Suzanne Parker’s Commitment Benefits the Children of L’Angum Learning Center

3-suzanne-parkerSuzanne Parker has been a loyal PAMBE Ghana volunteer for many years. She brings knowledge of Africa and years of teaching experience to the organization. As a young child she loved school and read about Africa, dreaming to go there one day.  Her dreams came true! Suzanne and husband Bill (PAMBE Ghana board member) lived in the Ivory Coast, where she taught at the International School. After 42 years of teaching Suzanne retired.  She increased her time helping at the PAMBE Ghana Global Market and recently organized a group of volunteers to select and catalog nearly 2000 books to be shipped to La’Angum Learning Center. I met with Suzanne and asked about her background and history with PAMBE Ghana. When did you become involved with  PAMBE Ghana? I met Alice when she came to  Westminster School to apply for a teaching position in the French Department.  The director of the lower school, Cathy Waldo, interviewed Alice and introduced her to me.  Cathy knew that Alice and I had something in common; I had been in West Africa and spoke French. I was on a break at the time, so we spent some time together and got to know each other. Cathy and I were impressed by Alice and agreed that we needed to find a place for her at the school.  Although Alice didn’t get the teaching position,  Cathy offered her a job as a second grade assistant. Because of our background working together at Westminster,  Alice invited me to an early group meeting at her house. We all spent the time brainstorming about her dream to open a school in northern Ghana.   It seems that  Alice’s work at Westminster School strongly influenced  her dream of starting a school. It became obvious immediately that Alice had a talent with children, although she hadn’t worked with young children. She had planned a school for older children, but I suggested that she start with young children and see how it worked out. As she worked with the second graders, she began to see how starting with young children would be the best, particularly when teaching a second language. What is your teaching background? After obtaining my degrees, I taught for 42 years all over the world, including Paris and Abidjan, Ivory Coast. In Abidjan, I taught at the International School. I always taught the young children; they are so fun! When I taught,  I tried to implement the Montessori philosophy in every class. What took you to these exotic places? My husband, Bill, worked for a non-governmental organization,  the Institute for Cultural Affairs. His job took us many places. How have you been involved with PAMBE Ghana over the years? My volunteer activities have been primarily with the Global Market, working at the store or helping with ordering of products.  After I retired,  I had more time to devote to volunteer work and the store.  I try to work in the store at least 2 times a week during the season and help with other things when needed.  Lately,  I have been working on PAMBE Ghana’s book project. And, when Alice comes back to OKC we sit and talk, teacher- to- teacher, about what education should look like in Africa. We talk about how you can teach the Montessori method using things that can be found in Africa. How do you feel about the success of La’Angum Learning Center? I feel proud and amazed, but sad that I can’t be there. Have you thought about visiting? I visited Ghana several times when we lived in the Ivory Coast. However, traveling is harder and harder these days.  We did things when we lived there that we couldn’t do today! What do you remember about Ghana? The people were so lovely in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, as well. I assumed that the people would be speaking in English in Ghana, but quickly found out that Ghana has many tribal languages. Thank  you, Suzanne, for your service to PAMBE Ghana over the past ten years! We value your ideas, expertise and commitment, which contributes to the success of La’Angum Learning Center.

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Your Donation Today Will Help PAMBE Ghana Provide:
-- Teacher's salary
-- Children’s health insurance
-- Montessori materials
-- Teacher education

PAMBE Ghana is a 501(c)(3) registered charitable organization.


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