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Archive for the ‘Thank You’ Category

Akramaman Reading Camp

IMG_2345By Mr. Seth Agyakwa

In Ghana, one problem we normally encounter in the public school is lateness to school. During reading camp, the same pupils and teachers, who normally report to school late, are always very punctual. Even though lessons start at 9:00 am, by 8:00 am all are present. This is not because of the “whites,” but because the organizers and sponsors of the programme have put in all their best.

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Pupils and teachers do not waste time at home for food because food is served during the reading camp. The food given is not like Ghanaian school feeding programme that pupils refuse to eat even though it is prepared by Ghanaians. With this programme, pupils can even go for more if they are not full.

IMG_6379Again, there are sufficient teaching and learning materials which facilitate teaching and learning. Supervision is very strong. Due to this, pupils who refuse to read in our normal schools are eager to read during camp because of the good atmosphere and materials used. Pupils are also encouraged and motivated to read. I can see it is a factor in pupils showing interest in reading.

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IMG_2336IMG_2332God bless you all for your support towards the reading camp. We pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. Amen

Seth is a teacher at St. Paul’s Junior Secondary School. He has been volunteering at our summer reading camp since 2011. He is married with three children. Last weekend the team attending his newborn’s “Outdooring”, the baby naming ceremony. It was fun to welcome baby Perez into the family. Seth’s hospitality to the team was heartfelt.

Thank you notes are on the way.

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Why Do I Come Here Year After Year?

I thought deeply about this question as I packed three suitcases with school supplies, water filters, children’s blankets and pillowcase dresses getting ready to leave the US. Then I packed three more suitcases for the team that is arriving next week and pondered some more. Why do I leave my family and all the comforts I take for granted every day, to travel 9,000 miles, at least 17 hours on a plane each way, to sit in the dark at night with no fan, then to be tossed about like a rag doll in a car or bus each day as we travel the torn up dirt roads of Ghana?

This is why.

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I have always wanted to help children and when I felt that tug on my heart in 2004, I knew that God was calling me to help these children. When I first came to Akramaman in 2005, it was truly a village. Many children wandered around aimlessly. Only a handful of children went to school, mostly boys. There was no electricity, no clinic, and for many no Hope.

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Akramaman 2006

Now it almost a city. Electricity flows through many homes. The clinic serves 15,000 plus people in surrounding villages. The school system has over 500 children enrolled, a new computer lab and they are building a high school.

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Just a few of the classes at the primary school

Today at St. Paul’s Preschool graduation, I listened to the Assemblyman, the Pastor of a local church, the head of public education for the region and the representative for the Anglican education system implore parents to take raising their children seriously and to support education whether it is St. Paul’s Nursery, Preschool, Primary or Junior High. They talked about holding teachers accountable and encouraging students. There is much more than a glimmer of Hope for these children.

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I watched 37 excited six year olds put on their cap and gown and march through the crowd of parents to receive their Kindergarten diploma. Most of the children I have known since they were born. God willing, one day I will watch them put on another cap and gown and receive their high school diploma.

Smile after smile warmed my heart and told me the answer to my why. It’s the same answer I give my grandchildren each year when they ask “Grandma, why are you leaving.” “Because someone has to go and Jesus asked me to help him take care of the children. If I don’t go, who will help them?” Some of us are called to go, others are called to stay at home and mind the home fires and others are called to support those of us who do go. Thank you to my family, friends and many, many donors who have made all of this possible through the years. I may be the one here in Ghana, but YOU ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE SUPPLIED THE HOPE

wish you happy forever

What China’s Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains- a book by Jenny Bowen

Book review by Gail Morton

Last year I had the pleasure of attending a lecture in Washington DC and meeting Jenny Bowen. I feel an affinity to Jenny and her efforts because I have traveled to China with cousins that adopted a 2 year old Chinese girl. This smart, talented and beautiful young lady just told me this morning that she will be attending Elon College in September. Having seen the Chinese countryside and the orphanage where she began, and the future she would have had, I can’t help but feel she was one of the lucky ones. A terrible thing to say about being orphaned. Actually she was not really an orphan but left in a basket on a bridge when she was only several days old. She will never know if it was through poverty or cultural prejudices that her birth family abandoned her, but she was one of a lucky few that found her way into a loving happy family in the U.S.

Most Chinese orphans, girls especially, were not so lucky. Raised under austere and backward conditions in Chinese orphanages, they seldom thrived and futures were as bleak as the present. When Jenny Bowen arrived in China to pick up her 3 year-old daughter, she found Maya sickly, unable to respond to love, without natural curiosity or social interactions. She had never even been held. Maya was one of thousands, strapped for hours each day to a potty chair because there wasn’t sufficient staff to diaper, clean or train the typical potty skills of the average three year old. Rooms were utilitarian and bare with no pictures, toys or activities of any kind. No one held or rocked, sang songs, or played with the children. They were left all day every day with no stimulation, nothing to engage or teach them how to connect, learn or even to care.

Jenny Bowen

Heartbroken for the lost lives she saw before her, Jenny Bowen took on the challenge of thousands of neglected children in state run Chinese orphanages and through time, effort, sensitivity and determination, changed the mindset of the Chinese government. Today, a large majority of the orphanages throughout the vast Chinese county have come under the guidance and partnership of Jenny’s Half the Sky Foundation. Thousands of children have been saved from physical, emotional and intellectual neglect. They move through the orphanage system in facilities filled with light, color, teaching, stimulation, both physical and educational, but mostly having experienced the healing of being loved and mentored.

Jenny Bowen tells her story in the book wish you happy forever, What China’s Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains. And as Ghanian Mothers Hope has found out, those mountains can be as vast as the Himalaya’s, but there is a slow and steady path to the other side. If you have ever said “What can I do, what can one person do?” please read Jenny’s story. She is not typical but only in that she didn’t stop with the question. She was like you and me to begin with. Overwhelmed, set back by road blocks, stymied by government refusals, war, impossible transportation, poor infrastructure and bad weather. The difference is she accepted each of these trials, maximized what she was able to do in the restricted setting and then went back to work seeking the way through by some other means.

I can’t describe in a paragraph how Jenny and Half the Sky transformed a child welfare system that wasted lives into one that now produces vital, productive, happy lives and futures for thousands of orphaned Chinese children. I suggest you hear it from Jenny herself at www.halfthesky.org.

No dream of doing God’s work is impossible. If we can’t do it alone, then we team it. We are not all Jenny Bowen’s, but each of us has a strength. Some can dream, some strategize, some focus, others arrange, implement and achieve. Some give knowledge, some time and some money. Every one of us can contribute in our own way and know that we really do make a difference. I look at my young cousin. She was in the system before Half the Sky was operational. She was one of the lucky few at that time. Now thousands have the benefits she could only find here in the U.S.

Children with hand made quilts from Southern Maryland

Children with hand made quilts from Southern Maryland

I see the same impact on children’s lives and futures in the work accomplished by Ghanaian Mothers Hope. Where ever your passion lies, China or Ghana or the streets of America; children or mothers, young men or the elderly, you can make a difference and if you doubt me, read wish you happy forever.   It’s a fascinating true tale about hope and success.

Gail Morton is a passionate supporter of Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope. Gail, an avid reader, shares book reviews with us a few times a year. Many thank to Gail for keeping us all informed.

HOW MANY BATHROOMS ARE IN YOUR HOUSE?

How many bathrooms at in your house?  Mine has 2 and there are only 2 of us living there.  Recently, the bathroom at an office where I do some accounting was shut down.  I had to leave one building and walk to another to find a working toilet.  It was inconvenient but, my employer understands the need for working toilet facilites and I am sure it will be working when I return next week.

I am celebrating toilet facilites today as we at Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope REJOICE  in our recent grant from The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland to build (drum roll please) two brand new toilet facilites at St. Paul’s Primary School.  This may not be as exciting as building a preschool or medical center but for 250 primary school students who have been sharing 2 toilet–Yes that number is right.  There are only 2 toilets for 250 children and 6 teachers.

The new facility will have 6 seats for boys and a separate facility with 6 seats for girls.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! TO THE DIOCESE OF MARYLAND FROM THE CHILDREN AND TEACHERS AT ST. PAUL’S, AKRAMAMAN.

Thank You United Thank Offering

Last year Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope received a generous grant from the United Thank Offering, through the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Ascension Episcopal Church, Westminster, and the Anglican Diocese of Accra.  With the help of Barbara English, Dottie Arthur, The Right Reverened Eugene Sutton, Archbishop Justice Akrofi, The Reverend Ronald Fisher and a host of others, the grant has helped GMH to build a new primary school. 

St. Paul’s Primary School will open in September.  It will serve 200-300 children.  The children of Akramaman are so excited.  Soon they will not have to walk 4 miles down the dusty road to school.  In August 21 children will graduate from St. Paul’s Preschool and will be able to begin their primary education in a new school.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU UNITED THANK OFFERING.

Debi Frock and the Board of Directors of Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope

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