In FHTH Ghana we are overwhelmed by the great support we face from sponsors, members, volunteers and many others. Economically, this support has meant that a dream is about to come true: The most beautiful buildings are springing up from the ground, the outer wall is completed and the beautiful ports are being put in. The water runs, the cement is being mixed and the heavy stone being dragged and divided, in order to fit in. At the same time the red sun bakes and makes it, in our eyes, unbearable to be there for a very long time. The builders do not complain, they perform their work with joy, and ask only once in a while to get a bag of rice, or something else as an additional payment. Ben’s mother has gone out in the countryside, to a small village, where her older sister lives, cutting down trees to be used for roof structures. The tree arrives in Kumasi before long, and the carpenter is already ready to start his work. The craftsman’s tireless efforts overwhelm us, some of them come from the capital Accra and on Sundays they take the bus home bringing some of their salary to their wives and children. The project is exciting and it’s also the excitement that keeps spirits up with Ben, who is a builder and many times a week, may run out on the ground to check the craftsmen’s work, bring materials or repair the water tank. We look with great pleasure forward to the day when FHTH Ghana’s new center is ready and we can call ourselves independent.
Annelise, Linda and Karin have been a great help to us as active volunteers at the center. This year we have encountered much hardship: robbery, lost our employees, Doris has been sick and so on. Ben and I have had a lot on our shoulders, and it has been a great relief for us to have extra hands who could relieve us, especially at the center where every afternoon seven children stand ready for fun and games. We are now looking for new permanent employees who will fit into our atypical work. They must be ready to do many different things and have the desire and the will to work hard to make life better for others. In October Ben, Alfred and I were in Denmark for a week and a week in Crete with my family. It was a wonderful holiday! The time in Denmark, I used extensively by holding lectures different places. At one of the places I was asked if I never wanted to give up. “Yes,” I replied. Just after the robbery, when everything looked black, and I was full up with emotions.I stopped and pondered for a moment … But instead I went out and hugged the children, did some cooking, took the girls to the doctor, I saw the sun was shining and so were the kids and then I knew that it would not do any good to give up!
Family no. 1:
Mother: Sidonia Dagaar
Children: Ernestina, Kwabena Joseph, Akosua Mary and Kwaku Emmanuel.
Ernestina was home with her mother on summer vacation. Every day she came to the centre with her brothers. We helped her to renew her health insurance so she can get medical care if she is going to be sick while she is studying at the boarding school. After the holiday Ernestina began the second year in Senior High School. The school is located in northern Ghana and she is only at home in Kumasi, when she has a holiday.
Ernestina showed great concern for her family housing. The shed they live in are of very poor quality, the roof is leaking and the walls rot. We wanted to find sponsors to help pay the rent, so the family could move to a better place. The man, who owns the shed they live in, has long ago promised to build a small house for the family. It does not seem that it is going to happen, so Sidonia has been out to find an alternative herself. We have now helped her by paying 200 kr. for a room in a half-finished building, which is far better than where they live now. Soon they will move.
Only in periods the mother makes the beer “Pito” and sells it afterwards. At this moment she tries and makes a living finding empty cement bags, which she sells in the city. She says, however, that she will start the beer again when they have moved.
After this holiday Kwabena started in 6th grade and Kwaku Emmanuel started kindergarten.
Both boys are still at the centre every afternoon after school and on Saturdays. They are doing their homework, play and eat in the evening before they go home to the mother.
Family no. 2:
Mother: Olivia Owusu (Yaa)
Child: Viola Owusu (Vera)
In early summer Olivia graduated with good grades and she is now a trained seamstress. Olivia had a really hard time after the robbery. She could not imagine that she ever would be ready to open her own shop, which was otherwise scheduled before the robbery. She was initially very passive and had a hard time making decisions. The psychologist, who has come to the center once a week since the robbery, has worked extensively with Olivia about this. She has slowly gained courage again, and in late September, she found a store room. We helped her to pay rent, for a seven year lease period and she was presented with the keys. She was so proud! The last month Olivia has slowly started to renovate and paint the shop, which she expects to open shortly. Viola is after the summer holidays started in the first class. It’s a big step to start school, and she loves it. Now she has homework every day for several subjects, and she proudly displays her books forward. Viola has difficulty concentrating for longer periods of time. In school, they sit down for many hours, but Viola would rather play actively. We hope that she will eventually grow out of it. Viola is very active and always very happy; she is doing very well at the center.
Family no. 3:
Children: Enock Akrugu and Samuel Akrugu
During summer holiday Samuel lived at the centre, where we enjoyed his good humor and helpfulness. After his holiday he has started his second year of senior high school (gymnasium), which is a boarding school. He still has a great interest in sports, especially football, and he is playing on the school team. Samuels exam results before summer vacation was not too promising, and we have therefore advised him, in this school year, to focus more on the academic, and not only on football. He wants to study architecture at the university after senior high school. Enock also spent part of his summer vacation with us at the centre. Samuel and Enock enjoyed being together. The boys have been donated a used lap top and a digital camera from a sponsor. A lot of the time was spent with that, they were really excited. In the beginning of September we were to pick up a voluntary, Annelise and we invited Samuel and Enock with us to the capital Accra. Here we spent two good days together. It was incredibly exciting for them to experience such a large and developed city. The costs were covered by the remaining money from the collection “Run Out Of The Trash”, which earlier this year donated rent etc. to the boys’ family. Enock is after the summer holidays started in Junior High School in the third year, which is the last year of primary school. Before long, he will be registered for the final exams, which is in the springtime. He has to make the decision of witch Senior High School he will start at after the summer holiday next year. His first choice is to find a school that is located in the same area as our new centre. I think he sees it as a comfort to be near us.
Family no. 4:
Father: Kofi Boakye
Mother: Afia Badu
Children: Kofi Boakye Frank, yaa Akoto, Yaw Awuah, Evans Boakye and Akwasi Adjei.
Frank has stopped his apprenticeship as a shoemaker, as he, for unknown reasons got in a quarrel with the owner of the shop. Frank does not really know what he wants. He is 18 years old, but is not mentally age-appropriate, and therefore he often runs into difficulties. He has difficulties making decisions and even harder to keep at the decisions he finally takes. He needs extra support, but it is difficult for us to provide more support when the family lives far from the centre. Frank has now started an apprenticeship as a mechanic. He says everything is fine, but we have often experienced that he does not get there in time in the morning. We motivate him by giving pocket money so he can pay for transport and for lunch. Yaa and Yaw continues to receive their daily pocket money from a teacher at the school. We hand over money at the teacher every other week, and then she pays for them every morning, so they can buy breakfast and lunch. It works fine. Yaa is after summer vacation started in 6th grade, and doing very fine. Yaw has started in 2nd grade. He is still far behind his age, but he is happy to go to school. For a long time Yaw has not had any problem with his blood disease. We have been with him to check ups at the hospital, which went so well that he now only need come to check up every half year. We take care of his medicine, and encourage him to take it daily. After summer holiday we moved the two youngest, Akwasi and Evans to a better kindergarten. They are both really excited about the new institution, and the staff has commented that they slowly see improvement in their development. Since the boys were young thy have been very reserved and had social difficulties. We hope that this will help with the extra support from the kindergarten. The father, Joe, has closed the bar and we really want him to start another business. He also wants to stop drinking, and therefore we have for a long period observed him when we visited family. He still drinks, but a lot less and in periods he has not had a drink at all. He has been very sick the last few months, and he realize that he will have to stop drinking. He has also lost a lot of weight, and has no appetite. He really wants to start a new life, and we want to help him, as it would certainly be good for the whole family. We have now, after long consideration, helped Joe out by buying him sandals, which he must sell. The sandals are given as a mini loan, which he continually has to pay back. He has now been working with this for about a week, and it seems promising.
Family no. 5:
Mother: Christiana Serwaah
Children: Lucy Amankwa, Stephen Amankwa, Felicia Amankwa, James Amankwa, Elizabeth Amankwa, Philippa Amankwa, Nana Emmanuel Amankwa (Kwaku).
The school where the four youngest started at after New Year, turned out not to live up to our expectations. The school has a good reputation and is therefore very expensive, but we did not experience the professional could live up to the price. Therefore, we decided with their mother that the children after the summer should start at another school. The mother found a school near where they live, and we had the children registered. They are all happy about the new school. James started in Junior High School ,2 Elizabeth in 6th grade, Philipa in 4th grade and Kwaku in 3rd grade. Filicia is now preparing herself for starting at a boarding school, a technical high school. She has chosen the line food and nutrition, and is looking forward to getting started. We gave the mother money so she and Felicia can go out and buy all the necessary things for school. Early summer Lucy started at a new apprenticeship, which is paid for by a sponsor. She is deeply grateful and very happy to be there. Lucy is very helpful and responsible at home. She looks after her younger siblings very well. So does the eldest son, Stephen, who works at a shoemaker. Early August the mother, Christiana, married a man who works as a bus driver at the school where she sells kebab. He is an elderly man and his children are grown up and moved away from home. It is not their plan to move in together, but they visit each other often. We talked to Christiana about the house they live in, told her it was build for her children. We were worried that the new man would come and “take over” the house. She made it very clear to us that her children are the most important to her and that she is completely agree that the house is for the benefit of the children. It was great to hear. Only a week after they were married Christiana was seriously ill. Stephen called us an early morning, to tell the mother had been admitted to the emergency department at the university hospital. She was hospitalized for nearly a month, and we assisted in paying for her medication and later part of the hospital bill. She was very grateful and chocked by the situation. It turned out that since New Year she had not been to check up with the enlarged spleen, and that her condition had therefore been difficult deteriorated. It really has been a lesson for her, and she now takes her hospital check very seriously. The same applies to her medication; she must take three times a day.
Family no. 6:
Mother: Talata Felicia Kobina
Children: Harrote Kobina (Bebee) and Angela Kobina
After summer Harrote moved to a new school where he started in the 2nd grade. We chose to let him change schools because the old school was right next to a church. The church held very noisy church services every Wednesday and Friday in school hours, so it was impossible for students to concentrate on their lessons. Harrote have been very pleased with the new school, which is located in the same area, near the family home. We hope it will benefit him professionally. For a longer period the mother, Talata asked us for help to pay rent. She had been thrown out of the half-finished house she lived in for free, along with Bebee and other family members. The house had to be built for completion. Since we didn’t react on it, she found the money herself to rent a small room in the same area. It was nice to see that she took responsibility herself. She still makes and sells porridge etc. in the morning. – A breakfast-street kitchen. Several times Harrote has been at the center in weekends, but since we have had a chaotic period, it is not as regularly as we would wish. It is still the long-term plan that Harrote visit the centre regularly, to create a good relation between him and Angela. The mother is visiting from time to time, but it is not as regular as we would wish. Once she also visited the center together with Angela’s father. It was over a year since he had last visited Angela, so she could barely recognize him, and was very shy. Angela is doing very well at the centre. After summer holiday she started in kindergarten 2, which corresponds to preschool. She is smart and doing very well academically. Angela and Viola, who also lives at the centre, are best friends and they have great joy of each other.
Family no. 7:
Father: Kwabena Awuah
Mother: Mary Akomah
Children: Stephen Akwasi Sarpong, Francis Sarkodie Awuah, Stella Owusuaa and Liane Konadu.
Finally, after a long period, the parents paid back the loan, and apologized many times for the delay. After paying the loan they have started to visit us at the centre again asking for help and advice. Father, Kwabena, continues to work on a farm outside Kumasi, and is rarely at home. Once again we have recommended the mother, Mary, to find a job because there is not enough money now to take good care of the children.
After summer holiday Stephen started in 4th grade and Francis in the second class at the local municipal school. There have been some problems with Stephen, who repeatedly stays away from school. Apparently he find it hard at school. We have talked to both Stephen and their parents about the problem and asked them to be extra attentive and listening. After summer holiday Stella started in kindergarten 2 and Liane is still in nursery. Recently the parents came to the centre with very sad news: The week before Stella has told them, with fear in her voice, about how two teen-age cousins, has repeatedly abused her. This has happened in the grandmother’s house, where children often have been left unattended. The parents had Stella to the doctor, who had filled in a police report. The parents, however, later dropped the notification; the family wanted the problem to be solved internally. The family has not spoken to Stella’s parents again, and the boys have now escaped any punishment. We have made it clear to the parents how much we are against this decision, and we feel so sorry for little Stella. At least the parents don’t let Stella or their other children come to their grandmother’s house anymore, where the boys also live. Stella suffers a lot from what has happened and therefore we have made sure that she has weekly conversations with Dorcas, who is the psychologist who since the robbery has been associated with the center. We have been with Stella and her mother to a specialized gynecologist who stated that Stella has not been raped, and fortunately not have suffered any physical abuse. It’s an absolutely horrible story, and we wish we could do more for poor little Stella.
Family no. 10:
Mother: Ama Bonsu
Children: Vicencia Gyasi Baye, Anthony Twuniasi, Akua Bonsu and Kojo Kliti
After summer holiday both Kojo and Akua are still in kindergarten. They are fine and do well in each their own schools. Kojo go to kindergarten at the school where the oldest siblings are and Akua go to kindergarten at the school where his grandfather drives the school bus. We have visited the schools and paid for everything they needed for this semester. The mother is as always deeply grateful for our support. We are so pleased that this family is doing so well and that they are in control of things. The father continues to work in another city, and is home only on occasionally weekends, so it’s rare we meet him.
Family no. 12:
Mother: Georgina Atta
Children: Mizpah Eshen, Daniel Eshen, Magdalena Eshen, Habeku Eshen, Nehemiah Eshen + 3 older children.
Before summer holiday, it was a big problem that the children did not regularly go to school and kindergarten. We gave the mother a warning and threatened that the children would lose our support, if they did not go every day. After summer holiday everything goes much better, Daniel started in 4th grade, Magdalena in kindergarten 2nd and Habeku and Nehemiah in kindergarten 1. Daniel has been very open; he’s happy and talks a lot when we visit him at school. Magdalena is also always happy and charms everyone. Habeku and Nahamiah are more cautious and do not say a lot. They are still behind in their development, but have now moved from nursery to kindergarten. They are very different from their sister, Magdalena. Although they are very shy, you can easily get a cautious smile on their lips.
Family no. 13:
Grandmother: Mary Adugyamfi
Grandchildren: Joyce Adugyamfi and Erica Adugyamfi.
The girls have now started at a private school. The plan is that they are been registered as boarding school students after Christmas. After summer break Joyce and Erica started in the class. Academically it is a big challenge for those who so far have gone to a municipal school where the level is very different. However, they are optimistic and willing to fight. Both girls are incredibly grateful for our help. They say that their dream of good schooling, now come true. We haven´t seen the grandmother for a very long time, but we have talk with her on the phone. By contrast, their father returned, and this time decided to stay in Kumasi, together with the girls. However, it is really difficult for them to adjust to suddenly having a father, when they have been so used to being alone. They feel, of course, a great failure of their father’s side and he finds it difficult to gain their trust and respect. It has cost many battles, especially between the father and the eldest daughter, Erica. The father is worried and asks us for help. We have now agreed to have a meeting with all three of them, in the nearest future.
Family no. 16:
Children: David and Liane Esther sold sandals until she in her seventh month of pregnancy was too sore at her lower back and therefore stayed at home. Late in June, she gave birth to an adorable little daughter, who later was baptized Liane. Esther called us before 4 in the morning, and asked for help to get to the maternity ward. I drove straight away to their place. Out on the porch was David ready in both clothes and shoes, totally confused. Esther had much pain, and I could see we had to hurry. “Where is your husband?” I asked, “He’s just gone in the bath” she replied. I knocked on the bathroom door, the man yelled hello, and I asked him to come out. I waited for about 10 minutes, but he did not come out. He was hiding. Whether it was because he was ashamed, or he just did not care to be involved, I don’t know. Later Esther told me that he on the previous night had asked her to go outside because she made so much noise when she had the contractions, and it was disturbing his sleep. I explained to Esther that we could not take David with us the maternity ward, but Esther was distraught and did not know where else to leave him. Her husband could not be trusted. I arranged with a neighbor that she would look after David, and follow him in the nursery later. Esther could hardly walk out to the car. Liane was born just an hour after we arrived at the hospital. Everything went as it should. In the afternoon they were discharged, we drove them home, and brought David to the nursery. Esther’s mother arrived to help around the house, and we left them a little money for food. All the necessary things for the baby, we had helped Esther to acquire in advance. Subsequently, we often visited the family and followed the baby’s development. Esther has been good at visiting the health care nurse and we have checked the hospital record subsequently. Liane is gaining weight fine and feel good. Shortly after birth Esther called us as she was worried because the baby had some blue stripes on the chest. She asked for money to take the baby to a Medical examiner to have it cured. I asked her to wait until I came around. I lifted up in Lianes little sweater, and then I smiled. I stretched my arm forward so Esther could see: “It’s veins”, “yes” I replied. Only one month after the birth Esther took herself to the hospital to get a contraception. She was proud when she brought us the news. I was also quite proud and praised her to the sky. What a success – a good step in the right direction. David is doing well, although it has been tough for him being the big brother, with a mother who has the full responsibility for the two children. He is always very happy to see us when we come to visit and are always very sad when we go again. Several times when we have visited them David has not behaved particularly well, I think it is because he is hungry for attention. The mother is struggling with her money. With the man’s contribution it doesn’t get them far and he has been ill, and therefore unable to work. We hope Esther can start selling shoes again within too long so she partially support herself and the children.
Family no. 17:
Mother: Stargina Ama
Children: Nana Aquah Lord, Henry Obinim, Louis Obinim and Benedict Nhyira Appiah.
Grandson: Kobii Kobii (Amas grandson) has started in nursery and so is the family’s youngest, Benedict. They go to the same institution as the other children in the family and the children who live at the centre. The boys are doing well, although they sometimes have been sick, most of the times with malaria. We paid for health insurance for Kobii so that all children now have a health insurance. Ama has slowly started to pay back the loan, even though she might never get the whole amount paid back, it’s good to see her take responsibility. She doesn’t come to the centre so often anymore asking for help and it certainly shows an improvement. The boys are still very left to their own, and we have repeatedly recommended Ama, to look after her children in a better way. It is difficult for her to handle all the boys and at the same time taking care of the customers in her salon. In order to earn a little extra she sells sandals that she wears on her head around the area.
Family no. 18:
Mother: Doris Apana
Children: Benjamin Apana
Doris has really struggled after the robbery. Slowly she developed a depression, which became worse and worse. The psychologist, who has visited us every week at the centre worried about Doris and early October he sent her to a psychiatrist. Doris started on antidepressant medication, but it just got worse. Meanwhile, when Ben and I were in Denmark on holiday in week 41 and 42, Doris was acute admitted to the emergency room and later transferred to the psychiatric emergency room. She had become psychotic. Ben’s mother, who was at the center to look after it all during our vacation, sat at Doris’ side at the hospital throughout the hospitalization, day and night. Our volunteers, Annelise, also made a great effort. Psychiatrists said Doris had a depressive psychosis. Doris’ family in the Northern Ghana did not agree with this, they felt that Doris had been possessed by evil evils and wanted her home. When Doris had her bright moments she was confused and split between the two cultures. Time has taught the family, however, that Doris in her condition would not be able to travel across the country. They have since then showed us gratitude for our help and support. Doris was discharged the day after we returned home from vacation, on the Friday of week 43. She was still not well, and she still had many psychotic problems. The first weeks two of us had to sit guard by Doris constantly because we never knew when she would have an attack. Ben’s mother and a companion, Christian, was a huge support in this period. Slowly it started to go a little better, but it is still very up and down. She may have a week without something, and then it suddenly breaks out again. She hallucinates, has OCD symptoms, and is not present when she has a seizure. She also has depressive periods where she cries loudly, like a little baby. She is now on both antidepressant and antipsychotic medication. Further, she is on medication for epilepsy. She has to go to check up every two weeks where the psychiatrists continue to regulate her medication. We hope soon she can be stabilized, and that it can start heading in the right direction again. It is a very hard period for us, for the whole centre. Benjamin has been struggling after Doris was discharged. It is hard for him to see his mother so sick. On the other hand it is also hard for Doris that she in her condition can not take responsibility for her son. Benjamin sleeps in our room, and when Doris has good days she helps looking after him, and perform some of the daily chores. We try wherever possible to keep Doris in her room, when she becomes psychotic, to spare the children. However, we are also open to children around Doris’ disease, and we talk a lot about it. Just before we left on vacation, we had found a technical college where Doris was supposed to have started on the designer line. However she was hospitalized the same day that she should be started school. It’s been really hard for her, and she thinks a lot about when she can start. We hope that she gets so well that she can start after the Christmas holiday.
Family no. 19:
Father: Williams Asamoah
Mother: Stella Antwi Asamoah
Children: Christabel, Kingsley, Kelvin Armstrong and Nana Aduah.
Christa Bell is going to start at Senior High School. Before we left on vacation, she had not yet been given the location of the school by the government, that is, about which school she should go on. We said to the mother that we would go on vacation and hope that her position in the meantime would come. When we came back we found out that the mother behind our backs had chosen another school to Christa Bell and borrowed money to pay school fees. She had also chosen to let Christa Bell be an ordinary student instead of a boarding student. Transport etc. will now be far more expensive. She expected us to pay the bill, expected us to do what she said. We made it clear to her that it is certainly not the way we work. She has no right to “use” FHTHs funds without our judgment and decision. The mother was very upset, and later met up at the centre along with a priest to ask for forgiveness. She had a great understanding of what she had done was wrong. Christa Bell has now been re-registered and starts as boarding pupil at the same school, the nutrition line. Last years exams result for Kevin was not particularly good and the mother showed concern. We looked through his reports and saw that it was the class in general, which had poor results. We could only conclude that in order to perform better academically he would benefit from a better schooling. So far he had gone to a municipal school. After the summer holiday he started at the same private school as his younger siblings. In order to fit into their professional level he was tested before starting school, and to take 5th grade again. He didn´t mind as he was just so excited about the new school. After summer holiday Armstrong started in 3rd grade and Nana Aduah is still in nursery. Both children are very happy that their older brother, Kelvin, now goes to the same school as them, and they take the school bus together in the morning. Kingsley has started his last year of Junior High School, and this spring he will have his final exams. After this he will start at Senior High School like Christa Bell. He wants to go on a scientific line though. The mother has been given a used cell phone from us and financial assistance to start a small business, where she makes and sells donuts.
Family no. 20:
Mother: Ama Francisca
Child: Liane Amponsah
Ama started as an apprentice hairdresser. The salon is located not far from where they live, so she can walk there. She does, however, need help to buy lunch and other things and we give Ama money to cover that. Several times Liane has been sick. The mother phoned one evening to tell that Liane was very ill. We met them at the children’s hospital the next morning, where Liane was acutely hospitalized with severe malaria and anemia. We stayed with Liane on the ward, while the mother went with a nurse at the university hospital for blood. Fortunately Liane recovered quickly and after a few days discharges. Ama and Liane lack of support from the rest of the family, it seems like they do not care about them. We have therefore contacted Amas mother and other adults in the family. They all told us how rude and insolent Ama often behaves. The family is tired of her. We encouraged the family to think of little Liane, and told them that she needs their support when the mother has difficulty coping with the responsibility alone. We also had a talk with Ama about the problem and have urged her to respect her mother and the rest of the older generation in the house. It’s hard for Ama to adapt under others when she grew up without guidelines, and has lacked many different things throughout adolescence. Ama rang us one day to tell that Liane was lost! We quickly went to her and got the whole story: Lianes father and his mother had come to visit with one of Amas family members. Liane barely knows her father and not his grandmother, but they had been talking back and forth. As they left they took Liane with him, and said they would get back with her later in the day. They did not come back and it has now been more than a week. It surprised us first and foremost that Ama had not previously responded to her daughter being away? Ama was just staring down into the ground, perhaps she was ashamed. We asked Ama what she wanted us to do to help her. She replied that she wanted her daughter back.
We tried to call Lianes father, but he was just angry and hung up. We then went to his father’s sister and asked her to tell his brother that the next day we would report the matter to the police if Liane did not come back. The next day Ama and her mother travelled to Lianes grandmother, and brought Liane back to Kumasi. It turned out later that it was one of Amas aunts, who had arranged the whole thing with Lianes father’s family when she thought it would be easier for Ama and their families to be without Liane. Ama is fighting a hard battle with her family, but also with the responsibility to look after Liane. We try to support her through everyday life, and provide everything they might need in order to succeed. Liane is still in nursery, and we have paid all her expenses, books, uniforms etc.
Family no. 21:
Children: Joshua and Mume.
Early this summer the family moved to a new beautiful apartment, where rents are sponsored for three years. The apartment consists of three rooms, kitchen and bathroom. It was very overwhelming for the family suddenly getting so much space. They have so far lived six people together in a room, which also served as the living room. There was money left over from the donation, so they could buy paint and the family decided to paint a happy bright green color in all the rooms. Still there were some money left and we bought mattresses and beds for the children who otherwise slept on a blanket on the concrete floor. We also bought bikes, so kids can bike to school, since they now live further away. The children very so excited and they would immediately go biking on the dirt road in front of the house. However, we later heard that after we left the bicycles were locked up, until their father came home on the Sunday and together they could pray and thank God for the beautiful gifts. The mother of the family, Patience, has never gone to school and has for long periods been unemployed. We therefore offered her a job at the center when we needed a nanny to look after Fredrick in the daytime on weekdays. She enjoys the job and Fredrick enjoys her company. Patience is very calm and loving, and she fits well into the centre everyday. After summer holiday Joshua started in Junior High School and Freda in 3rd grade. They do both really well in school and are happy to go to school. We have several times visited the school this semester and have paid all their school expenses. No family. 22: Grandma: Cicilia Owusuaa Children: Akua Nhyira first Akua Nhyira second The girls have learned to walk and they are also beginning to talk. Their weight is still too low, although they slowly gain weight. The grandmother is once a month with them at the nurse where they are weighed. We follow up on this when we regularly visit them, and check out the girls hospital records. We have paid for having their health insurance renewed, and at every visit we bring different things: Diapers, soap or other things. The girls seem very insecure, cautious and inactive. They are still far behind their age. If all goes well, it will probably benefit them to start in the nursery after the New Year. In a crèche they will be far better stimulated and it will benefit their development.
Family no. 23:
Child: Fredrick Osei
In August Fredrick’s mother, Esther, suddenly came and visited the center. In the half year Fredrick had stayed with us, it was only the father, Kingsley, who occasionally had passed by at the center. Esther asked for forgiveness and said that she has now found out that she would not lose her child. Kingsley and Esther still fight, as we saw it when we first met them at the children’s hospital. Since August Esther more or less has come to the center once a week, to visit Fredrick. She has in this period had no work and no place to stay, so she has been begging us for help. We have made it clear to her that she can not stay at the center, and we cannot offer her any work. She is always hungry when she comes; she eats tea with us and stay at the centre until evening. She is definitely not just coming to see Fredrick, but more likely to get food, and to be in good company. Since Esther has begun to come here regularly Kingsley slowly stopped coming here, or come now only very rarely. We have only once seen his mother, so the plan that she should look after Fredrick in the future might not be so. Fredrick has come a long way in his development. He has started to walk and trundle around the center. He hums and is beginning to say the very first words. Fredrick is now eighteen months old, and still much smaller than his peers, but his development is fine and he grows like he should. Just before he turned a year, he was discharged from rehap. department and has since not been given special diets. He eats all kind of food and loves it. His first teeth are now also about to break through, and we are pleased. He is now only rarely ill, whereas he the first six years he lived at the center was constantly hospitalized. He was very fragile and slept in Ben’s and my room. Since he now has become stronger, he has been moved down to the other families who live at the center, and now sleeps on Yaas room.
Family no. 24:
The grandmother has not yet come to pay back the money she owes us. Neither has she brought the girls, to talk about their future, as we have encouraged her to do. On the contrary the grandmother has been hiding for us the last six months and have come up with excuses the few times we have surprised her in their home. She is, in other words not to be trusted.
In June we discovered that Doreen hasn’t picked up her medicine from the hospital as agreed.. We picked up Doreen and Dorcas and drove to Hagar, who is our contact at the hospital and HIV counselor. We held a meeting where Doreen said she feels sicker when she takes her medication, especially because she is not getting enough to eat. Hagar told about the importance of the medication for her in her situation, but Doreen would not listen. We concluded that it would be a waste of time to take her to hospital after medicine if she did not intend to take the medication afterwards. We asked her to make up her mind about what she wanted to do and told her that she could contact us if she needed our help again. After this incidence we only supported Stephanie for several months.. Stephanie’s teacher complained that Stephanie always came to school hungry and without diapers. We therefore decided to leave the pocket money to Stephanie at school every other week and then the teacher would help her to buy breakfast, fruit and diapers. A doctor called an early morning, to inform us that Doreen has been hospitalized and had acute need of help. We changed plans for the day and drove straight to the hospital. Doreen’s condition was critical, and the doctor told us to drive to the university hospital after two units of blood. She had severe malaria and severe anemia. Dorcas drove with us, and we met with the girls’ uncle, who works in the blood bank. The uncle, who normally never helped the girls paid for the blood and also gave Dorcas a little extra money. We drove back to Doreen, who was so weak that she even found it difficult to sit up to eat the food we had brought her. We left them with money to buy food. The day after Doreen had it much better, and after five days she called to tell that she had been discharged. We drove to her and helped paying her bills for hospitalization. Doreen was very grateful and said that she had faced death, and that she did not know what she would have done without our help. During this period she also realized how much she needs her HIV medicine, to become stronger. Doreen, Dorcas and Stephanie have since then come to the center every Sunday, and Doreen is beginning to take her medicine again. Last Sunday we gave Dorcas 100 kr. to start a fruit stall, and we really hope that she will succeed. We hope the best for them. Doreen still needs a sponsor.