Well, apparently God is ready to start our sponsorship program. The team made it up to Asikuma on Saturday. Yesterday Jake was led to a young family by our hotel owner’s wife. [She, ‘M’, is turning out to be very knowledgeable of individuals in the community who are in dire need.] The family she led Jake to yesterday lives somewhat near to where the ‘baby in the bush’ was found, which is an entirely different section of Asikuma that is….well….back in the ‘bush’ (jungle-like area)….completely secluded away from the town center. Here's a snapshot of the team walking there.
It is likely that we would have never even known this section existed had it not been for ‘M’ and ‘K’ (our in-country staff member) who both had decided separately that this was the trip the team should be taken there. This area of Asikuma is so far away from the other area we are normally in that it is actually governed by a different chief, who Jake and the team also got to meet on this day.
The original reason Jake was led to this family was to meet a young boy, 8 years old named Emmanuel, who is really suffering. The medical problem is this: he was just recently circumcised a few weeks ago which is obviously very late. Jake was told through a translator that he wasn’t circumcised sooner because the family had no money. Then a few weeks ago a woman was going door to door performing circumcisions for families who have no money (oh my!) so his family had him circumcised. Afterwards a massive infection took over his entire genital area, so much so that he cannot even walk or barely move. Jake said it is the most severely grotesque and sad thing that he has ever seen….the swollenness and infection is unimaginable. I can’t even fathom the pain and unsanitary conditions this boy experienced going through that type of circumcision. Right now he sits all day with this cloth wrapped around him, naked underneath – he can’t move, and clearly he is not eating well…
Immediately after meeting Emmanuel Jake called the nurse on staff at our medical clinic to ask him to come make a house call for Emmanuel. Mark, the nurse, came to Emmanuel’s home immediately, examined him, and then went back to the medical clinic to retrieve the proper medicine to treat the infection. Nurse Mark brought back the strongest antibiotic that our medical clinic had. Emmanuel will drink the medicine 3 times per day for 7 days. Mark also brought him a pain killer to be taken twice per day for 7 days. Nurse Mark will visit Emmanuel each day over the next month to ensure he is healing properly and that he is taking his medicine correctly. Our Foundation covered the cost for the medicine and the cost of care for Mark to check on Emmanuel. The total cost was 50 Ghana cedis which is a mere $25. It’s almost sickening how far our American dollar can go to make such a huge impact on the lives of the people in this country. Emmanuel with his medicine...
This was the first time that Jake has really gotten to be around Nurse Mark for a good chunk of time, observing him in action. Jake was very impressed by his professionalism and also noted that Mark has a huge heart for the people, is passionate about his work, he is a believer in Christ Jesus, and is very knowledgeable regarding disease and medication. Later on Mark went through the entire storage room with Jake and explained each medicine in stock and what it treated.
Jake also met the rest of Emmanuel’s family….his little brother, Solomon who is 6 years old….
And Emmanuel’s mother who has a newborn baby….
In the family there is a total of 6 kids (of which Jake met 3 – Emmanuel (2nd born), Solomon (3rd born) and the newborn). The husband/father does substance farming (which means he produces just enough food to survive for his family) – he gets back to the house each day late at night. The wife/mother used to wash dishes for a neighbor for work up until she had the baby. Emmanuel and Solomon are not going to school because of the family’s poverty. Here is a picture of their house…
As Jake and I have talked back and forth, he continues to stress to me that the injustices and oppression happening in this area of Asikuma are far beyond anything he has ever experienced yet in Ghana. He keeps telling me that no words or pictures can actually describe what the team is experiencing. This has really kicked the wheels in gear regarding a sponsorship program. It’s time – the prompts are there from the Lord.
Jake has been crunching the numbers to come up with the right fee for our sponsorships since it seems that God is ready to start this. Jake says that World Vision charges $360/year but that a lot of that goes towards administration costs. He thinks we can keep our sponsorships much lower because we don’t have those costs. The number he has arrived at for children in Asikuma is $150/per year/per child.
$37.50 of that covers their enrollment/school fees at Godwin International School in Asikuma (which is 75 Ghana cedis for the year – the exchange rate right now for the U.S. dollar is almost 2 to 1). [Note: this is not the governmental school that we have been making upgrades on. This is a well-established school in Asikuma that has a great reputation for producing scholars.] Jake is bringing Godwin, the school master, to meet Emmanuel and Solomon’s mother on Wednesday morning. From there Jake will pay the school fees in person to Godwin for the boys, and he will do it this way for future children identified.
The rest of the $150 fee left over after school fees would cover school uniform, medical assistance (such as the medicine purchased for Emmanuel) and other basic needs – food, school shoes, etc.
In addition, we would structure the program as World Vision does theirs so that if additional needs arise for an individual child/family we could present the need to each sponsor family. For example, like providing an additional one-time gift as a microfinance loan to help the family create consistent work and income.
Families in the U.S. will have the opportunity to send over pictures/letters/care packages to their sponsored child any time our team is headed to Ghana. And, with our frequent trips to Ghana, and reliable in-country staff members that we now have, updates on the sponsored children can be easily done. At the very least families could expect updates on each trip Jake or I attend. Jake will have one of our in-country staff members managing the program and checking up on the sponsored children while he is away.
So, it looks like this is off to a start! And, I can happily report that a sponsor has already been matched up with Emmanuel and Solomon!!!!! This particular family had contacted me to be next in line for sponsorships since George’s was presented, and they jumped at the chance to help Emmanuel and Solomon. Love it!
You can watch the blog for future sponsorship opportunities, or contact me personally if you want to ‘stand in line’ for when the next one arises. :)