Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hopeful Way Board Meeting on 17 July, 2014

Below is additional information provided in a summary report to the board of directors of the Hopeful Way Foundation on 17 July, 2014:

Professional Visitors to Ghana – From 2008 – 2014 the HWF/Recovery Africa has arranged programs for 12 professionals from North America in Ghana to share their expertise in treatment and recovery from addiction.  In 2014 visits were made by Dr. David Whiters, Dr. Gerald Marti and Mr. Jerry Moe of Hazelden Betty Ford Center.  Additional visits will likely be arranged in 2015.  Dr. Marti is doing research on the use of drug courts in the U.S. and may be in a position to respond to interest from Ghana in this area. 

 

University Students Visit Ghana – From 2012 - 2014 over 25 students and staff members from “Recovery Campus Programs” at Texas Tech and Georgia Southern Universities were hosted in Ghana by HWF.  The purpose of the visits is to help strengthen the recovery in Ghana and to better the personal recovery of the students.  The visits assist in establishing permanent relationships which are intended to help treatment and recovery in Ghana. From 7 – 11 July, 2014, seven students from Georgia Southern U. were in Accra.  A student from Texas Tech is also in Ghana from 4 June – 25 July, spending most of his time at the HSF.  Shelia StargillA detailed program of activities is available from Dan. 

 

Project Development Policy of HWF – Rather than initiate and take long-term responsibility for recovery from addiction projects in Ghana, the HWF rather wants to support initiatives that will become independent or will become self-sufficient or will be supported by other organizations.  The proposed House of St. Francis is one such project. 

 

Collaborators in Ghana – Numerous organizations and individuals in Ghana are supporting the work of the HWF.  In addition to the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, the Ministry of Heath, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), the University of Ghana, Chosen Rehab and others, new collaborators include the National Commission for Civic Education, the Ashaiman Federation of Youth and Lord Kenya in Kumasi. 

 

Collaborators in the U.S. –

-          Recovery Africa (RA) – Dan is leading an effort in the U.S. to establish an NGO named “Recovery Africa” whose purpose is to support recovery efforts of the HWF in Ghana and in other countries of Africa.  Dr. Al Mooney, Mr. Larry Gaines, Byron Merriweathe, Kristen Harper and others are also involved with the establishment of RA.  For more information go to the RA website “recoveryafria.org”. 

-          Oxford House, Inc – Mr. Paul Molloy and his staff are making it possible for Byron Merriweather to volunteer for twelve months in Ghana in 2014/15.  

-          Willingway Foundation – Dr. Al Mooney’s not-for-profit receives tax exempt donations and hosts visitors from Ghana.  Until it is registered in the US, “Recovery Africa” operates under the umbrella of the Willingway Foundation. Willingway Hospital, in Statesboro, Georgia, provides excellent training for Ghanaians, including Dr. Dordoye, Edwin Ahadzie and Sylvester Adu. 

-          Kelly Foundation/Serenity Park – Mr. Larry Gaines and his staff train Ghanaians in Recovery Dynamics in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Mr. Gaines expects to visit Ghana again to train staff members of NACOB, the HSF.  Their copyrighted Recovery Dynamics will be used at the HSF.

-          Faces and Voices of Recovery The entire staff give guidance to our efforts in the U.S., and post the HWF newsletters on their Recovery Resources Guide-Africa. (http://www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/resources/international/International.php)  They further “networks of support between recovery communities in the US and internationally”, and support advocacy and peer recovery efforts. 

-          The Healing Place of Wake County – HWF supporters, including Dr. Eugene Dordoye, Byron Merriweather, the O’Laughlins and Sylvester Adu of NACOB, have received training at The Healing Place where Recovery Dynamics and Therapeutic Community approaches are used. 

-          DePaul University Center for Community Development – Dr. Leonard Jason’s Center did a survey of the Oyarifa Oxford House, and keeps up to date with our efforts at the HSF.

-          Council of Ghanaian Organizations (COGA) – Mr. Kofi Afful, former chairman of COGA, is a board member of Recovery Africa and helps inform the Ghanaian community in the Washington, DC area about HWF/HSF.  Dr. Dordoye spoke on behalf of HWF at the COGA 55th Independence Anniversary Dinner Dance held in Washington, DC on 10 March, 2012. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hopeful Way Board Met on July 17, 2014

Under the chairmanship of Prof. Joseph Asare, the Hopeful Way Foundation board of directors met at Peace Be Clinic in Accra last week.  It was decide that definite steps will be taken to look into the feasibility of establishing a women's house for women who want non-medical recovery. Such a house would be established and run in close collaboration with Pantang Hospital and the Korle Bu Hospital Addictive Diseases Unit. Part of the report to the meeting included the following:


Oyarifa Oxford House (aka “Bill Moore House”)  – This recovery house/transitional house was opened in mid-2009 and has had as many as ten residents.  With a capacity of twelve, the Oyarifa House presently has three residents and is in need of revitalization and restructuring.  It is suggested that recovery programs be introduced along with more structured use of time by residents.  With the view of establishing a closer relationship, we are in discussions with the Medical Director of Pantang Hospital and the Addictive Diseases Unit. 

 

Koo Tufo Oxford House – Located in Kukurantumi, this is an Oxford House that provides treatment and recovery programs to an average of about five residents.  The HWF makes regular visits to assist in strengthening the facility which is being sponsored by the Books for Africa Library Project. 

 

Oxford House Chapter – We are still in the process of establishing a grouping of recovery houses in Ghana which is intended to monitor and support the houses.  Hopeful Way Foundation would in turn assist in building the chapter that could remain part of HWF or could possibly be registered as an NGO. 

 

Byron Merriweather – With the support of Oxford House, Inc. and Recovery Africa, Byron returned to Ghana on 16 June, 2014 to begin a stay of at least one year. While he will assist with the development of the HSF, his main focus will be on the strengthening of Oxford Houses and the establishment of additional houses, including a house for women and a chapter.  He will also assist with the expansion of 12-step meetings and related activities. 

 

Hopeful Way Web Site and Blog – The HWF website (http://hopefulway.webs.com) is updated from time to time but the blog (hopefulwayghana.blogspot.com) is posted regularly.  From 2008 until present, 110 articles have been posted on the blog which give a good history of activities of the HWF. 

 

House of St. Francis (HSF) – The House has been the focus of our activities for the past three years.  It began accepting clients on 1 September, 2012, it was registered as an NGO in September, 2013 and by June, 2014 had 22 male residents and a female outpatient.  The HSF will be handed over to the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra in August, 2015.  Thanks to the presence of Byron Merriweather, numerous professionals and Edwin Ahadzie and his staff, the HSF is making excellent progress.  The HWF discontinued HSF salary support in January, 2014, and treatment fees were raised to GHC600 per month.  The facility brings in enough income to cover core running expenses.  Some clients do not pay fees or pay reduced fees.  Major challenges include the establishment of a HSF fundraising committee, the need to pay salaries rather than a stipend to HSF staff and a greater involvement of the Archdiocese in the HSF board of directors.  Income and expenses for the HSF for 2013 were as follows:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Georgia Southern University in Ghana 2014

Georgia Southern University is sending nine students and a staff person to do recovery work in Accra beginning today, July 6.  This will be their third trip to Ghana where lots has been done to help carry the message of recovery, particularly in Cape Coast. The Director of the GSU Center for Addiction recovery, Ms. Emily Eisenhart, says that “I have fallen in love forever with the country, people, and culture and never wants to stop trying to help people in Ghana and all over Africa to find ways into recovery”.   Led by Christina Beslin, a group of seven from GSU are currently in Accra where they have a full program at the House of St. Francis, at the Oyarifa Oxford House, Pantang Hospital, Addictive Diseases Unit and more. 

Texas Tech University in Ghana Again


In 2012/13 the Texas Tech Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery sent over 15 staff and students to help RA carry the message of recovery to Ghana.  The impact has been huge on everyone concerned.  Thomas Kimball, Ph.D., the director of the center has decided not to send large groups to Ghana but to do something more sustainable over the long run.  The vision “is to have two Texas Tech graduate students spend a semester in Ghana working with the House of St. Francis and other RA programs.  Ideally, there would be TTU students in Ghana for the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.”  Dr. Kimball adds: “Everyone so far that I have talked to is excited about this. I think it will be very beneficial for these students and your work in Ghana.” To begin the new collaboration, Ladd Hight is currently in Ghana for a two month stay assisting and learning about a variety of treatment and recovery programs.  He said: “Since arriving in Ghana my life has been changed. It’s unlike anything I could have imagined.  The staff at the HSF is amazing. They are really invested in their clients’ recovery and well-being.  The clients are passionate about their recovery and the twelve steps. They’ve also taught me about the food and the proper Ghanaian way to eat it. It’s been fun and refreshing learning about another culture firsthand.”

Jerry Moe Visits Ghana


Jerry Moe of the Hazelden Betty Ford Center visited Ghana from May 30 to June 8 to do training at Recovery Africa/Hopeful Way Foundation programs.  His training methods and materials have changed the way Ghana’s recovery movement looks at the “disease concept” of addiction.  In his report to RA, Jerry said:  “Thanks for an amazing experience during my recent visit. Many, many really good things are happening in Ghana when it comes to treatment and recovery”.  In his trip report, Jerry suggested that the House of St. Francis make more systematic use of professionals, provide additional support for HSF staff and team up with a local university to develop outcome studies.  Regarding the Oyarifa Oxford House, he called for a much more structured approach with residents involved with work/volunteer programs.  He urged RA to “make the house shine so prospective residents would want to live there”.  Based on a National Commission on Civic Education arranged visit to Jamestown in Accra, Jerry suggests that the youth in the area go to the House of St. Francis to be trained by the residents to “carry a strong anti-drug message.  I see this as a huge WIN/WIN possibility.” 

Jerry also did a group with young children, coordinated by the National Commission on Civic Education, in Jamestown. In describing the experience, Jerry said, “Halfway through the group, you could see the emotions so clearly etched on the children’s beautiful faces. At the appropriate moment, I asked these courageous youth if they were growing up in a family like mine. Five immediately raised their hands in the air while others contemplated what to do. Thirty seconds passed, and now everyone’s hand was raised. While they looked around the group, I said ‘You are not alone, and it’s not your fault.’ A few of the children started to cry while others nodded affirmatively.”

Saturday, June 14, 2014

We Lost Delali

Today, June 14, 2014, the 39 year old Delali S. was laid to rest at a service held at City God Church in Accra, Ghana.  The hundreds of mourners included seven from the House of St. Francis (HSF) family.  Delali had been a much loved resident and alumni of the HSF for over a year; he passed away on May 3 after an illness which got the best of him.  A generous and gifted person “with a high IQ, exceptional talents and excellent human relation skills”, Delali will be greatly missed.  The pastor at today’s service said: “This is the most honest funeral that I have ever attended. The family asked for forgiveness for the shortcomings of Delali; The Lord says ‘I like that’”.   
 
The program for the funeral paid tribute to Delali’s many achievements and went on to say: “The last 15 years of his life, Delali battled with dependence on Pethidine, a painkiller belonging to the Opiate family.  This very powerful painkiller was used in treating the pain of sickle cell borne pain crisis from is teens.  He struggled with this dependence for about five years before it came to the family’s notice.  Over the past ten years he gave a good fight.  Those of us who cared about him felt he should have fought harder but alas we don’t understand the hold of addiction over a person’s life.  The last two years of his life, he found a new family in the House of St. Francis, a rehab house for people with drug dependency problems.  They were a superb family!  They accepted him as one of their own and their rehab programme brought Delali a renewed sense of dignity and self-worth.  He also drew closer to God while there.”  For more information see tributes at “rememberingdela.com”. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dr. Gerald Marti Visits Ghana


Dr. Gerald Marti Visits Ghana

 

Hopeful Way Foundation/Recovery Africa was privileged to host Dr. Gerald Marti to Ghana from 10 – 23 May, 2014.  Dr. Marti has a long career of working with various forms of addiction and the organizations in the U.S. which are involved with prevention, treatment and recovery.  His visit did much to enrich recovery work and to carry the message of recovery in Ghana.  As detailed in his report, Dr. Marti participated in over 10 meetings and training sessions during his visit.  He often said that “I came to Ghana to learn, to find out how lesions learned in the U.S. could benefit Ghana; how recovery in North America could benefit experiences in Ghana”.  He believes that lessons learned from the long time use of marijuana in Ghana could be of use in seeing how the legalization of Marijuana in the U.S. may have unexpected results.  He believes that the recovery movements in Ghana and the U.S. could benefit from closer collaboration. 

 

At a meeting with the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), officials expressed a particular interest in obtaining research findings on the effectiveness of drug courts in the U.S.  They explained to Dr. Marti their interest in examining the feasibility of establishing such courts in Ghana.  Dr. Marti also conducted four training sessions for the staff of Pantang Psychiatric Hospital and their drug and alcohol Treatment Center.  Various aspects of treatment and recovery were discussed, with emphasis on the need for after care follow-up programs.  Meetings at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and Valley View Clinic provided opportunities for explaining about the House of St. Francis and Oxford House.  In his presentation at the University of Ghana’s Psychiatric Department, Dr. Marti expressed his wish that Ghana and the U.S. could learn by exchanging recovery experiences. 

 

An important part of Dr. Marti’s visit to Ghana consisted of three Back to Basics training sessions conduced for the staff and clients of the House of St. Francis.  He also shared his experiences at a HSF family meeting with over 50 clients and family members present.  Counseling and the hearing of 5th steps was well received.  In a visit to the Kuo Tufo Oxford House and treatment center in Kukurantuim, Dr. Gerald provided valuable information on the medical and twelve-step aspects of treatment and recovery. 

 

Reflecting on his visit to Ghana, Dr. Gerald said that he “liked the people, their culture, their food and the market places”.  On a more important note he was impressed by the grasp of the 12th step in their recovery programs.  Ghanaians I recovery seemed to intuitively know that they had to give it away in order to keep it.  To that end, several individuals are planning on returning to their home areas to start 12 step meetings in order to maintain their sobriety and to carry the massage.  Very impressive.