Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The books have arrived

Shhhh, don't tell my family but this is all I really wanted for Christmas; to know that the donations I worked so hard to collect and ship have arrived in Africa and that Billa likes them. YAY!!!

Billa in loading the books in his van/trotroe/school bus.
I am so happy. I have been holding my breath, checking my messages daily, sometimes hourly and now to hear from Billa that he has gone through all 34 boxes and really thinks they will be helpful has made my day, my week, heck it's made my year!

These are some of the children who live at the UCC with some of the books. He will post more pictures when school reopens after the break.

Eagle Scout Paul Burke was able to collect several boxes of school supplies and back packs. 

And here they are at the port of Tema in Ghana. 

That is right, I can't think of a better way to end a great year. To know that you have made a difference, no matter how small, in the life of a child in need is a wonderful feeling. It inspires me to stay focuses and get working on my next goal.

The back pack Billa is holding came from the Waples Mill Elementary School collection.
So here it is, my next goal. I will be turning 50 soon and have I have decided that for my birthday (or sometime during my 50th year) I would like to fly to Ghana and give Billa the money he needs to buy the land for his dream children's center. 

Wish me luck, or better yet, buy a painting or make a donation.
My online store is up and running. www.shop.paintingbrighterfutures.com


Saturday, December 21, 2013


I can't wait for these little cuties to get their new books!

I have was hoping to do my next blog post with pictures of Billa and the books at the children's center. But anyone who has done business in Africa knows the word Patience. 

Here is an update.
There has been a circular stream of conversations about the shipment that go something like this...... 

Billa in Ghana and I in the US, converse by Facebook Message in English.
B-Have you heard anything about the books? 
A-Yes, the ship has arrived but I am waiting to hear when the container will be opened.
Daniel and I, in the US converse by text in English - (best way to communicate because I have trouble understanding his accent by phone)
A-Any news? 
D-We are going through customs now, there were a lot of shipments at the port ahead of us. We hope to open it on Thursday.
Daniel in the US and his brother Kwame in Kumasai talk  by phone in Twi
D, Can you call Billa and tell him when to meet you at the Port.
Kwame in Kumasi and Billa in Teshie talk by phone in Twi.
K on 12/8 - I am in Kumasi now and will call you when I get to Accra. 
K- on 12/12 Can you meet us at the port on Monday? 
K- on 12/16 Now it will be Thursday
K- on 12/19 Not today but Monday - I'll call you to confirm.

And Billa patiently waits. 
I am trying to be patient. I have found that patience and low expectations are attributes that many Americans are loosing as our lives become faster and more efficient. I always come home from Africa with lots of patience and appreciation. But the more I get settled back into American life, with so many things that people in other parts of the world only dream of like: turning on the tap and getting fresh water just the right temperature, pushing a button for immediate electricity, heat, air conditioning, internet, anything I need/want within seconds, the more I get used to it. 

The more I come to expect, the more my patience and appreciation starts to fade. Then, I need another trip to Africa for a booster shot and reality check. I have come to see appreciation and patience as secrets to happiness. After a trip, I patiently wait in line at the grocery store and marvel at the plethora of safe, clean food choices, I happily wash and fold laundry thinking how fortunate I am to have a washing machine, I sit in my comfortable car on a paved road with working traffic lights waiting in line behind a slow school bus, but I don't get annoyed. I think how fortunate I am to have all of these luxuries that are not available to my kids in Africa and how wonderful it is that all children in America, no matter how poor are going to school in a big safe bus, with a stop sign and crossing guards. I could go on and on. 

I shake my head when I hear people complain that these blessings we have received because we happen to be born in the right place at the right time, might change in some small way, or not be as convenient or "fair". It makes me sad for those who have everything one could need to be happy and they are not. I see that a lot.

Billa and his wife Phyllis, have a house full of orphans and needy children to feed and educate, when the power goes out for days or the internet is down for weeks, the water tank runs dry. But they expect these things to happen because they have and they will happen again. But there is an aura of patience and gratefulness about them. I feel grateful that I have been able to meet someone like him in my lifetime and blessed that I have an opportunity to help one of the true angels in this world. 
I will wait and hope to post pictures of the books in his hands on Monday. Keep your fingers crossed.

If you would like to help Billa, you can purchase a print or painting at www.shop.paintingbrighterfutures.com