Making Friends

Feb 15, 2011

Hello, my friends. I call you all my friends quite often in this blog, because I feel like we are. Even if we don't really talk (or comment), we read each other's blogs. We share in similar journeys. We help and encourage each other. It's something I love about the blogosphere-- it connects people in deeper ways than Twitter or Facebook.

I like my friends to get to know each other. So today, I'd like to introduce you to another one of my friends.

This is Michael Nyame. He's about 10 or 11 in this picture-- it's hard to say exactly, because birth dates are hard to pin down in rural Ghana. He's around 16 or 17 now.

Michael lives in Effutu, a small village in Ghana. For a short time, he lived at New Life International Orphanage nearby because his mother couldn't afford to feed him. When he went back to his mother to help with the farming, his brother Amos stayed.

He has a stutter when he speaks English, but not when he speaks Fante.

His favorite food is chicken and rice, though he doesn't get it very often. When I took him to town one day and bought him some, he only ate half of it. He wrapped up the rest to take home to share with his family.

Michael's father is dead. His mother, Grace (right), struggles to support her children through her farm and her relative's support. Hard work has aged her, but it has also strengthened her. Her laugh is contagious.

Michael is much like his mother. He has the same infectious smile (though his also has a goofy quality to it) and the same drive to protect his siblings. Even though he and his brother Amos don't live in the same home, the two boys were close (see picture below).

Michael missed out on school a lot to help on the farm, and he was near the bottom of his class for some time. But he's a smart kid, and a hardworking one to boot, and in the years since I first met him, he passed his high school entrance exams. He started school in September.

This boy means so much to me. When he fell dangerously ill with malaria at school one day, I helped take him home, and witnessed a miracle. Within a day, he was completely healed. You can read the full story here. Michael and I have written letters, and even had the chance to meet again when I went back to Ghana in 2008.

And more than anything, I want him to go to school. I want him to be able to gain his dream of being a bank manager. I want to work with his mother and his teachers to give him a better life than he was born into. (Michael and Grace, below, at their home in Effutu.)

I know you haven't met Michael. But I wanted you to get to know him a little, because he needs help. Please donate to keep Michael in school. If you can spare even five dollars and skip a morning coffee or fast food lunch, it can make a difference in his life.

Of course, you are my friends too. So I wanted to offer the chance to help you out as well. For every five dollars you donate, you have a chance to win a critique from an agent, and editor, and me.

If you can't spare five dollars, can I ask you to please spread the word about the Raffle for Education? Please, folks. I know I sound dangerously close to begging, but if you can let as many people know as possible-- through blogging, Twitter, Facebook, word of mouth, etc.-- it will help Michael so much.

To all of you who have donated already, I can't thank you enough. Thanks for reading, my friends.


Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I've always wanted to go to Africa, but could never afford it. What an amazing experience. And Michael sounds like a special kid.

Karen Elizabeth Brown said...

I must have missed the original post about Michael, but will go back and check it out. He sounds like a wonderful kid and his whole family is very lucky to have you advocating for them.

Angela Ackerman said...

This past summer I went to Tanzania with my family. You don't make a trip like that and come home unchanged.

Good for you for doing something to help. I'll absolutely spread the word.


Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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