Reflections from an African orphanage

The children will be forever in my heart. So loving, when you come to the orphanage they sprint up to you as fast as they can, to give a big hug and say hello.

  • Jan. 27, 2010 2:00 p.m.
A fun evening –  Children enjoy a fun evening at the GEO orphanage

A fun evening – Children enjoy a fun evening at the GEO orphanage

Amy Brus

The children will be forever in my heart. So loving, when you come to the orphanage they sprint up to you as fast as they can, to give a big hug and say hello. They have so little yet they give you so much love, its truly amazing. They love to play soccer, even when its with a completely deflated ball or an empty soup can, everything works. Their ages range from four to fifteen, most around the age of 9.

They live in a small house all together. Four rooms for them to sleep in, fifteen to twenty children per room. Sleeping on covered mattresses, provided by volunteers, or mats on the floor. They eat the same meals every day. For breakfast porridge and for supper Banko (a sort of dough) with soup.

Since they are kids they do get scrapes and bruises, but living in these conditions infection is a common problem. In less than a week a small scratch can be a large open sore. In July of 2009 volunteers started buying medical supplies and registered children for health insurance.

Now every morning volunteers and a local staff member clean and re-bandage the wounds. It takes approximately 2 months of a sore the size of loonie to heal completely. Yet most of the children hardly even cry or cringe when you are trying to get the sand out of their deep sores. And after they are all bandaged up they want to be in your arms more than anything.

Only one third of the children in GEO are truly orphans. The other children having some sort of family in village’s around Nkwanta. Families send their children to GEO thinking that their children would receive an education. Since it is registered as a boarding school not as an orphanage home.

The ‘school’ is held in a mosque close by the home. No desks, only benches and a chalk board. If we were lucky the local teachers would come once a week. They come on a volunteer basis. Because of this problem volunteers started sending children to public schools. Presently 35 kids out of 61 are attending school.

I had the privilege of sending six children to school. The looks on their faces when I took them to buy their school supplies was unforgettable. One of the boys named Ritchard is normally shy and passive.

But since that day he has the biggest smile on his face, and an extra spring in his step. There is still many children that I hope will be able to attend school.

The organization that I went through helped the orphanage by giving them approximately $40 a week to help with food for the children.

This was not nearly enough compared to the amount that it cost for a person to live there as well as to pay the organization. They did supply us with modest accommodation, good food, and support. But I found over all much more could be going to the orphanage home.

Volunteers would help with personal donations to make sure that the kids are receiving enough food. As well as making special days where they get to eat something new. We had Spaghetti day. The smiles on their faces and seeing them go to bed full was so rewarding. Also with Halloween we did face painting and gave out candy. When you can make their day even a little better then it was a good day. If it was colouring with them, playing games with them, comforting them, or having them fall asleep in your arms.

Living in Ghana is very relaxed. Every thing happens on ‘Ghana Time’. Whether it happens or if not today maybe tomorrow.

This was nice sometimes since everyone is so relaxed but very trouble some if you would like to get something done. The people were very welcoming, Ete-sen? (How are you?) when you walk in to the town. The people walk everywhere and carry everything on their head, a loaf of bread or large basin of water. When travelling long distances most of the people in Ghana use public transportation, a tro-tro. It is a small bus that has 15 seats. But there is often more people sitting on the roof with the luggage, goats, and chickens.

Amy Brus has recently completed a volunteer assignment in Ghana after raising funds within the Stettler community to support her trip and stay there.