Stephen

I build websites.

AN URGENT APPEAL

Our young sponsored lady, Fola Ajakaiye, is at this time on campus at Eastern Illinois University, registering for her fall classes!  We have spoken by phone a number of times, and have attempted to guide her as she is cautiously exploring campus life.   What a change from life in an African City and what a change in her life !!   You may remember that she came to us last February as a cancer patient.  Without intervention and help she was going to be left to die.   Now she has been treated, she is well, and is embarking on her pursuit of a degree in nursing!!

Fola AjakaiyeHere’s where things get complicated.   The university admitted her, and sponsored her for a visa which was readily granted, and she busily fund-raised in Abuja, Nigeria, and came up with $2100 for her airfare all by herself!    She called us on Friday night to let us know she was in Chicago, and would be heading to the college campus, 3 hours south of Chicago on Monday.

Monday she arrived and checked in at the international admissions office, and was completely blown away when she was told that her education would cost just over $30,000 a year.   No discussion of the financial aspects of her education took place prior to her arrival on campus.

It’s hard to believe that a respected institution of learning, while sponsoring a visa, would let this discussion pass but that is the situation  I spoke yesterday with both the admissions office, and the university housing office, and both confirmed that no disclosure of anything had been made to anyone.

So now our task here at AGYEI is to help Fola, and we have had some emergency meetings to put together an immediate plan.  We have contacted some of the kids in Nigeria who have graduated the program, and they have promised to make contributions from their earning.  We expect that this will yield between $7000 and $8000.   Fola will try to obtain a part time job on campus which would help, although we don’t expect salaries to be high for such jobs.   We will contribute what we can, but of course this whole thing is totally unexpected, and we still have our long standing obligations to those kids in Africa who are still working towards independence.

As is the case with all other kids, Fola has agreed to set aside a portion of her earnings, once she is working as a nurse, to sponsor and help others in the program.   This system was put in place last year, and has been working splendidly.   The kids who are currently receiving help know that their turn will come to help others, and they have been uniformly enthusiastic about it.

That being said and done, there is still a considerable amount of money we will have to raise in the next few weeks and months.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!  Click Donate and Help Fola directly.  We also ask that you pass this letter on to your friends and family members and ask those who are able to contribute.  All donations are fully tax deductible.  Please help this lovely young woman achieve her goal of becoming a nurse.

Micheal has spent the last month in Cape Town, South Africa, where he was taken as part of his educational curriculum with Peugeot of Nigeria.  He is about to graduate the program as a certified mechanic, and he just informed us that he has successfully completed his graduation project, which is required of everyone in the class.

As his project, he disassembled and rebuilt a worn out high-mileage motor from a wrecked Mercedes, and then demonstrated it to the panel of judges that judge the projects of the students.   The motor ran fine, and Micheal successfully defended his project to the panel, answering specific questions relating to the project assembly, to stress tolerances of parts he used and to the re-machining of parts that needed to be ground or polished.   We asked him some detailed questions from here in America, and were satisfied that he knows what he is talking about.   Mike was very proud and told us that he is in the top five of his class at this time!

He is flying back tomorrow to Lagos Nigeria for a series of  final exams after which he is expected to graduate as a factory-certified Peugeot technician!  We wish him every success!

Exciting news!  Our newest member, Fola(bio to come) came to us last year as a cancer patient.  She is recovering well, and we have just received confirmation that she has been accepted as a nursing student at Eastern Illinois University!  She is also the proud recipient of that institution’s Academic Excellence Award, which entitles her to a substantial tuition discount.  This week is visa interview week at the American Embassy in Abuja.  Let’s wish her the best with her visa application.   Go Fola !!

amadea drinking a juice box, fairly messily

Oops, spilled a bit :)

Amadea was nearly lost to us in May when the taxi in which she was being taken to school was hit by a truck.  Her older adoptive sister Mercy died in the crash, and Amadea had a severely traumatized shoulder , that require three visits to an orthopaedic hospital in northern Ghana.  The surgeon, took personal interest in Amadea and performed some of his finest work on her shoulder, and she should soon be as good as new !   The medical and travel bills were high, and we need to give thanks both to the church of her adoptive family, and to her adoptive father’s employer who contributed generously to help her.  The good church members took up donations to allow Amadea and her adoptive father, Isaac to fly to the orthopaedic clinic, saving Amadea the bumpy, unsafe 9 hour bus ride she would otherwise have had to endure with her damaged shoulder.  Three cheers for all those who chipped in!

-Tom

 

 

Richard AdeyemoRichard Adeyemo is relocating to Abuja! Richard has had a standing invitation to move to Abuja and live with the family there, and an unexpected 25% rent increase in Ibadan prompted him to just do it and move! He is in transit today, and will spend his first few weeks in Abuja visiting businesses to develop relationships and line up new clients for his travel business.

In the meantime, 2 year old Daniel, little Emmanuelle’s big brother, finally received the package of toys and books we posted for him back in March. Smith tells us that ever since he got the package, he has been inaccessible to the world, busily looking at his new picture books, and playing with the Swedish-made, or lead paint safe, wooden train set. Rearranging wooden tracks and crossing bridges with the push-powered trains!

Tosin BabatundeOur first graduate, a young man named Tosin, came shortly after Agyei first received help, and early on, the question was put to him as to what he wanted to do with his life. His initial answer was “well, I am only an orphan, and I am doing what befits someone in my position.” Tosin at that time earned his livelihood by scavenging along roadsides as well as refuse dumps for any articles of value that might be sold to enable him to buy food. It took active encouragement to enable him to take a mental step away from his constricting frame of mind and to dare to articulate his dreams, first in his mind and then out loud, and to announce that he wanted to become an accountant. Once he taken that first step, he pursued his path with an astonishing degree of vigor and energy.

It took six hard years of work following his humble beginning, and now Tosin is professionally employed as an accountant, earning a very respectable income and is enjoying job benefits and perks not unlike those found in the west. He has exchanged his solitary existence in a roadside shack without electricity or plumbing for a life with a family of other young recipients that has grown to three other young men, two young widows, one infant and one toddler. As of March, 2011, Tosin is making use of his substantial income to feed this family and provide tuition assistance to two of the other boys in the group. The road to success was plagued with setbacks, including major health issues that resulted from a life of insufficient nourishment and exclusion from health care. In spite of substantial obstacles, Tosintenaciously stuck it out and undauntedly picked up his studies again after each setback until he had reached his goal. At this time he is acknowledged as a leader in his family, and is loved for his wisdom and compassion.

 

Wedding cake made by a sponsored youth.This is a Wedding cake one of AGYEI’s sponsored youth’s made for a client.

The name Oreoluwa means “Gift of God”. Oreoluwa’s page is under construction and his bio has not yet been received, but I couldn’t wait to display one of the wedding cakes he’s made.
“Last cake i made for Mr amd Mrs Ogungbe, dec 20, 2010″-Oreo

One of the amazing things that has been happening  is that our kids, who were complete strangers, have embraced one another as brothers and sisters and look out for each other.

This morning, a communication came in from Richard, in Ibadan, Nigeria.  He wanted us to warn the other kids in the area that a particular area of town was unsafe due to bomb threats.

This what he wrote:

ibadan nigeria located on mapRichard:  warn everyone in Ibadan not to go near Iwo road

Bomb was planted there

Tom:  ok

will do that,

have people totally gone crazy there ??

Richard:  I think so Dad

it’s madness

I have to runtalk to you later”

This is a perfect example of the kind of caring and proactive thinking we are trying to teach the kids  :-)

-Tom

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