My Dear Friends,
This past January Mark and I traveled to Ghana with our suitcases filled to capacity with medical supplies, eye glasses, school/hygiene kits, birthing tents, clothing, solar ovens etc. donated by many of you. I saw amazing progress on our programs and projects and also so much need in the eyes of little children. Sweet, hopeful faces that keep me going. Keep me striving to save lives ONE child at a time. With your help lives are being saved, and changed, and hope is being given. I want to thank YOU because without YOU this life saving work wouldn’t be happening. Without YOU and your willingness to join with me, and be a part of a life saving team, hope would be lost for many of these sweet children.
The first day that we were in Ghana we held a medical clinic. A clinic not just to give life saving medication and treatment, but a medical clinic that was an educational opportunity for the people of Kofikwei and the surrounding villages. This was the first event of it’s kind ever held in this village. This clinic was held to help educate the people about modern medicine. We teamed up with local doctors and nurses from the area to teach that when you are sick it isn’t because of a curse. Over 150 people were able to be treated because of generous donations of funds and supplies.
There are two sweet faces that stand out to me from the day at the medical clinic. The first was a little girl and her family who were clearly outcasts because they were from a different tribe. They were mocked and cast out, not allowed to join the others at the medical clinic. They were afraid of us and wouldn’t allow us to come close. I noticed one of the girls climbing a tree with a bag. When I inquired what she was doing I was told that she was gathering food. Her job was to climb the tree and pick the leaves, yes the leaves, for her family to eat.
The other face is that of a little boy that came to the clinic tied on his mothers back. When I saw his sweet face I suspected that he had Down Syndrome. I talked with the mother and was told that he was 6 years old. She was concerned that he wasn’t talking and could barely walk. I asked if I could hold him and when I took him in my arms I will never forget how small this little 6 year old boy was. He was maybe the size of a two year old. I had to fight back tears as his mother tried to get him to walk. I asked if she would stay so that her son could be seen by the doctor. She told me that she couldn’t wait. She had to be out on the street selling in order to survive. I tried any way that I could to get her to stay, but she said that she couldn’t. I started to teach him and his older sister sign language as a way for him to communicate. He was so smart! He learned every sign just as quick as I could teach it to him. He was thrilled to me able to sign “happy”, “more”, “sad”, “help”, “eat”, “sleepy” etc. I only had a few minutes with this sweet angel, but his smile will always be in my heart.
I can’t express the feelings that I had when I saw our school as we came around the bend. I felt as if I was in a dream as I touched the pillars and stepped into a classroom. I could imagine the school filled with children with eager faces ready to learn and to dream about their future. Children in a safe place, a place where they are allowed to be children. A place different than the world that they must face every day. A place where every life, every child, is of value and loved. It is because of YOU that the school is close to being completed! If all the pieces fall into place, we are thrilled to announce that we will be opening the school this fall!
The next big day was when we were able to visit Odoi Atsem school and visit with many of the children in the sponsorship program. We received a very enthusiastic welcome. It warmed my heart to have children running toward me to give me a hug, laughing and smiling. I enjoyed interviewing the children and asking them what they wanted to be when they grew up. Their hopes for the future included an airline pilot, a cook, a teacher, a soldier, a doctor and of course those who still couldn’t decide. I love that the children now have the window of hope and opportunity opened wide and a bright future ahead of them. When we arrived we found that there was a Chickenpox outbreak and so some of the children weren’t there, but we have heard that they are recovering quickly and returning to school. Each child was able to receive a school/hygiene kit. They were so excited to see what their bag contained and squealed with joy over simple items like soap, a comb, a toothbrush and pencils.
Visiting with the children that we have rescued was one of the highlights of the trip. It is because of YOU that these children are still alive today. They have had very difficult pasts, but their future is filled with opportunity.
I can’t wait until I can return to Ghana again and see the amazing individuals that we meet each time we travel to Ghana. There are lives to be saved and work to be done. Thank you for reading and following what we are doing. You make such a difference for these children!
I wish every one of you could see what I have seen, to look into the eyes of a child and see despair replaced with hope. This is the power that we have. I can’t do it alone, but with all of you wonderful people behind us, Nurturing Nations will continue to grow. Our circle will expand to include more and more amazing children, whose lives will be changed forever because of someone like you.
President of Nurturing Nations