Completing a year of the Sanitation Project 2013-2014 in Medie, Ghana

Joy2theWorld is very proud to partner with Rotary International and Rotary Clubs in the U.S. and Accra to complete the Sanitation Project we started March 1, 2013.  It took a team to produce the planning, negotiating, educating, financing, building of community cooperation, (long, hot, filthy) digging, bulldozing, spreading, planting and finally celebrating and photographing.

I will take this opportunity to appreciate Mohammed Sulemana’s hard work, patience, persistence and perseverance.  He played an important role in every stage of this project.  Mohammed worked tirelessly to make this happen and to get the cooperation of all the stakeholders…the community, the politicians, the government agencies, the contractors and more.  I cannot imagine this project’s success without Mohammed.

It was Sarah Ehrlinger, working full time on this project for Joy2theWorld, to raise the funds through Rotary and help us realize our dream to clear this toxic waste and improve the quality of life for the Medie community.  Because of her ingenuity and contacts with Rotary (as a Rotarian Ambassadorial Scholar) in the U.S. that we were able to fund this project.

Joy2theWorld had a team on this project that persisted and projected the completion NO MATTER WHAT!

Of course, we are forever grateful to Rotary International, Rotary Club of Houghton, MI (Past President Cindy Enderby) and President George Opare Baidu of Rotary Club of Accra-West, GH for the financial assistance to make this project come to life.

Joy2theWorld started this project assuming it would take 6 months and we would be free to start our school.  It actually took a year.  For this reason, we thank and acknowledge the staff and teachers and especially the children who have thrived in spite of the diverted attention of the Office Manager (Mohammed) and Proprietress (Kathleen Gibbs).  Now that the project is complete, you have our full attention!

And, last but not least, we are grateful to the community of Medie who listened to our promises and believed in us.  They participated in classes, Community Labor Day projects (where all the community arrived with rakes to clean the streets along  with the waste company),went door-to-door educating and today are celebrating with us – the fresh air, the clean land, the working public W.C. and dreams of a future open market place that will impact the economic stability of the whole village.

The "before" pictures

The “before” pictures

Thank you one and all.

Here are the pictures that encapsulates the

Children walking on toxic waste dump collecting aluminum to re-sell.

Children walking on toxic waste dump collecting aluminum to re-sell.

year of the Sanitation Project 2013-14.

Cleared, secure , clean land ...the "after" picture

Cleared, secure , clean land …the “after” picture

Zoomlion team ready to help community clean up

Zoomlion team ready to help community clean up

itEveryone works together on Communal Labor Day

The community came together to clean streets

Building a septic tank 7' deep

Building a septic tank 7′ deep

A plaque to acknowledge all the stakeholders in this project.

A plaque to acknowledge all the stakeholders in this project.

30 tree seedlings will grow exponentially during the rainy season to provide shade

30 tree seedlings will grow exponentially during the rainy season to provide shade

Completed W.C. with 5 toilets for men and 5 for women

Completed W.C. with 5 toilets for men and 5 for women

Banner & shovels at site for ground breaking ceremony

Banner & shovels at site for ground breaking ceremony

Bring in the heavy equipment!

Bring in the heavy equipment!

Here comes Cindy!

Here comes Cindy!4.

Help us bring the children to school!

School Bus for Ghana kids!

School Bus for Ghana kids!

Joy2theWorld is pleading for your help!  We need a safe way to bring the children to school every day.  Many more children will come if we can provide transportation.   We can also put this to good use on our field trips!

Maybe your church or club would like to help with this project…We’ve been praying and we know that we will have our bus in God’s time….Can you help?

Check out our GoFundMe page at http://www.gofundme.com/7iaar8

Re-post of Help Wanted Ad to teach at Joy2theWorld International School in Ghana, West Africa

(First posted February, 2013 when Joy2theWorld International School was just a dream.)

So many of us are very busy and wish we “just had the time” to make a difference “like THAT”. Some of us think that we don’t have enough money, enough spare time or enough courage to make a difference “like THAT!”

But you do.

Some of us are great observers…watching from the bleachers…or in front of the TV news. But if you ask those people in the game on the field…they are having the most fun, getting the most joy and satisfaction.

You can too.

And of course, many of you have many responsibilities that you are committed to and believe that someday, when the schedule and demands are less stressful, you will take the time to make a difference out there.

You will.

Today, we are offering you 3 great ways to Make a Difference!

1. You can volunteer to come to Ghana for 2 months (July-August) to teach Professional Development classes to teachers here in the rural community of Ghana.  Many of our teachers have a high school education and are starving for new ideas and new approaches for reaching our children.  The children will win from this too!  If you have some teaching experience, you have a gift to give.  If you want to create your own “lab” or research study, you are welcome.   If you want to experience a different culture over a short period of time….we have it here for you!  You can live in a rural community, meet the community leaders (Chiefs, Assemblymen, Director of Education, etc.), and travel on the weekends to experience the beautiful sites of Ghana.

Your agreement to teach includes room & board and the opportunity to experience life in a totally different culture…an adventure you will NEVER forget!

Ghana is located in West Africa, a democracy noted for its Peace and great sports team (soccer)! Yes, it IS very HOT! but August is one of the cooler of the HOT months (12 out of 12)! :-)

Some Kids who want to go to school

Kids at St. Joseph the Worker 2013

kid at rural school

Contact Kathleen at hmkathleen@joy2theworld.org for more information. We will send you the application and travel information.

HELP WANTED

2. This opportunity is for someone with a desire to Make a Difference for children ages 4-8 who need preparation to attend 1st grade. These children lack the support at home to learn what we take for granted….they need to know their colors, numbers and even the self discipline to be in a classroom. They come from loving homes but their parents are probably illiterate and poor.

We have an opening for an Early Child Education Teacher or teacher assistant (and now, a 1st grade teacher!) willing to commit to one year of teaching young students. This is a longer commitment and will require some “rolling up of our sleeves” and transformation.

You will work closely with a Ghanaian teacher….after all, our children need to be taught Ghanaian culture along with their numbers, right? So the opportunity is for this volunteer to learn so much about Ghana, children and love here.

For those of you out there who need work but can’t find a job right out of college….imagine this international experience on your resume! But the greater experience is meeting and living among wonderful Ghanaian people.

These are children after attending our school for 4 months.  attachment wp-att-1561″>

Teacher - Madam Charity

Teacher – Madam Charity

Teacher  - Sir Amos

Teacher – Sir Amos

 

 

 

 

 

Come join these teachers for the summer (Professional Development Classes) or for the next school year.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST…

3. And yes, this is a stretch! We are building a school to open (Phase 1) in early, 2015! If you want to physically take part in the construction, building bricks, masonry, carpentry, and all those wonderful skills that you know like the back of your hand…and maybe mentor some young Ghanaians in these technical skills… We welcome your engineering and environmental experience.

You are wanted and needed here! You can choose to bring your favorite tools (within reason, of course!) :) Some of our kids have seen pictures of tools…but never had the hands on training you could offer. Tech (shop!) classes are taught with Theory…pictures but no equipment.

This opportunity will open soon and be ongoing. You can come on your 2 week vacation, or for much longer…of course!

Consider these invitations to get in the game! Yes, you will be responsible for your airfare, some personal expenses. But what you will get in return will far exceed anything you spend.

If you think true happiness comes from reading an article in a magazine, think again. You will find happiness from giving of yourself. You can make a huge difference in the lives of others here. I promise. So, get off the bleachers and on to the field….

Of course, if you wish to donate to any of these projects…your donation is greatly appreciated! All of these need financial support and we count on our friends to help us. Please use the DONATE button here on this website…you can even designate the area you would like your donation to be applied…

Questions? Contact Kathleen at hmkathleen@joy2theworld.org.

This is what our students look like after 4 months in school!

 

The guys after playing soccer!

The guys after playing soccer!

Meet Christian, Joachim, Wisdom, Patrick and David!  They are shining examples how 4 months can transform a child’s life.  They were playing soccer during break and stopped for a moment to pose for my camera…good friends, laughing and playing.  Their education is rigorous too.  They are learning about spelling, reading, counting (and a little adding and subtraction), soil, water and tides.

When I asked little Joachim (KG1) “what did you learn today?”, he answered “sounds of the alphabet!”…phonics!  Now I am told, they all speak English outside of school too.  Parents come to greet us and thank us for their children’s education.

 

3 friends meeting before school

3 friends meeting before school

This is a picture of 3 friends – Mariama (who is new and will get her uniform next week), Gifty and Hannah-Kekeli.  They love coming to school and learning!  Now when I ask “How are you?” They say “Great!” or “Wonderful!” instead of the rote “I am fine”.  Our children are learning to express themselves in class and on the playground.

Please help us make a difference in these children’s lives by sponsoring a child.  The tuition is $90 per term or $30 per month.  The families must still pay a small fee to be part of the responsibility.  They appreciate what you are doing and feel as partners in their children’s education.  I am always proud to say “American friends are helping with your child’s tuition.”  They will always remember that.

 

TERM 1 completed for our KG1 and KG2…Congratulations to teachers and students!

Congratulations to the students for completing TERM 1!  Friday, December 13, 2013 was the final day of Term 1 and the first PTA meeting!  The children sang and danced for the parents and then were surprised to receive gifts (books to take home) for 100% attendance!

Wisdom was first in his KG2 class…based on exams and participation in class.  He received a “Beginners’ Bible” for his hard work.  Beverlyn was first in KG1 and received books and art supplies to take home.Wisdom - Best student KG2

Bevelyn-Best Student KG1

But mostly the day was about having fun and being acknowledged.  Children had candy and sang Christmas carols.  Children will be coming back next week for Bible Study.

Thanks to generous donors from the U.S., each of our children received a set of play clothes plus socks and shoes to use as gym clothes.  Our uniforms take a beating during recess because our kids play hard!  So each child will change into their new gym clothes before hitting the playground. 

Each child received a package with new gym clothes!

Each child received a package with new gym clothes!

We are grateful to all our donors! 

The PTA showed up in their numbers and they were grateful for all the work our teachers have done to provide a good foundation and education for the children.   We discussed new challenges and many asked…where will our children attend school next year?  We have dreams of a large school for up to 500 children.  We also discussed our need for a school bus (mini bus) for transporting children across a major highway. 

It was a great day and a great message to end our very first Term. 

Kids sang and danced for their parents

Kids sang and danced for their parents

Teachers shared classroom experiences

Teachers shared classroom experiences

Parents showed up in their numbers

Parents showed up in their numbers

A Leap of Faith

Joy2theWorld took the Leap of Faith yesterday and hired a local architect to help us build our school. Some of us imagine a school in Africa as a thatched hut…or a one room school. In fact, here in Ghana there are many contrasts. Some things are changing quickly here. Accra offers many of the things we know well in the U.S. Many fine hotels, business office building, universities and other signs of modernity. But Accra is very crowded and like many urban areas, the population is migrating to the suburbs. So many are moving into the Medie area from Accra, bringing new homes, more traffic and of course, more families.

So a simple 15 miles outside of Accra you can experience tribal drums, thatched huts where families live, and signs of poverty such as children working at very young ages to help the family or feed themselves. Banana Boy

But there is a lot of room to build and many are moving out to surrounding areas, especially since the new highway has been completed (over 5 years in development). Commuters can work in Accra and live in the Medie area for much less than it cost to live in Accra.

This is the good news and bad news together. Our women’s businesses are doing well. But our children are at a disadvantage, since many, if they can afford to go to school, fall behind.

We are building a school for the “Brilliant But Needy” – says it all, right?

OK, so we need an architect because just like anywhere else, we need to know about permits, plumbing, design and all the usual reasons. We found our architect right across the street from our office!
Architect

We are so excited to see this dream started…and now the plans are in action. We are counting on the Lord – with so many friends praying for us. We have 6 plots of land and with God’s grace, we will have 6 classrooms and a kitchen (!) by September.

Our many friends have watched Joy2theWorld grow over the years…micro loans, drilling a borehole, supplying free breast exams for our women, providing scholarships for children of our clients, delivering 60,000 text books (thanks to help from Rotary!) and now….a school. We need your prayers and your financial help.

Keep watching this site. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the progress.

For those of you who want to spend time here working with us, making a difference every day, let us know. We have openings! Comment here if you can commit to a 1-month volunteer program or a 1 year teaching program. It will change your life!

I Didn’t Make This Stuff Up!

Dear Friends,

I didn’t make this stuff up!

People far more wise than myself came up with this…. “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of My brothers and sisters, you did for Me.” Matthew 25:40

Kids hanging out at St. Joseph the Worker on a Saturday morning Kids at St. Joseph the Worker 2013

Many of you are signed in and watching this website on a regular basis. Some have commented to me that they are “amazed” at what we are accomplishing here in Ghana.

Frankly, I am amazed too… as I have little to do with the success. What we are doing here is really in God’s hands. Speaking of hands, I have shared with friends that I think what we do here is much like looking at the hand. The front of the hand (the palm) is all the steps that we take. The pushing, pulling and pleading we do to get our work done here.

The back of the hand is the Lord’s work, the Plan… His guidance and support. One (side of the hand) doesn’t function without the other. I can push, pull and manipulate all I want, but if I am not aligned with God’s Plan, I might as well be Sisyphus, perpetually pushing a rock uphill.

Some of you know that I have been dreaming of a school here in Ghana for years (since 2010). I know that this is in God’s plans as I see that whenever it looks impossible, some miracle occurs! Friends have joined me in a search for the right land site for this school. Logically, this means the land must be affordable, located in or near the poorer neighborhoods for meeting the needs of the poor and suitable for building a 2-story building safely.

In the meantime, the price of land has doubled. The illiteracy rate has increased from 60% to 64%. And most of my funds are dwindling – due to inflation as well as the decision to retire (living on a fixed income). Time is of the essence.

Two months ago, I attended St. Joseph the Worker in Medie and the new pastor, Father Billy approached me and said “I have 6 plots of land (approximately 1.5 acres) and I would like you to build a school”.

Father Billy was assigned to St. Joseph the Worker three weeks earlier and as the priest assigned to this very poor parish, he was given the assignment to build a larger church (as so many people are moving from Accra to the area, increasing the church population). He was also told to build a school.

When Father Billy approached me, I knew that this was part of a larger Plan. He introduced me to the Archbishop and with the blessings of both the Archbishop and the Director of Catholic Education here in Accra, I began to realize my dream for the children of Medie. Land for school at foot of mountain
Land for schoolFather Billy and 2 children

Here in Ghana, there is a decision a Roman Catholic school must make. The proprietor must decide whether to be a Public school or a Private Catholic School. At first glance, the decision seemed a no-brainer.

A Public R/C School is run by the Ghana Education System. The government pays for the teachers’ salaries and tuition cannot be charged. (Tuition is not charged, however there are fees for uniforms, books, supplies, etc. which makes attending school prohibitive for the poor).

However, the danger in turning over the control of the school, the education, the selection of teachers and equally important, the maintenance of the school may or may not be worth the savings involved. Many if not most Public schools here are in poor condition. Some have electricity. Some have available water. Some have crumbling walls and some have roofs that are caving in, forcing the students to study outside the classroom. Maintenance is ignored.
Catholic schools here have a powerful record of excellent education as do Catholic schools everywhere. Many parents appreciate the quality of the education as well as the discipline. Statistics here indicate that in most cases, 100% of the children in Catholic schools pass the required government tests. The standard of education generally exceeds the basic requirements.

Keeping the school Private, the proprietor can choose the best teachers, bring in teachers from outside of Ghana if available and maintain the quality of the buildings.

For the record, religious lessons can be taught in either Public or Private schools systems. All schools here teach a morals & ethics class weekly. The government would not stand in the way of religious classes and would encourage this education.

I believe that most people think that the Church has so much money they can dig deep and financially support a school. Here, the Church leaves this to the parish to raise the funds. And, we are a very poor parish.
So I am praying. I know that God will provide. But does God write checks? Not exactly. He moves through others to faithfully support His Will.

I know that this message may turn some readers off. Many feel charitable as long as religion is not involved. Some may even be offended. I know this because I have received scathing messages from readers who are offended that we include our religious beliefs in our work.

Ghana is a very Christian country. For the smaller percentage of Muslims here, there is a respect for each others’ faith. When events occur here, they always start and end with a prayer and all are included. Of course, Muslims are welcome to attend our school. I must admit that in the U.S., I was conditioned to keep my Faith close to my heart, silent in public and prohibited in many situations. I must be careful not to “offend” others with any significant expression. I didn’t realize how oppressed I was until I came here.

If I say “good morning, how are you today?”, I am answered “By God’s Grace, I am fine.” It is wonderful to acknowledge to others that without God’s Grace, I may not be here at all!

Again, I am praying. I have asked for help from friends and those who check into my website. Some of you may be averse to donating the building fund of a school that teaches Christianity. Some may have other reasons for not donating.

But I am asking anyway.

If you can donate $5, $50 or $500….or even $5,000 (!) it would be so appreciated.

I had a civil engineer inspect the land. Because of the size of the plots, we will be building a 2-story building to support a total of 700 students. I believe the cost for the initial 6 classrooms and a kitchen for 150 students will run about $50,000. That would be Phase 1. Phase 2 would include 6 more classrooms and a computer lab (by God’s Grace!). Ultimately, there will be a Phase III and a Phase IV. How exciting!

In the meantime, Joy2theWorld continues to empower women through micro loans, addressing many of the issues women face including health, sanitation and education for themselves and their children. This fight against illiteracy and the resulting poverty is a battle we cannot ignore. People are suffering.

For the record, Father Billy has since been expanding the Church, making room for all those parishioners who must sit outside and peer in the windows to attend Mass. At Mass, he asks the parishioners to donate a bag of cement or a plastic chair. It is amazing to see how the poor contribute to their parish. Some come to help build, some come with food for the workers. I am so inspired!

Most of us have more things than we need. Some of us have luxuries that can’t even be dreamed of here. So I ask you to look in your hearts for a contribution to the education of children here. Your donation can make such a huge difference here.

Some have asked me why I came to Ghana. Some ask why I didn’t just stay in the U.S. and “make a difference” there. Well, that is probably suitable for another posting. But here, it takes so very little (financially) to make such a huge impact.

More important to know is that for me, working here is a privilege and an opportunity.

Please, look into your hearts and see if you can help us here. Help both sides of this hand… our own and God’s. Thank you.

Rose and her new oven

Rose is a member of our Entrepreneur’s Club. She bakes pastries for us when we hold our Open Forums. This means she is baking at least 150 pastries to arrive by 9 a.m. These pastries are filled with a little meat, which was a surprise for me. I was expecting a fruit turnover. This trip I carried two cans of cherry pie filing and I gave both cans to Rose the day before the Open Forum. I asked her to try filling some of her pastries and slipping me a sweet one the day of the Forum.

Something tells me that her children shared the cherries because my pastry only had the cherry juice…no cherries! ☺

Rose lives in Kotoku a short drive from Mary Hogli. Matthew and I went for a walk to see Rose’s home and meet her family. What we found out was that when Rose baked the pastries, she had to borrow the oven of a neighbor who lives quite a distance.

I decided that to make the process easier for Rose and to support her baking business, we should look into purchasing the used oven. She needed her own oven close to home. Fortunately I met the woman who was kind enough to lend Rose the use of her oven. How much would you charge for this used oven? Two hundred GHC (about $150.00).

I don’t think I have seen Rose smile so much and so wide!

The next day we met with Martin, Rose’s husband who is a very kind man. He had cleared a special area for Rose to build her bakery. He assured me it was safe and we took many pictures to commemorate this important event! (see pictures)

We spent some time with Martin who is a pastor of the Christ Ministry Church. He provided us a blessing and prayed for our good health. (see pictures) This was especially meaningful to me since I was still suffering from my surgery. The throbbing actually stopped and I have not had any problems since my blessing.

It really wasn’t a lot of money but it will make all the difference for Rose. She will be able to grow her baking business.

Rose also has a shop to sell fabrics and clothes in her community. Matthew rode the train with Rose, Martin and her son to shop for fabrics in the Accra Markets. They will pick up the train at 6 A.M. to Accra for a shopping trip.

Nurses from Kumasi provided free breast exams to 90 women at Open Forum


Women clients who attended the Open Forum heard a lecture on preventative health practices.  Nurses from Kumasi (a 3 hour drive one-way) arrived to provide free breast exams for women.  Thanks to the American Cancer Society, handouts with pictures and diagrams were given to each woman who attended.  Ninety women had free private exams and the information “you can LIVE with early detection!”.  Women sat on the edge of their seats, listening carefully.