Reflections of Another World

By
Real Estate Sales Representative with RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage
http://actvra.in/44yV

The Gift of Learning

As the Christmas season and a new year fast approaches I thought I would reflect a little on life to date. In doing so I could not help but spend a fair bit of time reflecting on a life changing experience that took place in 2000. That was the year that I would travel half way around the world to a small community, far from what you would call the civilized world, to help build a food storage building and teach English.

Little did I know that my life would be forever changed.

One well worn, torn book shared by 5 or more eager children was all they had ever known....imagine the enthusiasm when we provided hundreds of books for the school, enough for each child to have and hold a book of their own. Thanks to the support of many individuals and companies we were able to provide a very large amount of educational material to the headmaster of the School.

 

 The food storage building
(above top) -The construction Begins (above bottom) - The finished building

  Being in Ghana was like living my own reality TV show. For three weeks we left behind all the modern world has to offer, our comfortable beds, our hot showers and fancy houses, our big screen TV's and much more. We left this to travel to a place where, for the Ghanaians, comfortable beds are a mat on a dirt floor, in place of hot showers there is a half full metal bucket of well water, where TV's are unheard of. The people of Ghana have nothing that a materialistic society represents. Although this part of Ghana is plagued by poverty, sickness and hunger they were always smiling and happy. My eyes were opened to the plagues of our materialistic western society, which has everything, yet wants more.

Team Member Jenny Barnes wrote "When I looked at these lives without luxury, I felt pity and guilt for all I have. This was my mind set as I looked around at the living conditions....but then my eyes moved to the people, and I was more blown away by them, more than anything else I experienced on this trip. They weren’t sad! Yes, they were laughing, and not just some of them, all of them! It would start with a smile, and soon would turn to laughter....that lasted! Even if we didn’t understand each other’s language, we could laugh together out of pure joy at being with one another.

 Jenny's Story will touch your heart.

 

Here is the story of one of the people I met who inspired me to challenge my self to do more than just sit on the sidelines and watch.

The Story of GRACE
and HOPE

Grace: love and favour of God………..Webster’s Dictionary

Written after my return from Ghana in summer 2000

Grace just couldn’t believe what was happening, one day her husband was by her side, working and helping to raise their seven children, the next he was deathly ill, and not expected to make it through the night. What would she do, what could she do? Who would help feed and care for the kids now that their father had died so suddenly, would they starve to death? It was just too much to bear. Baby Sarah was so young, she would never remember her father, and the eldest was only 12…she could never do this all alone, surely she could find someone in the village to help. Sarah cried out to God for help, not knowing how she would care for herself and her children.

 Typical One Room Home Home was a small one-room mud hut with a thatched roof in a small poor village in northern Ghana. The roof wasn’t leaking, at least for now but at best it would only last 5 years. Grace and her husband had enrolled their older children in school, a real luxury. Only one third of the local children can afford to go to school, where they have to pay tuition and wear a uniform. Now she could not afford to feed them let alone keep them in school. What about the future? How could she ever cope?

 The Story Of GraceSomeone in the village told her to go and see Noah, he was working on a new project and maybe he could do something to help her and her family.

Filled with dread, Grace met with Noah and Richard of the Carpenter Project of the Northern Empowerment Association, (NEA), they were her first ray of hope. NEA would provide her with one acre of land just outside the village, from the property given by the Chief for NEA. to develop. She would join the local women farmers’ co-op and attend weekly meetings where she would learn about farming, crops, nutrition and health, and receive much needed support. Noah talked about God, a God of love, who would provide for her family. This sounded too good to be true. Maybe the family would have a future after all.

NEA helped her clear the raw land and prepare it for seeding. Grace and her children worked all day, every day, with determination. With only two hand tools, a machete and a hoe, all the kids were needed to do their share in planting and maintaining the land. The first crop was yams and peanuts, and the children also collected shea nuts to dry and sell.

 Womens co-op farmWhen I walked with Grace and her daughter Sarah through their small farm plot, just weeks before her first harvest, her face was no longer filled with despair. It was filled with hope. Hope for food for this year, hope for the future, the children’s education, and secure in the hope for her seven children.

The women’s co-op at the Carpenter project now has 430 members. Each woman has received one acre of land, training, support, seed, safe storage for the crops and group marketing. In a village where children are among the poorest in the world, where rags, bare feet, mud huts and malnutrition are common; hope is a rare and precious thing…hope that stems from a love of Jesus and a love of people.

 

 NEA

Dr. David Mensah, the founder of NEA, grew up as a street urchin and gang leader in Ghana. He heard about God who could save him from harm. He decided to give God a try: believed in Him and his life began to change. David started his schooling in Ghana, then traveled to Canada to attend Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale), Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia for his masters, and on to earn his doctorate in Environmental Studies at U of T before returning to Ghana to integrate his new found knowledge with the original goals of NEA and the people of northern Ghana. NEA’s goal is to ‘end the cycle of starvation’. Ghana Rural Integrated Development Board (GRID) was established as a Canadian funding board for NEA. For more information about the miracles in this street urchin’s life read his book “Kwabena, An African Boy’s Journey of Faith “

 I would Challenge each and everyone to reach out and touch someone be it as close as a neighbour going through a hard time to some one half way around the world. It does not matter if you donate to a local food bank, or travel halfway around the world to offer aid or assistance. If we all did just one thing the world would be better for it and so would we. In todays global world with its instant communication of disaster and distress how can we not reach out.

 

Since returning from Africa pictures like the one on the right along with stories from refugees fleeing from disaster, war and strife, haunt me and encourage me to stay involved.

No longer will I sit on the sidelines and watch
as a suffering world revolves around me.

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Kathy Clulow  Sales Representative RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc..  Brokerage 905.852.6143
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
136,806
Bonnie & Terry Westbrook
Westbrook Realty - Ada, MI
Grand Rapids MI Real Estate
Kathy, a very thought provoking post. So many people have so little, while we have so much.....Let's hope you have inspired everyone to give a little more this year.
November 25, 2007 04:12 PM #2
Ambassador
716,652
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495

Kathy,

Your comment on my post brought me over here.  I can understand the change such a trip would have effected for you.  God bless you richly.

Mike in Tucson

November 25, 2007 06:32 PM #3
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate

Marg - We came back to our world and every member of the team that went has continued to do something somewhere in the world to help those less fortunate than us. It was a life changing experience for us all.

PS Thank you perhaps by the end of the week.

November 25, 2007 06:33 PM #4
Ambassador
405,056
Jo-Anne Smith, Sales Representative
Oakville, ON
Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Region Real E

Kathy,  Your post touched me so deeply and it's written so beautifully....I'm honoured to know you. I hope one day you and I can meet....you don't live that far down the road from me!

It's wonderful to read what is being done to help the people in Ghana...you're truly an inspiration to all of us.

Jo

November 25, 2007 06:59 PM #5
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate

Bonnie - Thank You - The most amazing thing was how happy they were. They do not miss all the things we take for granted.

November 25, 2007 07:48 PM #6
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate

Mike - Thank you and it certainly did, not only me but on every one of the 20 of us that went in fact the impact on us as individuals has grown and impacted many more in our community.

November 25, 2007 07:48 PM #7
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate
Jo-Anne - the honor is mine to know you, and yes we will meet, we usually travel down your way at least once every summer. So heres to next summer if not before.
November 25, 2007 07:51 PM #8
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate
Update 2007 - 25 Health Care Workers, 3 Doctors, 1 Chiropractor, 11 nurses, 1 nursing student 1 x-ray technologist, 1 pharmacist, 1 child life specialist, 2 health care administration workers, 1 child and youth care worker, and 2 support team members have just recently returned from Ghana where they looked after up to 1000 patients a day. They all took time from their busy comfortable lives here in Uxbridge and went to help in the various clinics and hospitals in nether-lands of Ghana.
November 27, 2007 07:05 PM #9
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate
Deborah - If we all helped just one person the world would be better for it and so would we.
December 01, 2007 08:32 AM #11
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate
Deborah -  Have a great season too.
December 01, 2007 04:58 PM #13
Ambassador
248,574
Melissa Grant
A Serendipity World - Greenbackville, VA
The Law of Attraction In Life & Business

This is a terrific post ! Just so you know I added you to this weeks Week in Review ! Merry Christmas

Week In Review 11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007

December 03, 2007 06:37 AM #14
Rainmaker
275,434
Joeann Fossland
Advantage Solutions Group - Tucson, AZ
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents

What a wonderful post. I spent a week in Peru this year with CARE and the http://www.webwomengivingcircle.com/ . I can also relate to the feeling of seeing the difference that can be made, even with small things. CARE tells me only 2% of giving from the US goes outside the US. While I believe we should give back and invest in our communities...we are all beings on this planet and giving back across the world can help create peace. Thanks for sharing this.

December 03, 2007 07:05 AM #15
Rainer
13,550
Linda Peters
Salem Five Mortgage Company - York, ME

Kathy a beautiful post.    My step daughter did a similar trip to McLeoud Gange India (where the Dali Lama lives to this day) on a similar mission through a youth program.  It was the summer before her senior year in HS.  The pictures she brought back were stunning.    The simplicity of their lives and the beaming faces of the children - they LOVE children books.   She put together a huge book campaign upon her return and we shipped over cartons of books for the village.

Thank you for being a shining example of what each of us can do, far or near, big or small, it all makes a difference.    I was going into a store yesterday as an older man with some obvious physical limitations was coming out.  He dropped his list to the ground.   I automatically reached to pick up the list for him and when I handed it to him, he looked at me and said, "THANK YOU.... I knew I was in for a challenge in getting that for myself."     A very small, tiny act that robbed me nothing of time or energy, but gave me much more in knowing that it meant that much to him.  And I can be grateful that I can still bend to the ground with ease!

Thanks for the head's up on the inspiration site.   I am sure I will be visiting often!

December 03, 2007 07:12 AM #16
Rainer
73,912
Sarah Eubanks
Hill Valley Financial Services - Oregon City, OR
Preferred Oregon Loan Consultant & Notary Public
Hi Kathy ~  Having done several short term mission type projects, I completely understand your changes.  Thank you for sharing with this class what change comes about when we give others' our time!  :)
December 03, 2007 04:29 PM #17
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate

Melissa - Thank You!! - I trust you will have a Very Merry Christmas as well

Joeann- It was great to see that you gave of yourself and went....if or as more people get out of their comfort zones and go the world will become a better place and as we tell our first person stories the 2% will grow substantially.  People need to know exactly how their donation will make a difference and where it is being spent.

December 03, 2007 05:51 PM #18
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate

Linda - And you know that the thank you was from the heart it gives you something to smile about the rest of the day. Thank you for sharing your daughters experience with us and enjoy the inspiration site.

Sarah - The world is a better place for someone because you cared enough to go!

December 03, 2007 06:14 PM #19
Rainer
73,912
Sarah Eubanks
Hill Valley Financial Services - Oregon City, OR
Preferred Oregon Loan Consultant & Notary Public
Kathy ~  I would like to think that Panama, Costa Rica, and China all have a new vision of hope.  They are each in need of hope for different reasons!  Thanks for your thoughtful words...
December 03, 2007 06:56 PM #20
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate
Sarah - be it as close as a neighbour going through a hard time to some one half way around the world. It does not matter. If we all did just one thing the world would be a better place for it.
December 03, 2007 08:17 PM #21
Rainmaker
331,681
Lynn Pineda
Keller Williams Partners Realty - Coral Springs, FL
Coral Springs REALTOR- Promises Delivered

Your story moved me today Kathy. What an incredible experiece. I elaborated on google +. Thanks for sharing!

May 22, 2013 12:10 PM #22
Rainmaker
951,783
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate

Lynn - It was like stepping into the pages of the  National Geographic Magazine ..... you could not help but be moved

May 23, 2013 05:22 AM #23
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