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Village of Hope Bongo Children’s Home
Fall, 2005 History of the Home: The idea of creating a children’s home in the Upper East Region of Ghana first began taking shape after I visited the Region to see a young preacher named Adams Akurumolga who went by the name of Chief Adams. I had met the young man while he was attending the Ghana Bible School in Kumasi. He was preaching for a small congregation in the village of Anwiefutu outside of Kumasi. After graduating from the Bible School, Adams returned home to the Bongo District of the Upper East Region. He soon married and settled down to make a home for his family. In the Spring of 2005, Adams contacted me and asked me to come to the Upper East on my next visit to Ghana to see the needs of the many orphaned children that lived in the Bongo District.
On my next visit, I traveled to the area accompanied by Elder Sagoe of the Bonso congregation in Kumasi. We met with Adams the next day at the Comsi-Consa Hotel in Bolgatanga, the capital of the Upper East Region. An elder from the Bolgatanga congregation and Lawrence Nsule, a local evangelist, were also at the meeting. It was a general information meeting letting me know the conditions present in the area. We later that day traveled to Bongo and toured the town. I also met a blind man in Bongo by the name of James Amulgo who resided in the village of Bongo. It was suggested to me that James Amulgo had been working in this village for many years helping to meet the needs of orphans and other needy children. Before leaving the village that day, I arranged for an amount of funds to be left for the purchase of food for orphans being cared for by James and his wife. The picture below is of me with the children outside James’ home. At that time, I believed that it would be best to assist James and Adams in the care of these children through a food program. I was later to find out that James was using the children to secure funds from American visitors.
Meeting the children at James Amulgo’s House in the Spring of 2005 Adams and his wife Elizabeth in Bongo in the Spring of 2005, the lady with them is Adam’s mother. After leaving the village, it was soon discovered that James was not a dependable person and that we would have to sever our ties with him At that point we were not sure what we would do to assist the orphans in the Bongo District. Two days later, Adams arranged for a meeting with the District Chief and his elders to discuss the issue of orphan care in Bongo. We informed the Chief that we would be developing a plan to assist in the Children’s care and would like his blessing on the project so that James and others would not be a bother to us in the Village. He said the matter was finished and that he would support us in whatever we decided to do. With that matter settle, we investigated a building that could supply us with some rooms to help maintain a few children until a more permanent facility could be built. We then rented 5 rooms in a house to keep Adams and his family and several children. Our first four children were Philip, Abunga, Mary, and Atia (picture on front of this section). We still have a presence in this facility with Adams and his family and 3 boys. This is due to the fact that our new house is full and a second house is still under consideration. Our first fully constructed home was completed in the Fall of 2006.
Since the completion of the home, several improvements have been made to the house. An outside kitchen and store room have been added to the back of the house. Also, Adams has constructed a chicken coop on the rear of the property for raising young chicks for sell and food in the home. The construction of a wall around the property is in progress although it is not of a high priority, but the Division of Family Services keeps on suggesting that we build this wall for security. The front section of the wall is complete.
The most recent addition to the home is the construction of the Church building on the front of the property. The structure has added to the image of the Church in Bongo and now serves as a meeting place for large assemblies of congregations in the Upper East. In the Fall of 2009, 23 congregations met in our building for a Fall Bible Camp for 2 days with over 250 people in attendance. This past Fall, we added a children’s bible class room on the side of the building to complete the structure.
First Service in the new building in the Fall, 2009 Bongo Church of Christ Children’s Home
The home in the Bongo District continues to evolve over time. Due to the changing landscape of the Upper East Region, our official title and function has changed from the inception of this project. Originally, a home to four double orphans in rented rooms to a two house Children’s Home and. Foster Care Facility. Our final classification and license should be gained on February 4, 2013. Adams is to go to Accra and receive the official license for the home. A group of government officials came to our home in the fall of 2012 and said we had completed all of the requirements for licensing.
The Home is now comprised of a girl’s house and boy’s house, a dining hall, and cooking facilities. The church building was completed in 2010 and will seat over 200 people. Our home has its own water and sewage system. Each home contains inside restrooms, showers and bedrooms, and a small cooking area. Sleeping quarters usually contain two sets of bunk beds. The girls house is staffed with a housemother and Adams and Elizabeth and family supervise the boy’s house. The Home also employs a night watchmen and part-time accountant.
The home farms 30 acres in the South around Sunyani where maize, yams, casaba, and peppers are raised. These products are sold at market and the funds are transferred to our farm account in Bongo. We have just acquired 30 acres of land 20 miles from Bongo to begin a second farm in the Upper East. We will begin by clearing five acres of that land to raise millet, maize, and peanuts. This year, the agriculture department developed a fish program that was intended to increase production in the Upper East Region. Adams applied for the program and we are now raising fish in a government supplied pond. We purchased 6,000 fingerlings to begin the project. Adams also applied and got a 1 acre irrigated garden plot from the government to raise tomatoes and okra. The last two days I was there, the children came back from the garden with two large containers of tomatoes from the garden. The best of the crop was washed and taken to the market for sale. Each day, the produce produced $15 to be placed in the farm account. The other tomatoes were taken to the grinder for use in soups and other dishes at the home. Plans to raise rabbits are now in place so that the home can produce its own meat source on a regular basis. When taken all together, the farm projects have been successful and able to raise either usable food or funds for the running of the home. This past December, 2012, Rebecca left her position as housemother to work in a government job. Since she has left, Emma, a widow in the Church at Bongo has been hired on a trial basis to staff the girl’s house. Although she is less educated, I have noticed that she is a much better worker on a day to day basis. We have also heard some rumors that Rebecca is trying to cause some problems in the community by saying that she was not treated fairly. In retrospect, we probably should have replace her some time ago due to her other political interest outside her duties at the home.
Most importantly, I was able to secure a new agreement with the school where the children attend. The cost of sending the children to this school was becoming a real burden on the finances of the home as our numbers grew. On my last day in Bongo, I met with the school committee and secured an agreement that all children coming from the Home would be granted free tuition and all canteen fees would be waived. The home will still be responsible for books, uniforms, and any other fees charged for special events. This agreement will save the home over $3,000 per year. Financially, the home is on a firm standing with the fundraising events. Presently, two additional congregations are assisting with donations and six regular monthly contributors from our congregation. The Ladies class has continued to support the Home with yearly contributions in excess of $1,000 per year. With the yearly contribution of $6,000 from our mission’s committee budget, we are able to adequately support the home at this time.
However, the cost of food supplies, firewood, and other increases have placed a strain on the budget sometimes. Food prices doubled last year and placed a greater value on our ability to supply from our farming project a greater amount of needed food stuffs for the Home. Thus, with the newly signed agreement between the home and the school, some pressure has been removed from my fundraising efforts for the home. This year, I purchased a Motor King vehicle for the home. With this hauling cycle, we will be able to collect our own firewood thus removing an additional $1,200 cost from this year’s budget. The normal operating expenses supplies from our wire transfers to the home are monitored separately from the farm account maintained in a local bank in Bongo. All expenses and profits for the farming are maintained in that account. Last year, the profits from the farming paid several bills not anticipated in our regular budget.
I believe that Adams and his wife Elizabeth have been the real driving force of the home. She is a great worker and provides real leadership for the home. Adams has proven his worth to the project and our plans to evangelize the Upper East. While there, we had several very long conversations as to how to evangelize and mature the rural congregations is the Upper East. Almost without fail, I found his plans and goals completely in line with ours.
Some of our efforts to support the children will include foster care for some children until better placements can be obtained. At present, one of our children are on a trial basis with his brother who has now established residence several miles from the home. He has a job and suitable place to live and is interested in having his brother live with him. The Division of Family Services is monitoring this placement. The Family Services have also been notified by the home that they should be looking for placement of the two twin babies that we took one year ago. Also, a nurse and her husband have expressed interest in adopting Natasha. They are being investigated at this time. Both parents have jobs and would be able to supply Natasha with a solid home. I believe that this may be a trend, but does not significantly change our original goals of providing for the needy orphans and homeless children of the Upper East Region.
February, 2014 Church Plant A congregation was planted in the community of Balungo-Lungo in the Bongo District. The Bongo Church headed up the new plant with area evangelist assisting in the project. Also, the Elders at the Afforidarom Congregation in Kumasi sent 12 men and women to assist in this effort. Their assistance was of a great help in the door to door canvasing in these two communities. Nightly preaching took place in the common market area of these two communities. Another young man from the Bongo Congregation will travel to these communities each week to preach and conduct services. Dennis Anaba, a nephew of Adams, will be sponsored by the Bongo Congregation in this task. Dennis is 20 years old and currently scheduled to graduate from high school this year. Dennis will continue to live in Bongo with Adams supervising the men sent to develop this congregation. The two communities are located between Bongo and Namoo, the border crossing to Burkino Faso.
Spring, 2015 Church Plant
The Bongo Congregation again sponsored an effort to combine two communities into one new church plant. The existing congregation, about 10 members, will join with the community of Medina to form one larger congregation. Members of the Bongo Church, young men from Kumasi, and other area wide preachers will help in this effort. Paul. Atibire, a recent Bomsal Preacher School graduate, has agreed to be the preacher for this new church plant. The plant was successful and the congregation now number 45 regular attendees.
Spring, 2016 Church Plant
The Bongo Congregation again lead a team of over 40 individuals to the community of Adaboyah to plant a new congregation. Local members of the church who worship at Bongo, men from area churches, and preachers from Kumasi, Sunyani, and Accra came to help lead the nightly preaching. There were 90 baptisms during the four day project and an average of 300 community members heard the gospel preached each night. Members of the Bongo congregation are assisting the new plant to construct a pavilion for their worship services. Funds for this plant have been donated by both Ghana congregations and members of the Village Church. The area Chief donated the land for this new plant. Summer 2020 Village of Hope
To help with increased local support of the orphanage in Bongo the Hot Springs Village church working with Village of Hope located in Fetteh Ghana came to an agreement for overall responsibility of the work in Bongo. The Hot Springs Village church still supports the orphanage in Bongo with the confidence more resource are available to the children in Bongo. For more information on the Village of Hope in Fetteh Ghana please click this link to their website. Village of Hope.
If you would like to financially support this work to spread God’s word in Ghana and take care of God’s creation please contact the Village church office. James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.