Archive for November, 2006

Light for Children at Kumasi Mayor’s birthday Bash

November 28, 2006

On the 28th of November some of the potential beneficiaries of the Light for Children (LFC) project were invited to join the celebration of the 50th birthday party of the mayor in Kumasi. Kumasi is the second city of Ghana and the seat of LFC.

The mayor, Patricia Appiagyei, is famous because she is the first female Mayor in Ghana. The birthday party was held at her private residence in Kumasi. Five basic schools, including a school for mentally challenged children and four NGOs, were invited. The Mayor had dedicated the birthday party to the orphans and vulnerable children of Ghana; in all 250 children were invited. LFC presented 12 children and they were chaperoned by the two volunteers of LFC; Sebastian form Sweden and Elisabeth from Iceland. The executive director and the project coordinator were also at the party.

The children were treated to cultural displays, poetry recitals, gospel music by the school for mentally challenged, choral, hip-hop and traditional music. There were a lot to eat and drink, including biscuit and toffee. The Mayor distributed exercise books, toys, souvenirs and other stationary.

All the four NGOs present were invited to introduce their organizations to the gathering. Sebastian was chosen to introduce LFC and briefed the people on the activities our organization. The two volunteers took an active part in all the activities at the party, everything from playing with the children to being a part of the food distribution. They admittedly became cynosure of all eyes.

The Mayor, as a politician, had invited politicians and government officials whom added a color to the occasion. The highlight of the day was when an inflated slide emerged from the ground. Children rushed the site and played until the end of the event. After the party the children where transported to their homes by an official bus from the city council amidst dancing and singing in the bus.

Light for Children staff visits Child Support – Ghana up in Wa

November 6, 2006

On the 6th of November me and Yaw Otchere went up to Wa, upper west region of Ghana, to visit a Dutch NGO named Child Support – Ghana. I had made contact two weeks before with Eric (executive director) when I was on a ‘holiday weekend trip’ in the south of Ghana.

Our main purposes of this trip were to visit the NGO’s different projects, share experiences and help and deliver knowledge of HIV prevention. Unfortunately Eric was diagnosed with Malaria on our second day in Wa. But the slow start gradually picked up and progress was a fact! The Dutch NGO is focusing on the well-being of children in the Wa-region and they have managed to develop a very good relationship with the regional hospital.

The volunteers in this organization drive out to different villages in the region and do medical checkups. The fun thing about these medical checkups is that the people in these villages are a bit what we in the western civilization would call ‘uncivilized’! On the question ‘how old are you?’ some women answer 120 years old and 220 years old.

Facts are; most of the people in rural northern Ghana don’t know what day it is of the week, what year it is and as mentioned before, their age. Its not important to them, what’s important is to go to the farm and collect food for the family. The NGO also runs a hospice where AIDS victims spend their last time before the valley of death is upon them.

I would like to share a story about a girl named Rose Mary. She is somewhere between 8 and 10 years of age. She got one of her arms cut off by a fetish priest because he claimed that she was a which. Both of her parents where dead and she was blamed to be the cause for this. The reason why he cut off her arm is so that in her next life people will recognize her as a which. The girl’s caretaker ditched her and after living on the street for 2-3 weeks she was found and moved to the Hospice. We where in the progress of sending her to an orphanage in Kumasi but complications came in the way and right now it looks like she will stay in upper west region. The main problem though is that she is ‘stamped’ as a witch and people are afraid of her. For Ghanaian’s, witchcraft is real and it’s something that they take extremely serious.

Quote of the day by Eric (Child Support – Ghana):
“Don’t get frustrated with the limitations in Ghana, work with the limitations”.