April 2021 marks exactly one year since TheAfricanDream.net began celebrating outstanding individuals and organizations who have pushed through their operations and against COVID-19. Today we are excited that our Heroes of COVID-19 series has inspired and urged individuals and organizations to continue to serve humanity regardless of the pandemic.
Our special anniversary hero is the Goldcoast Literacy Program (GLP). The GLP is a nonprofit organization founded in 2017 by Ms. Daisy Mina Antwi with an interest in children’s literature and literacy. They have a desire to see every child have fun reading in Ghana. The organization has an amazing initiative called Immune Your Mind Outreach which supports children [and sometimes adults] across Ghana with free books and other educational and humanitarian materials and services.
This is the second time GLP has been recognized as #HeroesOfCovid19 by TheAfricanDream LLC.
On March 25, 2021, the organization embarked on a trip to a UNESCO World Heritage site located 90 kilometers west of Takoradi, and in the Jomoro District in the Western region of Ghana. Their trip would be the first time reaching out to a whole town under the organization’s Immune Your Mind Outreach. And as it was an exceptional episode, TheAfricanDream.net covered the trip and reports on the weekend-long event as our anniversary Hero of the COVID-19 series.
Our COVID-19 Heroes walk on water at Nzulezu
The Goldcoast Literacy team — our April 2021 Heroes of COVID-19 — set off from Ghana’s capital city of Accra on Thursday at 11:45PM. They expected to arrive at their destination in the morning. The trip began in high spirits on the bus and was later on in the cold of the night kept silent as many of the volunteers slept. The team arrived in Beyin at exactly 4:50AM on Friday, March 26, 2021 feeling refreshed from their sleep and ready to jump to work.
They were welcomed on arrival by the presiding member of the Beyin Assembly, Mr. Ndarwko, who introduced them to their guide, the chief linguist, brother Joshua to lead them to meet the chiefs of Nzulezu. Nzulezu is a Nzema word meaning “surface of the water.” The place is a unique village built on stilts in Lake Tadane and is home to hundreds of people in the Western Region.
The Nzema are an Akan people numbering over 328k at the moment, of whom some 262k live in southwestern Ghana and 66.7k in the southeast of Côte d’Ivoire. In Ghana, the Nzema area is divided into three electoral districts of Nzema East Municipal also referred to as Evalue Gwira, Ellembele District, and Nzema West, which is also known as Jomoro District of Ghana where our heroes went. Their language is also known as Nzima (in Ghana) or Appolo (in the Ivory Coast).
When TheAfricanDream.net asked GLP to share their experiences about the long trip from Beyin to the village on stilts, Ms. Daisy P. Antwi, founder of GLP, told us “for some of us, our aqua-phobia came to play when we saw the water we had to cross,” she recounted, continuing that “the team was split into two groups with each in a canoe powered by an outboard motor. While some of us stood in the canoe to take memorable shots, others held onto each other for their safety.“
Ms. Daisy told TheAfricanDream.net that upon arrival on the stilt, it was apparent the community of Nzulezu was prepared to meet them as it had cooked the atmosphere for the event. She was much pleased to find out that a durbar was to be held to welcome them.
GLP “made it to the other side of the water safely” to give to Nzulezu and her people
The durbar was held at Nzulezu’s community center; a building with the largest seating capacity of 60 people on the stilt. The team was first welcomed by a sub-Chief, the local Prince, and some family heads. After exchanging pleasantries, GLP made their mission known to Nzulezu and supported their mission with a bottle of liquor and some cash as traditions of the locals demanded. The warmly receptive people of Nzulezu were delighted to have the team in their midst and gave them their word of cooperation on the next day’s event, the climax of the outreach which was happening on the ensuing Saturday of March 27th.
Immune Your Mind Outreach Jomoro District edition kicked off in the wee hours of Saturday with GLP team members and volunteers already awake by 5AM and preparing with excitement and enthusiasm to leave an indelible mark on Nzulezu.
Two hours down the clock by 7AM, the team members were already in two canoes paddling their way across lake Tadane from Beyin: “This time our canoes were heavy not from aqua-phobia, but a burning desire to do what we love the most; helping humanity. Although this boat trip wasn’t pleasant at the beginning as we had to balance on the water with our packed boat, we were not going to let that stop us. We are therefore thankful to have made it to the other side of the water safely,” Amanda Bayeh, narrated to TheAfricanDream.net about this eventful boat ride.
There was excitement in the atmosphere on the stilt as the villagers were full of joy to welcome GLP again and assisted the team to offload their items. Exercise books, textbooks, stationery, branded reusable nose masks, and pocket-size hand sanitizers to help fight the pandemic we among some items donated. Also included in were sanitary pads for women, drinking water, condoms for safe-sex practice, mosquito nets to prevent malaria, articles of clothing, and footwear.
They were also advocates and educators for the people
GLP also donated a first aid box to the community and set up a health station that day where the basic health vitals of the people wers taken by GLP volunteers Ms. Amanda Bayeh and Miss Naa Ayorkor Boye respectively. The team also engaged the community on selected topics. Yaw Yeboah gave a talk on the importance of reading, Reuben Kwota followed with a spelling craze activity, Kwaku Adjei came through with an educative talk on rural-urban migration and entrepreneurship, Ms. Naa taught the gathering adolescent reproductive health and menstrual hygiene.
Host of the ceremony and the organization’s secretary, Zenobia Sena Beli heightened the excitement with musical chairs and dance competition which really excited the children especially. Prince Forson also gave a 10mins talk on COVID-19, highlighting best practices to stay safe, and elaborated on the stigmatization of COVID-19 patients and survivors. “We are all brothers and sisters, let us social distance, but let us not become socially distant from our customs and traditions by ignoring those who catch the virus,” Mr. Forson said.
Ms. Antwi who was instrumental in the smooth running of the event also delivered a speech on the importance of the first-aid box and cautioned that it was there for the entire community and not for an individual or misuse — asking that “its content must be used only when absolutely necessary and on advice from health experts.“
Follow GLP on Instagram as @Goldcoast_Literacy_Program for more pictures from their trip and to also find out how to partner them on projects in the future. GLP thanked to all who helped them to secure their Nzulezu project success, mentioning among others Lawyer Stephen Saah, Edmund Gyasi, Justine Amegbe, Gertrude Quarshie, Kwaku Manu Amponsem, Godfred Churcher, Gyebi Perkins and Melvin Jason Asare.
TheAfricanDream.net will continue to encourage persons and organizations to extend themselves for the greater good of humanity even during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Congratulations to all our heroes of COVID-19, we at TheAfricanDream LLC are proud of their invaluable contributions to make the world a smiling place for all.
And to our readers and their friends around the world please follow us on twitter.com/The4fricanDream to let us know who our next Heroes of COVID-19 should be, thank you for reading and sharing.
Written by Oral Ofori