Orphaned Orphans

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It has been 7 months since I was in Ghana. I will fill you in on some of the not-so-heartwarming details of my work at Adullam. I am also looking for a current link to Adullam, someone who can provide me with current news and feedback. If this is you, please email me.

Regarding current events there: I have no real news. I am in touch with Eric Gaetin, the boy who lost the use of his legs due to medical malpractice, whose father then pronounced him “cursed” and who kicked him out of his home and reduced him to begging in the streets to survive. Eric has received funding through various sources of mine for the last 6 months of his schooling – but the funding has run out, not due to lack of willing donators, but because there is simply no way to safely get the money to him, or to any of the orphans, for that matter. Because we are no longer physically present in Ghana, there is simply no way to get money to him without most or all of it getting lost along the way. I will confess, even the last funding we received for him thanks to the generosity of an American friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous, by the time it reached Eric’s hands, it had been reduced from $250 USD to less than $150. There were various explanations provided for this, including Black Market “conversion fees”, but in any case, that money had gone directly from my husband’s hands to a pastor’s hands to Eric’s hands. With myself and my husband not present and with a more or less nonexistent functional infrastructure and corruption at every bend, trying to send funds to Adullam orphans in Ghana is a futile task, as far as I can tell.

You would think that creating a charity more or less overnight in a 3rd world country, with a very tight deadline for the fundraising and the Christmas caper involved, would prove to be a difficult task. Although I had spotty internet at best, no phone communication and limited time and resources, it proved exceedingly easy to generate international interest and support for my “Project Obruni Elf”, as we ended up calling it, and generous donations flowed in from many unexpected sources. The amount of support and goodwill and generosity generated by this project was extraordinary and heartwarming, and  a true testament of the basic goodness of humanity.

Truth told, the biggest challenge was ensuring that the funds raised actually made it to the orphans – and yes, also to some of the staff – in a tangible, meaningful and direct way. I did not share the gory details at the time because I didn’t want to speak ill of anyone on this forum, but I will tell you now: the founder of the orphanage had been using donations meant for the orphans for years to support her own drug addiction. She is gravely ill and not right in the head anymore. The staff at the orphanage had gone without any pay for over 10 months when I was there. Donations from other sources had been intercepted by her and used by her and never made it to the orphanage or the orphans.

In order to make sure the moneys I raised in excess of the donations used for the children’s Christmas gifts did not get intercepted or used by the orphanage’s founder, we had to get very clever and find one or two individuals whom we knew we could trust. We used a bank account that the founder did not monitor. I got it done, but it was not easy. I was also advised that any future contributions to the orphanage should be in material form such as medical supplies or food or clothing, etc., since the money would end up being used elsewhere for things its donators would have shuddered at.

I am saying this now, because based on the limited information I do have, I fear things have gotten worse since I left. I do not know any no effective way to enforce the law or fight corruption in Ghana. I met people who had not been paid by their employer in over 12 months, and whose employer was driving around in a brand-new BMW. They continued working for him in the hope that one day they would be compensated again. A thread of a hope, and all they had. There is no recourse for injustice there. The system is simply too corrupt. There are no advocates for justice that they can turn to. I could tell you stories about encounters I had with police and government officials trying to intimidate us into giving them large sums of money for no reason except that they expected it because it is their way. (We were more clever than they were and they never succeeded, so there!) It is what it is: a game that is played for short term gains which destroys any chance of creating true viability for anyone.

The people of Ghana are beautiful people. I have traveled extensively throughout the world and have never been treated with more generosity, open-heartedness and warmth than I was by the people of Ghana. Sadly, their system is so very broken, and most likely still founded, at least culturally, on the same premises as that evil institution known as slavery, so they have no recourse when things go wrong. And so, things tend to go terribly wrong, because there are no effective advocates for making sure things go right.

If there is anyone who reads this who has an opportunity to visit Adullam, I would be extremely interested to hear from you. The bright side of this coin is the children of Ghana. To this day, I remember them as the brightest, most clever, extroverted and interested children I have ever had an opportunity to interact with. They take care of each other and they are grateful for what they do have. They are eager to learn, they earnestly value their education, and they are filled with life and joy and hope for a bright future.

I want to know who is looking out for them. Who is their advocate? Who is working in their best interest, rather than for their own personal agenda? Tell me. I want to know.

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4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Ghana: Orphaned Orphans · Global Voices

  2. Pingback: Γκάνα: Ορφανεμένα ορφανά · Global Voices στα Ελληνικά

  3. I was just searching for some information on Adullam and came across this gorgeous blog!! And the first post I read asked “Who is looking out for the children of Ghana”.
    I know one man. he is based in Kumasi, operates a childrens home there and does extensive work in other localities as well.
    I’m based in Australia (for the moment) and have joined with this man, to support and look out for the children of Ghana. My business – Esther Parties – exists solely to raise money to support people and communities who are supporting their own. Our main focus right now are the children of Ghana -we sell fair trade handicrafts through a party plan/market/online system and donate all the profits to those in need. We’ve only been operating for about 12 months but already we’ve been able to gain enough support to help feed and clothe the 80 children in the Home, assist with medications and treatments as needed, help restore elecitricity when rewiring was needed and more. Currently we’re supporting an abandoned newborn who is in hospital and struggling for his life, and we’re helping a family of 5 disabled brothers create a market for the handcraft items they make, so they can build themselves a home and perhaps purchase wheelchairs.
    We’re trying to offer aid and trade, where its needed. And right now we see so many needs amongst the children of Ghana. We’re here for them! You can find us on Facebook, or we have a website.
    We’re always happy to support others in their endeavours to help those in need. Feel free to contact us if you think we could create a partnership between Esther Parties and Adullam and supporters.

  4. Hi, Esther Parties person – I am glad to hear from you and about what you are doing…I send me an email and I will send you a longer reply…Louise needs to be held accountable for stealing from her own orphans and not allowing people to adopt them…looking forward to speaking with you more.

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