Our first day in Ghana was filled with formalities as we met The Royals. We had audiences with the Paramount Queen Mother, many more queen mothers and the King of the Krobo people We packed into small cinder block rooms or spread out under welcome shade wherever we could find it Standing wasn’t allowed. Krobo hospitality made chairs magically appear-a big task for 13 visitors. The royals have created loving communities that care deeply for the orphaned and vulnerable children of this area.
UUs partner with the Queen Mothers to provide education for more than 95 children – an important contribution when you consider the over 1000 children they are serving. These children attend three different schools. We were mobbed by what seemed to be a million smiling faces when we arrived at their schools the next day to see this project in action. We learned of their struggles: one computer for more than 400 students, buildings made of mud that could be washed away in a heavy rain, teachers who do not live locally due to conditions of extreme poverty, the need for meal programs, local libraries and more. We met students who play soccer, who giggle and tell secrets., who want to be teachers, bankers, nurses, lawyers. They are bright, engaging and are just Iike the kids at our neighborhood schools in the US They zoom outside for recess, they sing, they act in plays and they do homework…sometimes.
We are writing this on an ipad in the van on the way back to Accra tonight. We are wearing shirts and wrapped in skirts handmade from fabric deigned by the Queen Mothers. They dressed us after cooking a feast for us- all more examples of their strong belief that we are not so different, that we are one family. Indeed we were treated as family. Just before we climbed into our vans, Manya Esther, the Deputy Paramount Queen Mother and director of the ECOC program, put a bracelet on our wrists. The beads were hand painted with images of the flags from Ghana and the US -friendship bracelets-so we will not forget our family in northeast Ghana.