Already at the beginning of my trip I had a very strange feeling. Had I forgotten something? Has the flight been cancelled, will my luggage go missing? I knew that something was going to happen…As it turned out, I was right. At the check in point it became apparent, that I was only allowed 2x 23kg luggage allowance instead of, as was otherwise usual, 2x 32kg. After a long discussion I then had to pay an extra 80 dollars – how annoying! This money I paid of course out of my own pocket and did not use any of your generous donations! But as if that wasn’t enough yet; the rest of the journey shaped up to be quite unpleasant. After a 20 hour stopover in Istanbul and an extremely tiring and long flight to Ghana I arrived in Accra, completely exhausted… Once again I had the feeling, that something was not quite right…with myself…
ach passenger must undergo a medical examination due to the current problem regarding Ebola…My feelings had not deceived me: Something was in fact wrong with me. During the Ebola control the thermometer showed a temperature of 39,5°. Drat, a fever, that had just been missing. The airport crew grew extremely alarmed: Was I the first case of Ebola in Ghana? I had certainly not been looking to win that particular medal!!! It took me hours to persuade the people in charge that I had in fact already had a slight cold in Germany and that my fever was nothing more than a harmless by-product of my runny nose and my scratchy throat…I did not want to be brought into a Ghanaian hospital, not for any price in the world…Thankfully I was saved having to go to hospital, however only under the condition, that I take several different “miracle cures”…The travelling God’s bad mood was however, not quite over yet: The journey from Accra to Nkawkaw took double as long, believe it or not 8 hours, due to construction work and the, as ever, bad roads! The next morning the strain of the journey was however quickly forgotten, finally I could see the “children” again: Kudjo, Gershon, Lamptey, Prince and also the small ones were there, they were all there! My fever was all but forgotten…
The first day in Ghana is traditionally reserved for an XXL-shopping tour at the market. And so also this time we bought lots of food for the whole gang for some collective cooking…Because the house is always especially full when someone from GhanAid comes to visit…They day began with a service at Kudjos church. He is such a big part of the church community that he even takes over parts of the church service! I was extremely proud of him, especially as he even translated parts of the service into English for me!! After church it was time to drive up to the mountains, to Obomeng and Mpraeso. There I went to visit Roman and Ernest. Roman is still unsure, of what his further path in life shall be, although he is very interested in becoming a taxi driver. The next months will show, if he can really make this into his job. Ernest is doing very well, however soon he will have to say “goodbye” to Mpraeso and “hello” to becoming an officer: He was accepted into the Army! In Ghana it is a large privilege to be part of the army. A better social standing as well as a high salary awaits those who manage to get into the army, and to join the army had been Ernest’s big dream. Finally, after a very long wait, he received his letter of acceptance. He is extremely happy and dreams of one day using his salary to help and support the younger children of Tomo-Ni.
At the beginning of the following week I was finally able to see Esther again and to talk to her teacher. Due to having moved a few times in the past years she is currently the youngest in her class, has however quickly found her place in the class and is showing good results. We hope that she will be able to stay in this school. So far Esther has had an especially tough time in life so far, so maybe it is a good thing that (albeit unplanned) she is being allowed a bit more time. We have no doubt that she will go her way as she is a very intelligent girl and has always been quick to learn. She was extremely happy about the presents from her sponsors Dana and Michi. At this point, thank you very much to both of you! In the evening the boys surprised me with my favourite national dish “Fufu”. What an indulgence! As a thank you I made pancakes in the morning for everyone…Probably every child’s favourite food…Despite pancakes being an unknown dish in Ghana our children are not much different than many German children: After the first taste of this sweet, fatty round piece of dough it immediately becomes one of their top 10 favorite meals! Midweek Doritha came to visit us in Nkawkaw and we both drove to Obomeng to visit her daughter. As we had already reported Doritha did not want to finish her apprenticeship as a hairdresser. It was unclear for a long time what Doritha’s new path in life would be and after keeping afloat with occasional jobs here and there she finally decided to move to Kumasi. She is now working there in an Indian restaurant. Sadly Doritha has decided not to take her daughter Christiana with her. She decided it was better to leave Christiana in her familiar surroundings. A decision such as this one is hard for us to understand, yet not unusual in Ghana. Of course we would have preferred to see Christiana growing up with her mother but we must accept Doritha’s decision to give her daughter into the care of a good friend. When we arrived at the school Christiana came running and flung her arms around her mother’s neck straight away, she also recognised me. How big she has become!
We ended the day by visiting Mensah in Konongo. He was also very happy to see is “brothers and sisters” again and we spent a nice time together in his new house. He has certainly made a very positive change and takes his work very seriously at the restaurant. We are extremely proud of Mensah for holding his job in the restaurant for such a long time. He has even managed to save up some money. He would like to build his own home with this money. He doesn’t want to stay in the restaurant for ever but he has finally understood that working will help him realise his big dream of one day owning his own piece of land. His savings do not quite suffice yet but, if everything works out as planned (and with a little support from GhanAid) then his dream should soon be more tangible…He would really earn it.
On the seventh day of my sty in Ghana we visited Nana Yaw in his village where we met a small bright young man who was just playing with his friends. He is doing very well and he seems to really be enjoying school. We are extremely relieved that his speechlessness regarding adults is now a part of the past. He now finds school so much easier! His living situation is however worrying us a little. His grandmother is looking after him very well she does however work very hard despite her ripe age. She has now mentioned a few times that she will not be able to look after the boy forever. She is also not getting any younger… But currently he is doing very well and, especially seeing as how much better his social problems have become, we are sure that it would be best for him to stay in the same place for as long as is possible. During our visit we gave him the presents from his sponsors in Germany: he was extremely happy about them, thank you so much to Miriam and Marcell for thinking of Nana Yaw and supporting him!!! Finally our sunshine Kezia came to Nkawkaw and spent the entire weekend with us! That way we were able to cook together and chat late into the night… We then took the opportunity on Saturday to drive to Koforidua to visit Eric, P, K, Ruth and James. It was a lovely day. First we drove to Ruth’s house and had a long conversation with her foster mother and her, seeing as there had been some problems lately between the young lady and her foster mother. But let’s be honest, this accursed time of not yet being an adult and yet not being a child anymore was difficult for us all, wasn’t it? We hope that the situation at home will soon improve for everyone. After our chat she very proudly showed us her last school reports which have gone to prove that she has been a very industrious scholar. She has especially been enjoying the artistic lessons which GhanAid had additionally paid for. After that we made our way to Eric and his younger brothers. Once again I was exclaiming (like one of those annoying aunts) “my have you grown up!” I’m afraid that soon they will have finally outgrown me and will no longer be one of the “small” ones. They all had big smiles plastered onto their faces as they saw us and were able to surprise us with very good English and good sport achievements. For P and K are the fastest sprinters at their school of which they are both very proud. Also otherwise the family is doing very well and feel at ease. There are however, as always, many decisions which are hard for me to understand as a German, for instance: Eric is top of his class and yet he has to repeat the year he is in again. Why? The class was to big so 10 scholars were randomly picked to repeat the year. They didn’t pick those whom it may have done some good to repeat the year anyway, instead a completely random choice of scholars have been picked to repeat the year and to therefore solve the problem of the crowded class. Unbelievable but well, Ghana. We simply have to things the way they are and who knows, maybe it’s not the worst thing for Eric if the big decision on what to do after school can wait a little longer? Before we had to say goodbye we were able to make the boys very happy by giving them pencils and school material. Also Eric was extremely happy about the clothes from his German sponsors. Thank you Steffi and Michel!
Later we visited James in a small village just outside of Koforidua. The village inhabitants greeted us very heartily and wanted to sell us a big bucket of big snails for our supper. I was relieved when Eric kindly declined, although he did think about it…James is doing very well but because he is still waiting to be accepted by the police force he spontaneously decided to come along with us for a few days to Nkawkaw. Therefore he was able to spend some time with his “brothers” Kudjo, Gershon, Lamptey and Prince and then join us on our traditional trip to the lake…The highlight of my visit to Ghana is, as every year, our visit to Gershon’s parents next to the Volta Lake. This excursion is my personal present to the children. We started our journey on Sunday: We had to rent 3 cars for the 20 excursionists. After the drive over the many bumpy roads everyone was happy when we finally arrived…The village inhabitants greeted us heartily and a cluster of children began running behind our car. It is not only a special visit for our Tomo-Ni children but also for the village inhabitants. For as in the past years we once again brought into this secluded village many pieces of clothing, food, soap and of course some sweets along for the younger ones. It was like Christmas for everyone…Just not in December. After some bathing fun we shared out what we had brought with us. Especially the children’s clothes made many a face glow. At this point we would like to thank the Judo club in Leipzig who had also supported us last year with numerous children’s clothes. A hearty thank you to Juliane and her friends for donating the beautiful children’s clothes. Thank you!!! Despite concentrating on supporting the children of “Tomo-Ni” it is overwhelming to see, that the readiness to help us in Germany is so big that there is even enough left over to make a few more children happy.
I spent my last few days visiting all of the children once more and saying goodbye to them again. How fast the time has passed once more, barely arrived and yet almost time to say goodbye again…On both sides there is always the one or the other tear, but I know that it won’t be long until I’ll feel the red sand beneath my feet again and be seeing my gang of rascals again. To conclude I would like to thank all of you who support our charity and hereby our lovely children. Only through your help are we able to keep such a project up and running over all of these years. Thank you!