueness. So I’d like them to feel that learning is fun from the point of their own views. 

Anyway, children were very energetic and it was tough to take care of them. I thought that teachers in kindergartens were stunning.

In addition, my precious friend, Mariam seemed vey sound as usual. I noticed that she got mad when things didn’t go well as she expected and she was a very spoiled child. When she found my friend who had taken her hands before started playing with another children, she was sulking and crying. She got upset when other kids picked holes in what she was doing. I felt that she was like me when I was a little girl. haha Anyway, I was relieved that she was doing well.

Also, the good news was that the pregnant lady who prepared our dinner at my second visit gave a birth three days before. The baby was a healthy boy. One precious life was gifted in the village. I look forward to seeing her baby who will grow up bigger and healthy.

My third visit to the village was actually the last day of my senior member to visit Bognayili before he leaves Ghana. He got involved in this village for about a year. He must be very sad to leave the people in the village. They also looked sad but especially Hikima, a girl who was close to him most looked sad. He must miss them since he can no longer see the children growing up with his eyes but I really wish that he’ll come back to this Bognayili village someday after his dream “working abroad” comes true.ーTomoko Inoue (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer) (Photo by Tomoko Inoue, Translation by Misaki Hara)




自己紹介もそこそこに、みんなに手を引っ張ってもらって到着した「MY DREAM」の幼稚園。子どもたちも「見よ!これがボクたちの幼稚園だ!」と言わんばかりに嬉しそうに案内してくれました。






















ワークショップ当日。子どもたちは「今から何が始まるのか?!」といった表情。隊員が企画したワークショップは、ガーナ布の端切れを、貼り絵のようにペタペタと紙に貼っていき、最後に全部を合わせると「MY DREAM」の虹になるという図工のワークショップでした。








ー井上智子(青年海外協力隊員)(写真提供:井上智子、翻訳:原 みさき)

<April 2015>

Why Bognayili is my favorite village in Ghana - that’s because Bognayili is filled with smiles and warmth. I first visited Bognayili with Yukari-san and colleague of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) to help with cleaning as well as donating soccer balls.

Since there were few people who understood English – and I didn’t speak their language either – I was worried that I would have problems communicating with the people. But I soon realized that there was nothing to worry about. All I needed was to know how to say DASIBA (greeting), NAA (response) and simply, smile. It was rather comfortable not being able to communicate verbally.

Above all, Bognayili is home to amazing kids. Children - who are hardworking, friendly and have beautiful smiles - run to you. Once I tried to take a nap, but it was impossible, as the kids would come running and surround you in no time. Or rather, all my sleepiness went away, seeing their unconditional, genuine smiles, and I wasn’t feeling tired anymore.

With the help of the villagers and the children, cleaning the village went well, and it became much cleaner than it was before. Littering is widely seen in Ghana, and it may be difficult to change their habit, but I hope things will get better little by little. After the cleaning when we donated the soccer balls, I had the chance to see them playing soccer, and I was amazed by their capabilities and toughness, running under the burning sun on uneven ground just like a beach.

The guesthouse where I stayed at was neat and comfortable. After savouring some TZ for dinner, I decided to sleep under the starry sky. It is such a privilege to fall asleep in the nature filled with fresh air. If anyone from Japan is willing to come to Ghana – and Japan is such a busy place – I would definitely take him or her to Bognayili, where time passes by so gently.

It takes more than 10 hours from where I live to Bognayili, but I got so much energy from the smiles of this village during the 2 days that I stayed there. Thank you Yukari-san, thank you Bognayili. I will be back again soon.ーTakashi Sekine (Photo by Yoshiharu Sugino, Translation by Ayumi Enomoto)






私の住んでいる町からボナイリ村は10時間以上かかるのだが先日2回目の訪問をし、改めてこの村の笑顔からパワーを頂いた。ありがとう、ゆかりさん。ありがとう、ボナイリ村。またお邪魔します。ー関根 崇(写真提供:杉野 吉治、翻訳:榎本 歩実)

<April 2015>

I visited Bognayili twice through “PASS ON PROJECT in AFRICA*” presented by NPO Doooooooo and Mr. Kosuke NAKAMACHI from Yokohama F Marinos, a professional football team in Japan.

At my first visit, we organized a cleanup exercise and football match with some Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) members and the Health-team of MY DREAM. org. MY DREAM Health-team coordinated the activity and people helped them very hard. We cleaned around MY DREAM School with them. Children also worked very hard to fill up the big garbage box.

In the village, I saw many children playing football with broken balls or hand-made balls of plastic bags. So, I was looking forward to seeing how children would be happy to get such a brand-new and beautiful soccer balls.

When we handed over the balls, they gave us wonderful smiles. Many people joined football match after the cleanup exercise, including the team from a neighbour village. I was surprised to see the players keep running during the game even under the strong sunshine and on the sandy ground. I saw some players playing without shoes. 

Two months later, I visited Bognayili again, with Mr.Yuto DOYA, the director of NPO Doooooooo. I was really happy to find a girl remembered me and came close to me at the time. On the way we went to the football field, I saw a boy holding the ball we had brought two month before. The logo “Yokohama F Marinos” was almost worn away. I was very happy to see it because it meant they had used the ball every day, every time. Other balls sent to other teams were also at the same condition.

In some similar cases, I have heard that it someone happens that people keep a thing donated as if it is his/her own, or sell it to get money. However, people in Bognayili understand our object and treasure the balls. I think it is because MY has built a strong relationship and trust with people in Bognayili. In Bognayili, I can see a lot of differences from my home town in Southern Area of Ghana. Scenery, atmosphere, nature, foods, products etc.

Bognayili has much appeal to visit, but their hospitality make me feel like going back there the best. I would like to visit Bognayili again, to see the soccer balls, to see the people there, in near future.ーKanako Otani, JOCV (Photo by Kazuma Castle Ogura)


This is the project to give soccer balls for children in Africa, presented by Kosuke NAKAMACHI, a professional soccer player belonging to Yokohama F・Marinos, and NPO Doooooooo in Japan. This project bases on his mind “do something for children in Africa, support their potential of football”.

NPO Dooooooooと横浜F・マリノス中町公祐選手が行っている「PASS ON PROJECT in AFRICA*」を通して、ボナイリ村を二度訪問させていただきました。初めての訪問では、クリーンアップエクササイズ(村の清掃活動)とサッカー試合の合同イベントを、青年海外協力隊の隊員と、MY.DREAM保健チームで企画し、ボナイリ村で開催させてもらえることに。イヌサさん率いる保健チームが中心となって、村の大人たちも参加し、みんな汗だくになりながらもMY DREAM幼稚園周辺に散らばっていたゴミを片付けていきます。子どもたちも、大きなゴミ箱いっぱいになるまで、一生懸命ゴミを拾い集めてくれました。ビニール袋を丸めて手づくりしたボールや、ベコベコになったボールを蹴って遊んでいる子どもたちを村中で見かけていたので、この真新しいマリノスのボールを見た子どもたちはどんな反応をするのだろう?と私たちもわくわくしながら迎えた贈呈式では、みんな最高の笑顔を見せてくれました。


そして2か月後、二度目の訪問は、NPO Doooooooo代表の銅冶勇人さんも同行しました。以前訪問した私の事を覚えていて、駆け寄ってきてくれたイッキマちゃんに、感動してしまいました。ボナイリFCの練習を見学するためコートへ向かう途中、一人の少年が抱えていたマリノスのボールに再会。


誰かが個人のものにしてしまったり、転売してしまったり… モノの支援でこういったことはよく起こります。こうやって、私たちの思いに共感し、日本から送り届けたボールを大切に使ってくれるのは、これまで代表のゆかりさんやMY.DREAMチームが、村との信頼関係を築き上げてきたからこその事だと感じました。私が生活している南部とは全く違った景色や雰囲気のボナイリ村。満天の星空とバオバブの木。かわいいキノコハウス。北部でしか食べられないTZや、特産品のシアバター。


さらに使い込まれたボールを見に、いつも笑顔で迎えてくれる村の人々に会いに、またボナイリ村を訪問させてもらいたいと思います。ー大谷 可菜子、青年海外協力隊員(写真提供:小倉キャッスル一馬)



(Above-Photo by Kanako Otani/ 上-写真提供:大谷 可菜子)

(Below-Photo by Yoshiharu Sugino/ 下-写真提供:杉野吉治)

(Photo by Kazuma Castle Ogura/ 写真:小倉キャッスル一馬)

(Photo by Kanako Otani/ 写真提供:大谷 可菜子)

<November 2014>

It was as if the people and the landscape in the photos had come alive in front of my eyes.
Ever since my daughter began her activities here in Bonayili two years ago, I had seen photos and read articles on facebook and thought I knew Bonayili. But being here, the smiles on everyone’s faces, listening to their conversation in Dagbani, the sound of the Koran being recited from afar at dawn, the hens clucking away – it was truly three wonderful days spent in a state of bliss.

I was filled with a deep sense of gratitude because I understood now that it was thanks to the people in Bognayili that my daughter has been able to thrive here.

In Bognayili, I found many things that today’s Japan is gradually losing.

Children running around freely outside, helping out with the household chores, carrying their little brothers and sisters on their backs and taking care of them, sparkling eyes, living side-by-side with animals (cows, goats, hens, Guinea-fowls), and a star-filled night sky. All of this warmed my heart and made me wish I could stay longer.

Washing myself with just a bucket, something that I was a little apprehensive of, was more pleasant than I imagined, with “Okasan” providing me with hot water and allowing me to freshen up.

In preparing for my visit to Bognayili, I spent a long time thinking of what I could do there. After some thought, I came up with the idea of trying “Kamishibai” (a form of Japanese storytelling using illustrated paper boards). .I wanted to narrate a Japanese story, preferably one that was not too dependent on the cultural context. Something the children of Bognayili could understand. Naturally, they would be unfamiliar with a snowy climate or any sort of modern conveniences.

Thinking that a story with animals in it might be more acceptable to the children, I finally chose the English translation of “Guri and Gura” and “Little Mouse’s Red Vest”

Although I had put a lot of thought into my choice, there were still many animals that were unknown to the children and several of the illustrations seemed difficult for them to grasp. It made me aware that there was still room for improvement in the choice of theme, translation and illustration.

Nevertheless, I was happy that the children showed a keen interest and responded with enthusiasm.

Lastly, introducing modernity to this village would most likely mean losing certain aspects of this peaceful way of life. It has made me all the more aware of the importance of determining what would truly contribute to the happiness of the people in Bonayili.ーKeiko Hara (Translation by Yurina Nemoto)











最後に、今まで平和な生活をしている暮らしの中に便利な文化的なものがどんどん入ってくることで失われてしまうものもあると思うので、本当に村の人達を幸せにできるもの、ことがらを見極めていかないといけないと感じています。ー原 恵子(翻訳:根本 由梨奈

<July 2014>

We became interested in Ghana due to our humble contribution to Yukari’s MY DREAM project. By utilizing summer vacation, we came to Ghana, Africa for the first time. We finally had a chance to visit the village, which we had known only through pictures.

When we arrived in Bognayili, the first thing that came into our eyes was children’s smile! They greeted us by waving their hands and hopping with joy. As we got off the car, they grabbed our hands and hugged us. They were so innocent and adorable.

We visited MY DREAM School, where we looked on classes and practiced MY DREAM song together. After we taught the choreography in front of the children, everyone imitated us and learned to sing and dance the chorus. Children who learned the song imitated us and taught it to others. We were impressed by the fact that they taught each other.

After that, we joined a seminar about malaria for mothers from the village. Mothers with children and pregnant women came one after another, so we wondered where all those people came from. The venue, which was around 30㎡, was full. When the health team put on a play explaining how to prevent malaria, the mothers from the village showed great interest in it. By performing a play, we enabled them to enjoy acquiring knowledge, without being too serious. As we are midwives, we talked about delivery with the mothers. They told us that they usually deliver babies freestyle and in a sitting position at home with the assistance of traditional midwives. We also asked many questions about obstetrical situation in the village, such as how they recognize their pregnancy and whether they experience morning sickness, as we had been curious. It was a very informative meeting for us. We not only asked questions but explained the progress from becoming pregnant to delivering a baby in Japan, and put on a play of the scene of delivery at the end. Tolerating labor pains seem to be universal, and the mothers burst into laughter.

Women from the village utilize colorful cloth well to wear as clothes, but they also use the cloth very well to carry a baby on their back. As it looks pretty and it is easy to use a piece of cloth as a baby carrier, we would like to teach how to do it to Japanese mothers.

We stayed at a guest house in the village that night. Beds and mosquito nets had been prepared, and we slept very well. However, when we were visiting, our host family was on fasting and did not eat during daytime. They woke up family members and began to eat before sunrise around 3:30, so the sound of drums for the family woke us up at 3:30 as well!! As we had heard about it in advance, we just laughed and went to sleep again… We ate the same things as the family. Soup was poured over Satoruga, which is a staple food made from corn and softer than rice cakes. For lunch we enjoyed soup thickened with okra which contained small dried sardines as well as broth from them. Spicy soup for dinner containing fermented beans was unfortunately not our favorite.

At night, we spent relaxing time under the stars by teaching children musical scales with a glockenspiel and chatting with a guy (18 or 20 years old) about love and relationships.

On the next day, we experienced making shea butter with the mothers. Processing shea butter was hard work. As we had to keep stirring, our arms got very tired. We stirred by turns and managed to finish, as the mothers urged us saying “Danma”, which means “Stir”. It was mainly done by mothers though!

When we left the village, our host family and people from the village waved their hands till the end and saw us off. We felt that smiles make people nice and warm inside regardless of where they live, and that feeling connected with others can make life richer. It was a precious trip as we realized the importance of being kind to people around us.ーHaruka Ikawa, Sachiko Aso and Sae Furukawa (Translation by Tomoko Takahara)

ゆかりのプロジェクトMY DREAMに微力ながら関わらせてもらっていて、ガーナに興味を持ち始めました。夏休みを利用して、初めてアフリカ大陸ガーナに遊びに来ました。今まで写真で見ていた村についに訪れることができたのです。


MY DREAM幼稚園に行って授業の様子を見学させてもらってMY DREAMソングを一緒に練習しました。前で振りを教えていると、みんなまねをして振り付きでサビを歌えるようになりました。歌えるようになった子は私達が教えているまねをして、他の子供たちに教えていて、みんなで教えあう姿に感心してしまいました。






村を発つとき、家族や、村の人達が最後まで手を振って見送ってくれ、どんな場所に住んでいても笑顔は人の気持ちを温かくしてくれ、また人とのつながりを感じながら生活することで豊かな人生が送れるんだなぁと感じ、私も周りにいてくれる人達を改めて大切にしていきたいと感じることができた貴重な旅でした。ー井川明佳 あそうさちこ 古川沙絵(英訳:高原 朋子)

<<May 2014>>

Yay!! I was out of Accra. I was finally there. It was my first time visiting somewhere outside Accra, and I realized that Accra is a large city. I was feeling authentic Africa in Bognayili. All houses were in a round shape, which surprised me. Unlike in Accra, few foreigners are found in Bognayili, so a lot of children approached me. Three of my family walking there may have looked a little strange.

When I was walking, a child named Ikkima came to me. I gave her some water during the walk, and then she gave the water to other children even though some of them didn’t want any. Nevertheless, she was a nice girl. All children were sweet, and asked me many times, “What is your name?” I answered cheerfully and clearly, “Ma-a-ru,” but they mistook my name as, for example, “Maaki.” It was a bit frustrating.

I had been a little concerned about hygiene in the village, but I was relieved as there was little garbage or plastic on the ground. I was very happy to be in a village where people are kind.

A lady brought us TZ for lunch. When I first heard the word “TZ”, I thought it was some kind of tea, but actually, it looked like gratin. It was my first time trying it. As I put it in my mouth and tasted it, I could not but say “It’s delicious.” We had TZ for dinner as well, but this time with baobab soup. Although it was too dark to recognize the color, it tasted so good that I asked for more. We also had wache. All food tasted good. I really enjoyed eating with Yukari and people from Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. I would like to try various kinds of Ghanaian food unless it is spicy.

After dinner, I took a shower outside, where it is dark and there is no door. Hot water was prepared in a bucket, and I splashed it over my body using a cup. Although it was a little scary, the hot water felt good.

I experienced a lot of new things in Bognayili and had fun spending time with everyone. I want to visit Bognayili again!! Next time, I hope to spend more time playing with the children. ーMaaru Higuchi (Translation by Tomoko Takahara, Photo by Yoko Higuchi)


 歩いている途中にイッキマという子が来た。イッキマは散歩中に水をあげたら、飲みたくない子にもむりやり飲ませたけどちゃんとした子だった。子供たちはみんな優しくて、何回も"what is your name?"と聞く。私は元気に"ま・あ・る・"とはっきり答えてもみんな"まあき"やいろいろ間違われる。それはちょっと困った。




 ボナイリでは初めてのことがたくさんあって、みんなとも過ごせて楽しかった。またボナイリへ行きたい!!今度行ったときはもっとたくさん子供たちと遊びたいです。ー樋口舞生(英訳:高原朋子、写真提供:樋口 陽子)

<<May 2014>>

If I were asked, "Which place in Ghana do you want to again?", I would answer Bognayili first and foremost. No, I must go back there, not want to. My "master" must be waiting for me. I will win the game with him next.

My family, three of us, started to walk toward a grassland while seeing finding goat's barns and walking chicks after we arrived at Bognayili. Then, children appeared before I knew it. We happened to walk with them through the grassland around Bognayili. One girl ran, holding a stick that has a leaf-made windmill on the end. The other girl curiously touched my daughter's long-straight hair. She touched and grasped my daughter’s pony-tail swaying from side to side. One boy threw a twig toward the air. The "master" was there among them, who were playing with something. The "master" was sitting with other boys of the age of four or five. They were throwing something little to the ground by turns.

Something that they were throwing to the ground was a round nut which was like an acorn and covered by a dark-brown and hard hull. It was a shea nut that I had seen a day earlier for the first time in my life in the village which I visited soon after arriving at the airport in Tamale. The "master" placed one shea nut on the ground and threw another shea nut to the one on the ground. Then, the shea nut on the ground successfully cracked, and then white sap ran along the cracks. He almost never missed the target; any shea nut that he had thrown critically hit the one on the ground almost ten times out of ten. The white sap which blotted on a hard and dark-brown hull looked declaring his victory.

I found myself facing with the "master" and being handed two shea nuts by him. I pressed one of them on the ground. It was sandy and softer than I expected. He corrected the position of the nut. He made the gray part of it turn to the ground, while looking into my eyes. Apparently, the gray part was too hard to crack even if I manage to hit it. The two shea nuts were in line on the ground. He took a look at my eyes, which looked as if saying "Give it a try." I, in response to his gesture, threw a shea nut to the ground. Then, sandy land on the side of the nut slightly dented, and the nut I rolled over the ground. He had already thrown a nut and the nut on the ground cracked before I sighed. Then, white resin ran. I touched it, which was sticky, pulled strings and clung my fingers. My chagrin remained even if I touched sap to distract my mind from the defeat. I challenged him again. He gave me two shea nuts again. I stared at the one he put on the ground and found it too small. I believed "I will fail again". He took a look at my eyes again smiling with his eyes saying "Make a try." I aimed and threw it. He picked up the shea nut miserably rolling and put it into his T-shirt. A bunch of shea nuts was in it. I found that the rule was to give an opponent the nut I threw and failed. However, our game had yet to be determined. I drew on him to throw a nut. He flopped down his hand on height of his head. A small nut buried in the ground slightly leant. I picked it up and found that a bunch of small cracks piled up. He hit the very target.

The following morning, my daughter let me know that the "master" was approaching me with smiling when I was drinking tea and eating bread. I was happy he came to me, thinking "I will go to see the man, with whom I played shea nuts game yesterday." He grabbed my hand when I started to move for "hand-washing workshop" taken place at the entrance of village. His friend grabbed the other hand of mine, and I walking in between the two four-year boys. I am not sure if the "master" said, "This is my friend. Don't hold his hand easily!", but he seemed to be proud of occupying my hand.

His gesture told me that he invited me for another round of the game, when our family was about to leave after "hand-washing workshop". I didn't challenge him this time, making a gesture not to feel like making another game. I was not confident to win the game. I cannot join the game without any slight of confidence to win. "Next time." I said goodbye to him, believing that the next time would come soon. The "master" saw us riding on a vehicle off. Many of children were around him and saw us off together. We left Bognayili, waving our hands saying, "Thank you, we will come back here again." Our family told each other that it was so much fun and we wanted to come back again, seeing the children on a mirror. Even today, I cannot stop hoping to meet those children and the "master" again. ーYoshihiko Higuchi (Translation by Atsushi Takahashi, Photo by Yoko Higuchi)







<<April 2014>>

On April 18th, I visited MY DREAM School in Tamale with my family. I always wanted to visit the place so as to learn more about Ghana along with my family; I wanted my children to feel something important through cultural interaction with Ghanaian children; I wanted to see what I may be able to do, acting based on my own experiences as a nurse. With such mixed feelings, I visited the village, where was full of vitality that fascinated me tremendously.

First, we were guided to see around the village and arrived at eco-friendly guesthouses to be completed very soon, where we were treated to a meal of guinea fowl's boiled eggs and cooked rice. I had a guinea fowl's egg for the first time in life and was amazed by its taste as well as the brightness of the yolk!

Then, we visited MY DREAM School, our family's long-cherised destination. Adorable children gathered to the school with their lunch bowls on their heads, even including very littles ones. No one never released their hands from the bowls, no matter they tumbled or cried, which was so gripping and for me became like an trademark of Tamale, which is a bit different form the capital city of Ghana.

Surrounded by such children, we performed music as a family band, starting with explanation on what kind of instruments we'd brought. After playing Kirakira-boshi, a Japanese well-known children's song "twinkle twinkle little stars", we all sang Okina-kuri no Ki-no-shita de, another Japanese kid's song "Under the spreading chestnut tree" together. Regardless of our just-overnight-practice performance, children gathered around us and listened to us very carefully with full of curiosity. After the performance, we moved into a classroom of MY DREAM School and played Origami together. My sons taught Ghanaian friends how to fold a cup from a piece of colored paper.

Since ten years ago when I worked as a volunteer nurse for a NGO based in Kenya, I have always wanted to come back to Africa, next time along with my children and wanted them to feel people's boundless energy. It's been nine months since we all moved to Accra, but we hardly had a chance like that. While looking at my children playing with kids of MY DREAM School, I realized that my own dream of ten years finally came true. At the same time, I felt that I found something I may be of help as a nurse to some extent. Then I was again touched by the name of the kindergarten, MY DREAM School, which reminded me that it is the place to materialize one's dream. Yukari seems to have played a role of like a rainbow bridge between Ghana and Japan, while juggling both of her official work and voluntary activities there. She seemed to have given herself, body and soul, to her activities with ear-to-ear grin that was as charming as people in the village, which also seemed telling how valuable activities she has led with them. I am very grateful to her giving me such a chance to materialize my dream of a decade and would want to extend our supports to her activities as much as possible.ーMisayo Sadamoto

10年前ケニアの医療系NGOでボランティアナースをしていた頃から、将来自分の子どもを連れてまたアフリカの大地に戻ってきたい。あの底抜けに明るいパワーを感じてもらいたいとずっと夢見てました。アクラ生活も9か月。ありそうでなかなかなかったチャンス。ゆかりさんの立ち上げたマイドリーム幼稚園で、かわいい園児達と戯れている息子達の姿を見て、10年思い続けてきた夢がついに叶ったんだなあと確信しました。そして、ナースとして、今の私にできそうな事も少し見え始めてきました。そうかあ。。マイドリーム幼稚園=自分の夢を叶えてもらえる場所なんだなあとその素敵なネーミングに改めて感動しました。ゆかりさんは、こうやって見事にガーナと日本の虹色の架け橋の役目をしてくれているんだなあと。自分の本業と見事に両立させながら、村人に負けないくらいチャーミングな笑顔を輝かせて、全身全力で活動されていました。村人の皆さんの眩しい笑顔から、ゆかりさんの今までの活動の素晴らしさがあちこちから伝わってきました。マイドリーム幼稚園で、長年の夢を叶えさせるチャンスを与えてくれたゆかりさんに心から感謝しています。そして、これからも家族一同、大好きなマイドリーム幼稚園の活動を自分にできる形でずっと応援していけたらなあと思っています。ー定本 美沙代

<<April 2014>> 

It was so intresting and cool !!!      
I played with the children and had fun with them and taught them how to make an origami cup.  
I liked it so much because they played with me a lot. It was really different from Accra because almost all the houses were made of mud and grass like a traditional african house. The people in the village were really friendly. I thought Yukarisan was really kind because she used the money she collected from everyone to make it and she goes there every once a month from Accra. I want to go there again because it was very fun.  (^_^) ーIssa Sadamoto, 8 years old   Lincoln community school 
ゆかりさんは、すごく親切だな~と思いました。なぜかと言うと、ゆかりさんは、みんなから集めたお金で幼稚園をつくって毎月アクラからその幼稚園に行っているからです。とても楽しかったので、また行きたいです。(^_^)  ー 定本 一瑳 8才 リンカーンコミュニティースクール
It was pretty fun to play some instruments at My Dream school.
I was realy happy because friends were trying to shake my hands.
They looked poor but they were happy.
I want to go there again to teach origami.
ーkazuki Sadamoto 6 years old Lincoln community school                 ^^

ーさだもと かずき 6さい リンカーンコミュニティースクール

Photo by 
Selase Kove-Seyram & Misayo Sadamoto
セラースィ・コーヴ・サイラム & 定本美沙代

<<April 2014>>

It was a severely hot afternoon when I and my mother - on her first trip in Africa - arrived at the deserted square of Bognayili. We stopped by the shea butter production center and saw a dozen of women busy working and chatting. It looks idyllic at a glance, but it is an extremely tough job even for these heat-tolerant women to work for hours by the boiling pot of shea butter under such climate. What if kids were playing around? It would be dangerous for them and they would worry the mothers. “Freeing the women from their kids whilst working was one of the founding objective of the kinder garden”, said Zak, freshly out of the mosque.

Although children had gone home, Zak called children and they showed up one by one around us. By the time we reached the kinder garden, we were a huge crowd. Around 180 children come to this kinder garden in a village of which the population is around 1,600. This is how much a kinder garden can play a role. Zak told us that the enrollment has tripled over the past two years after the inauguration of the school, but further expansion of the classroom and the teaching staff is difficult due to the low level of revenue from the parents who cannot afford the monthly tuition of only 2 cedi ($0.7). Such difficulty is not uncommon in poor rural areas, but Bognayili is unique in that their staff are highly motivated, and consequently, the quality of education in the kinder garden has proven to be excellent. “Graduates of My Dream Kinder Garden are disciplined and intelligent that they are admitted to the 2nd or 3rd year of the public primary school. “ said Zak proudly.

We asked children what they want to be. One by one, they volunteered. The most popular were “teacher”, “nurse”, and “Madame” (?)**. Unusual ones were, “President”, “Painter”, and “White man” – rich like a white man, you mean?? – to whom my mom replied “You can be more than that”. Africa is not only about beautiful nature and caring people. Children who show the best smiles of the world do grow up in poverty. Bognayili we visited was a place which made us think we wanted to give a wider range of dreams to children, and we could actually do something. ーTakaaki Miura (Photo by Takaaki Miura)
**"Madame" means a MY DREAM School teacher in children's word;)


午後2時過ぎ、幼稚園の下校の時間は過ぎていましたが、ザックが呼び出してくれて、私たちが校舎に着くころには50人以上の子供たちが来てくれていました。村の人口(1600人)の1割以上にあたる180人がMy Dream幼稚園に通っています。ザックの話では、2年前には60人だった生徒の数は、校舎の完成によって急激に増えたが、毎月僅か2セディ(約70円)の学費を払えない家庭も多いため、運営資金不足から、教員、教室ともに拡充できないでいる、とのことでした。ここまではよく聞く話のような気がしますが、このプロジェクトがユニークなのは、ザックはじめとするスタッフの士気が高く、それゆえ実際に教育の質の面でも成果が出ていること。「My Dream 幼稚園を出た子供たちは規律正しく、学力も高く、小学校では二年生や三年生に編入できる。」とザックは力を込めました。

子供たちの夢を聞くと、少しずつ手が上がりました。多かったのは、教師、看護師、と並んで「マダム」(?)**。ユニークだったのは大統領、画家、そして、「白人」。「白人のように金持ちになりたい」という意味でしょうか。母は「あなたたちにはもっと大きな可能性があるのよ。」と言いました。アフリカは美しい風景と温かい人たちだけでは語れません。最高の笑顔を見せる子供たちも、貧困の中で育っています。私たちの見たボナイリ村は、子供たちにもっと色々な夢を与えたい、私たちにも手伝えることがありそう、そう思わせてくれる場所でした。ー三浦 貴顕 (写真提供:三浦 貴顕)
**「マダム」とは、子ども達のMY DREAM幼稚園の先生の呼び方です。

<<March 2014>>

Mitsuo Ishimoto kindly wrote Tanka, a form of Japanese poetry to tell his experience in Bognayili, where the temperature is pretty high until the beginning of upcoming rainy season. He describes how children of Bognayili are innocent and full of curiosity, touching upon his hilarious experience where children approached him and started plucking his leg hair (lol). For them, maybe, hair on white legs appeared to be something weird or something unwanted!! (Photo by Kazuma Castle Ogura)

雨季を待つ 熱風の吹く ボナイリで すね毛をむしる 幼子は無垢 -石本満生 (写真提供:小倉 キャッスル 一馬)

<<March 2014>>

There is a town in Northern Ghana, which is called Tamale. I went to visit a village Bognayili, 30 minutes away from the center of Tamale, so as to see a kindergarten, which I had heard, founded by a Japanese. As she had talked with people in the village in advance, when we arrived there, there gathered about 170 children and teachers even though it was Saturday. When comparing these children with children in Japan, I felt they were more energetic. Their curiosity toward us, foreign friends, was so impressive and I was overwhelmed by their vitality. On the other hand, I found that they were quite well disciplined and teachers were so rigid. Children sang songs for us, which were also pretty lovely and made me grin. It was such an experience. One of the teachers told me that though there are a public school in the areas, as it locates too far from the village, children with tiny little feet could not make it. Afterward, children led my hands and seemed trying to show us around. If you have a chance, I hope you can take it. I believe you will find something you cannot in a big city. ーRintaro Akazawa (Photo by Kazuma Castle Ogura)

ガーナ北部にタマレ(Tamale)という町があります。町の中心部から車で約30分、ボナイリ村というところに日本の方が設立された幼稚園があると聞いて、見学させていただきました。幼稚園のファウンダーの方から事前に連絡がいっており、土曜日だというのに約170人の園児たち、および学校の先生たちが集まってくれていました。日本の幼稚園児に比べると、彼らはとても元気です。外国人である我々にも興味しんしんで、そのエネルギーに圧倒されました。しかし先生たちはとても厳しく、きちんと躾が行われている様子がよくわかりました。そしてわれわれのために歌を歌ってくれたのですが、それがまた愛らしい。おもわず素直に顔がにやけてしました。こんな経験は初めて。この地域には公立の学校があることにはあるけれども、非常に遠く、小さな子供たちの足では通学が難しい、と先生の中の一人が説明してくれました。その後村の中を見学させていただいたのですが、外国人に興味津々の子供たちが常に手をつないでくれていました。彼らなりに村を案内してくれていたのでしょうか。機会があればぜひ村を訪ねてみてください。大都会の中では思いつかなかった気づきがあるはずです。ー赤澤 林太郎(写真提供:小倉 キャッスル 一馬)

<<March 2014>>

I visited My Dream on March 8, 2014. It was probably one of the hottest times during the year with close to 40 C temperature. We were welcomed by heart-warming and cute songs by the children. The kindergarden was operated with discipline, and I felt it was run as a “school for the villagers, by the villagers”. I reckon it is not easy to operate this under an environment where village revenues are limited and there is chronical shortage of teachers. I would like to congratulate achievements of Yukari (the founder) and the teachers!!—Yosuke Kotsuji (Photo by Kazuma Castle Ogura)

3月8日にMy Dreamを訪問しました。40度近い体中の水が抜けるかと思うようなサヘルの暑さでしたが、子供たちのかわいい歌での歓迎に癒されました。幼稚園は、村の人たちによる村の人たちの幼稚園、という形でしっかり運営されている様子でした。収入源も限られていて、先生もそれほどおらず、決して楽ではない環境の中、運営されている先生方やファウンダーの原さんの努力に頭が下がります。—小辻 洋介(写真提供:小倉 キャッスル 一馬)

<<October 2013>>

On October 7th at night, I arrived in Accra and right next day, I moved to the Northern part of Ghana. I visited MY DREAM School in Bognayili and joined HappyDoll session. My visit in Ghana was only for four days, however in such a limited period, I found and learned quite a lot. 

Among others, I would like to focus on population problems in this journal. I visited Northern Ghana, knowing the fact— the half of the population is Christian and roughly 15% is Muslim. In the North, I found influence of Islam is phenomenal. I found quite a number of mosques and signboards that say, for instance, “Assistance from the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Islam seemed to have been embedded deeply in their daily life and culture, which synergized into their own traditional and indigenous sense. People told me that, while ordinary people are allowed to have multiple wives up to four with some conditions, chief is exempted; he is authorized to have as many wives as his capacity allows. From this story, I got to think that the more babies they have the less people might make light of their lives. I believe, no matter prenatal or antenatal, lives should be esteemed and held high regards. Well, at the risk of being misunderstood, I say if high mortality in mothers and children resultantly has controlled the increase in the population to some extent, having lower rates could trigger the potential population explosion. I never mean to say that I tolerate negligence on the lives of children. However, we need to think how to prevent further population explosion so as to prevent their lives from being slighted. This is such a huge challenge that I cannot come up with any specific solution working at once, but I believe education for women may have some clue. Although we need to be very patient when educating and bettering literacy rate among women, I think it will gradually contribute to build foundation of a stable and peaceful society. I know it is not an all-cure medicine against matters concerning the population. Say, polygamy is quite deeply rooted in religions and/or people’s common belief. 

I would say that the longest way about is the nearest way home.  It may sound stupendous, however to make radical changes that truly address these challenges, tireless, sober and persistent efforts need to be made. Meanwhile, to protect people’s lives in the third world, it is needless to say that we have to continue working for the betterment of health, sanitation and nutrition indicators. I learned MY DREAM projects aims at both, education and life, which reassured me of the significance of the activities. ーYoichiro Udagawa(Photo by Kazushi Udagawa)

10月7日(夜)アクラに到着、8日(早朝)タマレに転じ(午後)ボナイリの「My Dream」を訪問し「Happy Doll」のセッションなどに参加、9日(午前)「My Dream」を再訪(夕方)アクラに到着、10日(夜)帰国の途につくと言う短い日程でしたが、実に多くのことを見聞し学ぶことが出来ました。

種々感じたことの中で、此処では「人口問題」に絞って感想を述べてみたいと思います。ガーナは、国民の約半数がキリスト教徒、約15%がイスラム教徒と言う予備知識を持って訪問しましたが、北部のタマレ / ボナイリでは其処此処にモスクを見掛け、又ボナイリから幹線道路に出る角に「イラン(イスラム)共和国による援助」と言う標識も目に止るなど、イスラム教の影響が色濃い土地柄であるとの印象を受けました。そのイスラム教も伝統的な風習により土着化している様子も窺え、例えば、イスラム教の一夫多妻制では4人まで妻を持つことが出来ると言われていますが、この地のチーフはその人数制限すら取り除かれていることが上げられます。従って、このチーフに限らず、多くの子供が生まれ又それだけに一人ひとりの命が軽視され勝ちになってしまうと思われます。与えられた命は、産後であろうと産前であろうと、最も尊重されなければならず、その意味で健康・衛生・栄養管理により妊婦から新生児・幼児・児童などの死亡率を下げることは非常に大きな意義があります。処が、誤解を惧れずに敢えて言わせて貰えれば、多産の中で幼児などの死亡率が高いことによりある程度の人口増加が押さえられてきたとすると、その率が低下すると言うことはその分人口が増加してゆく結果になると考えられます。それでは、子供を初め人々の命を蔑ろにしていいかと言うと決してそのようなことがあってはならないのであって、健康・衛生・栄養管理の為の活動は益々重要性を増してきています。とすると、人口増加に歯止めを掛けるにはどのようにするべきなのかが、次の問題になります。これは大変悩ましい問題であり、即効性のある解決策は思い当たりませんが、矢張り女性に対する教育の普及による識字率の向上を息長く我慢強く継続してゆくしかないのではないかと思います。女性への教育による識字率向上は、その道は長く険しいものであることは否定出来ませんが、それにより穏やかな社会の基盤形成に繋がってゆくと思われます。勿論、それだけで「人口問題」が解決する訳ではなく、例えば、一夫多妻制にしてもそのものに対するその宗教や習俗の壁は極めて強固でしょう。

然し乍ら、地道な取組を持続して積み上げてゆくことにより、謂わば「急がば廻れ」で、問題解決若しくは改善に向けての広い意味での基礎が徐々にでも醸成されてゆくのではないでしょうか。その間、途上国に於いて人々の命を守る為に、健康・衛生・栄養管理を同時並行して行ってゆくことは改めてその必要性が強調されるべきであることは言う間でも有りません。この両方(教育と命)を目指している「My Dream」の活動は大変意義深いものであることを再認識している次第です。ー宇田川 榕一郎(写真提供:宇田川 和識)

<<September 2013>>

Although I had travelled several countries before, it was very first time to visit Africa, especially to small community. I was very excited, but I was little worried to be honest.

Once I arrived there, I found that everyone is so kind and polite. They spoke to me even I am totally stranger to them. Also I realised that children respect adult which leads good atmosphere in the community.

Ms. Hara had asked me to teach something to children in the community so I decided to do origami which is Japanese traditional game. (Using a piece of paper, and you can create birds, animals, flowers and so on.) However it seemed really difficult for them since it was very first time. The most difficult part for them was to fold in two so that the corners meet. Even it was difficult, they tried to their best and enjoyed the game. It is because they do not have many toys such as TV game or cards game as Japanese kids. 100 pieces of origami paper gone SO quickly!!!

Also it is because they do not have electronics products, the digital camera I brought was good toy for them. They enjoyed taking photos and checking them. The other day, I encountered when children were playing soccer, their ball was made by plastic bag with something inside. It was impressive that they do not complain about the ball and enjoying soccer together no matter of gender and age. My next visit would be with more origami paper and proper soccer ball and make them smile.ーJutaro Maki (Photo by Jutaro Maki)



遊び道具がないせいでしょうか、私が持って行ったデジタルカメラは彼らの格好の遊び道具に。みんな交代で写真を撮って、自分が撮った写真を見せてくれとお願いしてきます。また別の日には子供たちがサッカーをやっているところに出くわしましたが、そのボールはビニール袋に何かを詰めて膨らませただけのものでした。それでも彼らが必死にボールを追う姿、年齢や性別関係なく仲良く遊んで笑っている姿はとても印象的で、今度はぜひ折り紙とサッカーボールを持って遊びに行って、彼らを笑顔に出来たらと思います。ー牧 寿太郎(写真提供:牧 寿太郎)

<<September 2013>>

When I arrived in Bognayili, the first thought that came to my mind was “How long will I last...?”. In Accra, I was very careful in eating only at restaurants used by other foreigners and avoiding local cuisine, so eating the food prepared by our host mothers at the house courtyard with open fire and no running water was quite an attempt, to say the least. And of course, I had never taken a shower with a bucket, and was appalled at the village toilet/shower which is really a mere enclosure at one corner of the house. While I was shown around the village and the house we will be staying in, I kept on asking myself, “Why on earth did I agree to come stay here?”

However, when the children at the kindergarten, and I believe there must have been well over a hundred of them, all came rushing toward us hustling and bustling with cheers, I found myself absorbed in taking countless pictures and joining their jolly dance, and completely leaving the apprehension behind. It took very little time for the kindness of the Bognayili people to lower my defenses, and afterwards my stay was filled with laughter and pleasant surprises.

As for my initial concerns, the food tasted delicious once I got myself to try them (needless to say, I did not fall sick afterwards), and bucket bathing was unexpectedly refreshing. At night we lay on the bench under the wonderful starry sky. The following morning as we left the village, people told me that Bognayili is now my home and that I can come back anytime. I believe these precious memories will never fade, no matter how many years pass by.

During my stay, I was constantly touched by and felt enormous respect for the kindness of the people in Bognayili and the dedicated efforts Yukari and her supporters have given to improve the environment there. And on a personal note, this visit allowed me to break free from my excessive precautions against living in Ghana. Now, each time I come back to Bognayili, and each time I meet with and hear from people that have visited Bognayili, I love Ghana all the more.It is exciting to think what encounters further await me on my next visit. In the meantime, I send my sincere love and gratitude to the valuable encounters and memories at Bognayili.ーKayo Yoshida (Photo by Kayo Yoshida)




ボナイリの皆さんの暖かい笑顔と、その笑顔に囲まれながら自分に出来る事にひたむきに取り組むゆかりさんやサポーターの皆さんの姿は、本当にかっこよくて刺激的で、臆病風に吹かれ中々新しい生活に解け込めずにいた私の殻を見事に打ち破ってくれました。ボナイリを訪れる度、そしてボナイリを訪れた人々の話を伺う度、ガーナがどんどん好きになります。次に訪れるときは、どんな素敵な出会いが待っているのでしょう。その日まで、ボナイリが私にくれた素敵な出会いと思い出に、心から感謝を込めて。ー吉田 佳世(写真提供:吉田 佳世)

<<August 2013>>

Cooking demonstration of Yam Croquette for mothers in Bognayili. I had been thinking what I could do since my visit for Bognayili was scheduled. As I was quite sure that I would be given so many things, I wanted to do something to reciprocate. Since I had already learned that people in Accra are not that receptive to foreign food, I wondered what could be easily accepted by people in the village and came up with an idea to make croquette from yam. When I was in Japan, I held an event "Croquette traveling the world" once a month. Everywhere in the world, you'd be able to find something fried made of potato and/or beans. Croquette is a common food, which actually connects the world. During each event, I demonstrated how to cook various kinds of croquettes from many parts of the world. But at that time, I never imagined that my croquette actually would travel the world!

For the demonstration in Bognayili, as I wanted mothers to feel familiar to what I would make, I used foodstuffs which could be found in a local market, yam, onion and GARI, local flour made from cassava. During the first several minutes, mothers just gave a side glance at me, perhaps wondering what a Siminga (foreign) girl, who could not even peel yam skillfully, was doing. But gradually, they came to gather around me with full of curiosity in their faces. By the time when I mashed and rounded yam mixed with onion, I was surrounded by a number of moms. We made balls of yam and onion together, coated them with cassava flour, and then fried them in shea butter, processed by mothers.

I cannot forget the facial expression of a mother who put the first croquette into her mouth, which broke into a smile from the nervous one. The first and second bite..., and then their bites got bigger. "Make more croquettes for us!" "Give me more!" "Hey, you've already got one!" "Let me take some for my family!" "Give small pieces to children!" Women who were processing shea butter stopped their hands and came to approach me. They also showed blight smiles once they tried the croquette.

I knew that it should not be easy for people to accept and eat something strange to them, because food and diet are crucial part of their culture. For this reason, the moments I shared with mothers were so fulfilling. While bringing croquettes to the village, I received something very important, something that makes me feel weeping for joy.

I cannot speak Dagbani, their local language at all. I stayed in Bognayili for five days. "Dashiba!" "Antire!" "Apan-anmaga." ...etc. They spoke heartwarming words to me and provided me with food for every meal. From now on, I will recall the fresh smell of shea butter along with all these precious memories, a skyful of stars, the Savanna reach out to the horizon, and kind-hearted people in the village. Thank you indeed. ーMizuki Koshide(Photo by Kayo Yoshida)

ボナイリのお母さんたちにコロッケをお届け。 ボナイリにお邪魔できることになってから、私は何ができるかな、とずっと考えていました。絶対たくさんのものを受け取ることになるから、自分も何かを届けたかった。 ガーナ人は首都アクラに住んでいる人さえも食に保守的、ましてや農村。そんな彼らも受け入れやすい、そして私だから伝えられるものってなんだろうと考えた結果、コロッケを作ろうと思いました。私、日本にいた時に「世界中にいもや豆をつぶして揚げたものってあるでしょ?世界はコロッケでつながっているんだよ」と’’旅するコロッケ’’というイベントを毎月やっていました。世界中のコロッケを作っていたけれど、コロッケが本当に旅しちゃうなんて!





まったくこの村の言葉も話せないし、誰も知る人のいなかったボナイリに滞在して5日。 おはよう、こんにちは、ありがとう、今日はどこに行くの?今日はコロッケは?ほら、これ手伝って!これ、食べる?・・・たくさんの言葉と底抜けの笑顔と、ごはんを毎日もらった。酸化していない香ばしいシアの香りと共に私は一生思い出すことになるんだろう。満点の星空を、地平線まで続くサバンナを、優しい優しい彼らのことを。ありがとう。ー越出 水月

(写真提供:吉田 佳世)

<<July 2013>>

People's smile and a song of a dirty old man (*) have stuck in my mind.

Although I was a bit nervous wondering how I could communicate and get well with people in Bognaiyili before visiting MY DREAM School, such an anxiety was soon blown away by children, who rushed and surrounded me upon our arrival. They followed me and asked me to play with, expressing brilliant smile in their faces. We did not have any common language to interact, however I felt as if we were communicating each other through eye-to-eye signals. I introduced Aikido 合気道, Japanese Martial Arts, and jump rope to them. Children were very enthusiastic, showed curiousty to everything they see, and tried tirelessly while carefully watching my move. For me, they seemd desiring opportunity to learn. 

There are so many things in short, but on the other hand, I realized they have something that I don't, which are very precious and important such as the sprit of cooperation, endless smile, and harmonized life in nature. I had never seen stars so close before that I felt as if I was droppedin the middle of another planet.

I could not get used to a toilet without a seat, taking a bath with a bucket of water in a private space that is also used as a toilet room, having no running water, or their local food cooked outside, however people's smile and full of kindness just made them look just tiny little things.

When I first heard about MY DREAM School, I was just surprized. Since I started working in Accra, the capital of Ghana, I have always wanted to visit a remote and rural village. When Yukari invited me to her village, I gave her a ready consent and few weeks later, I visited and stayed in Bognayili for two nights. I thank to her strenous efforts to build and sustain sound and firm bond of trust with people in Bognayili, which consequently enabled me to have such heartwarming and invaluable experiences. I cannot forget two hundreds of children scrambling for her calling her name "Yukari, Yukari!" and her exchanging greeting in their local language, Dagbani. 

Next time, I would love to practice Aikido 合気道 group by group so that they will learn how to perform Aikido 合気道 themselves.ーMariko Ehara

*Song of a dirty old man: MY DREAM School children sing an English song of a dirty old man, which lyric is written by a teacher of the kindergarten. "There was an old man, there was an old man, who never take a bath, who never take a bath. U-ah, dirty old man. U-ah, dirty old man!" The teacher knew what children like and remember very quickly! Lol


子どもたちと仲良くなれるかと少し不安を抱きながらMY DREAM幼稚園に行ったら、大勢の子供達に取り囲まれた。彼らは透き通った笑顔で見ず知らずの私に、遊んで~ってくっついてきた。言葉は通じないけど、目と目で気持ちが通じてる様で嬉しかった。縄跳びと合気道を紹介した。何にでも全力で、見るもの全てに興味を持ち、見様見真似で挑戦する。学びを欲してる様に感じた。 彼らが足りていない物はたくさんある、一方で彼らにしかない素晴らしいものがたくさんあることを実感した。たまらない笑顔や助け合いの心と大自然の中で暮らす生活。今まで見た星空の中で一番近くに星があって、別の世界に来た様な気分だった。 便座のないトイレと、トイレでバケツ1杯のお風呂、水道がないことと食事には慣れなかったけど、みんなの笑顔でそんなことはどうでもいいと思えた。

MY DREAM幼稚園を設立した話を聞き、そんなことを実現した原さんってすごいなぁととっても驚きました。現在私はガーナの首都アクラで働いており、村に興味があったので、2泊3日で同行させていただきました。今回この村で体験出来たことは、原さんがこれまで彼らとの友好関係の下でなりたったものであり、とても感謝しています。200人もの子供達が”ゆかり、ゆかり”と原さんを奪い合い、すれ違う大人たちともダグバニ語で挨拶を交わしている、素敵な光景でした。次回は少人数ごとに合気道で遊びたいです。ー江原 真理子

*「汚いおじいさん」の歌:MY DREAM幼稚園の子どもたちは、幼稚園の先生が作詞作曲した「汚いおじいさん」の歌(英語)を歌います。「あるところに老いたおじいさんがいました。老いたおじいさんがいました。なんと彼は全くお風呂に入りませんでした。お風呂に全く入りませんでした。いやだいやだ、きたないおじいさん。いやだいやだ、きたないおじいさん。」子どもたちがどんな歌を喜んで覚えるか、先生はちゃんと知っています(笑)。

<<November 2012>>

Children's ear-to-ear grin was most impressive. While seeing people paying utmost respect to the elderlies, I recalled the old days in Japan. That people, no need to say but including children, revere old people, which used to be very common in Japan as well, reminded me the importance of the bond between person and person.

What was surprising for me was that almost everyone even including grand-mother-age women who are illiterate knew how to handle mobile phone. Although the amount of money they earn a month is yet to be adequate, they enjoyed music and dance during the opening ceremony of MY DREAM School and furthermore at the end of the ceremony, they volunterily donated their coins and bills for the further development of the educational environment for children.

When looking at Ghana, the nation as a whole, I felt that the presense of China was phenomenal; I found a mega football studium and governmental buildings build by the country and people spoke to me saying "Ni hao!" I believe that Japan will also strengthen its bond with African countries forther mote and hope people and companies from Japan will full-fledged make inroad into the African continent.

Finally, while I touched upon smile of children earlier, their parents and grandparents also welcomed me with their faces beaming with smiles. I was convinced that children's smile must have come from observing big smiles of people who are always around them.ーShinichi Hara




最後に。冒頭で子どもたちの笑顔について触れましたが、大人たちも満面の笑顔で僕を迎えてくれました。子どもたちはそんな大人たちの姿をしっかり見ながら育っているんですね。ー原 真一