About 6 yrs ago, Marlene & I met Dorothy & Elgin Taylor - A mid 60’s couple who were passionate about helping the less fortunate in Ghana, Africa. While helping them buy a townhome, we heard their 25 yrs of stories of how they were making a significant difference.
We saw pictures & heard stories of people having to walk anywhere from 1-20 miles a day for clean water with no medical, dental, school or churches in so many villages . Our church was already involved with Elgin, sending teams of Doctors, Dentists & Builders and we also started getting involved with funding some of the projects.
2-3 times a year Elgin & Dorothy would invite Marlene & I to join them and see for ourselves the life changing affects of some of the projects… but timing never seemed to work out. Although we would like to go… the teams were always going in our busy seasons of Real Estate.
Then in May 2008—Elgin & Dorothy again asked if we would join them and a medical team in August. Again that wasn’t going to work - but asked if December was ever in the picture. Two weeks later the call came… there were some issues with the August Trip—”Are you still interested in coming to Ghana in December?’ Gulp… Malaria, HIV, poor… Jared & I were “in” for sure but now we needed to work on Marlene—2 days later—plans were under way.
On December 8, after 37 hours of planes, airport layovers, taxi’s & vans - we arrived in Nkranza - a few hours from Accra, Ghana. Jared, Marlene & I were the only “Brunies” (white people) in the area… it felt weird but the friendliness of the people overcame fear, language barriers & any color issues we had very quickly.
Marlene & I were involved in teaching some basic marriage principles. Jared did a class on teen peer pressures & we all did some music outreach as well as tell our life stories, struggles & victories. We visited one of the schools built and got mobbed (in a friendly way) by the kids - they just wanted to touch our skin… so we held out our hands and they all reached in - laughing, giggling & smiling.
Besides a whole suitcase of medical supplies, we brought 9 sets of soccer uniforms & a dozen soccer balls (Thank you MEI, Scott & Sharri Ann Webster & Dennis & Bev Beck) to village teams, schools & church teams - they were overjoyed. (When we saw kids playing soccer with a big ball of string—a real soccer ball is quite a Christmas gift.)
One of the many touching experiences was when Jared, Marlene & I jumped into a van and for 2 hours bumped our way down roads that were “Unbelievable” .Then we got to this little village of no more than 1000 people - complete with mud huts, thatched roofs, goats, chickens running at will & lots of heat, humidity & dust. We walked into the center of the village and saw a line up of people waiting for their turn to pump water into their huge metal & plastic containers. We were told that because of fresh water the people didn’t have to make the 18 mile trek and there were 60% less diseases. It was the well Marlene & I had funded. I had a hard time keeping my eyes from “leaking” - Ok… I did tear up… the people were so happy… just for water!!
We have so many more stories to tell and have realized once again that we are so blessed to be living in Canada.