I can honestly say I had never seen a roster in a tree until I was in Ghana. On a road trip to the Western region of Ghana I saw many new things, met new people, and experienced new cultures. One of the funniest things I saw was a roster in a tree loudly announcing his presence. The tree itself was incredible because it had the most enormous fruit growing on it. It turns out, this was a calabash tree.
By far, the most interesting thing I did on that trip was to visit the village of Nzulezo - a village entirely on stilts in the Amansuri Lake.
To get there you have to take a canoe. The village has been there for over 500 years. The homes, "streets", and primary school are all balancing above the water and built of wood planks. In the entire time of its existence, not even one person has ever drowned. I was profoundly humbled by their quiet and simple way of life, and it put into perspective for me the idea of needs and wants. There is electricity in the village these days, other than that there are no other utilities. Water is drawn from the lake, and cooking and heating is done with a traditional coal stove. They have farmland, which they canoe to, to grow fruits and vegetables. They catch fish in the lake.
The community values education so they built a school for k-6th grade.
After that, the children go by canoe to the mainland to continue their education. There's not much money to pay the teachers, who are community members who have a high school diploma, but everyone in the village pitches in to pay them. They don't have much in the way of academic supplies, no smart projectors, no computers, just wooden desks and a white board in each classroom. I reflected on how different these classrooms were to those in America with all the vibrantly colored posters, books, and electronics. But, the parents are dedicated to providing an education to their children, and learning takes place every day, Monday through Friday, rain or shine. I wish every American student could see this school so they would truly appreciate the education they have available to them.