Covid-19 Virus in Ghana
George Weir traveled to Elmina March 13-22. Upon arrival there were only 2 cases in Ghana. It soon increased to 11 and the Ghana government quickly learned that incoming flights were the main source. They acted quickly to test and quarantine on incoming flights, then closed the airport on 22 March. I got the last flight out.
There has been bold messaging about social distancing, hand washing etc. Schools, churches, social events have been closed down. They are closing/controlling borders and ports. As it has gone up to 161 cases with 5 deaths as of 1 April, there have been lock downs in certain areas. As of 1 April there are no cases in Elmina/Cape Coast.
Some other actions include cleaning and raising fares on public transport (Tro tros) to increase distancing, using military on lock downs. Even the president has donated his salary for 3 months for public food and his ministers have followed. The actions are strong and seem to be working. However with Ghanaian culture of markets, many sleeping in a room, etc, there are great risks of spread. We will see how it goes.
UPDATE 12 APRIL: In Ghana, the total cases are 408, deaths=8. One case (I think) is in nearby Cape Coast, none in Elmina. It seems to me the gov’t approach continues to be effective. Cases are being chased for connections, testing is readily available and Dr. Rudolph reports that he has received PPE even though no cases are at his hospital.
Tomorrow’s Stars response and actions during these challenging times
As schools were shut down, our PIFs and students were no longer needed for the usual activities of libraries, computer lab, mentoring students, literacy, resource room etc.
Above: Putting together a COVID-19 program for students and community. Also an effort to make hand sanitizer. A little sticky, maybe the alcohol was not strong enough.
Under the leadership of Managing Director Solo, we began to think of what would be appropriate activities. Government School Bantuma was locked up so our library there is unavailable, but Christ Cares is private and available for meetings and activities. The Christ Cares library is open on a reduced schedule to invite students to read and borrow books as well as wash hands and learn about prevention and symptoms of the virus. Solo’s NGO Nsoroma (Kathy Weir Study Center) is also available for these activities at scheduled times.
An initial plan was to help provide truthful information about the COVID-19 virus and support of the government actions. Small group discussions were held including our doctors (Rudolph and Otabil) symptoms and prevention of spread. We also warned against social media rumors.
In the upcoming weeks, there will be communication to students and parents in the area with the information we have agreed upon, with consideration to social distancing (not an easy thing in the Ghanaian culture).
Solar Power comes to Computer (ICT) Lab and Nsoroma Study Center
We have installed two solar panels along with batteries, and inverter to support computer lab, ceiling fan and lighting at Christ Cares JHS building. This will save some power money and especially give us power at those times when the electric company fails us.
New laptops from Enkei America.
We have the best computer lab in the KEEA district, counting even the 3 high schools. We have 20 working laptops. This is supplemented by internet service on demand, a projector, printer and other facilities. Our laptops are also made available to our university scholarship students as needed.
Students, PIFs and Univ students showing off some of our laptop inventory.
Best equipped computer lab in 70 school JHS district.
Even with COVID-19, we decided to do PIF Day with a focus on information and communication. We should have done better with social distancing.
OUR STARS AND PIFS AND STUDENTS
Due to the COVID-19 virus which leads to social distancing and shut down of schools, churches and social activities, we don’t have as much news to report. This gives us an opportunity to tell you about the fine individuals who are becoming their dream because of financial help from our donors.
Here are some photos and news about our Managing Director Solo and 8 young men and women who are on their way to “becoming their dream”. They decide and pursue their dreams, but it would be nearly impossible without the help of Tomorrow’s Stars donors. Nearly all have “first class” grades, being above 3.0. And we have known nearly all of them since they were grade 6 or younger.
OUR MANAGING DIRECTOR SOLO
Solo is our leader. He has a degree in Education Management and has nearly completed his masters degree. His superpower is listening and finding common ground. He is good with technology as well as people, always wanting others to succeed and “become their dreams”. We are fortunate to have him.
He is about to graduate from UCC as a degreed Physician Assistant. He especially enjoys his time at the clinics and hospitals and revels in the success of figuring out a diagnosis to help a person feel better. He has been through some difficult times, his mother and father both passed away in his early years. Otabil and I enjoy our ping pong matches, he usually wins, but I am the current champion.
Esther is wrapping up her second year at Nduom University of Business and Technology. She was a strong PIF for 3 years leading the way with handwashing and literacy in the resource room. She had trouble with math in HS, but is bringing home A’s from Nduom after some tutoring help (it is more practical math). Esther is a joy to be around.
Leticia has always been serious about her studies, but struggled with Math in HS and had to retake the test a couple times. Her dream was to become a nurse, but after 3 years of PIF, and being around volunteers Kathy, Sue and Toni, she has enrolled in Early Childhood Education at UCC (University of Cape Coast). She is completing her second year and excels in the “practical” activities and developing lesson plans with the small ones. She also developed a process for cheaply making handwashing soap.
Eric graduated with honors from (KNUST) Kwame Nkrumah Inst of Sci and Tech in Kumase. His major was Chemical Engineering, his last year was a 4.0. He is now in his year of National Service as an assistant lecturer at the university. Eric has always been a leader and an inspiring public speaker.
Philo has graduated with a diploma from OLA, a local teacher college. She was near the top of her class and specializes in teaching math and science. Yes, a Ghanaian girl teaching math and science. She is now doing National Service in Mankissim about 1-1/2 hrs away. She didn’t go to Christ Cares as a student but Volunteer Kathy found her during her first HS year at EHS, we are blessed by that. She was PIF in Nursery (tough duty) and always helped with girls club and children’s activities. She is on her way to success.
We found Isaac as a student at Edinaman. He was a small shy boy, but was at the top of his class, ending as valedictorian. Even though he did not live locally we found a way for him to be a PIF at Christ Cares and become “one of us”. He is now a 3rd year student in Pre Law at KNUST with excellent grades. He is our Tomorrow’s Stars Lawyer. We like to have students with many specialties to share their knowledge in our Tomorrow’s Stars Family.
We found Joana after Edinaman HS, but she attended Christ Cares. She was a great help with the small children. She is a good listener and offers mature guidance to others. She completed a diploma in Business from UCC-Distance Learning. She is now doing her National Service with the Catholic Educational Unit which oversees all Catholic schools in the Central Region. They coordinate teachers, school activities, quiz competitions between schools. She loves the big picture experience. She plans to go to the 2 yr distance “degree” course in business.
Justice is a twin with Rolland who is a PIF in the computer lab. Justice is in his second year at Health and Allied Sciences University in the Volta region, working on a career in medicine. His father was known as “the chairman” as a leader in the community. He passed some years ago and was a mentor to me. Justice is a hard worker and a saver, and becoming a leader.
OUR GRADUATES (THERE ARE OTHERS NOT IN ATTENDANCE)
Dr. Rudolph (Amazon author too), Eric and Francis (Optometrist in Accra)
Some of our PIFs and Stars are shown in the slide show below. We have become many! And, we are moving forward. The virus will slow us down, but it WILL NOT STOP US!