Grandmother Ennim, infant tied to her back, came to school to tell Mr. Forson that she cannot effort to sent her three granddaughters to school. She needs their help in the market. She sells salt at Torkor Harbor. Not much of a harbor: some fishing boats, food stalls, women doing their laundry and piles of trash. At home, the girls fetch the water, bring fire-wood, cook banku and fufu, clean and do the laundry.
Jemima (9), Evelyn (6), and Susie (4) all do very well at Bishop Forson School. The grandmother also needs them to care for the infant. She is going everyday to a near-by village, Fesi, bringing food to her daughter-in-law, who is staying at a praying camp. After school, Fortune (Bishop’s son) and I followed the girls to their home in Torkor. The face of poverty and misery. Rich land, poor people. Poverty everywhere. Mud homes, cement-block homes, rusty roofs, grass roofs.
Fortune was the translator. Grandma was holding the baby, Jemima was mixing the banku, corn and cassava into a sticky dough. I asked the grandmother to keep the girls in school, education is their only opportunity to get out of poverty. We will help her. Karen will sponsor their education, two meals per day at school and the school uniforms.
Teary eyes, the grandma gave us a long blessing. Her only son, the girls’ father, left Torkor, looking for work. Like most men in Torkor, he is a fisherman, but he does not have a boat and does not have money to buy the net. There is no work in Torkor, so he left the village looking for work as a construction laborer. When he finds work, he earns 5 Cedi per day, about $3.5 . Her daughter-in-law got sick when her baby was four months. They do not have money for a hospital, so they put her in a prayer camp in another village, Fesi, about 8km away. They believe that evil spirit entered her and at the prayer camp they treat her with prayers and herbs. She is there for one year. The grandmother is going there everyday to bring her food. Since her daughter-in-law got sick, the grandma was feeding the baby herb tea and jollof rice (rice and sauce). Surprisingly a healthy looking baby.
Bishop Forson wants to learn from the “White Man”. He wants Western standards at his school. He asked me to take over his office and the management of the school while we were in Kpando. I delivered the morning address to the kids at school and also conducted staff training. I reorganized the library, reading to the kids and encouraged them to read. K-1 teacher brings her beautiful one year old baby so school. He naps on the floor and she nurses him during class. In k-2 there is a down syndrome child who is happily playing with the rest of the kids.
We are moving to Ho on Monday. We will miss the Forson Glover Family, but will stay in touch with them. It is a good home with lots of laughter and respect for each other. A very close bond was formed between Benny and Forson Glover. They spend hours talking.
We negotiated a very good deal at the Malisel Hotel in the center Ho. The hotel’s owner, John was educated in Russia, where he lived for seven years. He commended the work that Pagus:Africa is doing working directly with communities and individuals. He criticized the US government for giving money to governments. “why don’t they research before they give the money to the governmen? This money never gets to the community, it only breeds corrupted officials.” and he added: “We have rich country, we have gold, aluminum, timber, cocoa, but the people are poor because the government is corrupted.”
We visited the Air Field site on Wednesday. Twenty community members came with machetes to clear the building site.