I was able to travel to Ghana between Christmas and the new year this past December/January. I was able to take some time off and be able to go see what was going on with the children as well as the school project. I am supposed to be retired but decided to go back to teaching at a charter school and it is taking over my life. Ha… what was I thinking?
The building is finally enclosed! It looks great! Adi has had the plumber and electrician come to give bids on what the next steps will be. Of course, being on Ghanaian time, there are always a few small small things that need to be done before we get to the electricity and plumbing. Haha… It is a very sturdy building and will last forever. The bedroom are quite a bit bigger than I had thought they would be as well as the other rooms. It is going to be so nice once it is done…in who knows now many years from now.
One thing I found out was that Adi is sending some others to school. He sends quite a few boys to the technical school. Those are the people being trained so that we can hire them to complete things we need for the building. For example, Prosper goes to school to learn to install windows. We will have him put in our windows as soon as Adi has all of the “burglar bars” put on the windows. I am having them put them on the inside so that it will look nice from the outside and you won’t be able to see them. Those are some of the “small small” that need to be done before going forward with electricity and plumbing. After all these years, I am still getting used to working on Ghanaian time.
While in Ada I was able to visit Susan’s children, Evans and Maxwell. I cannot believe how they have grown! Grandma was not feeling well when we arrived the first day so we went back a couple of days later to check on them and she was doing even worse. Adi and I decided she needed to go to the hospital to see what was going on. Adi’s belief was confirmed by the nice nurse who helped us out. (Adi even tipped her. “She didn’t have to be that nice.”) Grandma had malaria!! At 90 years old. They were able to give her an injection of medication as well as a prescription for some medication that Evans was to pick up the next day. Luckily they have medical insurance and I was able to pay for the co-pay as well as the medication. I am sure they would have never gone if we had not insisted because they did not want to use Susan’s money that was given for their education for Grandma’s mediation. She is a wonderful woman and is getting back her strength. She needs to be there for the boys. It will be sad when she is no longer there for them. That family unit is pretty much all they know. Their house was washed away by a storm and they no longer have a permanent home to call their own. There was a relative that has let them stay in his home for the time being. It is in the same location of the home they once had. Even through all of these trials, Evans has decided to go to the technical school for automotive engineering when he graduates in June from the 9th grade. Maxwell is already attending the tech school in electrical engineering. They are doing well and will be able to make a good living once they are able to get their education from the technical school.
I did not go to Pram Pram to visit the Mensah family. We usually have a few problems with the father when I show up there. I was able to get their schooling paid for though. It is best to just go through the school for them. We are having a maternity uniform fitted for Mercy as she is now pregnant, but willing to stay in school and finish the 9th grade. I don’t know what her life will turn out like once she gives birth. I was not able to see Frances in Ada either. I feel badly that I was not able to see any of them. This is not the best time of year to visit as they are not in school and are difficult to find.
We went to Esther’s home and they had moved. The woman who now lives there knows them and said she is doing well. We were also unable to find Felicia. She had moved and no one knew where we could find her. She possibly lives somewhere near Kassae and is no longer attending school.
I was able to see Beauty this time! She is now married with a child of her own. She is so happy and seemed very content. She is still working in Tema and her daughter is 2 years old. Her husband is a very nice man. He gave Adi and I a ride (in a nice air conditioned car! He actually turned on the air!) all the way back to Kassae from Tema because he didn’t want to see us riding the tro tro late at night. I thought it was really nice of him especially since it is about 45 or so minutes each way. We take the tro tro often when I am there. It is usually quite an adventure.
We were also able to be tourists this year. I really wanted to go to a national park. We were able to make arrangements to go to Mole National Park. It is in the northern region of Ghana. I’m not so lucky with nature and seeing animals in their natural habitat but we were able to see quite a few cool animals and even saw an elephant come up to our hotel to eat the lovely yellow flowers off the bushes right by the hotel! We stayed in the Mole Motel which was not the nicest place but not horrible until we went to the Zaina Lodge and saw how the other half live. Adi talked to the manager there and is hoping to be able to get his things chosen to sell in their gift shop. At this point they have contacted him. The only bad thing is that it is a 14 hour drive from Ada! Hopefully they could meet in Accra or somewhere. I love the look on Adi and my driver Jack’s faces when they are experiencing something they have never seen before. It is priceless. When they saw the animals and the scenery they were so amazed and happy.
My former colleague from Roy High, Ellen McDougal and her husband Bob, is on an LDS Mission in Accra so we were able to see her and Bob. Adi was impressed that they were so nice and “cool”. The church people really take care of them. I have never been in a nicer apartment. None of the people I know live like they are living there. It is nice and they are really liking it there. I hope they are still there when I go back next year. They are promoting a program called Pathways. It is getting people into college courses. It seems like it is quite successful so far. They are also getting used to the Ghanaian way…. “I’ll be there on Monday. Oh, is it already Wednesday? Well, I am here now. ” Haha..
It was a great trip and I am back now to have more fundraisers and get this done! On Monday, I spoke to the retired Weber School District employees. They were a great group of people and I think they enjoyed the presentation. I was able to sell a few items and garner some donations. I then was part of the Highmarket Expo on Wednesday at the charter school I work. The 8th grade students create their own businesses and have an open house for everyone to come purchase their products. The principal said that I should also have a table there since our school is all about entrepreneurship. It was a very successful two hours. Yay!
These are some of the items I have for sale from Adi’s shop. They are all handmade and very nice. Let me know if you would like to buy something.
I need to think of a way to get more money so we can move along more quickly. Is there some type of a challenge I could do to get some more money? If everyone I know would give up one Starbucks or McDonald’s Happy Meal once a month and give me the $5-$6 they save, that would be cool! As of today, the US dollar is worth 4.55 Ghana Cedis! For every $5 a person donates it is almost $25 Ghanaian Cedis. That is an excellent exchange. I am going to think of what can be done to get 100 people to donate $5 each and then they can challenge each of their friends and so on and so on.. If you can think of anything, let me know.