I am reminded at every turn while I am in Ghana why I am still there. A country that I first visited 30 years ago as a young medical student still calls me home, its complex needs more apparent to me as I’ve grown older. That same country reminds me that there is still much more to be done. I have just returned home after seeing the joy in a community as Hope for Ghana built its fifth library and computer lab, a beautiful new learning center filled with books and educational software not normally seen in West Africa. This was a journey of Hope for Ghana’s past, present and future. It begins and ends with these beautiful children. This is why I am in Ghana. This is what hope looks like.
Six months ago Chiefs, community elders and teachers at Ashiata Municipal Assembly Basic School appealed to Hope for Ghana to help raise the standard of education in their school as they witnessed the immense impact of Hope for Ghana’s other libraries and computer labs. In the 3 weeks that I was in Ghana an unfinished classroom building was completely renovated including a new floor and ceiling, repairing a damaged roof and plastering the inside and outside of the building. From there my amazing team including Gustav (mason and painter), Dziedzorm (carpenter), Robert (electrician) and Enoch (welder) together transformed this empty room into a beautiful library and computer lab with wall-to-wall bookshelves, ventilation and bright lighting. These men are my family and I remain so grateful for their incomparable faithfulness, commitment, motivation and exemplary work ethic. This team will continue to travel with me to all parts of Ghana, wherever the next project may take me.
Books bought in the capital, Accra, quickly lined the shelves, including story books for all ages, supplemental text books for primary and junior high school students, and 3 sets of complete encyclopedias. New Dell computers were brought in from Accra with the help of my friend and technician, Hassan, and nearly 60 pieces of learning software were downloaded to the computer, including Encyclopedia Britannica, World Book Encyclopedia and various learning tools for math, science, reading, spelling and writing as well as art. Always at my side was my dear friend, Felix Nyadroh, who remains committed to the mission of Hope for Ghana and is being groomed by me to watch over Hope for Ghana’s libraries and computer labs when I am not there. I truly could not have done this project without you Felix.
What is left behind in Ghana is a testament to a lot of hard work and love from all ends of this earth. This is what you can do in Ghana in 3 weeks.
On September 23, 2016 a community celebrated Hope for Ghana’s fifth library and computer lab at a formal Ghanaian opening ceremony attended by Chiefs, a Member of Parliament, the Director of Education, dignitaries and a most grateful, inspired community. I delivered an impassioned speech to the community with stories of hope and gratitude. Director of Education, Mr. Rafael Kwashie, shared some beautiful words reflecting how Hope for Ghana is meeting Ghana’s educational needs. It was a great day in the Ashiata community, a day of hope I will never forget.
Some of my most joyous moments came from visiting Hope for Ghana’s past projects. I marveled at the sight of children around library tables immersed in their books, and children on the other end of the room crowded around the computers mesmerized by the learning software. These children are hungry for education, starving for a future. This is why I need to go back. There is still so much more to be done.
The future of Hope for Ghana is bright. Working with the Director of Education and community leaders I continue to search for the areas of greatest educational need in this country. Very soon I will proudly announce the next chapter of Hope for Ghana’s vision. Hope and opportunity in Ghana are palpable because of all the people who share the same vision of a better tomorrow for the children of Ghana. The children of Ghana may not know your name, but their lives have been forever impacted by you.
Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey. This is just the beginning …