Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The books are now going to Africa on the shipping container

They Are Off!!

The books and school supplies are on their way to Africa.

Daniel and his friends loaded this car full of books, then the car was driven on to the shipping container. Daniel will be using the car in Africa.

I had a very important job while the loading was going on. I got to hold precious little Hayden while his dad packed the boxes. Hayden's mom is Linda, the angel I met at Home Depot who has made this possible. Thank you Linda!!

There was a nice group of Ghanaian men helping to load the container. We chatted about Ghana and our favorite Ghanaian food. They were surprised to hear that my daughter knew how to pound Foofoo. I still haven't tried it.

I wish I was going on that ship to see my  little friends at Future Leaders UCC. Holding Hayden really made me miss them, Well, actually I missed them anyway. I am hoping to make a trip back in January. I will make sure to try Foofoo this time.

Bon Voyage!

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this possible!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Where there is a will there is a way!

 What seemed like an impossible task a month ago is really going to happen. After weeks of phone calls, emails, google searches and conversations had hit one dead end after another; one chance meeting at Home Depot with a woman from Ghana and I am IN!!  Linda connected me with Daniel who was sending a shipment of shoes to his store in Kumasi and Daniel agreed to take everything!  Ken and I dropped off the last of the boxes this weekend and will even join him this week to help load the 40ft shipping container. 

Billa, founder of  Future Leaders UCC in Ghana, will be there to pick it up everything when it arrives in the port of Tema.  If you give something to me or someone collecting for me, you can be sure it won't end up in a warehouse somewhere but will end up in the hands of those who really need it.

I understand now why more people aren't sending donations to Africa. It isn't easy or cheap. But, since when has doing something important been easy or cheap!

Step One -  Donations Collected
Oakton's Waples Mill Elemenaty 
Children, parents and teachers collected and boxed clothes, shoes and book bags.

Mananas City Public Schools
The school system needed to make room for new text books and I was happy to help by collecting all the old ones, which were in perfect condition. 

Oakton Boy Scouts 
 Paul Burke organized a collection drive for his Eagle Scout project. He collected boxes and boxes of fabulous school supplies; pencils, makers, paper, scissors, rulers and so much more. I don't know if they have ever had such beautiful brand new supplies. I told Billa that he will never have to buy a pencil again

Step Two - Donations boxed, inventoried, labeled and loaded.

Bins full of school books in Reading and Math grades K-4 donated. There are teacher guides for each grade and reading books for every level.

Thanks to my neighbor's nanny Lorraine who helped me load the car after I threw my back out.

Three car loads to the storage unit in Woodbridge. I thought we wouldn't need the big car after the kids left for college but boy I was wrong.

Step Three - Donations Delivered.

I saved the last and heaviest load for Ken. Poor guy was jet lagged after a 15 hour flight home from India but he happily helped anyway.

Dainiel Yeboah, the angel who is taking the boxes to Ghana.

4) Load them on in 40ft shipping container (with Daniel's shoes for his store, 2 cars, bikes and appliances) 
5) Put the container on a cargo ship going to Africa (as soon as the shipping strike in Baltimore ends)
6) A month at sea (Keep fingers crossed for no pirate attacks like in recently viewed Captain Phillips movie)
7) Ship docks in Tema, Ghana and Billa picks up the boxes in his trotroe (hope they fit).

Follow along and as the donations travel to Africa.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oakton, A Giving Community

The donations are collected. The boxes are packed. The shipment is scheduled.

In the past year I have traveled to Africa four times taking donations to Future Leaders Underprivileged Children's Center (UCC). At the UCC kids are taught basic math, reading and writing until funds can be raised for them to continue on to public school.  These children are living in extreme poverty (less than $1 a day) and don't even have the minimal fees needed to attend public schools.  The conditions and supplies at the school are the most basic of basic. For example they write on broken chalk tablets, drink water from one communal bucket, pack together in outdoor classrooms, there are no text books and all supplies are used and donated. Every little thing I bring is greatly needed and appreciated. Up until now I have been filling extra suitcases and bringing donations to the UCC myself.

Recently word has spread, probably because I can't stop talking about it, and I have had a team of wonderful volunteers helping me. I have way too much for suitcases this time and the donations will be sent in a shipping container.

For his Eagle Scout project, Oakton High School senior Paul Burke collected school supplies, back packs and shoes for the children.


Children at Waples Mill Elementary collected and boxed donations of clothes, shoes, school supplies and back packs.


Manassas Public Schools donated outdated text books. These books which include teachers manuals will be invaluable to raise the level of education for these children. Now any teacher, no matter how little training, can follow a lesson plan and teach a class.

Local Ghanaian's saved the day by allowing me to fill the empty spots in their shipping container. I can't begin to thank you Linda and Daniel.

Speaking of shipping containers, they can be very useful as building and rooms such as the UCC's new computer lab. I brought over these old learning games and computers on my last trip to Africa. It is helping so much because there are not enough teachers to go around. Now the kids can have fun as they learn to read at the same time they are learning English.