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