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Opinions of Thursday, 22 September 2005

Columnist: Albion, Kojo

Another Summer Amongst 'My People'

("One family, one City at a time.")

"It's so much easier to analyze, so much easier to scrutinize, and so much easier to talk about all the problems in Ghana and the Developing World. Yes, we are all complainers, grippers, we are self-proclaimed economic prophets and yes, we are the American "armchair quarterbacks" and we want to talk a lot about what is wrong with Ghana and the other developing nations.

What we need are people who are making a difference in the lives of our people. You are doing something to help those who are struggling to survive if you throw a life-line. Encourage others to find out how they can help out in their own ways. We can use our positions to influence and effect a change without calling the present leaders all kinds of names or blaming the people for living in a survival mode. It is very easy to shout swimming instructions from a dry land to those who are drowning.

Let us do what we can to help out because many of our people are drowning.?

The above quote is from a fellow Diasporian and I took the calling seriously many years ago. Since I have lived in the United States for over 30 years and I have seen the future that ?my people? are longing for, I am determined by the grace of God, to go ?home? to Ghana every summer to do what I can to make a difference, one family at a time. Not only that, but I spend the rest of the year throwing a life-lines to some of my people who are drowning in poverty, poor health care, lack of rule of law, corruption, mismanagement and all those things that make life unbearable for many people.

On May 9th 2005, I made my annual/or semi-annual trip to Ghana, this time to go and receive a 40ft shipping container of miscellaneous goods that we sent a week before my departure.

When we see a smile on the face of a child, we get a warm feeling inside and we pray that the joy will give him/her an incentive to go on and do well. So it was at Pedu, Ghana, this summer when we gave out clothes, shoes, school supplies and money.

Ghana, where I originally came from, continues to face hard economic times in spite of all the natural resources. Most institutions and the infrastructure are overloaded and broken.

The person at the post makes the rules most of the time in order to line his/her pocket. The institutions do not work together and very few people care about the ?common good.? There is too much suffering in Ghana and many African countries. ?Why is Africa so rich and yet so poor?? Does the rest of the world care that many people are living in a survival mode?

We care and so thank you for helping us to go and make a difference. It was not easy but we tried and we shall keep on trying.

?Teach people to fish and they will eat for a long time.? Our Empowerment Projects have gone very well and we thank all our supporters for giving and we encourage each one of you ?not to grow weary for in due time we will reap if we faint not.? The task is not easy but we have the resources to enable us to lend a helping hand ?not hand outs but hands up.?

The shipping container #2 arrived when we were in Ghana in July and so we were able to supervise the distribution and the sale of some of the items. We did not realize much money from the sale because the economy is so bad that we discounted many of the items that we sold. Besides, the container can hold only so much. What hurt us the most are the shipping and handling fees. We had to pay over $4000 to a Clearing Agent at the Port before we could get the shipping container home.

We were able to distribute lots of Bibles, books, clothes, shoes, computers, bicycles, food, school supplies and money. We also helped some struggling businesses with discounted items. We supplied the two public Hospitals in Cape Coast with medical supplies. Thank you, Dr George Acquaye, for single-handedly equipping the Dental Clinic with all those needed items. People are reading some new books because we gave Cape Coast Library about 10 boxes of books. Other Church libraries are filled with fresh books now.

To speak to the City of Cape Coast, I joined a panel discussion every Saturday at YESFM Radio Station. I am glad to report that thousands of people heard me address some of the issues and I gave words of encouragement. I also spoke to many organizations and schools.

We are ready to work on shipping container #3 as 10 people are working for us in Ghana now and as much as we can, we will continue to throw the life-line to many of our people who are drowning. Please continue to help us to help others, for together we are making a difference.

"One family, one City at a time" and as we each hoe our part of the plot, soon we will meet in the middle. Many people are drowning and instead of shouting swimming instructions from a dry land, we put on our vests and we throw life lines to one family at a time.



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