Dear Valued Contributors to Yakote Women Farmers in 2013,

Having just returned from 8 weeks in Ghana ‘doing our thing’, we remain energized by what we see every day there. Lisa had a line-up of patients seeking chiropractic care two very busy days a week. She spent other days working to decrease widespread under-nutrition by purchasing food staples for both a school feeding and a nutrition center program. David kept busy teaching high school English Literature, teaming up with Denise Larson, a long-time contributor and now first time volunteer. Denise integrated quickly and has ‘caught the bug’ and is planning to participate in the 2015-16 trip. When David was not teaching, many an hour was spent interviewing hopeful applicants to participate in the teacher/nurse scholarship program (now beginning our 5th year!). All of us were taking many photos with the 2015 ‘Gone To Ghana’ calendar in mind. This calendar (available in November) is the major fund raiser to purchase food staples for the feeding programs.

THANK YOU so much for helping in a very important way with the ongoing humanitarian projects we continue to run. The bottom line is these things happen because of all of your assistance:

1. 20 students are either teachers, nurses or enrolled in teacher or nurse training. There are fourteen students on our list awaiting funding to begin training programs.
2. 200 primary students have a much needed first meal of the day at mid-day during the five-month dry season. In an encouraging development, the food we purchase is supplemented by a community garden started by the parents. Six schools also have beautiful, sturdy, brand new Nike soccer balls.
3. Families with seriously malnourished infants and toddlers can go to a Nutrition Center for access to nutritious foods to cook for their children five days of the week.
4. Five orphaned or single-parent high school girls who cannot afford uniforms, books and tuition have started high school. In Ghana, students must pay tuition, and purchase books and uniforms to attend high school.
5. A pilot project was started to help farmers purchase foot-irrigation pumps for dry season gardening.
6. Kongo High School has a state-of-the-art projector to use in classroom teaching.
7. Thanks to the generosity of Skagit Regional Hospital & Evergreen Health, used equipment for an operating room is being provided to the Kongo-Logre Health Center. The equipment will ship in March 2014.

Were any of you to be there, as was Denise, I think you would be similarly touched by how people handle their lives with patience, hard work, and especially hope as they do what we all do: provide food, shelter, good health, and a way to move ahead for their families. Here’s a word from Denise:

The experience of six weeks of living and teaching in the Kongo area is so expansive I find it difficult to be succinct. The adventure opened my eyes to the need for what David and Lisa have been doing for the young adults and children of the area.  Poverty and hardship prevails but the people are cheerful and optimistic that their children will do better in life. Farming and raising cattle does not provide adequate income for school fees so families save, sometimes for years, with the hope that their children will someday attend school. There were 60 students in each of our high school classes and the ages ranged from 15 to 25. Only the most determined and dedicated students will pass the test that could open the door to a future of economic security, but few can afford this. I will be going back in 2015 because I value what we are able to accomplish.

Working together with friends and family, we feel very fortunate to make a positive difference for many people in the Nabdam district of northern Ghana. Please know that not a penny is wasted and that the volunteers pay all of their own expenses. Thank you for working with us!

David Stone and Lisa Revell