The village school had no windows. Just open holes and brown wooden shutters in the rough rendered walls underneath the corrugated iron roof. It was amazing to hear the children laughing as they played; finding joy as children so often do, even though each one of them had tragic stories to tell of loss, suffering and bereavement.
These were the children that EMIUK was called to serve on this trip to Fintey, in the Eastern Region of Ghana, 3 hours drive up country north of Accra.
Working with Closecare Ministries, a British agency new to Ghana, we were asked to design an orphanage and a school to provide a home, education and care for about a hundred and fifty of these children and we went in the rainy season to do this work in June this year. It was such a privilege to serve God and these children in this way.
Typical of the children were three young boys who would one day be going to the new home and school that we designed:
Lawson was 10 years old and, sitting there in his orange T-shirt, he told us how he had cried when his parents had died, probably because of AIDS, and how he was now living with aging Grandparents. Lawson wants to be a carpenter but there are no facilities to help him learn this in Fintey so, without help and long term care from Closecare Ministries, and like most of the young men in this region, he would probably never have achieve that dream, perhaps dying himself of the same illness that claimed his parents.
Godsway was 8 years old and lived in a mixed house near the school in Fintey. His mother died giving birth to him and his father has gone. Godsway says that he would like to be a policeman. He said…with a glint in his eye …’because they can get lots of money’.
Like much of Africa, Ghana has a corruption problem and it was sad in some ways to hear from someone so young that he expected the way to a better life was to adopt the corrupt lifestyle. With Closecare Ministries’ help though, and helped by EMIUK, Godsway and children like him will learn to live better lives and fulfil their dreams in a better way.
Confidence was only 4 years old. Looking very sombre in his green T-shirt and borrowed blue hat, he proved to be already good at ‘high fives’. Confidence told us that he wanted to be a driver. Since the death of his parents, he lives temporarily with people who are not his family and has no security for where he will be in the future. One of the problems that Confidence has, along with most of the rest of the children we spoke to in Fintey, was the lack of a male role model. Children were growing up without an example of how to live other than in unemployment and alcoholism. Closecare, in the facilities that EMIUK have designed for them, will be bringing a number of men into these children’s lives to help them grow as people of God and as caring responsible adults.
All of the children we spoke to had suffered a number of bouts of Malaria which is endemic in this region. All had lost family or friends to this sickness because of poor or expensive medical treatment. It was very evident to us that the care and medical treatment that Closecare would be giving to fight malaria would literally save lives on a daily basis, not just of the children in their care but also of the wider community of Fintey.
These are the people that we were serving. These are the children that, because of our work with Closecare Ministries, will become the Ghana of tomorrow. From here will come the countries carpenters, policemen and drivers. From here will come Christian people who will bring spiritual and physical relief in the same way that it has been brought to them.
Linda Williams of Closecare Ministries (to the right of this picture) said of EMIUK’s work ‘What you have done is fantastic. Your work will bring life and health and hope to these children and I am incredibly encouraged to see a way forward that we, as Closecare Ministries, can go from here.’
Gathered by God from Ghana, UK, Australia and USA, it was a privilege for all of us to work together as a team…bringing a world of hope to these children in Ghana.