In November 2011 the dream of my life – to see Sub-Saharan Africa – finally came true. Where did I go? To Ghana, a country in Western Africa with a population of 25 m people and a territory just 25% smaller than Poland. 41% of the entire population is children below the age of 14 years, and the majority of them will probably live only up to 55 years. More than two quarters of Ghanaians still live in rural areas. Ghana is the country of cocoa: it’s the second largest exporter of cocoa beans in the world. Therefore the chocolate we eat in Europe might be made of cocoa beans coming from Ghana. Cocoa trees need both subtropical climate and shadow, thus they grow in the shadow of banana trees. Ghana was the first country on the African continent to gain its independence in 1957; the country that for centuries has been exploited as a source of slaves; the country ranking 130 according to Human Development Index (HDI), whereas Poland ranks 41.
I did my trip to Ghana as a volunteer with Freespirit Foundation in Moree, close to Cape Coast in the Central Region. In that village-town (it’s difficult to define a 20 thousand people community living on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea) I met some really nice people. They introduced me into local traditions and customs, showed their friendship and understanding for a typical European woman, a ‘white woman’ as they say. They helped me to fetch water for bath (there is no running water in the village), assisted in buying vegetables and fish, taught how to light charcoal for cooking, and directed me to my home when I lost my way among labyrinths of hundreds of similarly looking houses.
Among those people I met Peter, a young man who asked us, people from Europe, to help him to graduate from the high school. Education in Ghana is not free of charge. That is why not every family can afford to send children to school. I don’t want to use loud words to describe African hardships, and it is not worth to stress again on the role of education, of teaching how to fish instead of simply giving fish… I want to talk about a boy who asked us about help – ‘to teach him how to fish’ – about financial support of his high school studies. Of course, we could not say ‘No’ to him… Hence, step by step we have created our ‘Ghana project’ – a particular plan that aims on providing financial support for young African people who strive for better life through education, learning, personal and professional development. The first of them is Peter Kweku. On his behalf I ask for financial assistance all my friends and acquaintances, all who can contribute to our project.
Using this opportunity I invite all of you, our readers, to join us in our next trip to Ghana to visit Peter, taste fresh cocoa beans, and at the same time individually discover Africa, the continent which is both so close to and remote from Europe.