The Road Ahead

July 10, 2009

5213_542929013978_23710730_32200487_22826_nEngineers Without Borders’ determination to improve the standard of living for the orphans at Drifting Angels Orphanage has been a successful, but it is not complete. Twenty children are still sleeping on the cement floor of a single room. The money that should be going towards the children’s health and education is instead forced to go towards the rent of the complex. The only way to solve these problems is to build a new orphanage on Mama Elize’s farm. The design and engineers are ready. The only thing missing is the finances. $30,000 is needed to build the orphanage. I’m going to start putting aside some money for the project. If you, like me, were touched by these children and want to help visit EWB’s website at A hundred percent of the donations go to build the new orphanage. Every little bit helps towards a better living environment for these children.

I will start a list of all the families and companies that donate toward the orphanage on this blog. This way we can all support and encourage each other. It doesn’t take much to impact the world.



Last Day at Orphanage

July 4, 2009

Today was the last day with the Drifting Angels. EWB pumped the remaining rain water out of the latrine pits, and sealed them so the latrine could be opened. We all buried the old latrine with vengeance that we all enjoyed probably too much.

wilford and Sabion showing off their green hands

wilford and Sabion showing off their green hands

The teachers had the brilliant idea of putting the children’s hand prints as leaves on the tree they painted on the wall of the latrine. The littlest ones lined up with their hands out, ready to be painted. Courtney directed tiny hands onto the painted tree. The children were delighted, all of them except Francisca. Francisca was excited until they brushed the paint onto her hand. I don’t know if she thought her hand was permanently green or she just didn’t like the oily paint feel, but her expression quickly changed to a mix of disgust and panic. Soon the tree was peppered green, red, yellow and black hand prints. The crew could not resist, and we all made our mark on the well-deserved latrine.

The EWB talked with Mama Elize and Kafui, while the teachers and I helped DIVOG mix cement and form the seals for the latrine. EWB talked over the design for the orphanage to make sure Mama gets everything she needs. I talked to Mama and Kafui and they are very happy with what the engineers have come up with. I also talked to them about adoption. It is about a six-month period to adopt a Ghana child. The government is very cautious with adoptions because in the past other countries adopted as another form of slavery to make the children work. Another part of the process is to find the relatives of the children in order get permission, which Kafui says is not a problem. These little ones need a good loving home. The Orphanage takes good care of them, but the conditions are not great and there is nothing like the love of family. Ghana is hard enough to grow up in with a family let alone without. The schools are poor and opportunities are slim to none. Most people spend every day struggling for their next meal. In America, parents worry about germs. Here the children sleep in the dirt and eat off the floor. Bodies are not washed and moisturized. No one is here to read them a story and tuck them in at night. These kids are amazing. I just want them to have the childhood I was blessed with, affection, opportunity, resources and love.

Final Farewell

Final Farewell

Leaving the children today was heartbreaking. I’m going to miss being escorted by hand every where I go, little hands held high as they ask, “Picture, picture!”, tugs on my shirt with big eyes begging to be held, the kindergartner class with singing, dancing and giggling, and watching the older children help the younger. The only thing I won’t miss is digging trenches.

It is hard to put into words what the experience in this Ghana orphanage has taught me. I’ve learned how blessed we are in the states, and with as happy as Ghanaians are with so little, we never have reason to be depressed over trivial matters. From volunteers like EWB, DIVOG and the teachers, I felt the power of selflessness, compassion and a readiness for action. From Mama Elize and Kafui, I saw the endurance of devotion and faithfulness. And from the orphans, I experienced unconditional love and happiness. Am I walking away from the Ghana Experience a better person? – No doubt in my mind.