They were very pleased with the books and supplies we presented to them. Several BPD programs have promised to send more supplies
At the end of our thirteen-day tour, I reviewed my impressions of this experience. I was initially
overwhelmed by the poverty and lack of government support and resources available to the people of Ghana, especially the social
workers and medical staffs in the clinical settings. Yet, I was extremely impressed by their professionalism, pride and determination
to change their present circumstances. They accepted our gifts graciously and were not ashamed to ask us to continue our
support whenever and wherever possible.
I have memories I will always cherish of my visit to Africa. I am very
happy to say I have seen Africa - the land of my ancestors. I have also seen some of the suffering. I am still uncertain
of the impact of malaria and the AIDS virus on the people of West Africa and on those not being treated.
to the Slave Castle of Cape Coast will also never be forgotten. It affected all of us. There was silence when we boarded
the bus, since there were no words to express what must have happened there. The Atlantic Ocean is extremely choppy around
Cape Coast and made it difficult to imagine how the people taken from the Castle survived their journey to the United States.
There are still strong descendents of these people here in the United States. They may never know each other. I saw a strong
cultural identify, in spite of the poverty in Ghana. We bonded as a group because of our many shared memories.
There will be stories about the "bus rides", I'm sure. However, we all came away with a resolve to help where it
may have the most impact - the children. Many of us also pledged to sponsor a mission school each year, along with one social
work student from the university.
Since returning home, many of our BPD members have received letters from the
children and students of Ghana. They ask us not to forget them. As a result of our experiences with the people of Ghana,
I will make it a priority to help them in some way. I believe the government of Ghana is making an effort to help the underprivileged,
but painfully, it is not enough. The spirit of giving has to continue to enhance the power of the next generation of Ghana.
The children are their future and that is where will must start..
We will present our First International Conference
findings at the 2001 BPD Conference in Denver, Colorado in October. We are also contributing African items for the annual
silent auction at the conference. The true "power shoppers" will also model their clothing purchases. It should
be great fun; presented with great pride for sharing such a wonderful experience that was a chance of a lifetime.