We arrived at the orphanage outside of Akumodon shortly before the end of the Ghana - US World Cup match to find a group of 10 orphans shouting “Misthy, Misthy, Misthy”, which was the director of the orphanage that had come to Kumasi by trotro to pick us up, despite his significant walking impairment due to having polio as a child. Misthy Cee has obviously learned how to overcome his disability, not only to better his own life, but to have such a positive impact on over 40 orphaned children through his project.
Once we were unloaded off the trotro, we headed to the orphanage, where we gathered around a small radio with about 25 children to listen to the remaining match by the3 light of a lantern because their generator was being repaired. Although it was disappointing to hear the US lose the match, the excitement in the children as they danced around after the winning goal and when the time expired and Ghana has synched their victory, made up for it.
There is no electricity at the orphanage because the generator was not working, but not watching the match didn’t seem to matter to the children at all. We learned more about the project from Misthy during the rest of the evening and found out that he has also built and runs a school near the orphanage to ensure the children also had a good education while in his care.
The next morning, we awoke to the sounds of the children playing outside. They certainly rise early and have a lot of energy, even before breakfast. Because Misthy has intermittent water problems, there was currently no running water at the orphanage, so he is working on getting a polytank installed in the orphanage, but fluctuating costs and transportation logistics are delaying the project. So after a bucket shower, we went out to visit with the children, their caretaker “Papa” was cooking a breakfast of banku and pine nut stew for them in very large pots outside, over a fire. Misthy told us that he is working on obtaining funds to build a kitchen and dining hall, because it is not good to have to cook food on an open flame outside and have the children eat outside also. He also expressed the fact that they are only eating 2 meals a day, instead of the normal 3 meals that they should be eating, but with rising food prices, it is all they can afford. However, the children seemed happy to have the meal they were getting without any complaints.
After breakfast, the children played while Misthy told us more about his challenges with funding and how he was so grateful for all of the people that supported his orphanage. He told us that he knew how hard it was to survive with a disadvantage so he wanted to help others that had not just physical disadvantages, but any disadvantage in life. He was definitely assisting the 45 children in his orphanage overcome their disadvantages and live happier and better lives.
Sarah and four other In-the-Field Travelers are currently in Ghana before they are making their way to Mali and Burkina Faso. They'll be visiting more than 30 GlobalGiving projects in the next month. Follow their adventures at http://itfwa.wordpress.com/.