a VirtualTourist member
I am in St. Louis, MO. USA. A group from St. Louis will be in Aburi in October. We will spend a day in the Village of Aburi, & hope to mingle with the locals. I have searched and searched the net to locate someone/anyone that can assist me with contacting someone to inform me who or where we can make a donation of school supplies, baby/children clothing or toys. As we are AfricanAmericans we would like to donate Black toys, or what is needed the most. We would also like to visit the House of Akonedi Shrine. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks
Hi, and welcome to VT.......d:o)
Ghana is a favorite country of mine in Africa, and I have been to many of them. I have many great memories, spending some time with the kids in the villages around Accra, and tried to do something to make life a little better, if only for a moment.
What may present a problem for you is using up precious lugguage space for things that you can easily aquire in Accra. Perhaps the notion of "black" toys is a bit misplaced, as whatever is available there is for a country full of black children. Rest assured, not many of them are playing with Malibu Barbies. As a man, of course I was a bit more in tune with the kids, and found that they all have one passion in common. Futbol, or soccer as you know it. I once spent a day just clearing a makeshift field, after seeing some boys kicking a airless, broken ball around. I bought a few balls and some wood and a fishing net, and set up a goal and while I was doing this, some villagers came and joined me with smiles, ladies brought food, of which they did not have much. but gladly shared it. The boys in the village were ecstatic and the laughter and action I watched with the elders while sharing some cold beers. A perfect day.
Aburi is on higher ground so be aware of the difference in heat, r sometimes lack of it. Also Aburi has one of the finest wood carving markets in all of Africa. As for who to talk to, regarding where to bring school supplies, you should easily be able to find the schoolhouses that need them the most without any problems. Most of what you need, you can find in Accra, including chap clothing at market stalls in the city.
I have a page on Ghana. You may find a bit of information there that you may not have been aware of. You can click on the name above my photo, and follow the links to see how I come to know a bit about Ghana. Good luck and have a great journey. You will not be disappointed. Neither will the children who's lives you touch.......d:o)
Sorry, I meant to say that I was a bit more in tune with the boys, and their love for soccer, which I grew up playing in my home country of Iceland........d:o)
What a lovely thought, and an excellent reply from Erik as usual.
I would wholeheartedly agree about the universal language of football: the big advantage of giving something like this is that all the kids can benefit, rather than taking individual gifts, where there is the real risk that someone gets left out.
I would also encourage you to buy locally where you can, as then you are also making a much-appreciated injection of cash into the local economy.
School supplies are an excellent idea, but to make a long term difference, look for items that will last, rather than 'çonsumables'. Perhaps the best idea would be to bring contributions to school libraries, as reading is their key to the future: interesting books that will encourage a child to pick up a book and read (readable biographies of successful people from a similar ethnic group are particularly valuable for older children, who often get left out of such charitable donations and are also looking for inspiration on how to make their own way in the world). Perhaps if there are a few of you in a group, try to achieve a spread of age groups so that nobody feels left out? Reference books are also usually in pitiful supply, so atlases and dictionaries are always useful. Also, when you leave, don't forget to leave behind your own books if you've finished with them!
Many schools have some sort of clinic attached, so items such as thermometers, blood pressure equipment and stethescopes are often in very short supply.
Good luck, and enjopy your trip!
Thanks Cathy, - reading your response, made me think, - "....I should have said that.....". Good one, as always......d:o)
Pleasure, Erik - I think between us, we provide complementary coverage!
Just in terms of (auto)biographies, it is always great if you can achieve a mix of influences. Sadly, most of the most marketable biographies - which are obviously the ones that secure the publishing deals - tend to be for sports stars and musicians, but there are only so many opportunities in these fields! It would be nice to see representation from other career paths if at all possible, and some options for both genders.
One other good option might be, "The Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela (although it is very long). And presumably there are books on Oprah Winfrey?
speaking of books, in Kenya everything written by Barack Obama, and in particular "Dreams of my father" is a hit - and there is even a children book, published both in English and Swahili, on his biography to inspire youngsters to strive for more... From my experience in other African countries, I would say his books would make popular reading at a school in Ghana as well.
As far as toys are concerned, African childres especially in poor or remote areas have great skills to make toys out of nothing - a few rags and wire forming a football, bottle caps and a matchbox being built into a car, etc. Bringing a proper ball along is always a good idea, but I would advise against taking along clothes. Imported second hand clothes have already damaged the African textile industry badly - and when you come to Africa you will see how great fabrics local producers make. Shoes are another thing, though. If you have sandals, sneakers etc in good condition I´m sure they would be very welcome.
If you are willing to make a more lasting effort, you could also consider a school sponsorship, maybe with some friends from home, to help a kid through (secondary) school. not sure how the situation is in Ghana, but here in Kenya only primary school is free (still too expensive for many parents who cannot afford school uniforms, books, material etc) but many smart kids from poor families cannot go on to secondary school despite good results because their parents cannot pay school fees. If you consider something like this, you will need someone on the ground you can trust though - too often sponsorship money ends up in the wallet of a headmaster or teacher.
Excellent suggestion about Obama ... the fact that it didn't occur to me to mention him either indicates that I was operating on very low impulse power this morning, or that I simply don't make a link to his ancestry (which can only be a good sign).