Thursday, August 9, 2007


Last Friday we finally made it to the Osu Children’s Home. We’d tried to get there a couple other times during the week but fluctuations in our schedule kept us away. Friday morning we were able to spend about three hours at this government-run orphanage that the Joseph Alliance has visited every year since 2005.

The team members who’ve been to Osu Children’s Home before were glad to observe that conditions at the home have improved significantly since their first visits there. Other organizations and churches have been investing in the home, too, and it’s all making a difference.

After a quick tour of the facilities—during which we were often holding hands with children who joined our tour—groups of 2-3 of us each gathered together a particular age group of children to “hang out” with for an hour and a half or so.

Lexi and I were assigned to the 7-9th graders, but we mostly ended up with 10-12 year olds, a couple 9 or so year olds, and a 17-year-old. We had roughly 10 kids, and they graciously joined in a silly name game I pulled out of the recesses of memory from my camp counselor days. We’d planned to play “blind banana,” a game our Ghanaian pastor friends had suggested, but the bananas were forgotten on the pre-orphanage visit shopping trip so Lexi and I had to improvise.

Next we played “two truths and a lie” and then we led into talking about what each kid enjoyed doing, what traits they admired in their friends and what they dreamed of doing or wanted to be when they grew up. Since our age of kids are nearing the age that they leave the orphanage, we were hoping to help them think a bit about the future, to begin planning a bit and to be reminded of their worth and value. We wrapped up the “formal” time (not that any of it was really formal) with reading Psalm 139.

Some of the favorite activities the kids told us about were reading books, playing football (soccer), and listening to music. They like friends who play with them, who are funny, who share, and who are kind. One 9-year-old girl, Mariam, wants to be a nurse when she grows up. Vienna wants to be a diplomat. When he signed my notebook, he wrote his name as Kofi Annan. :-) Lexi asked him if he would remember her when he’s president. He said he would but when she asked him what her name was he already couldn’t remember. :-)

Gifty, the 17-year-old girl, said she wants to be an air hostess, which took us a minute to understand was a flight attendant. When we arrived for group time, Gifty was sitting on the wall edging the courtyard of the girls’ house where our group gathered. At first she declined to join our group, but when we asked her again, she smiled and gave in. I was afraid she wouldn’t like the silly name game but she smiled and laughed along with the rest of the kids while we played it.

While we were talking with our group, a young British woman named Claire arrived. She’s living in Ghana for two months and volunteers at the orphanage every day, I think she said. When she heads back to the UK, she’ll begin training to be a midwife. The kids were clearly glad to see her. When Gifty mentioned her interest in becoming an air hostess, Claire asked Gifty if she knew Sam (I can’t really remember what name she said) who volunteers at the home sometimes. She said that Sam is a flight attendant and helped someone else go to school for that. She encouraged Gifty to talk with him.

Gifty has such a sweet, gentle spirit about her. She said she’s been at the orphanage since she was a little girl. We didn’t talk very much about her life—it’s hard to know what’s appropriate to ask after such a short acquaintance—but she strikes me as a talented girl and I hope she’ll find a good life when she leaves the orphanage. I‘d love for all of you to join me in praying that if being an air hostess would be good for Gifty that Claire will be able to help her get connected to the right people and that if that’s not it that Gifty will have a place to go and a way to earn a living when she leaves Osu Children’s Home.

Gifty is second from the left.

Mariam is in red. I think the boy's name is Frankie. I don't know the pink girl's name.

1 comment:

Julie said...

I loved reading this post. I'm glad you got to spend this time with the kids.