Editor’s note: My husband and I met Eric at the Adullam Orphanage in Obuasi, Ghana. Eric used to live at Adullam and is one of numerous older kids who rely on the orphanage’s financial support as they are “re-integrated” into society. He is currently attending Senior Technical High School, which around here basically comes in the form of a boarding school. Kids such as Eric take their education very seriously, because they know it’s their best hope out of the vicious cycle of poverty and despair that they were born into and struggling to get out of.
Both my husband and I were both very impressed with Eric. He is one of those people that you just feel somehow calm around. My husband told me later that Eric had told him a little bit about how he had come to needing crutches to get around. Later that day, I was able to make get a brief but poignant life story from Eric via text messages from a borrowed cell phone. Here it is:
“I was born on 14/12/1992 and when got 12 years I got sick and I was taken to the hospitel and the doctor ingected me on the wrong place and I have been like this for 7 years.
I was once taken to a hospitel and we had operation. The doctor told us to came on the year so he [could] do for me to be who I am but when we came back my father was sacked from the conpany he was working for so he had no money to take care of me again.
I became a beger when my father say because of me he lost his job because he think I am cursed so he was not going to take care of me agaen [anymore]. So one day I was beging and I met the owner of the orphanage and I went to her 4 her 2 help me and she told she [would] help me 2 the orphanage.
I need your help in my education if only u or u can get someone to pay my school fees for me I will always pray 4 u. god
I’m in high school so I need to pay my school fees* and my mother has no money because she work to take care of the rest.** I don’t live with my mother I’m with a friend. And for dreams I want to be a produser in music.”
* Eric’s quarterly school fees are 400 GHS ($244 USD)
** Eric’s mother works at a palm oil processing plant. This is considered to be some of the worst work of all in Ghana. It’s back-breaking labor under deplorable conditions, which is done almost exclusively by women. I imagine the laborers must all have respiratory problems from the constant oily smoke they inhale. The day wage for these laborers is about 5 GHS ($3 USD), which is pathetic even by Ghanaian economic standards.
Although at the moment Eric is primarily concerned with staying in school, he has shared with me that there is also a surgery that can revert his atrophied leg condition and make it possible for him to walk without crutches again.
If you would like to help Eric and other kids like him, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.