Glimpsing the benefits of giving

First-hand account of humanitarianism

ACCRA, Ghana — If you have ever questioned whether the school kits, books, clothes, quilts, tropical bandages, money or other items donated to the LDS Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City are appreciated, just take a glimpse of one week of donations in Ghana in the Africa West Area. Last September, Elder Neil Darlington and Sister Marjorie Darlington, humanitarian missionaries, invited us along to make several presentations of donations from LDS Charities.

We first went to the Ghana Institute of Languages in Accra, Ghana, where LDS Charities presented 3,000 language textbooks. The director of the institute, Dr. Sebastian K. Bemile, was so grateful for the contribution of the books in Spanish, German and French. They were old used text-books from junior and senior high schools in the United States. Dr. Bemile said, "These books will be so essential to their efforts to teach languages to their diplomats and businessmen as they travel to foreign countries so that they can better communicate."

Dr. Bemile also expressed appreciation that the Church "emphasizes and helps with literacy throughout the world."

That same day, Elder Darlington contracted with a local Ghanaian company to refurbish 40 bore holes (wells) in Ghana before the end of the year. This will help supply clean water to several villages. The old wells have restricted flow because of silt, mechanical problems and low water tables. Elder Darlington said, "The cost of refurbishing the old bore holes is about one-fourth the cost of drilling new boreholes, thus a much better use of the widow's mite."

Later in the week, LDS Charities made a presentation to the Shiloh School in the small village of Bortianor. The students meet for classes outside in the open air with a roof of palm branches over their heads for shade. Roofing sheets and materials were purchased locally with funds donated to humanitarian services. Now when the rainy season comes, at least the roof won't leak. There are about 420 students at the school ranging from 2 to 17 years. Teachers teach up to the 5th grade level; and hope soon to qualify to teach up to the 8th grade level. The students are divided up into four age groups.

The children were all very well disciplined and sat so still and attentive on their crowded wooden benches with only a slate to write on. We commented on how well behaved the children were, even the very little ones. Winefred Nartey, who, with her husband Seth, runs the school, said, "We start each day teaching the word of God and teach them to pray every day and this helps the children to have discipline."

The Narteys greatly appreciated the roofing sheets and the 400 old textbooks that were presented to them. As we thumbed through the books, we came across books from schools in California, Tennessee and Utah. We saw again how much used items are appreciated in Africa.

Our next presentation was medicines for skin diseases to the prison at Ankaful, Ghana, just outside of Cape Coast. We were met at the prison by the Cape Coast Stake President Thomas K. Appiah. He skillfully made the presentation on behalf of LDS Charities. We entered the maximum security court of the prison where the medicines were presented to the officer in charge, Bob-Dery Ben. He was very appreciative and said, "This is the largest donation of anything they have received this year."

President Appiah then took us to the Leprosy Hospital in Ankaful where he made a presentation of four boxes of leprosy bandages. Stephen Ayins, the administrator, was delighted with the donation. Vida Vanvill, a nurse at the hospital, said, "These bandages are the best because they are soft, comfortable, breathe and can be washed and reused."

We explained to them that many wonderful women spent endless hours crocheting the bandages with love.

The work done for the LDS Humanitarian Center does go to those in need. These gifts can make such a difference around the world. Never wonder if the hours spent in assembling kits, making quilts, crocheting, sorting, etc., will be appreciated. Be assured that LDS Charities throughout the world distribute the items with love and care to those who are the most in need.

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