December 31, 2009

Spread the Word!

I urge you all to purchase a copy of HALF THE SKY and help stand up "against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world." The key to fighting poverty and preventing the cycle of violence in places like Africa and the Middle East is to educate girls and women. Let's all help in our small way to transform the lives of women and young girls around the globe!

You can visit the Half the Sky website at

The Women for Women International Organization works to help women survivors of rape and war in countries such as Rwanda, Sudan, DRC, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and more. You can visit the Women for Women International website at

September 15, 2009

More Pics of My Kids!

Kofi had a couple more photos of the school up on Facebook, so here they are! Check out the number of students!! I'm so proud and fortunate to have experienced the pure love of these beautiful children! I miss them so much and I can't wait to return one day soon and meet all of the new students!

September 14, 2009


My hope is that this remarkable film will bring more critical attention to the plight of child soldiers in Africa and around the world.

September 13, 2009

News from Ghana!

Kofi has been keeping me updated and it appears the school has taken off like a wild fire. There are many new kids coming each week and the school has attracted well over 70 children. And what is really cool is the fact that Kofi has added some art to the new school walls. Here is a picture he sent of the children under the school bus!

Also, I would like to thank all my After School kids for all the fundraising they did over the summer break. They were busy with the Lemonade Sale and the Bead Sale. My group of kids at the Day Care raised over $107.00 for my school in Africa. Way to Go! The money will be doubled by the Director, and it will go towards purchasing supplies for the children in Ghana!


August 27, 2009

So Much Love!

I am thrilled to see so many loving and passionate young people making a difference in our world. As I type this, there are so many people volunteering endless hours to bring positive change to the poorest countries and the most unfortunate people! It makes me very emotional to see their impact on their blogs and websites! I follow a very special young woman's journey in Uganda and her goal to feed over 700 children each day! I read about about a young husband and wife who have dedicated so much of their lives to empowering families who have adopted orphans infected with HIV/Aids. I read about a 20 year old woman who has adopted 13 Ugandan young girls that now call her "Mommy". So many emotional stories, so many people who deserve to be acknowledged! What are you doing to be the change you want to see in our world?

August 11, 2009

My News Articles!

Hi Everyone!
I was just looking over my Ghana blog ( and reflecting on many things when I rediscovered my newspaper articles. The local newspaper printed my write-ups and here are the links to two of them. Enjoy!


August 2, 2009

Another Reason I Don't Buy from Gap!

We have all heard about the inhumane working conditions children are put through at Gap Factories around the world. Here is the latest knock against the clothing giant.

"A FACTORY that produces jeans for US clothing retailers Gap and Levi Strauss is illegally dumping chemical waste in Lesotho, posing a major hazard to children, The Sunday Times reported.
The British newspaper said it had discovered that the plant, operated by Taiwanese firm Nien Hsing, was pouring dark blue effluent into a river used for cooking and bathing.
The paper also alleged that the firm was dumping needles, razors and harmful chemicals at two municipal dumps that attract young children who search for pieces of clothing to sell.
Many of the children worked up to 10 hours per day and complained of ailments that included breathing difficulties, weeping eyes and skin rashes..."

For those of you who don't know where Lesotho is, it's a small country that sits entirely surrounded by South Africa. 40% of the population live below the International Poverty Line of $1.25 a day and the country is severely affected by HIV/Aids.

The devastating price so many need to pay in order to keep the first-world economy thriving.

July 28, 2009

Six Months in Sudan

I am reading an amazing book by James Maskalyk called Six Months in Sudan: A Young Doctor in a War-torn Village. It highlights his time as a doctor in the border town of Abyei, Sudan with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). The book began as a blog he wrote in his small hut in Sudan and now it is being read throughout the world. You can also visit his website at

July 23, 2009

Part of the Culture?

So many children serve as restaveks in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. And yet so many people think slavery has been abolished. Educate people please!

July 12, 2009

President Obama in Ghana!

President Obama and his family in Ghana made quite the headline news in my house. Prosper and I watched it quite a bit. And of course, I was in Cape Coast, so this is of great significance to me. Check it out if you didn't see it already.

Remember, you can turn off the music at the bottom of the page in order to view the movies.

July 1, 2009

YouTube Favorites

Hi Everyone!

To turn off the music for my blog, go down to the bottom of the page.
Check out the movie trailer for the documentary God Grew Tired of Us by John Bul Dau. The book is so empowering and one of my favorites. I ordered the movie and it's on the way. I can't wait to see it!

You can also can also check out the movie trailer for the documentary film War Dance. I had to order this one too!

And Emmanuel Jal's official video War Child is now an album! His book is awesome! If you want to know more about the genocide of Sudan, the life of a former Child Soldier, and the unbreakable spirit of this young man, then read it!

Gosh, I love Africa! Have I mentioned that before??


June 22, 2009

The Need to Help...

My dream of helping the children of Africa is far from over. I want to see Kenya, Uganda, Liberia and Tanzania, just to name a few! I will always be called to help the people of this beautiful continent, and here's a few of the most compelling reasons why:

17 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa have died of Aids

At least 25 million people in Africa are infected with HIV

3000 children under the age of five die each day from Malaria

Over 12 million children in Africa are orphans, having lost their parents to war and disease

80% of the Sub-Saharan population lives below the poverty line - less than $2.50 a day

1 in 3 people are affected by gun crime

Thousands of people are killed, injured, raped and forced to flee from their homes as a result of the unregulated global arms trade

The average person in a developing country struggles to find 5 gallons of water a day

Thousands of children die each day due to malnutrition and the lack of medication

Millions of children are illiterate, not ever having access to education

Just some of the reasons why I am so passionate to help the people of Africa!

June 18, 2009

Wonderful News from Ghana!

I want to update everyone on the great news from Ghana. My dear friend Kofi sent me an emotional email describing how well the school is doing in Accra. Since building the new school at Idea & Ideology before leaving in April 2008, it has attracted over 70 students. Now if you remember, when I was there I was teaching 20 children ages 2 to 8 years of age. I am so thrilled to share this news with all my friends and family because you all pitched in to raise over $5,000 for Africa's children!! Also, Kofi just received the packages I sent, so the kids should be well stocked with pencils, erasers and crayons. I cannot wait to see the school and all the kids - I will hopefully be returning for a visit to Ghana soon!

My beautiful kids!

June 16, 2009

Missing My Liberian Friends

My time at the Buduburam Refugee Camp offered me so many opportunities. I met the most wonderful people in the world, being let into their lives and having them share the most powerful stories of hope and survival. But I also saw things that I never want to witness again. Starvation, disease, young children engaged in prostitution, abuse, death and cases of murder. I am in the midst of planning a book detailing my time in Africa, particularly my 4 months at the Buduburam camp, home to over 40,000 refugees who fled the devastating civil wars of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote D’Ivoire.

The water tower that was supposed to provide the refugees with clean water. It does not work and so many refugees are forced to drink unsafe water. Many women are killed crossing the highway to fetch clean water for their children to drink.

I would travel the 40 mile tro-tro ride to Buduburam each morning and teach the Adult Literacy Class, and each Saturday I would travel it again to teach my SMART KIDS!

One of my many group discussions with the SMART KIDS.

One of the elementary schools on camp!

I often met with the Hatai Men's Intellectual Group, men who have many trades and skills, yet no opportunity for employment on camp. So they would meet each week to discuss important debates. Many of these men are former Child Soldiers that have changed their lives around and are trying to bring about positive change in Liberia.

HELP SAVE A LIFE was one of the organizations on camp that helped bring clean water to families. However, it only reached 4 zones of the camp, not nearly enough to serve 40,000 people.

As I mentioned, there's plenty of horror on camp. The situation escalated more and more each day I worked on camp. The Ghanaian government, under President Rawlings originally gave the refugees land when they were fleeing the second civil war in Liberia. The refugees built homes, schools and other facilities on the land and claimed it as home for over 15 years. However, the situation turned very bad in 2007 when President Kufour declared the refugees "rebels" and ordrerd them to return to their homeland. The Ghanaian government stated publicly that they feared for the safety of the country due to the Liberians, and chaos inevitably followed. Government police beat, tortured and sent many innocent Liberian men to jail, some just vanished and have never been heard from since. Many women and children were taken from their families and sent to other camps around the country. The men couldn't speak up against the injustice for fear of being sent to jail or killed, so the women stepped up and began partaking in demonstrations against the Ghanaian government. I was threatened numerous times by the Governmental police on camp because I was helping the Liberians spread the word internationally about what was happening. Here are some photos of the protests.

My experience at Buduburam ended on a positive note. I snuck back on camp so the police wouldn't see me and the Pan African Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution held a ceremony for me. They wanted to thank me for helping their organization. My husband Prosper accompanied me. It was such an emotional experience and when I was asked to speak at the podium, I wept! They presented me with a certificate and a beautiful African dress!


Stories to Inspire

This is John Bul Dau's inspirational story GOD GREW TIRED OF US. This is such an empowering book and it made me cry over and over. It highlights the Lost Boy's experience of walking through the desert of Africa to escape the brutal civil war that killed so many of his family and friends. It is now an acclamied documtary film.

WAR DANCE is a documentary about the children of Northern Uganda and their traumatic experience with the LRA, life in an Internally Displaced Camp, and the music that helped change their life!

Emmanuel Jal is one of my African heros and he is doing so much to break the cycle of arms that is gripping his continent. His story WAR CHILD is so compelling. It highlights his early years in Sudan as the war broke out, the loss of many of his family and friends, and his gripping story as a child soldier for the SPLA. Awesome book!

June 14, 2009


The house I lived in for 4 months! I loved this house! I had elecricity (when we had power!), running water (when taps were on!) and the children constantly coming over to play!

Our kitchen when I first arrived in September 07. I had it all to myself when Tatiana left for home a week later!

Junior brushes his teeth! An every morning routine!

The deprived one-room church the children learned in when I first arrived! Leaking roof, crumbling floor and chalkboard, and a lack of supplies and teaching resources.

An example of a child`s work on graphing!

The view from Kaneshi bridge, overlooking the insane traffic and thousands of tro-tros!

The complete opposite of bustling Accra. Village life is serene, so quiet and beautiful!

Witnessing my first ever live reggae performance by Jamaican star Luciano!

Through countless donations from a few special Fort residents, I was able to develop a food program for my SMART KIDS at the Buduburam Refugee Camp, home to 40,000 refugees from Liberia, Cote D`Ivoire and Siera Leone.

Me and a few of my SMART KIDS!

Me and the members of the Pan African Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution on Buduburam camp. Includes Kadio, the director, Peter and Solo who are like brothers to me, and some of the Former Child Soldiers I worked with!

A most wonderful birthday spent with my man at the fancy La Palm beach resort!

Spending the evening on the beach of Keta in the Volta region. One of my favorite spots on earth!

Family, friends and strangers raised over $5,000 dollars for Africa. We used it to build a new school for the children of Idea & Ideology!

My dear friend Kofi, a man I admire so much! He is the director for Idea & Ideology!


Hi Everyone!
Well, after many months I finally have another blog up and running! My Ghana blog is still active, however I don't post much there anymore. I felt I still needed to share my thoughts and so I have created this blog entitled "Grateful Life". I think the title is self explanatory. I have lived a life so many others in our world aren't fortunate enough to experience, so this title is perfect!

I am constantly on facebook trying to inform people about what is happening with my beloved school kids at Idea & Ideology. My blog will allow those who aren't on Facebook to read my thoughts as well. I also like to post my favorite videos about the inspirational stories that come from Africa! And of course, I am always trying to inform others about some of the atrocities that are being committed against the people of this beautiful continent.

I hope you enjoy!