Jean is a Ghana Make a Difference volunteer who arrived at the orphanage about two weeks ago. She has already made her mark on the orphanage – she loves them, and they love her.
Jean has done an amazing job of sharing her experiences with us. We have gotten her permission to share some of her observations and experiences in Ghana. We are a little behind, but will keep updating the blog as we receive news from her.
Thank you Jean for allowing us to catch a glimpse of what life is like at the West African Children Foundation. We appreciate you sharing with us!
More to come….
This is a perfect example of Christmas giving.
Start a legacy of holiday gifting this year!
It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it: overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike.
The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended, and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.
Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”
Mike loved kids, all kids, and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition: one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there.
You see, we lost Mike last year to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.
Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope.
Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.
Have you ever wondered what Christmas gift to give to the person who has everything?
Give them the gift of providing food and shelter for an orphan in Ghana this year.
Wouldn’t you feel honored if someone gave a gift like this to you?
Ghana Make a Difference has made your gift giving easy and meaningful this year. This gift will warm the heart of anyone receiving it.
All that you need to do is make your donation at our website and send an email to let us know who you would like the gift sent to. (admin@ghanamakeadifference). We can take care of the rest.
If you would prefer, we can mail you the cards, and you can personalize your gift.
This beautiful note from Patrick sums up their gratitude for efforts to help the children and the orphanage.
Great, great difference you are making in our lives,
putting smiles in our faces, reviving our spirits,
making us feeling we really belong to this human race.
Thanks to everyone who donated in supporting us.
Along with his note, he sent pictures of the children – many in their new dresses, shorts and shoes provided by donations from the Eagle Idaho Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can tell by looking at their faces the excitement they feel about receiving these items from loving hearts far away.
Mataa enjoys her first time reading a book donated by Pat & Company.
Her smile says it all. Thank you!
October 28, 2012
The power is on & the Internet is working!!
The journey was long, but everything went good. They made me check my carry on in Chicago & then I guess they just didn’t put it on the plane. Everyone they made check their bags didn’t get theirs but Patrick & I went to Accra yesterday & got it. So it worked out fine.
Things are going good. I’ve been to the orphanage a couple times but since it’s been the weekend & Friday was a holiday I went the beach & cape coast with the other volunteers. Been learning to get around, which is good cuz the other volunteers leave in 3 weeks & I can’t imagine being capable of getting myself around on my own lol. Two of the girls here are from Brigham City, so that has been nice to have people from so close to home.
The shoes for Patrick fit perfect, he is very excited. We are going to present the kids with the books, shoes, & clothes tomorrow or Tuesday. The kids that need shoes will get them & those that don’t will get clothes. Then they will save the rest for when they are needed. Patrick was very excited for the computer & the razor.
We are moving the chicken farm starting today to the house. I guess the man he rents the land from wants it back so now the chicken farm will be in the yard of Patrick’s house, should be interesting. The kids will be helping us move 400 chickens lol, so I think I’ll take my camera.
The Eagle Idaho Stake has been amazing to watch in their generous efforts to support Ghana Make a Difference. A Stake is a name given to a large congregation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Approximately 6-10 Wards of smaller congregations form a Stake. Women throughout the Stake have taken ‘service’ to heart and dedicated themselves to assisting Ghana Make a Difference by helping the children at the orphanage.
This group comes together on a regular basis to involve themselves in activities to provide humanitarian relief to others.
Charlotte is the amazing woman who is the Stake Humanitarian Leader. She has spent countless hours organizing supplies and activities, sewing and putting together items to donate to the orphanage and the children there. Her energy and excitement to provide assistance to the orphanage is contagious. She is shown here with the pillowcase dresses sewn by the women of the Eagle Idaho Stake.
On Saturday, September 29, 2012, women of the Eagle Idaho Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were invited to a dinner and special conference broadcast from church leaders in Salt Lake. Women attending were asked to provide assistance to Ghana Make a Difference by bringing closed-toed shoes. Women in the Eagle Stake went through their families shoes and donated what they no longer needed or wanted. Some women purchased shoes in excellent condition from 2nd hand stores to donate. Over 200 pairs of shoes were donated – child’s size 10 – adult 8-9.
The Eagle Idaho Stake also held two Humanitarian "Work Days" where 40 adorable pillowcase dresses were sewn – sizes 2 – 12, for the 3 – 11 year old girls at the orphanage. Six more dresses were donated after the Work Days and 10 un-assembled dresses were given to the Young Women Class (14-16 year old girls) in the Star Idaho Stake, because the "girls want to help too!"
Making sure the boys received much needed clothing, the Eagle Idaho Stake also sponsored "Britches (shorts) for Boys." They were able to collect 28 pair of boy’s shorts, sizes 2 – 14, for the 3 – 13 year old boys at the orphanage.
Thank you so much to the Eagle Idaho Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for their endless support to Ghana Make a Difference and to the sweet kids at the orphanage. Pictures of the children with the donations are coming. The orphanage will be so excited to receive these generous donations given straight from the heart.