Tuesday, April 19, 2011

JHS Internet Orientation Day

Junior High School students and teachers from Manye Academy and Augustina schools in Axim, Ghana recently visited the WHH facility to get their first peak at the internet! Luckily, there were enough of the One Laptop Per Child computers so each student could experience the excitement individually. We love the concentration on the faces---these students long to be part of the "modern" world. They've heard about email, social networking, and researching and want with all their young hearts to be part of it.

WHH will offer serious computer learning classes to these students beginning summer term. They now have to pass exams in "ICT" (information and computing technology) before they can qualify for Senior High School. The OLPCs are a good match for students who never before have touched a computer. Along with standard stuff---keyboards, screens, back spaces, etc.---they offer about two dozen learning games that not only teach the children what a computer is all about but simultaneously give them a chance to work on math, writing, measurement, research, and so forth. These little machines are a perfect fit. And yes, the students will learn internet searching via the Google search engine which is one of the "activities" on the computer.

The WHH facility has internet access and runs a humble but active internet cafe. The main challenge is keeping everything going during the frequent power outages. We're looking at possibly helping them with a generator in the near future.

Generous North Americans donated the OLPCs to Ghana Together. We rebuild the software, repair them as needed, and deliver them to WHH. Thanks all of you!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Global Citizen Journey Ghana Project Alums Form "Ghana Together"

As Global Citizen Journey travels to other countries on other Journeys, we North American GCJ Ghana Project alums are staying in Ghana to focus exclusively on our work there. To support our work, we have formed a tax-exempt non-profit called "Ghana Together." We of Ghana Together are grateful to Global Citizen Journey for its vision, teachings, and for initiating our connection with our partners in Axim. We are building our new organization's future on the conceptual underpinnings we received from GCJ about interpersonal understanding across cultures, how to be “global citizens,” and how to use group facilitation processes to develop close relationships with our Ghanaian friends and draw out the power of the Axim community.

All of us who have at some time participated as delegates on a GCJ Journey, regardless of the country of destination, feel a sense of family and shared heritage. We encourage others to follow our footsteps. Join a Journey or support someone else to do so, and you will never regret it.

We invite you to read about Global Citizen Journey and specifically about our Ghana Journey during 2006-2007. The blog you are now reading is an accumulation of thoughts and events during and after our GCJ Journey to Axim, Ghana. It is an informal history of our activities, which will be updated in the new Ghana Together blog.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Global Citizen Journey Completes Ghana Legacy Project!!

Global Citizen Journey is proud to announce the completion of the Western Heritage Home Children's Home and Community Learning Center in Axim, Ghana.

In Fall of 2006, 30 North American and Ghanaian delegates spent three weeks in Axim, Ghana, sponsored by Global Citizen Journey. There we engaged in group facilitation processes, sponsored a Town Hall, engaged in various educational, health, sanitation, women's workshops, and conflict resolution mini-projects. We also embarked on an ambitious longer-term project to support Western Heritage Home, our hosts in Axim, in building a Children's Home/Community Learning Center in Axim.

It took us about two years, but the facility is virtually complete. All of us GCJ delegates, North Americans and Ghanaians alike, look back with pride and a little awe on this life-changing experience. We have made new life-long friends. Our understandings of our own and each other's cultures have deepened. We have proved Ghanaians and Americans can work as a team. None of us will ever look at the world in quite the same way again.

WHH Community Learning Center Nearly Ready for Operations

Thanks to a generous grant to Global Citizen Journey Ghana Project from the Boeing Corporation's West African headquarters, the Western Heritage Home Board of Directors has been able to fund the completion of the second floor of the WHH Children's Home/Community Learning Center. This marks the completion of GCJ's legacy project in Axim.
Local workers are laying tile, painting, installing electrical fittings, fans, etc. When finished the Board plans to start computer learning classes for teens and older adults, and launch a remedial exam center for local students studying for their secondary school graduation exams.

Students who finish secondary school must pass comprehensive exams covering their entire educational experience to be able to qualify for technical school. Typically, students spend about three months preparing for these exams, in study groups with a trained tutor. There is no such program in the Axim area currently, and most students either end their education without taking the exams, or go to live with family in larger cities that do have such exam study centers. The WHH Board plans to sponsor a program in Axim in their facility---a major addition to the educational opportunities in this area. The building will also provide room for volunteers, community meetings, and modest conferences, leadership training, and women's entrepeneurial activities.
We are grateful to Produce Buying Corporation for a cash donation, and also to Volta Aluminum Corporation for a deep freeze, fridge, sewing machines, two gas stoves, a blender, and other items. Both are Ghana-based companies.

And, Global Citizen Journey Ghana Project delegates and Western Heritage Home Board and staff join to thank Boeing West Africa and the more than 250 individuals and families who helped fund this project. We have been told this is the first substantial building erected in Axim since the British left exactly 50 years ago! The much-needed facility will provide a home for many activities aimed at improving the educational, social, health, and economic life in Axim.

WHH Children's Home Operational

Rich and Maryanne visited Axim in April 2008, and found to their immense satisfaction that the WHH Children's Home is up and running with twenty children in residence. All but one of the children attend Manye Academy daily. Charlotte will continue at Morning Star Academy until the end of the term in September, and then she'll transfer to Manye.

Generous friends had given some cash to take with us, and we were able to provide some finishing touches to the children's residence: screen doors for malaria prevention; some adult-sized chairs; bookcase, kitchen storage shelves and work table; extra mops, brooms, etc. so the children can help with Saturday family cleanup activities; hoes for farming; wall clock; and shelves for books and learning materials.

We had an emotional moment when walking home from the Catholic Youth Service with the children, and upon seeing the roof of the building in the distance, one yelled, "See Mum, there's our Home!!"

Other generous friends donated a dozen used laptops, and 35 chess sets. The press came for the dedication ceremony. Meanwhile, we taught the older kids and some staff how to play chess.

Eli, a young friend, who recently graduated from a three-year program in computer technology and networking, is setting up Ubuntu on the computers.Soon they will be placed in service in the Computer Learning Lab on the second floor.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hand-washing Promoted in Schools in Axim

Posting article from "The Daily Guide", a newspaper published in Accra, Ghana]Unfortunately, we have no photo of the dedication or of children using the veronica bucket method)
IN ORDER to break the chain of infection and inculcate the habit of hand-washing among pupils, an American professional nurse, Madam Jeanie Birchall has donated hand-washing materials to some basic schools in the Nzema East District of the Western Region.The gifts, which were made up of 40 wash basins, 40 stands, 40 ‘Veronica’ buckets, napkins and packets of soap, were delivered to seven basic schools and an orphanage in Axim last week Tuesday. The beneficiary institutions were the Catholic, Methodist and Anglican basic schools, Manye Academy, Saint Augustinus Preparatory school, Roman Catholic Creche, Axim Girls’ Secondary School and Western Heritage Home.

In 2006, Madam Birchall, who is a member of Global Citizens Journey, a Non-Governmental Organization, went to some schools in the Nzema East District to teach hygiene, and followed it up with the donation.

Mr. John Abugri, Nzema East District Environmental Health Officer, who presented the items on behalf of Madam Birchall, entreated teachers to intensify the teaching of environmental hygiene and personal cleanliness in basic schools.Having demonstrated the proper washing of hands to the pupils, Mr. Abugri pointed out that parents should promote environmental sanitation in order to reduce diseases and medical bills.

Receiving the items, Nana Akye Blay, Public Relations Officer of the Nzema East District Education Directorate, expressed the gratitude of his outfit for Madam Birchall’s gesture.He intimated that teachers in the beneficiary schools would ensure that the items are put to good use in order to fulfill the objectives of the donor.

From Sam Mark Essien, Axim

Sunday, January 06, 2008


This report covers the period between 05/12/2007 to 02/01/2008. It was compiled by WHH staff.

05/10/07 The children came into residence. They brought their things in the morning and went to school. They came back after school at 3pm. They were served their 1st meal of Jollof rice and boiled eggs at 4pm.

10/12/07 Peter A. had a severe stomach ache. He was given aerodros and the pain went down.

11/12/07 Dorothy A. also complained of pains in the stomach. She was given the same treatment and the problem was solved.

12/12/07 Adiza developed boils on the head, Wahab complained of stomach pain, they were both taken to the hospital.

15/12/07 Olivia also complained of stomach pain, Eric M. also had the same problem.

17/12/07 Mother started deworming all of the children with Litamox. They were all dewormed in batches. It was found out that the children were suffering form worms. Now they are all better.

15/12/07 Mr. Chamsu the Country Director for the Boewing Company visited the home to acquaint himself with current developments. He visited with Nana Kaku Bulu alias James Kainyaih of Jamkay Enterprise who is also the Board Chairperson for the Heritage Home. Mr. Chamsu gave the children 2boxes of kalypo drink (24 in a box) and some biscuits. One box was reserved by the children but other box was reserved for X-mass.

24/12/07 Philomina M. became seriously sick. She was so weak that she couldn’t walk. She was carried on the back by one of the cooks to her caregiver since it was near X-mass for lack of money and also it is reported that the sickness is recurring, she was treated with the usual medicine the caregiver often uses for her. Mother will consult her for details of the medication.

25/12/07 She returned to the home quite well. She is till here.

24/12/07 A man gave his name as Moses donated to the home 1 crate minerals and half bag of rice.

24/12/07 Nana gave meat to the children enough for 1 meal.

24/12/07 A live goat was donated to home by Inspector Adarkwa of the Ghana Police Service-Axim

30/12/07 Madam Beatrice Woode Essiene who has returned from UK donated the following items to the home.

1. 1 panful of cassava
2. 1 big bunch of plantain
3. 1 small panful of beans (about 10 margarine cups)
4. 1 gallon Gino oil
5. 4 tins mackerel
6. 40 margarine cups of gari
7. 1 maxi bag of rice

31/12/07 Fredrick J. knelt on a broken bottle that has contained his pomade. A deep cut was made on his left knee, he is being treated. The wound is almost healed.

Isaac Anvo K. is coughing. He is being treated with local herbs and the situation is under control.
A few caregivers have also donated a few items.

Mrs. Theresa Essien a widow also brought a head load of cassava on 28/12/07. this served as a meal for the children. It was pounded into fufu.

Mmo Nyona a caregiver also brought 2 smoked fish on 26/12/07.
Since the beginning of the year 2008, from the 1st to the 2nd nothing has happened to any child. They are all happy.

The mother took them to church on Sunday 23/12/07. on the 30th 10 of them also went to church. Only 10 went because they were leaving home earlier for the 7:30am service. Breakfast was not ready yet because they left earlier, so, only older children who said they could skip breakfast and take it later went to church.

The children celebrated the X-mass season with special soup made from the donated goat. It was slaughtered and half was cooked for them.

Half was preserved and this has been cooked for them. They enjoyed groundnut soup and fufu for 2 lunches from it. They are happy.

Compiled by Madam Anna E., Mother

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Greetings from Ghana

James and Justine Kainyiah called today and asked us to convey on behalf of the Western Heritage Home Board, staff, and especially all the children whose lives have been touched by us, a heartfelt Christmas blessing. They especially thank Global Citizen Journey and its Ghana Project delegates for their continuing support and friendship. And they wish they could personally thank the many North Americans who have helped build the orphanage/community center facility and all the other projects we've worked together on during 2007. The orphanage enjoyed Opening Day on Dec 5, and is now providing a home for 28 children. Those of school age are attending nearby Manye Academy, a public school, thanks to our collective efforts.

Not all of the children shown in the photo above are living in the orphanage but all are in need. Most are living with their extended families, but their families do not have the financial ability to keep them in school and in many cases, to provide adequate food. Thanks to your help, many of these children will see their lives improve during 2008. They are are on a new and hopeful path.
We Global Citizen Journey Ghana alumni also add our heartfelt thanks to all of you for an amazing and wonderful year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Small small update


I had a nice conversation with Anastasia today. She said "the children are wonderful. They LOVE it here." She said today was so nice, because it was a holiday, and so she worked with them on spelling a lot--first the boys, then the girls, then back to the boys, back to the girls, with an assignment for Monday. They also worked on reading, and those who can read are helping those who can't.

She said they also are working on "please" and "thank you." They must say, "please". She said most did not do that or say their own names clearly.

I asked her if they're sleeping OK at night (new place, scary???). She said they are "sleeping well, very very well." She emphasized how much they really really love the sheets on the beds (probably a new experience maybe for all of them). They also love their school uniforms.

We talked to Mr. B (Manye Headmaster) on Wednesday. He said "the children are doing well, they're doing well. They're into a regular life now---home and school." He has tons of ideas of how their lives should be ordered from sunup to sundown. We suggested he work with Esi on all of that!

Anas' computer is stlll down. Had conversations with Frank, Anas, and Leif today on that. I think we're getting it worked out.


Thursday, December 13, 2007


Hi everyone,

WE DID IT!! Believe it or not, on Dec 5, 28 children moved into the Western Heritage Children's Home, right there on the hill above Manye Academy, a short walk from the main road, and downtown, into their brand-new beautiful "Happy Blue" Home!

Unfortunately, our Jerome who was there to witness the entire thing had his camera stolen in Amsterdam on the way back from Ghana, and so we have not one photo to show at this time of this "highlight of the year" event. But keep an eye out---the Ghanaians are trying to get some digital shots to us.

Last we heard, the kids had moved in. They arranged the beds the way they like them! Someone gave them a huge roll of bed sheeting, and they were trying to cut "sheet-size" lengths for their mattresses on the bunkbeds. The mattresses themselves were a gift from Volta Aluminum Co (Valco) in Ghana (thank you, you good guys, you). The only scissors they had wouldn't cut it, so Jerome used his pocket knife to start the cut, and they tore them. We heard Annie, our home mother, was last seen sitting on the table hemming sheets.

She was sitting on the table, because thus far we have NO CHAIRS. Nor do we have kitchen counters, cabinets, etc. But, the kids are happy; they consider themselves "pioneers", moving in before everything is perfect, and paving the way for others.

Older kids are taking responsibility for the younger ones. When James left on Sunday about 6:00 the older kids were ironing the uniforms for the younger ones for school on Monday morning (ironing and wearing freshly pressed school uniforms is just what you do in Ghana!)

A little harmless green snake creeped into the girls' bathroom, and caused shrieks and screams all around. The boys set up a make-shift soccer field, with bricks for goal posts. They loved the big styrofoam "world puzzle" Jerome brought. WHERE IS GHANA????

John, our Ghanaian public health extraordinaire, reported he'd delivered 34 veronica buckets to the schools and orphanage, and will soon conduct workshops with staff on their use.

Mr. Browne, Headmaster of Manye, says the kids are attending school every day, and are "doing well." He has a million ideas for how their lives should be ordered, from sunup to sundown. Mr. Browne, we love you, your many good ideas and your unending caring spirit.

We look back on this event-filled year in wonder and amazement. We've accomplished a lot, and we've really had a lot of fun, too. And we're not done yet...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Global Citizen Journey Alums return to Axim, Ghana and engage in various projects

In addition to the "BIG" events in Axim Ghana --- Kundum, Manye Science Day, and WHH Building Dedication --- we engaged in many other activities.

RICH and MARYANNE visited a UN Refugee Camp about 25 km from Axim Ghana and surrounding villages in the Nzema East District. We traveled there with Major Domino the Camp Manager and Clifford, his body guard. In the villages, there was no electricity, no sanitation to speak of, and no sure source of clean water. Yet, when asked what they liked about their village or what was special about it, people said they liked the people because they are not greedy. They liked their coconuts and fish and their beach. One woman said she liked the sunsets (Atlantic Ocean setting). The kids said they liked their school, which was one room with nothing in it at all except one blackboard. They also said they very much wanted water, sanitation, “lights” (i.e., electricity), better school, and closer medical facilities. They have to walk several miles to a clinic, esp. difficult for woman in labor. They welcomed us warmly in a dignified manner, setting up two plastic chairs for us under a small canopy of rattan and leaves. They gathered around their spokesman to welcome us and answer our questions. It was a very special and emotional experience for us.

BARBARA interviewed more than 30 people, men and women, about their life stories, including market women in Axim Ghana. She will publish this information in some form. The stories she heard are inspiring and moving. Barbara conducted AI sessions in several other venues as well. At the end of the journey, she traveled to Konongo School to help dedicate the books for which she raised major funding. While there, she conducted Appreciate Inquiry sessions for the teachers, and two sessions of 500 high-school students in each session. Who knows what these young Ghanaians might be inspired to do?

TOM visited the Ghana Telecom to learn more about plans for internet access.

SUZ conducted a numbe of HIV-AIDs sessions with the Methodist Youth Group, the kids at Manye Academy, and groups in Cape Coast. She made a big hit with her colored condoms!

TOM, RICH, and MARYANNE met with the District Head of Dept of Education, headquarters in the town of Axim, along with many circuit heads. We discussed science education. They asked if we could find a scientist who is highly creative and innovative to help them teach the concepts in their curriculum with all local materials that they don’t have to buy. They have so little money. One told of needing milk of magnesia to do an experiment, but couldn’t find the money for it. They told us HIV-AIDs education starts in every class, beginning with nursery school and up, every day, the first thing in the day, in an age-appropriate manner. They are well aware of the threat of HIV-AIDs and are determined to manage it. They cannot afford antiretroviral drugs, so if a person gets the disease, there is not much hope.

RICH met with Reverend Banson, Pastor, and Isaac Bentil, Lay Leader, of the local Methodist Church. They are interested in forming a sister-church relationship with an American Methodist Church. The church in Axim Ghana has a cluster of smaller village churches associated with it and served by Rev. Banson.

BARBARA and LOUISE conducted an Appreciative Inquiry session with the Western Heritage Home Board. WHH is very fortunate; the Board is composed of well-established, mature local leaders from Axim. As an active locally-based NGO, WHH, although relatively new, is beginning to enjoy wide respect in the community. During the workshop, they focused on what is positive and special about WHH, what their dream for the organization is, how to design their Board and staff to achieve the dream, and how they themselves can strengthen their commitment and skill to achieve those dreams and goals. It was a wonderful session. We especially enjoyed seeing Awulae, the King of Lower Axim, with probably several hundred years of tradition behind him, partnering with Anastasia, a young, computer-trained woman of 22, who wants Hillary to become our US President, so then maybe Ghana will elect a woman president someday, too! Somehow, together, they represent Ghana as it now is, during its Jubilee Year of 50 years of independence.

BRYCE got to know the Axim Beach Hotel staff well, and also the birds and other “wildlife” around the hotel—mostly birds and geckos. He interviewed each individual orphan, and got some really good shots of each of them. Bryce has a natural affinity for small children, and at 14, was a big brother to kids, esp. during the Kundum Festival. Bryce was also our “water treasurer”, making sure we had enough safe water on hand and collecting money for it. Some of the girls decided he needed an “African” hairdo, and braided his hair!

LOUISE joined in the Science Days, joined Barbara in the AI session with the WHH Board and staff, and did a lot of videography. She and Bryce showed us all how a Grandmother and Grandson can have a wonderful friendship and a lot of fun together! She made sure Bryce and she experienced everything, including church, exploring the beach, exploring the town and people, drumming, helping drag in the fishing nets, and engaging at Manye during Science Days.

MARYANNE worked with Anastasia and Esi (WHH Staff) on the WHH bookkeeping system and on financial matters generally. The staff has done a remarkable job of ensuring receipts and data entry for the hundreds of purchases needed to supply all the materials, labor, transport, etc. for the building project. This is not an easy task, given the fact that this is basically a cash-only economy. We also updated the WHH office computer's anti-virus software.

BARBARA and MARYANNE met with the King, Awulae Attiburukusu III, who welcomed us, and discussed the new fishing harbour being built, the new girls secondary school which he initiated, his efforts to enforce stopping inappropriate “easing” on the beach, thereby fouling the very area where the fish are brought in, the new compulsory education ruling and the government’s capitation grant to pay basic school fees, and the recent finding of a high grade of oil in the ocean not far from Axim. This relatively young King has studied business administration in California, and plans to continue next year. He hopes to do a few internships in American companies. He is known as a man of principle, who takes his duties seriously and does his best for this economically-challenged community. We are very fortunate to have his welcoming and suportive presence when we are in Axim.

BARBARA, RICH, and MARYANNE with James, attended a funeral in a small, very well-kept village about 1.5 hrs drive from Takoradi. It was in a beautiful tropical jungle, with banana and plantain trees, coops for chickens and rabbits, and a nearby forest where their hunters find food. Funerals are important to Ghanaians. Although many leaders are trying to convince people to have simpler, less costly funerals leaving more money for investment, school costs, etc., the people themselves use funerals to maintain family ties and to reconnect with their villages. Gifts of money are given to the bereaved family, to help defray expenses. We were honored by the chief pouring libations to bless us and the event. He poured a small amount of gin on the ground, offering up his prayers as he did so, and then each of us took a small sip of gin from a glass, spilling some on the ground, and offering up our own prayers and blessings as we wished. There were drummers, and we were told the dancing was the traditional funeral dances. The man who died was a 49 year-old school teacher, and we met some of his fellow teachers who genuinely were mourning his death and the loss to his students.

JEANIE, with our Ghanaian friend John, raised money and arranged to construct 34 veronica buckets, which we dedicated. "Veronica buckets" are used for hand sanitation. They will be distributed to five local schools, near the lunch facilities, and also in the WHH Children's Home. These are hand-washing stations to be used when piped water is unavailable.

And we all enjoyed the beach, visiting with our Ghanaian friends, and the care and concern of the Axim Beach Hotel staff. For the most part, and with care, we stayed healthy.

Ghana is a “third-world” country, so there are safety and health challenges, but by taking precautions we had a good time and kept safe. Perhaps our biggest fear and danger is the possibility of auto accidents. We insist on seat belts, and firmly tell drivers to slow down. One of our members actually saw a little boy killed when he ran into the street and was struck by a truck. This was traumatic, and highlighted how dangerous the roads are. We were careful about our malaria prevention, too, and about hand sanitation, and about not overdoing it in the warm and humid weather conditions.

In general though, Ghana is a warm and welcoming country, with interesting people, culture, and tourist sites. The “new” re-dominated money made it easier for us, because it’s more like the US dollar --- no more “millions” of cedis for ordinary purchases. The STC bus we rode from Accra to Takoradi was efficient, and handled our eight suitcases (the science stuff, remember?) with ease. The MTN cell service was having problems, but generally, the cell phone system works extremely well. The electrical power is off quite a lot---we used our headlamps! We saw the potential for photovoltaics, with the very dependable 12 hours of daylight and generally evenly warm temperatures of around 80-85F. The only internet connection in town, at the Beach Hotel, was down the entire time we were there, with the exception of about 15 minutes (just time to update the virus checker!). There is a Swiss man there who is trying assist the manager to get it working, coordinating with the provider in Takoradi. We did see fiber optic cable being laid along the roads. Ghana is hosting the Pan Africa Games in 2008, and is laying cable to improve communications for that event, so we hope ordinary folks will benefit from that in time.

Ghanaians are proud of Ghana in spite of some corruption, poverty, poor environmental quality, and other woes. They told us over and over that Ghana is peaceful and they are proud of that. They like their drumming and music, and beautiful cloth and traditional festivals and so do we! They are proud of their democracy and their new modern money, with its foolproof iridescent stripe against counterfeiting. We were told again and again that they are the “financial capital” of West Africa. A man in an extremely poor village said he was proud of the new President’s house, because Ghana’s President should have a beautiful house! (Others think it’s an extravaganza, but…). One man told me he was proud that the Americans have built “the biggest embassy in West Africa" right in Accra. W visited the central library on Legon Campus and enjoyed using the completely modern computerized catalog search system. We heard from a student that their University of Ghana is the “Harvard of West Africa” and that the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi is a leading West African university. They have what might seem to be very challenging problems, but hope appears to be alive and well. They are blessed with a rich traditional culture and a democratic spirit.

We Global Citizen Journey alums have an ongoing relationship with Axim and the Nzema East region. If you have ideas about how this area might develop economically, or how children can be given a boost, or how you may wish to support a project in the area, please contact us. We are in regular communication with leaders there, and may be able to find the right match for you.
---The GCJ alum group.


Definitely, definitely, this was the HIGHLIGHT of our journey!! What a day!

First, we must acknowledge the heroic efforts of so many workmen and women who put in so much effort to get the building ready for the dedication. We especially honor and appreciate the dedication and energy of Patrick K, the WHH Logistics Specialist, who has overseen the work, purchased most of the materials, spent his day on the building site and even sleeping there on occasion to protect the construction materials. Patrick is also an elected District Aseemblyman, and is a dedicated community leader. In the days leading up to the event, the electricity had failed numerous times, and three terrazo machines (two from Takoradi) broke down because of the inadequate electrical current. Terrazo machines are essential "cement polishing" machines which prepare the floors in this humid climate with a hard polished surface. This is necessary for cleanliness and to prevent mold.

Meanwhile, workers were painting the building, cleaning up the site, hauling in chairs from "somewhere" (we suspect we owe a VERY big thank you for the Catholic Church and Father Paul and Esi Biney, Church President). When we all arrived at the building, we were ushered inside by proud WHH staff members in their beautiful blue and brown patterned WHH "cloth" outfits, made especially for the event. The conference room on the 2nd floor had been transformed into a clean, spacious room, complete with a beautifully appointed head table covered with a white cloth and flowers. The WHH Scholars arrived in their Manye Academy uniforms, with Mr. Browne, and Felicia, the Nursery School teacher, and our own Mustapha, himself a teacher and headmaster, helping them to find seats, etc.

Those of us associated with GCJ and WHH Board and Staff members had lovely blue and brown Ghanaian style shirts and dresses, with cloth specially designed for the occasion.

Other distinguished guests arrived: the King and Queen Mother of Upper Axim; the Queen Mother of Lower Axim and her sister, the Acting Queen Mother; Father Paul of the Catholic Church; Father John of the Anglican Church; Mr. Kojo Armah, the member of Parliament for this region; Mr. Joseph Elimah, the District Chief Executive; and many friends and family members, including the two women, mother and daughter, who were the water carriers supplying water with their headpans to the workers over the months of building. And of course, our WHH Board members, led so capably by Mr. James Kainyiah and his wife Justine, who are the visionaries and leaders on the ground. Other Board members present were Miss Frances Polley, Father Paul, Mr. Isaac Bentil, Mr. Joseph Quansah, and Awulae Attiburukusi. They were joined by GCJ Ghanaian alums, Gifty Asmah and her husband, the Headmaster of Nkroful Secondary School, Stephen Kwabia and wife Deborah, Frank Cudjoe, Esi Biney, Annie Essien, Dina Cobbinah, Mustapha Abdullah, and Francis "Old Soldier" Nokoe. Our friend from Bellingham, Kathryn Roe, who has a program supporting secondary education in the Cape Coast area, also honored us with her presence. As you can imagine, this was also a wonderful reunion for all of us GCJ Ghana Project alums, North Americans and Ghanaians.

The King of Lower Axim, Awulae Attiburukusu III, our friend and WHH Board member, officiated. The dedication was conducted by the Archbishop of Metropolitan Accra, a native son of Axim. Barbara and Maryanne attended the Catholic Church the day before, where Father Buckle preached about children and encouraged the congregation to care for all the children of Axim. His Mom, the mother of twelve children all of whom are educated, still lives in Axim, and we were honored to meet her as well.

Esi Biney was the master of ceremonies. James Kainyiah gave the opening remarks. Anastasia Amoo, WHH Administrative Assistant, gave the closing remarks. Ann Essien presided over the dedication of the veronica buckets.

Best of all, the children who will soon call the WHH facility home and some of their temporary guardians were there. Several older children participated in the ceremony. The Catholic Band played festive music---kind of an Africanized version of our New Orleans type of music--gay and upbeat for sure!! (After all, where did this music originate???!!!) Everyone was dressed in traditional cloth---a colorful and celebratory atmosphere!

I believe all of us there felt a kinship and partnership that goes far beyond our respective national borders. We did indeed feel a global connection centered around the care and love of children and what we adults can accomplish if we come together in a spirit of understanding and sincere desire. For a little while, we forgot about the bad phone connections, the electrical breakdowns, the lack of internet connectivity, the communication challenges exacerabated by wide cultural differences, the economic disparities, the heat and humidity, and all the other obstacles we have collectively faced. We just allowed ourselves to bask in our mutual feeling of accomplishment and our collective determination to continue step-by-step, not quite knowing where the future will take us, but having faith in ourselves and God that we will together find our way.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Kundum Festival in Axim

Kundum is an annual festival of the Ahanta people, whose traditional center is the city of Axim. What a week!! The drums beat furiously, wonderfully. The rhythmic complexity is astounding. Families reunite around the "family homes", with traditional Ghanaian food, music. Everyone is dressed in traditional clothing---esp. the women with their colorful batik dresses.

Let me tell you a little about the Kundun festival in Axim. It’s one of the larger ones in the country. For 4 weeks, the drums move around and get closer and closer to Axim. At the beginning of the week, heads of families, and kings request that anyone holding grudges in the community come forth and reconcile with their opponent. Thus many rifts are healed. The next day everyone cooks, and anyone can walk into to anyone’s house and eat. There is a day of remembering and mourning the ancestors. There is a day of killing of a fowl, 4 goats and more drumming and cooking.

On the high festival day, the royals – the co-director of our project was one this year – the first white person ever to be so honored -- all arrive at the palace about 10 to dress and await the parade. 3 Of us went elsewhere to be dressed in royal cloths. Maryanne was carried in the palanquin as the development Queen of Axim (Nkosohema). Thus did Axim honor and thank our GCJ group for our work in Axim during this past year. We walked behind her. It was quite an affair – colorful, rhythmic, joyful. We ended up at the field and listened to speeches and music and dancing, and then it was back into the palanquins in what seemed a bit like a rodeo. The carriers danced back and forward and bounced the palanquins quite a bit. Some of the more experienced riders stood up and cheered them on. It was very colorful! Finally we ended at the palace for dinner. It actually reminded me a bit of Mardi Gras. Not surprising – where did Mardi Gras come from? What a day!

All in all, it is a time of peace, reconciliation, remembering the departed, generosity and celebration of life. A good thing, I think. Although some Christian missionaries tried to stamp it out as pagan, and current Pentecostal churches pan it, others are now being more tolerant. (text by Barbara G)


We're back from Axim, Ghana, with seven of us GCJ Ghana alums plus one grandson spending three weeks in Ghana. Alas, no internet access so no opportunity to update this blog while we were there.

As reported earlier below, we brought with us 7 suitcases, of about 50 lbs each, of elementary/junior high level science supplies and equipment for Manye Academy -- microscopes, measuring instuments, charts of all kinds, resources for teachers, etc.

Why Manye Academy? Manye is the school which 20 of our orphans attend. The school has welcomed the group of children the WHH Board has selected to live in our children's home, and receive assistance in education. The Director, Mr. Browne-Umar, is trained in science himself and wants to improve science education in his school. Maryane visited the school in May '07, and discovered that although the school and teachers have both a school goal and a goal set by the Ghana Dept of Education to improve science education, there were virtually no supplies or equipment with which to carry out the learning in the Ghana Science Curriculum. Thus was born our "science project". Working with Mr. Browne during the summer, we enlisted the help of many friends, and local Northwest Washington teachers (thank you!) and pulled together a basic collection of teaching aids. This represents our "thank you" to the leadership and staff of Manye for their acceptance and dedication to education for all children, regardless of prior educational deficiencies.

The school put on a colorful and moving dedication, complete with student color guard and drill team and all students present in organized formation in their beautiful blue shirts! What a welcome!!
We were especially honored that Professor Nokoe, the school's owner, was present. Prof. Nokoe is also the Acting Chancellor of Ghana's University for Development studies, and has extensive scientific training himself, holding a PhD in Biometrics from the University of British Columbia.

Some of us with science training and interest worked with the teachers in workshops designed to review the materials and explain the workings of the microscopes, etc. We also met with Manye students, and Suz did an HIV-AIDs workshop with the students. Professor Nokoe hired a bulldozer to build a playfield for use by the school and also our Western Heritage Home Scholars, as they are known by the Manye staff and students. Our team walked the path through the little settlement and up the hill from the school to the WHH Facility. The school looked great---it had been fairly recently painted blue, the school color, with the blue shirts on each student matching the blue. We sensed the pride and dedication of students and staff.

Now for some speedbumps before and after the school, to protect the children who have to cross the busy street from the speeding vehicles---a constant danger in this area. Indeed, one of our group witnessed a tragic traffic accident on the highway just outside of Axim in which a four year-old boy was struck and killed by a truck. The newly paved streets are a great improvement in holding down the dust, but now the traffic dangers have increased.

Friday, August 24, 2007


A group of 7 GCJ Ghana Project Alums are returning to Axim in September. While there, we'll take in the Kundum Festival, a traditional gathering of the local Ahanta people, whose traditional center is Axim. Watch this Blog for photos!!

AND more importantly, we will particpate in the dedication of Western Heritage Home. We've worked long and hard on this building and we are looking forward to dedicating it and seeing it put to good use. We're hoping the children can be moved in in mid-September. Next goal is to raise funds to finish the second floor, put the community learning center's conference area to good use and develop the computer learning lab.

Meanwhile, Mr Browne-Umar, the Manye Academy's Executive Director is focusing on deveoping the science program at his school. Since the school has so warmly embraced our children -- our Western Heritage Home Scholars --, we have decided to pitch in and bring science equipment and supplies not readily available for purchase in Axim. Jerome, Suz, Jeanie, and Rich (shown), and Tom have gathered six suitcases of science equipment and supplies. Thanks to so many friends, esp. teacher friends, for their generous help. Mr. Browne-Umar is organizing an orientation and workshops with the teachers and work to coordinate these materials with the Ghanaian Dept of Education's science curriculum.

Wow, the ROOF looks GREAT

The Western Heritage Children's Home and Community Learning Center building is getting there. We're still short funds to finish off the second floor, but the first floor is just about finished, and will soon be ready for children to move in.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Congratulations to the Global Citizen Journey Ghanaian delegate alums (shown in planning meeting in photo) who on August 7, 2007 successfully hosted a followup Town Forum! By all accounts the meeting was a step forward for the folks of Axim. The District Chief Executive gave the opening remarks. Attendees from various sectors in the commnity attended, including representatives from the Christian Council, Fishmongers, Fishermen, Traditional Council, Market Women, Assembly Members, N.E.D.A., Farmers, Urban Council, Opinion Leaders, Secondary School Leaders, G.N.A.T., Health, and G.P.R.T.U.

According to one of the conveners, community participants openly shared their views, opinions, and concerns. Topics included the condition of the roads, sanitation and water, education, the condition of the Axim Landing Beach, and the use and sustainability of the new orphanage/community learning center.

Thanks to the first Town Hall meeting, held back in November, 2006, hosted by North American and Ghanaian Global Citizen Journey delegates, the local people were familiar with the process this time around, and according to particpants, the meeting went smoothly and was very helpful. Plans are afoot for another meeting next year as followup.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


The GCJ Ghana North American alums made a MIGHTY effort to RAISE THE ROOF on the orphanage!! We raised more than $3000, enough to buy the needed 256 aluminum roofing tiles, and nails to DRIVE THEM HOME!! Thanks to all who donated items, bought items, hauled stuff, lifted stuff, and gave us so much encouragement. We appreciate it.

If you missed it, you can still use your shoulder to hoist the water polytank into place, or get some ceiling panels in the kids' section. Or you can help pay our faithful carpenter his due! Maybe nails are your thing. GO FOR IT with a donation to Global Citizen Journey, via the web site at http://www.globalcitizenjourney.org/ or mail to Global Citizen Journey, 4425 Baker Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107. (Make sure you indicate "GHANA PROJECT")

Our "Western Heritage Scholars" thank you!!! (These are the kids who will be moving in soon)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 28
Hi all. I'm back in the US, but the work goes on. Most of the building materials for the roof have been purchased. Because of the delay in work due to our Boeing grant check being impounded by customs, we will need more money to finish. During that time, cement escalated in price by about 25%, due to power outages.

On my last day, James and I visited Produce Buying, American Embassy, Ministry for Women and Children, Ghana Commercial Bank, and West Africa Trade Hub office. We also contacted Ghana Bauxite, but the person we needed to see could not receive us. All of these contacts were positive, and the companies indicated interest in helping us with funds. They have requested formal requests from James as Chair of the WHH Board.

The aim is to have kids living in the facility by Sept when the new school term starts. If you'd like to help furnish and equipment the facility (bunk beds, gas cookers, industrial strength oven, etc.), please visit the www.globalcitizenjourney.org website to make a donation. We need help of any kind. The items can easily be purchased there. They are making a mighty local effort to find or buy items, but it's difficult for them when it comes to these large items.

We have 19 kids enrolled in Manye Academy and have received their first school reports. Some are doing quite well, but most are very much behind due to irregular or no school attendance until now. They are receiving tutoring. We will be looking for adult volunteers, either locally or "visiting" to help give them a boost between terms, after school, etc. We have one child enrolled in Morning Star Academy, because she is doing extremely well there, likes the school, and so far wants to stay there.

I have the life stories of the kids now---I'll add details in an upcoming blog. Suffice it to say that Annie and Esi have done a good job (difficult) of selecting the truly needy kids.

Other news: a fellow who designed the computer lab for another learning center in Central Region is putting together a plan for our Learning Lab. We already have requests from local establishments to provide training for their staffs. Also, when I left Axim, the satellite internet connection was working quite well, thanks to hours of work on the part of two technicans who came all the way from Kumasi to work on it. We will probably be able to share the signal coming to Axim Beach Hotel.

We have a "good enough" accounting system in place, now, using Quicken software. Almost all receipts have come in, and we are very close to matching inflows/outflows. This has been a big accomplishment for Anastasia, our Admin. Assist., and for the whole Board, actually. It's not easy to do in what is, essentially, a cash economy. Patrick, our logistics guy, has done a terrific job of keeping records. He is also a district assemblyman, and deserves this position because he is a leader and conscientious man.

On my last day in Axim, I attended the Anglican Church with Old Soldier. It was a funeral Sunday (most are), and almost all were dressed in white and black. The women's dresses were really stunningly beautiful, I thought. The Ghanaians are experts at designing beautiful fabrics, and making simple but exceedingly beautiful dresses. Their cultural pride is evident at these gatherings. There was a visiting choir---and the entire congregation sings well, too, in parts, etc. Beautiful. Now I'm dreaming of a choir festival in our new facility in Axim---hmmm. Sometimes dreams happen.

More later...Maryanne

WHH Orphanage/Community Learning Center Construction with King of Lower Axim Inspecting

May 19

Today was another good day. Yesterday I was exhausted and just kind of hid out at Axim Beach. Typed up a report for James, and also a report about care of children from the public health folks, etc. I am particularly proud of the bookkeeping system we've set up; Patrick and all have really done a wonderful job of keeping receipts on all purchases, and Anastasia has caught on quickly to Quicken software. We're doing it all in "new" cedis, because the currency will be converted in about two months. Today we went over all the Quicken data, and made fixes. Then Justine came about 6:30 which was fun. She stayed with me overnight.

We walked down to the Palace and at 8:57 am arrived, to find Constance and four others WAITING for me! The meeting was supposed to be at 9:00 sharp, and so it was. But the king came in and ordered the room swept, so that had to be done first. About 20 some were there---I have names and occupations for each, and good info. I realized that I was expected to train them in something. Gulp. I thought what would Susan P do, being the resourceful type. So I put them all in a circle, got a stone, and asked them to each introduce themselves, and speak about what was going well. This worked great---they each got up and recounted what they'd learned before and how were applying, if they'd been there before. Time management, quality, keeping records, selling something completely different, selling to a school, low profit margins to increase turnover, etc. So, this was great. I have more detail---thank goodness for Justine and Anastasia who spoke Nzema, and more or less took over. It was terrific---really. They are EAGER for Diana and Gifty to return, are interested in learning more, getting entrreprenship, more capital, etc. very good. A great nucleas. Then, I found out later some Upper Axim women were upset they weren't invited---but I didn't do the inviting---Constance did. I assured them they would be invited next time. A great day.

Then the king invited Justine and me for lunch, so we had lunch there----fufu, smoked fish, light soup.Very good. I'm getting good at using the right hand to eat (with the hand, not fork, etc.). We had red wine!! But the family ate in another room, so Justine and I just sat together and chatted and ate. Then a wild ride with him to the site, where we went over everything. Looking very good. I got quite a lot of info about chief things, land issues, etc., too from him. Mary is such a nice person. He is giving them two weeks to finish. Well¦maybe...
Then to the Beach Hotel for meeting with Esi, Bentil, Justine, Anastasia. One name came up: Axim Asomdwee Heritage Home (asomdwee is "peace" in Nzema) We voted unanimously, but have to consult James and Awulae. (Note: in the end the Board decided finally on "Western Heritage Home"). They also decided to try to raise the furnishings themselves---I think, Ravyn, they'll probably not make it on the gas stoves, oven, bunk beds, etc., but they marked an "L" next to everything that can be donated locally in their judgement. This is terrific, and something VERY new for them. They are going to write letters to everyone imaginable asking for support, and take people to visit the site. Bentil will take the guys tarring the streets, and get them to grade the road. Things are moving. The interesting thing is that they said this has never been done in this town before (asking for donations, etc.) They are brave to step out like this.

Then the colors came up: cream and chocolate are OK, but they want COLOR! This is Ghana, after all!! So, big discussion about blue and green with cream and chocolate, no, yellow, no., I just enjoyed it. Who knows what it will eventually be! They want to make "the cloth", too. I assured them we'd buy 15 shirts at 120,000 each ($13.00).

Then, back to my room to dismantle the computer to return to the little WHH office in Bentil's building. Anastasia took charge. Each person got into Thani's cab, and held part of the computer on his/her lap. Carefully. They all went down to the office together to put it back together. She was just beaming. Leif, you would have loved it.

Then, I just sort of collapsed down at the beach area on a lounge chair. What a day! James is coming tomorrow for a funeral. I'll go to Anglican Church with Old Soldier, and then to Sekondi. I have tentative appts with Coca-cola, Ghana Bauxite, US Embassy and Produce Buying.

So, since I may not get to an internet connection again until I get home, I'll sign off from Axim. I'll catch a flight 9:00 at night on Wed. See you all SOON!! Good luck to the BHam folks at church tomorrow---I wish I were going to be there. It will be great.
So, good night. Love you, Maryanne
May 16
To review: Jerome, Dina and Frank have done the basic registration, will do the forms in June, and the student will go to school in Sept when the term starts. Dina has the money. All is OK on that front. Please let Jackie know.'

We are meeting tomorrow to figure out the next strategy for the building. Things are going well, although yesterday the masons didn't show up which annoyed everyone. Today the paint color was decided: cream and chocolate. Basically, the guys deferred to Anastasia who had strong opinions. They want it to be spectacular, and so it will be.Basically did receipts and training in reports, etc. today.

We have the final, final bank statement, checkbook, and the last receipts, so tomorrow we'll polish it off. Going well.Kids are in school and attending regularly. Got the invoice for 2nd term today, (esi did) but there was an error in it, so back it goes.

BARBARA: women's meeting won't be until Friday, per Constance. We went to her stand today. Bentil is looking for a place to meet, which seems hard to come by.

Anastasia can't wait to "market" the new building as a meeting place. She is dynamite. :) The young guys around Axim are definitely aware of her...interesting. I'll report on that at some other point. She has the bank manager around her little finger because she has mastered the new currency---she did the entire Quicken file in the "new" currency, so it will all be consistent. He was so impressed, he gave her a special poster that is supposed to go only to "big" outfits, such as the Social Security and Insurance Administration.

Lots of discussion about the building: should they put the roof up? or finish the floors first? Everyone has an opinion, but the contractor, who presumeably knows what is best, will do what he will do. It sprinkled a bit today which kind of set everybody off on the roof business.James is coming tomorrow; Justine on Friday to be with the women's group. Anastasia will go to the women's group, too, to help us, take photos, notes, and generally be helpful. She's very excited about it. She will be a good network person for Gifty to get to know.
Annie and neighbor girl making "real" African fufu for our dinner (served in a ball in groundnut soup, with smoked fish)

May 15

Diana for you: I have good photos of Hajara, girls, etc which I'll forward to you when I get home. I have also read all your "idea" emails. The people here have a pretty full plate right now---and I don't think I should introduce something new right at this time. The girls and Hajara herself really appreciate your scholarships---a chance for them to learn a vocational skill.

Leif: I talked to Ghana Telecom again today. I have more info, but I think I'll wait until I get back to discuss thoroughly with you. I'm not quite finished with my fact gathering. Went to a lot of places today, and have a few more interviews on that subject ahead of me. Also, I laid the CPU on its side today and it took the CD immediately, so...just to make sure the vent on the top side is not covered. When I got back to the room, A had covered it with a booklet, so tomorrow I'll go through that with my more "stern Mom" approach.

Barbara: I went to the "special gardens" today, and learned through a guy who just happened to be there and was willing to interpret that the plants are from various places in the world, not from "our" forests/jungles here. So that will be a more complex project. Please just give this much to BHam James who was interested in my findings on that. He is interested in what local wild herbs/plants etc might be cultivated and used. Note that Essie stepped on a nail, made a poultice of a leaf and ginger, put it on a hot stone, and in two days, it was fine. Hmmmm.
Also, please tell BHam James that according to the contractor (M Biney) the site is perfect for solar application. He actually went to Accra to talk to somebody about it. So...

Susan P: I got them to fill out surveys---they're input seems a bit sketchy, but I'll forward them to you.

Went to the site today. The roofing materials have almost all been delivered. The last row of concrete is being added to the "near" side. Probably as soon as tomorrow they will begin the roofing. Today they were treated the wood with preservative. Many of the doors have been hung and swing easily and also lock. They are starting to think about the color of paint--they want it to be "spectacular", per Patrick! I can't wait to see what they choose. When I thanked Patrick for his incredible vigilance and work, he got quite emotional. He really loves this project.
Today Anastasia finished entering all data, deposits and receipts, from inception until the last we have. She's doing a terrific job. I noticed some anomalies which I'll work through with her tomorrow. Then on to how to make reports, how to backup, and how to download and file photos.

I had a great and "real" African dinner made by Annie and Esi last night---they said at the meeting (as they call it) we had Ghanaian ingredients, but not made and served exactly like they like (which is why the Ghana GCJ meeting notes included Gifty's comments about our not eating "good Ghanaian food". They were outside, pounding the fufu (very very good---cassava and plaintain mixed) with fish and sauce and rice in case I didn't like fufu. It was fun. They love being "real Africans", and said "doesn't it smell like Africa?"

With luck Constance will gather her women tomorrow. She's working on it. I hope it comes off---even if only a couple. I let her know I'd like to talk just to her, if others can't join.
Hot again today...more typical. The cool spell is definitely passed us.
Enough before I get cut off. Love you whoever you are reading this...Maryanne

May 13

Hi all. I'm going to paste below my notes of Friday and Sat.because I could not send them out earlier.Today internet seems to be working. Jonas is back and apologized to me for all my troubles, and said a guy is coming tomorrow. We'll see.Rich, I'm sending this to you, too, to forward if the other one doesn't work. Anastasia sent me a text message for mother's day---nice of her. I was sitting next to her working at our data, and my phone beeped and here was a nice message from her. She's a sweetheart.

Today I attended the Methodist church with Bentil and Anastasia. The music was terrific, the sermon preached by a lay woman in the absence of Pastor B. All in all a wonderful day. I was asked to "bring greetings", but I used most of my time to discuss the goals/etc. of WCHH, etc. Decided to greet briefly, and use my remarks time to do a little PR work. After church, who should zoom up his motorcycle but John Abugri. Now that the streets are tarred, I see more bikes and motor cycles---not loud ones, but small quiet ones.

Annie, Esi and Anastasia came up to ABH with me, and we worked all afternoon on getting the details recorded on each WHH Scholar---family situation, why they need a home, current situation, etc. They just left, and I'm going to relax a little. Many extremely sad stories---they have done a good job of selecting truly needy kids, I think.

Here's Friday and yesterday's:
I just spent half an hour getting into the Netmail service, composing, only to have it all disappear somewhere when I tried to send. I

I really enjoyed Chamsou and Lo. They are really good, gracious, gentle, caring people. She joined in our meetings, although she knows little English. Really great folks. Of course, I invited them to connect with us when/if they/he is in Seattle area.

Well, that's off my chest. Now on to the good news. Yesterday was a good day---we started off with Chamsou (Boeing rep) and I and Lo, his wife, going to the building site at about 8:30. We spent about half an hour looking at everything, taking photos, etc. He was positively impressed, had a lot of questions. The workers are making really good progress---working hard and skillfully. Mostly it's the masons and plasterer now, but Michael says on Monday they'll start the roof. He is anxious because of the long delay and the rains are coming. Michael has the solar all worked out---says using the roof is just major unnecessary expense. If we install, we will put on a stand, like the Hot Water systems here at ABH. Plenty of proper exposure, he says.

Then back to ABH for the WHH Board meeting. Good meeting. Discussed name change but took no action yet, decided to go for water pipe AND bore hole, agreed that a Polytank is an absolute necessity, discussed a less expensive fence, etc. Then we joined Chamsou and went over to the Dist Chief Exec office to meet with Mr. E., all but one of the elected assembly members, some other officials. Patrick is an assembly man so he was there, too, kind of for both them and us. James went over the whole plan, blueprints, status, etc. They were very receptive, very positive. Felicia (from our gender dialog) is an assembly woman and also works at Manye Academy, and was a very positive advocate. She said the Assembly members should finish off the playfield behind Manye, and asked for support for that. They were all very enthusiastic about the whole project, I thought. Very very positive. It was really a great feeling. They, too, gently suggested taking the "Christian" out of the name, because they want it to belong to the whole community. James is following the proper route and will bring it to a vote at next Board mtg.

Finally, the DCE looked at everyone, and said "This is our baby. We need to support it. We will provide the water pipe and fix the road"! Well, people clapped! He didn't mention "when", but this is good news, nevertheless. Also, Annie told me today he'd promised both a pipe and borehole, so, if that happens, we'll be in good shape. When we left, our WHH people were ecstatic. The Dist Chief Exec said he'd come to see me at the hotel. Later that evening, one of the staff came to get me and two of the DCE’s assistants were here saying he regretted he could not meet me that evening (which I hadn't quite caught on was the plan, but I would have been happy to host him). I thanked him for the barracuda, after the meeting, and he laughed! James said he thought he'd had to go to the Regional Minister to get it approved. Not sure if that is true. He also said that at least one of the Assembly members should serve on the WHH board. I'm hoping maybe Felicia will, but James will know which one to choose. I think Father Paul will also come on board.

Ravyn, it was at the Board meeting described above, which was in full swing when you called, and we'd all just promised not to answer our cell phones. I really was so sorry, but I really couldn't talk then. Maybe it was just as well, since I have included a lot more info since I talked to you.

Then, on to the ABH where we WHH people met for another 3 hour w/Chamsou. Michael Biney, the contractor, also joined us. Chamsou had a lot of questions which the WHH people answered very forthrightly. In the end, he said he thought it was a very good project, he was very impressed by the quality of the facility, and like them, he has concerns about its distance from town but he feels they addressed it, and he really liked the relationship in distance from and also the nature of Manye Acad. He said he'd like to help us more, and gave us (me esp.) info about applying for a grant for 2007! He said he preferred to work with our US organization because we'd gone through the Boeing process for being a trustworthy, reliable organization, properly registered, etc.(rather then WHH directly---so they very formally requested me to represent them and follow up, etc) So, he and I talked more later. Since the grant money was available only two days before I'd left for Ghana (having cleared three banks), it's a little hard to say exactly how we used what we have, but we of GCJ need to report on the Boeing website by June 6 as to progress, and then write a new grant request. He stressed having a plan, knowing your outcomes, etc. He was positively impressed by the Board, I think, as to the quality and focus. Well, they were very happy about the whole business. He mentioned working together on infrastructure over 3-4 years!

After all that, I tried to send out email or blog or something, but no...the African Internet God was not with me/has utterly abandoned me, I guess.

So, then comes this mammoth thunderstorm---lightening, thunder, pounding rain, high waves, etc. When it subsided, I ventured to the restaurant and joined Chamsou and Lo for a light supper and of course, the storm resumed, leaving us in the dark. Thanks for headlamp, Rich---worked great---we dined by headlamp light, and the staff all wanted to know how it worked, how much it cost, etc. It was amazing how that little light lit up the whole area, really. This went on most of the night, back and forth. And today was actually "cool"--as in Washington State type temperatures, but much more humid. But a relief. And just to make sure, Florence left two sheets for me tonight in case I get cold--not much chance of that!

Today another surprise. I happened to notice the calendar in the office had "April" up and a photo of the Skagit Valley! I said to the receptionist that it was a photo of my own home valley. She was amazed, and then said that on May 7 another guest, a guy, had mentioned that it was HIS home valley and he was amazed that they had it! Of course, she is new and didn't know us from before. Of course, since this was Ghana, they told me name, description, parts of his conversations, etc. He is Michael O. from Anacortes. I have heard of Michael---he does development work---but have not met him. Unfortunately, we did not connect, even though I'm in room 13 and he was in room 14! I noticed two young-ish, nice looking guys around, but... I'll call him when I get back. The staff is appropriately somewhat flabbergasted by this event, with two of us from the same spot. They see very few Americans, after all, as compared to Europeans and Africans, and from the same place?!

Then, Frank showed up. Yesterday he had worked on the office computer and got all the activations done from the Trial Software to the real stuff, a few more updates, and loaded Encarta. The half hour internet part of the task took five hours and cost me 150,000 cedis. He also sent you all an email, I believe. This is "reality" at this time; I’m not sure why. Last week everything was working quite well with the Ethernet. They blame it on the weather, but…. Today he came a bit early and helped me get ready for the GCJ Ghana alum group. We had a little time and he pumped me with “computer” questions---Leif had told him, he said, to learn all he could from me. Well, I tried to share whatever knowledge I might have. Tonight I just refused to pay for half the time Sammy seemed a little crestfallen, but I told him if you go to a restaurant and don't get anything to eat, it's not fair to make the person pay. He agreed.

Leif, you are doing a wonderful job coaching Frank. He is so motivated, so grateful, and, compared to when I was with him last fall, so MUCH more knowledgeable---it's just so great to see. He will keep the administrator password and told me he has no money to donate to WHH, but he will donate his abilities and time to help Anastasia as she needs it. That is just so great.

Frank and Patrick were on time; Gifty came about 1.5 hours late. Annie and Esi were 2.5 hours late. But, nevertheless, Dina, Gifty, JC, Patrick, Bentil, Annie, Esi, Frank and I were there. James and Justine were doing a motivational talk at a SS. JJ is 7th day Aventist and Sat is not good for him. Mustapha is the new Deputy Head master at a private SS in the middle of the country and couldn't come. Steve was at his Mother's funeral. Highlight was the 45 minute discussion going through items in the Town Hall notes. Finally, I suggested very gingerly, that perhaps they might consider....holding a public Town hall Followup meeting. They were a bit skeptical, but I could tell they wanted to do it. I suggested that if they would find it helpful, perhaps Barbara could assist them since she's been trained in Appreciative Inquiry, and would be here in Sept. That seemed to galvanize them---they were determined to go ahead on their own, without our help. They didn’t feel they need training. They have also experienced AI with a USAID program and know how to do it. They decided right then and there to do it themselves (nothing to do with you, BJG just more or less got them focused on what they wanted to do---this is rheir baby). And they decided to do it BEFORE we come, on the third Tues. in July. Then the ideas just came flowing out---finally Gifty insisted on a talking object to keep the discussion reasonable! They really got their collective juices going. They more or less planned the whole thing right then and there, right down to who would do what and when, including where to find cardboard for writing on. I said I still have some magic markers in my suitcase, and will leave all of them. Frank took a copy of the Town Hall Notes on his thumb drive, and Bentil offered the paper to print copies for each GCJ person, plus Constance and a couple of other women they will ask to help. They agreed to invite all who had been there before and aim for 100 people, and hold it in the new WHH building if it's ready. I was spellbound. I suggested that we North Americans might help a little bit with expenses if they think it would be helpful. They said they'd let me know! This may or may not end up being the most perfect AI session, but it will be a perfect Town Hall Meeting!!

Then another big surprise. At the beginning of the meeting, JC rather formally introduced me and welcomed me. Then, according to the agenda, I had to make a speech. So, I briefly summarized some happenings, including the new journeys being planned for Burundi and Nigeria in 2008. Then, I was knocked off my feet by JC saying that he would like to be a delegate to Burundi, to join the non-Burundians part of the delegation there!! They all concurred that this would be exactly what they want to happen. They are serious. SUSAN, CAN WE POSSIBLY MAKE THIS HAPPEN? I think it would be great. I realize it would be a bit of a stretch with training, etc., but he's such an insightful, articulate, intelligent, and warm guy, that I think it would work. And he is trained already, one might say. I suggested that since Burundi is poorer than Ghana, perhaps they would have to assume some of the expenses, just as we had to for Ghana, which is poorer than the US. That didn't seem to phase them too much”in fact, they agreed! I guess we'll need to think about it, but really, this is a terrific development, in my opinion. (The airfare will be a problem for them, I think.) I told them that the latest I'd heard was the possibility of working together on a well/borehole as the legacy project, which they thought was a great idea---they are well aware of the Hutu/Tutsi situation, and they just want to be involved---Africans working together one said (can't remember who) put it. He asked me to find out how he could apply.

Patrick spoke eloquently about how, as assembly man, he goes around his district each morning and urges all the children to go to school. He is really a motivated man. Just a terrific guy.
Not only Patrick's father, but also Stephen's mother, and Bentil's mother (Aunt actually, but assumes mother position when the biological mother dies) have died in the last week. Bentil's brother also died this week, and a couple of Gifty's cousins recently.

Well, you'll get the minutes from Frank at some point, so I won't go into everything. I used the some of the gift money from you guys to buy a nice lunch (including Dina and Gifty's sons), and I would say we had a really good meeting and a good time. So thanks for the help, esp. Diana, and we enjoyed the chicken and fried rice a lot. I told Gifty I would wire her money as soon as I get back and know for certain what has cleared the bank on our end. She was fine with that.
Jerome, Dina and Frank have seen to the young man's college. They have helped him do all the registration paperwork, and in June he will have to do more forms. Dina has the money and she and Frank assured me they will pay for him when he starts in September, which is the start of the new year. He had to wait until then to start.

That's about it. I'm zonked, but kind of hyped--hence this long conversation. Had to talk to someone!!. I'll try to get this out sometime tomorrow. I will meet Bentil at the Meth. Church tomorrow. Time to sing a little!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

News Flash! Today the GCJ Ghanaian alums decided to host a Town Hall Followup to be held on third Tues in July, probably in the new WHH facility!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Good evening,

Another excellent day. Spent the am working on James’ drafts of job descriptions, including one for the responsibilities of the Board. Not real exciting, but we want drafts to give to the Board on Wed.
In pm, we (Esi, Annie, Anastasia and I) went out to the Nursing Institute. There we met John, first of all, who introduced us to Patricia Odot and Sabina Bilson. They were most cordial. P and S gave us a very good review of the public health aspects of our children’s home---not just sanitation, but hygiene in general, medical examinations, nine vaccinations for children provided free by gov’t, need for bednets and general malaria prevention actions, inspections by various officials, requirements, etc. I will type up a formal report for Board and Esi. Anastasia took good notes---we’re practicing on doing the various duties of her job. The computer we brought for the Nursing School is not well---they sent it to be repaired because the charger is not working. The question is whether to order one from the company. Hmm. Does anyone have any wisdom on this that I could pass on to them? They seemed unsure if it was the battery that couldn’t be charged, or the actual charger. Are we sure it was ok for 240?

We also discussed water---they are for the pipe method. Annie is starting to think that way, too, although she still likes bore holes, because once they have them, they have water forever, power or no power to run the pumps. But, the public health nurses were pretty adamant that we should use the pipe, if at all possible, and have a polytank to store water for washing, garden, emergency, etc. Barbara, Bo emailed me the Mercer Is. Rotary “World Committee” is still reviewing our request for funds for the polytank and stand. Could you perhaps give him a call? I can send out emails, but laboriously only via the webmail site. # is (206) 275-0426. He has the pro forma invoice, description, etc.

While rendezvousing at Bentil’s and just before leaving for Nursing school, who should appear but Constance! She’d heard I was in town. She said at least 10 women wanted to meet with me to report on what they’ve been doing with what they learned in the women's workshop!! Isn’t that terrific?!! So, she’s going to set it up and let me know. I told her about the DVD I have about the charcoal out of coconut husks, and they want to see it. Thank goodness I brought the little RadioShack portable speaker for my computer. I hope it all works. Where’s Tom when I need him, or Jeanie for nursing stuff, or Diana for women, or … where are you all anyway?? I could stand a little help, if you don’t mind…if at least a few of you could interrupt your busy, busy schedules….

Then back to my “office”---could do worse than working out of #13, overlooking the Atlantic!! We can’t use Word, Excel, etc., yet, because we’ll wait until Frank comes with the “real” disks. We don’t want to just get the 60 day trials going, only to have to redo the activation when he comes because hooking to the internet is a real pain. But, we started in with Quicken. Today we got all the deposits entered for the bank statements we had. One was missing, which Patrick will get tomorrow---Anastasia should be able to do that, but James hasn’t given the authorization for her, yet. We’ve decided to pretend the currency system is already done and the Ghana Cedi is in place (10,000 will equal 1 after June 30, I believe) so that the whole of 2007 will “work” decimal point-wise. She did very well. Had to be taught how to “round up” and “round down”, but basically she loved it. She wants shirts designed with the WCHH logo, etc. and asked if I thought Americans might buy them too. I said I thought maybe about 15 would (did I hear a “yes” just now…?). This because it’s the “in” thing here---workers are all getting shirts alike---here at ABH everyone wears “the shirt” every day, including managers, etc. They talk about “their team” now, too. And the bigger companies, like the port at Tema, have special shirts for Fridays, etc they told me. All the shirts seem to have the Ghana color scheme of yellow, green, red, and black. The only thing missing at ABH seems to be customers---we had quite a few but now they’ve thinned out. Too bad—it’s just such a nice place.

Then, just as I was walking Anastasia to the taxi stand, who should appear but Benard from the Ghana Water Board, who Ravyn and I had met before!! He had come up to email Ravyn and also to see if I was here. The network is percolating, I guess. We talked briefly about developments on the water stuff. He said the World Bank is getting involved, but not in the “main” town of Axim, where the need is so great. He needed to go, but we agreed to meet with Stephen at their office on Thursday or Friday, and with my map. So, I will before them review the school notebook with Ravyn’s notes before that. Thank goodness you gave it to me, Ravyn!

And some more learnings: Old Soldier wants Hillary for Pres because he thinks America needs healing and therefore a woman will be best. Anastasia also wants Hillary, because if we get a woman maybe Ghana will, too. She and I are learning internet searching by finding contact info for Oprah, because she wants to invite Oprah to our dedication (I explained the concept of “long shot” to her!). There are a lot of one-man boats out there line fishing (in open ocean)---for some reason I hadn’t seen them before. Seems dangerous, but they say not when the water is calm.

I put out the word that I will not ride in a taxi without a seat belt. They not only get the seat belt working, but rather elaborately wipe it off with a cloth and the seat, too, for good measure, and they circle me a lot, hoping that I succumb, I guess, and will need a ride. And I haven’t mentioned the weather, but succumbing would be entirely a natural thing. It is hot, and very. very wet. I think it’s worse than before---it’s fairly dry in the morning and by about 7:00 at night, there’s water on the tables, but it hasn’t rained. In picking up Old S yesterday, I heard a call and it was the Queen Mother herself in her very ordinary house, cooking a meal outdoors in front for her grandchildren, including beautiful twin girls, that she proudly introduced to me. A happy humble, very basic woman I think, with piles of wrapped kenke around, etc. She told me Mahara said her food “smells of Africa” and gave me some to smell. I asked her what her responsibilities were: she said anything the king asks. She said she also has land, and if anyone needs it, she will give, even to me. Barbara, she would make a good interviewee for you, I think. And at church Sunday, we “Amas” (all the people born on Saturday) won the offering! The custom is to dance up to the offering basket with your birth day mates, and you do this several times. It’s kind of a contest to see which birth day mate groups contribute the most. Hmmm…I threw in 10,000 (US $1 but quite a lot here). Do you suppose….?

Annie told me they tried to teach the children how to sit in circles and “share” when they had the Easter party, but instead of the 50 or so they had in mind, 600 children showed up! Forget circles!! Justine was there and said it was really fun, but a madhouse. Finally one of the young guys came and just put on some music, loud, and everyone danced and had a blast. They had chicken meals, which the adults broke apart with their bare hands to try to have enough. Justine said it was a “loaves and fishes” day. They are new to all of this and learning as they go.

Didn’t go to the site today. Just too much else going on. Tomorrow, Manye School, then James is coming to work on site and Board stuff, and A and I will continue to work on the financial recordkeeping.

And yes, the sunsets are gorgeous, the magic is here on this bluff over the ocean. Did I mention how much fun this is?
Goodnight. Next time…Maryanne

Sunday, May 06, 2007

These are our kids that were at Manye the day I visited. Many were not there---it was the first day of the new term. Annie can't WAIT to get them into the facility so she can make sure they go to school every day. I met each of these kids, matched their names to my little photo album, gave them a letter from my wonderful book group friends, and in general it was a great day. We were yelling "bozo". One of the teachers practiced with us, and then took this shot.
Hi all,

Below is yesterday’s---Esi, Annie, and Old Soldier just left. I went to church with Esi and Annie---to the Catholic church. Really nice service, and I appreciated that Father Paul summarized his sermon to me, during the service, in English. Great music. Esi spoke a few times during the service---she’s really a gifted speaker, I think. She also introduced me and mentioned WCHH which I appreciated. I spoke briefly with Father Paul and both extended the invitation James had asked me to extend for him to join the WCHH Board, and also asked him to contact Jerome with a specific project with objective, problem that would be solved, bill of materials, costs, etc. He laughed and said he would, and that he knew Americans always wanted all the details. Yes, we do!!! Then I brought the three of them back here for lunch and a good talk about many things, esp. politics, water in the community, etc. It was fun, a day of rest and relaxation which I was really feeling the need for, and informative, too. Such great people---we call ourselves “the four old soldiers.”

Here are my notes from yesterday. The power was down, the internet finally came up, but so weak a signal that I couldn’t get anything, so. Here you are:

First THE HIGHLIGHT DAY OF KUNDUM IS OFFICIALLY SEPT 15. WE WILL PROBABLY HAVE A DEDICATION FOR OUR FIRST BUILDING THE 12TH OR 13TH. We've having a WCHH Board meeting on Wed., and I will try to get the dedication date nailed down, but Kundum is for sure, per Bentil..

I'm typing this off-line and hoping it will paste. My internet bill has been mounting. Finally got the "office" computer updated---107 updates. The power failed 7 times and I think Leif is a total hero for getting the UPS battery gadget in place! It took 13.5 hours to just to do the updates! I am now the Update Queen of Axim. To celebrate, we are going to have a durbar, and we will incinerate every Windows 98 and earlier computer within 50 miles of Axim. We will put the ashes in a fancy Ghanaian coffin, go down to the beach, and head it to America. Kind of a spiritual home for the souls of obsolete computers and perhaps the most appropriate moral resting place for the hazardous waste therein. Watch for it!!

The day started with a call from John A at 5:40 am, asking about how it went with my journey to find "veronica buckets." He was disappointed I hadn't see the biggest one, but I think I get the idea. It's a little bit challenging to wake up and appear engaged over veronica buckets at that time of the day! He's very energetic and passionate, though, about his work. So who was I to complain?

Then came the perfect breakfast, which I have discovered: koko (sour maize porridge), fresh pineapple juice, and Milo with a touch of instant coffee.

About internet--today the ABH got wireless back. The 35? km radius is not yet in place, but Jonas and James talked today about a signal sharing deal, so...moving right along.

Today James and I went to WTI, met Hajara (first time for us to meet), and had a nice little ceremony with the three "scholarship girls" -- Elizabeth, Gifty, and Matilda -- that Diana is sponsoring. They all three want to do catering, but they may change their minds when they see the options. James discussed the practical aspects of catering with Hajara and the girls, per Diana's comments that the restaurants need people with practical hands-on cooking experience and not just theoretical. We made it into a nice little ceremony with the certificates Diana had made, and the check for whatever $645 is in cedias at 9100. Diana, James had not passed on the earlier wire to Hajara, because he thought it would be nice for me to give it all at once. James giving a little speech of welcome and encouragement, and Hajara and the assist. head mistress weighing in as well. Hajara was wearing her "HIV/AIDS avoid unprotected sex" t-shirt. We also visited the computer lab, which inspired the above comments. 20 computers, Here are the models: IBM 433x/s and Dell 425s/NP. Anyway, also gave Hajara pens and your package Diana. She was extremely pleased with the whole thing, I thought. She gave me costs, etc. for the girls for a three-year stint, which I'll share with you later, Diana.

After WTI, on to stop in at the government resident of Mr. Ellimah, the mayor. Wasn't sure whether or not to thank him for the barracuda, so I kept quiet. James said we were just dropping in, but he did come out wearing his GCJ shirt, so...it must have been planned. He was very very cordial. We sat on his little covered area, overlooking the town and with ocean view. He said the British had built the place as the governor's house, and chose a good vantage point. We discussed the Town hall results, and I think he was a little surprised, and maybe slightly amused, when I hauled out the thirteen pages of notes which I have been carrying around for days in case such a meeting should happen. ! I told him I was aware already of two achievements: the lights on the boat problem has been solved according to many reports (people are sort of reporting to me as I walk around town...) and believe it or not, the streets are being tarred! Of course, I'm sure it was in the works long before our visit, but I brought it up that it was one of the top priorities that came out of the meeting. And this is true: main street, the street by Bentil's office and the other one leading from the castle are or are being tarred. The dust is really controlled a lot by this! It's amazing. The only drawback, which I brought to his attention, is that the taxi drivers are even going faster, and people have to be even more vigilant. I suggested perhaps thinking about speed bumps. I thought that was about enough of suggestions from me. We discussed the WCHH building project, and he was very positive. Said the town is growing rapidly in that direction, and it's a good addition to facilities. I asked him about that---growing rapidly??? He said yes, and I didn’t prob too much. I brought up my two main concerns: water and the road to the WCHH facility. But he assured me the pumping station at the turn-off is close enough that a pipe will do it, and indicated they would fill in the road with gravel until it was permanently fixed, because of the new residents going in up there. I hope he's both right and sincere. He thanked us and, like the king, said he appreciated our practical modest approach. I told him that a friend (Barbara, your friend James B) had suggested cataloging the native plants, esp. herb types, as a possible labor-intensive cash crop. He told me who to contact. Meanwhile, after we left, who should knock our own car window but the very guy who handles the "Parks and Gardens" facility, so I think Mr. A had called him to flag us down.

Also, was flagged down by OLD SOLDIER! He was happy to see me and will come to see me at ABH after church tomorrow. I'm going Catholic tomorrow, with Esi, so I can connect with Father Paul to both invite him to be active on the WCHH Board, and also with Jerome's request to put together a specific need and accompanying budget.

Back to Mr. A because I also brought up the water situation in the town and our desire to extend water availability. He said the good news is that the World Bank is going to do a major water development project to encompass the town (Ravyn, do you hear the drums pounding?). But, he also said that perhaps we could get some help in some very poor Muslim neighborhoods, or mixed Christian/Muslim that are pretty far from town center, and won't get water for a while, even though World Bank is funding it. They have to start with existing pipes and build out. Anyway, he said on Monday he would get someone to contact me and give me details. I told him that might be something we go work on through Ravyn etc. Conversation ended with Mr. E saying he'd come to the ABH with more info on this. A good meeting, I thought. He said he had the Town Hall notes, and seemed pretty familiar with the contents, considering his position, etc. I told him I'd heard him speak briefly at the durbar in Nkroful, which seemed to be something positive for him.

Anyway, then to pick up a bunch of chicken and rice lunches for the workers and then to the building site. The far part is completely done now as to walls, windows, etc. The masons and plasterer were working today. The walls on the Manye side are just about at full height--I'd say two more rows will do it. James seemed pleased, but he is pushing, which I'm glad to see. He said he will come on Tuesday to make his presence felt.

Then we went out to Lou Moon for lunch, which was about half as good as lunch at the ABH---I wasn't very impressed. It's a nice resort, with a really nice beach, but I like the ABH better, in terms of view. It's run by a Belgian guy who has designed it himself.

Wanted to say I met Henry and Veronica Tetteh. I think he is a pastor who does literacy work. They knew Mahara, and he mentioned her "strength", and by the way he flexed his muscles, I don't think he was referring to spiritual strength! "My God," he said, "she walked miles! "

I forgot to say earlier that Esi is on the Board of Advisors for Manye Academy, so that is good for our kids.

My goal in the next couple of days is really to prepare for the Board mtg. I have a lot of concerns about going forward, plans, responsibilities, etc.

So, dear readers, another chapter. Oh, BTW, Patrick has formally discussed with Esi, Annie, and Anastasia that in his opinion the "Christian" should be dropped from WCHH! They are in complete agreement, Esi esp. because the headmaster of Manye is Muslim and expressed his concern, she said. They approached me, but I told them they'd have to petition the Board and make their wishes known to all of us. I'm personally entirely positive and Rich and I campaigned for this at the get-go, but....the wheels turn.... And speaking of Patrick: I've heard lot about death and funerals, which I'll share when I get back. Most of our folks seem to have had multiple funerals since we left. I made the unilateral decision to "help" Patrick with some extra food and water, etc. which he seems to really appreciate, because in my judgment, the funeral thing is just too complex for us to get involved in. It's just basically a family thing and I kind of feel it's better if we don't get directly involved in it because it's really complicated and we inevitably would not be fair to all, or get it quite right. Hope that's OK with all of you,.

Goodnight for now! Maryanne