We are on the last leg of our trip to Africa and we get to finish it at the United Hearts Children Center in Bawjiase, Ghana where we are building a new orphanage for the children that live here. For the last year, Mama Hope Global Advocates Lauren Wright and Katherine Theus have partnered with Mama Hope to fundraise and build a new orphanage for the children. Together they have raised $57,000 and construction on the new orphanage is 70% percent complete. Currently United Heart’s, director Pastor Elisha is renting a house where he houses 27 children in two rooms of wall to wall bunk beds. The lanlord will be evicting Pastor Elisha in December because the children have grown past the capacity of the house so the new orphanage could not have come at a better time. The new orphanage will have 14 rooms and a separate wing for boys and girls. It is surrounded by banana trees, coconut trees and corn fields. It still is missing the tile flooring, plastering, electricity, and painting but still the children show us their future rooms with pride and can hardly wait to move in.
The new building is about a 10 minute walk away from the old orphanage. Last friday we got the grand tour from the children. Our tour guides were Kweku, Kwasi, Kofi, Darco, Akia, Raelle, Barbara, Agogo and Joe. They range from ages 3-7 and Pastor Elisha tells me they are all experts on the new building.
Each afternoon Amy and I go to the orphanage and read the children stories or they read us stories. Most of the stories are about a group of friends going on a walk that turns into an adventure. And as we walk through the banana and cocunt tree jungle to get to the orphanage I feel a little like we are in our own children’s book. We hopped over trails of ants and crossed bridges and climbed little hills. We were passed by beautiful women with baskets of cocunuts on their heads. Every few steps the kids would yell “my shoe, my shoe” as their flip flops would fall off. And the whole time they were picking flowers and handing me them saying “for you” until my bag was full of little yellow and pink buds. The 10 minute walk turned into a 45 minute stroll where everyone would point out “Look, catterpillar, look a giant frog, look, lizard.”
When we got in sight of the new home the kids were all chanting “New home time! New Home Time!” The girls immediately ran to their rooms and Barbara blocked the would be doorway yelling “No boys allowed!” A bunch of boys ran around her and started dancing and singing “we are in the girls rooms.” Then the same mayhem was repeated when we went to the boys wing. The girls would sneak into a boys room and then be escorted out by two little boys on either side like bouncers at a club. Even though the inside of the building is still just a skeleton of walls and doorways the children went into detail explaining each room, “This is our study where we will have desks and do all our homework. Here is our dining room where we will have large tables to eat at and here is your room for when you come back to visit us again.”
When we got back outside the children started playing on the construction sight like it was a giant playground. They were digging in the mountain of sand and collecting found pieces of scrap metal and carefully putting them in their pockets to use later to make toy cars. We finally headed back to their current home singing “the ants go marching one by one hurrah, hurrah…” I was carrying Agogo, a 3 year old boy who was through with walking and holding the hand of Kwasi. Everything was very serene and I had a moment where I realized that once this new home is finished, it will be providing a safe haven and a family to children who have not even been born yet. And this beautiful home was made possible by the fundraising efforts of two 23year old girls. This is why this project is so special to Mama Hope and it makes us so proud to see its progress. I took the moment to be amazed at how much people can accomplish once they care enough to do something outside of themselves and that made me smile and be thankful to have a job where I get to work with people who have the courage to make a lasting impact in the world.
A big thank you to Katherine Theus, Lauren Wright and all of our donors who have made this building a reality! We are now in the home stretch of construction. We have $28,000 more to raise before December so that these children can move into their new home. Please help by making your very own impact on the lives of these children. Donate here!