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Gofred Update June 29, 2024

John first met Gofred about a year ago when he found him living by himself on the

beach in Accra, Ghana. Gofred was five years old at the time. His father had

abandoned him to look for work in a neighboring country. Gofred's mother had died

some time earlier so the little boy was entirely on his own.

The beach in Accra is not safe. Even John is afraid to be outdoors there by himself

at night. And a five year old is in no position to take care of himself under the

best of circumstances.

So John took the child in to live with him, giving him food, shelter, and even

medical treatment for a health issue. Fortunately the father returned shortly

afterward. He then took Gofred with him to stay at a village near Koforidua, a city

in Ghana that lies some distance from Accra.

Almost exactly a year later John received a message that Gofred was seriously ill.

John took the day-long trip by public transit to check on the child and to bring

some money for his medical care. He found that Gofred is being cared for by a woman

hired by Gofred's father. Gofred's father is still travelling and visits him only

perhaps once a month.

John arranged for Gofred's care and then returned to Accra. John himself is not in

good health and the trip triggered another health crisis but he was determined to

do what he could for the little boy. Once back in Accra, John raised some money to

pay the remaining medical bills and to pay for Gofred's schooling but the caretaker

doesn't have a mobile money account, which is the primary means most Ghanaians use

to pay money back and forth among themselves. So John made another trip to pay the

caretaker in person but once again his health couldn't take the stresses of the

trip and he was forced to spend some time in hospital as a result.

Gofred is not, perhaps, in the kind of desperate straits some of the other children

are in. He does have a father who is providing at least some care for him. But he

does need help if he is to receive any kind of education and without education he

will have no future. Also, of course, when emergencies such as illness arise, as

they always do, he needs help.

But what concerns me the most about Gofred is that he always seems so sad. I have

never seen a photo where he is not looking down as if he is about to break into

tears. I have never seen him smile. He never looks at the camera or looks anyone in

the eye. Sadness just radiates from him, as if he is bearing the weight of the

world on his small shoulders.

Gofred is not having an easy life. His mother is dead and his father is constantly

leaving him behind as if he doesn't care about him at all. Also when he was five

years old and just getting established with a circle of friends in big city of Accra

his father took him away from his familiar surroundings and dumped him down

in a small village of strangers and then went off and left him there. I know from

personal experience how soul-wrenching that can be.

I know other children have worse problems, but there are more kinds of suffering

than illness or hunger. There are also needs of the heart and soul, and I fear

Gofred is starving in his own way from lack of happiness or reason to be happy.

Of course we cannot bring his mother back to life or make his father give him more

attention and affection but we can at least provide him with some of the basic

necessities of life and help him to get his schooling. We can give him some sense

that there are people who care about him and who are trying to help him.

So we are determined to do what we can for him.


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