September 2004: Garstang to Ghana & back again!
The Garstang / Ghana Exchange 2004 was considered by all to be a great success despite encountering some major problems with the travel arrangements. The team had originally planned to fly with Ghana Airways, which unfortunately were grounded two days before setting out. Thanks to the efforts of Ghana Travel however, the project was salvaged but it meant that the 10 days in Ghana were reduced to only 8 days and the Ghanaian visit to Garstang was extended by an extra 2-days.
The friendships formed between the UK participants and their partners and the links set up between their respective establishments has meant that some of their original objectives (see below) have already been met. In most cases however, the path to their success has only just been marked out. The fact that the organiser of the Exchange, Bruce Crowther was made a Development Chief for New Koforidua will hopefully make the journey along that path a little smoother. Bruce’s new Stool name is Nana Kwadwo Osafo I. Osafo means ‘Pathfinder’, a role that Bruce gladly accepts although he admits to feeling a little nervous. Bruce has already had long talks with Nana Agyekum Sarpong II, the Chief of New Koforidua and the Kontihene (second in command) about ways in which both communities can benefit from the relationship. With Garstang being the world’s first Fairtrade Town and New Koforidua a Fairtrade cocoa farming community Bruce would like to see education take place in both towns on Fairtrade and the issue of Trade Justice. Unfair Trade Rules are one of the main causes of poverty in countries like Ghana and Bruce believes that joint campaigning on Fairtrade and Trade Justice from both sides of the link will be of benefit not just to the people of New Koforidua but for people right across the developing world.
Flags celebrating the link between Garstang and New Koforidua will now fly in both towns on specific festival dates.
Richard and James, the representatives from Myerscough College, managed to complete the Play Area within the new compressed time scale. They would say all credit should go to the people of New Koforidua whose community spirit, ingenuity and resourcefulness enabled the six-piece Play Area not only to be built on time but also £300 below budget. The fundraisers, Churches Together in Garstang District and Brock Valley, have decided to leave the extra cash with the people of New Koforidua to use as they feel fit. Some suggested uses for the money include extending the Play Area, providing electricity to the schools and putting towards the cost of building a footbridge across the main road that runs through the middle of the town. At present 11 children are killed each year in attempting to cross this very busy road.
Children of New Koforidua enjoying the newly built Play Area designed by Richard and James from Myerscough College, funded by Churches Together for Garstang District and Brock valley and built by the people of New Koforidua.