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Opening New Doors: Part 2

Opening New Doors: Part 2

Posted - Feb. 6, 2004 at 9:24 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Carole Mikita reporting In part one, we took you half a world away to show you the celebration at the dedication of a new LDS temple in West Africa.

In part two, we show how humanitarian aid is making a difference in the lives of so many in Ghana.

Many NGOs or non-government organizations are working in Ghana, among them Latter-day Saint Charities.

The capitol city of Ghana is teeming with nearly 4-million people. Automobiles crowd the thoroughfares and street venders surround cars at every stop light. With 70% of the population unemployed, they sell what they can daily to feed their families. Average income for Ghanaians is the equivalent of 300 dollars a year. Even in Accra, there are blighted areas with open sewers... abandoned buildings and overcrowded schools.

But most of the now 18-million live in villages. Some look quaint, thatched huts near the seacost. Others, along the roads, are dwellings in the dirt with little or no furniture.

On this day, we traveled to a village about 20 miles from the capitol.

The biggest problem the people of Ghana face is a lack of clean water...

The villagers of Katapor have been without it for four years. Others, for as long as seven. The adults and children suffer and die of diseases and in many cases they don't understand the connection.

Albert Okity/ church engineer, water project "These diseases, they worry them so much... Some of them even die of these diseases and say it is the witches which are killing them... Unfortunately it is because of this bad water that they are drinking."

On this day, workers from Latter-day Saint Charities are unveiling new boreholes or wells that were broken. The chief had appealed to the government to fix them, nothing was done...

In this village outside Accra, there are two refurbished wells. Refurbished because that process is much less costly than digging an original well, and one-fifth the cost."

Isaac Ferguson, who heads Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana, hires Africans to do the labor and supervises projects after studying the people's needs.

Isaac Ferguson, Ph.D./ Latter-day Saint Charities: "In this last round we did 70 wells, 70 refurbishes... And it cost us just over a thousand dollars a piece... And we did it in 30 days..."

In one month, 50-thousand people in villages like this one, had clean water. This is cause for celebration.

Chief Nii Ato Kwame/ Ga Tribal Council: "To the members of the church, I say thank you for giving yourself to God for this wonderful work you have done for the people of the Ga district..."

Then, the handshake that reached across faiths and cultures...

And a newfound friendship that started with a procession to the repaired boreholes.... a taste-testing of the water.... and before the day was over.... an official escort for books that will fill emply schoolroom shelves...

In addition to the water projects, Latter-day Saint Charities also provides diagnostic and hygiene kits and newborn clothing to hospitals and clinics... books and computers to schools and libraries.

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