Matthew Brady, a member of New Medicine, contacted Joy2theWorld last summer inquiring about our work in Ghana. Matthew spent a month in Ghana (University of Ghana) while in college and he missed the wonderful people there. Could he join us on our next trip? But how would Matthew “make a difference”?
As it turned out, Matthew (aka Matt-chew) became fast friends with everyone he met. He picked up the local language quickly and enjoyed greeting everyone in Twi or Ga. He also helped taking pictures and videos (see below) and jumped in to help wherever he was needed. Turned out, Matthew was our diplomat! He returned to the University of Ghana where he assisted in writing a grant proposal for a project planned in the Northern Region.
Matthew may return this summer to work with our intern program. Check out Matthew and New Medicine http://www.myspace.com/newmedicine
Nancy Barrera, a good friend of Joy2theWorld, and a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, joined the team to introduce a simple version of a compost toilet. Sanitation is a huge concern for our women. We take so much for granted here. In rural Ghana, families are LUCKY to share an outhouse, using chemicals that are dangerous to the surrounding land. Today, thanks to Nancy, the women are building compost toilets, using only natural products, such as sawdust, to cure the odor and dissolve waste.
But little did we know or suspect that Nancy’s passion is recycling! Nancy created a recycling plant in California. We visited a recycling plant approximately 50 miles away (in Tema, near Accra) and we learned that the women could recycle the plastic bags that hold drinking water for the locals, often tossed aside as litter along the roads. Yes, a group of women formed a business collecting these littered bags for recycling. Today, collecting the litter has become a source of income and helped to clean the roadside at the same time. Thanks, Nancy!
Good news about our wellsite! First, it has a beautifully painted sign thanking the women of Joy2theWorld in Medie. More importantly, it has been determined that the well is capable of providing fresh water to at least 45% of the population of Medie. Mr. Lartey, a government official, indicated that because the water is so plentiful, Medie will be piping the water to other locations for easier access to more people. This is a dream come true, to hear that the well was such a success.
The women enjoy meeting each other at the well. Several of us had a great laugh as the baby gets an unexpected shower as the mother walks away. Visiting at the well is a social event at times. Children play nearby while their mothers fetch water for the day.
We took many pictures at the wellsite. Here are a few for you to enjoy.
200 First, second and third level loans. We are proud to announce that over 200 women have had access to loans, repaid them, and in some cases applied and received their second or third level of loans. At the present time, we are approving approximately 20 loans per month.
Equally important is that we can say that 100% of our loans have been repaid with interest and on time. Our new loan administrator accepts payment weekly. When he received the payment, he documents the Joy2theWorld files and signs the passbook that each woman carries with her.
I had shared the story of the well with Matthew the night before. Joy2theWorld drilled a bore hold for fresh water and many families appreciate clean water as a result. But when we left last year, we requested that a sign be posted “Thanks to the women of Joy2theWorld”.
Sure enough! We drove by the sight and saw our beautiful well, very well maintained, with a sign constructed, creatively painted and posted in front of the well. I was giddy with glee at the results.
Later we would hear good news about our well. The Regional politicians told me that the well was large enough to provide 45% of the population of Medie with water. As a result, they would add the necessary connections and pipelines to provide access to this fresh water to even more of our women throughout the village.
You can read more about our well in the Accomplishments section of this website.
Our latest trip to Ghana is a huge success! The plane trip was long and exhausting, stressful with added security, but it was well worth it. Samuel, our Loan Administrator and Matthew, one of our guests who arrived earlier greeted me with open arms.
Instead of doing the wise thing and getting rest, Matthew and I stay up to talk for several hours. It was a great time to tell Matthew of the stories of the women, the villages, the programs, and the local issues. I am so glad we did this because the next day, Matthew was caught up and included in the activities of the day, full speed!
Our first visit was Pokuase. I wanted Matthew to see a developed, successful community after five years of a micro loan program at work. The commerce in the village streets was bustling and trucks loaded with products were moving, dodging the potholes and the people crossing the streets. This is a view into the future of our villages. Already we can see changes, particularly growth of our client’s businesses and their success.
Our friend and driver, Haruna, was so patient to slow down as people, goats and chickens crossed the street in front of us.
Matthew hit the mats (took a nap) in the afternoon, while I met with our accountant. Frank picked me up and took me to his home to meet his family. This generosity of time and spirit was fun and interesting.
Families here live in “compounds”. Small homes almost connected, designed at angles to provide a little privacy, so the family stays together even after marriages. Families are strong here and very loving. I met parents, siblings, girlfriend and they were all gracious and popped in to say hello. Then disappeared while we conducted a little business.
Next: Our well!