Transforming lives in Ghana

Women weave baskets at a center in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Walter Hughes Jr.

Women weave baskets at a center in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Walter Hughes

By Walter Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA

What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.

In mid February, I began leading Rotary members from all over the East Coast of the United States through Ghana. I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips. A large trip is a real blessing because each person on the team sees Ghana and our work in a different way. It is like having eighteen different eyes in which to see our work.

A highlight for the team was greeting the chief of Sagadugu. The team got excited about buying goats and food for children in the villages where I support eight churches. It was good to see the pastors of most of the eight churches, and I had to explain that we were just passing through on our way to Bolgatanga.

The vastness of the work that Rotary has done in Ghana is almost beyond imagination. We are transforming lives and making a difference. We have friendships that will last a lifetime.

We drilled two boreholes in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region with a grant led by Past District Governor Ben Coe and Sam Purington of Watertown, New York, and funded by the Davidson County Community College Rotaract Club in North Carolina and Chatham and Rocky Mount Rotary clubs in Virginia.

We have a grant for over $115,000 that we need funded for new and repaired boreholes near Techiman, Ghana. We also want to improve the Holy Family Hospital that services this region. We also want to continue our work to help people with Buruli Ulcer, a flesh eating disease. The Techiman Rotary Club was chartered in May 2013, but they already have a huge list of new projects.

What do you say about a journey that has changed your life? I was touched by the speech from a woman at a basket weaving center near Bolgatanga. She passionately told us that because Rotary located a well near the basket weaving center in 2009, 600 girls have the opportunity to go to school. The mothers use the income from the basket weaving to fund their daughters to go to school. I never understood that clean water could lead to a better education for girls. The woman’s speech will remain in my heart for a very long time.

Follow the team’s day to day experiences on Past District Governor Sue Poss’s blog

7 thoughts on “Transforming lives in Ghana

  1. For many people, visiting Africa and other developing countries is a life changing experience. I encourage fellow Rotarians and members of other service organizations, to seize the opportunity and visit areas where people do not have the same opportunities that we have in America.
    A small Rotary Club, in South Haven Michigan, not only has helped many needy people in Michigan, but also have funded 5 of 7 class rooms, and a Rotarian has been present to see two more class rooms were built. The government provided funds to build the 8th class room. A Rotarian also developed 5 self sustaining health centers in remote areas of Kenya in the late 90’s. All continue to be self sustaining. A Rotarian has also sponsored 3 very needy Kenyans through Medical School in Kenya, plus numerous nurses and other medical staff.
    Presently, a Maternal Child Hospital is being completed and plans to open by the end of 2017. Funding has been provided by Lions Clubs International Foundation, local lions clubs, members of the South Haven Rotary Club, METAD, located in Spring Lake, Michigan and self funding.
    Several demonstration Plots have been developed to show women/widows, ways in which they can work and provide funds so their children can attend school. All have been accomplished in less than 20 years. Methods of obtaining clean water have been demonstrated. An involved Rotarian is the recipient of SERVICE ABOVE SELF AWARD, for which the South Haven Rotary Club has helped to make possible.


  2. Great work and presentation but loose the Americans not listening jokes. Americans listening is why Rotary exists. Is a big part of the reason why Rotary is successful,and Sustainable. Americans and all Rotarians work hard at listening.
    Richard Lindstrom 6890


  3. Pingback: Today’s Links | Rotary International District 3040

  4. Pingback: Transforming lives in Ghana | Warsaw Rotary , Club 3393, District 6540

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