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Roof4Ghana (Part #1) Guest Blog by Frankie

Julie Karanfilis education Frankie guest blog library my story Roof4Ghana social good

Hello there!

I wanted to take the time to introduce myself as I will be writing a series of posts about my life-changing experience in Ghana (the inspiration for Roof4Ghana). My name is Franklyn, and I have teamed up with Julie and We Felt That to create Roof4Ghana bracelets. I am hoping these blog posts will give you a better understanding of what Roof4Ghana is doing and the need for the library at Anmchara International School. I hope these blog posts move you and inspire you to help us by supporting and purchasing Roof4Ghana bracelets. This first blog post is just a little about me, my adventures, and the birth of Roof4Ghana.

I was blessed to travel to Africa for my first time at 17. My mother and I spent just over 2 weeks in Nyahururu, Kenya helping with a children’s summer camp with our church. Three years later, I was provided with another opportunity to travel to Africa. In 2012, I travelled to Kigali, Rwanda with a class of 9 and my professor. I was part of a course offered at Western where we were taught about Rwanda and the genocide in-class then travelled together to Rwanda for 5 weeks. I volunteered at an orphanage/school that was largely impacted by the genocide.

The main focus of this post and of Roof4Ghana is actually my most recent experience in Africa. As I was struggling to find my last credit to graduate from my bachelor’s, I discovered the Canadian program Intercordia. Intercordia was started by Jean Vanier to provide university students with a unique, university accredited international experience. They send students to 8 different countries to live with host families and volunteer at different local projects. I was chosen to travel to Ghana for 3 months to live with a beautiful family and teach mathematics at the local government school.

My home base while I was in Ghana was Anmchara International School and Godwin Agudey's (the headmaster) home. I spent my first week there at his home and volunteering at Anmchara. He showed me the ropes by teaching me some of the local language, about the culture, and about how to get around. After spending the week with him, Godwin chose the host family he thought would be best for me, and I could not have asked for a more appropriate host family. I also spent a couple other weeks with Godwin when I was extremely ill. To truly understand the huge heart of Godwin, Godwin actually gave me his room/office while I was sick, and he slept on the floor.

Anmchara stole my heart the second I walked into the compound. The children and staff were so welcoming. Godwin has dedicated his life to giving his students the best education he can provide for them. His students perform amazing on the government exams, but will never receive the highest grades because of the lack of access they have to books and computers.

I have always dreamt about going back to Ghana to volunteer more long term at Anmchara International School. Unfortunately, this dream may never happen because of the medication I am on for my severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. Godwin Agudey did so much for me, and I was always looking for a way I could help out his beautiful school. We discussed when I was in Ghana in March 2016 how the library was still unfinished and how heartbreaking it was for him. I found a bag of Ghanaian bracelets I purchased when I was there, and I thought to myself "what could I do with these beads to raise money?". I was also wearing a We Felt That bracelet I received for my birthday, and I remember thinking how good a Ghanaian bead would look on one of Julie's bracelets. This thought was the birth of Roof4Ghana. I am so grateful Julie was open to my idea and opened her store and supplies to me.  I hope you enjoy our collaboration and story! 

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