Saturday, October 25, 2014

Recovery Africa supports Hopeful Way Foundation

Recovery Africa (RA)

Summary Report to Board of Directors and Advisory Council

October 11, 2014

By Dan O’Laughlin

This report provides a brief summary of RA and related activities during 2014.  In preparation for activities in 2015, a more detailed correspondence will be sent in the coming weeks. 


1.       RA planning session and board of directors meeting of March 20, 2014 – Matt’s report dated April 11 on this meeting was distributed in April and is attached. The RA board members are as follows:


a)      Daniel O’Laughlin, Chair                                g.   Jerry Gillen

b)      Al Mooney, V. Chair                                       h.   Adolf Kofi Afful

c)       Kristen Harper, Secretary                              i.   Matthew Brown

d)      Deborah Dungee, Treasure                            j.   David Whiters

e)      Chris Budnick                                                     k.  Mark Spence

f)       Larry Gaines                                                      


RA advisory council members include the following personalities and others interested in moving forward recovery in Africa: Paul Molloy, Thomas Kimball, Emily Eisenhart, Lonnetta Albright, Mark Webb, Jerry Moe, Gerald Marti and Janis Omide. Others who would be welcome to serve on the advisory council include Mike Houle, Nancy Alexander, Edward Green and others.

2.       RA dinner of March 20 – The dinner was a great success in expanding the networking of RA. The fundraising part covered expenses, plus about $1,000 net.

3.       Willingway Foundation – Dr. Al Mooney and his Willingway Foundation continue to serve as the 501(c)(3) “incubator” for RA until we obtain recognition from the IRS. Tax deductable donations are received by WWF where RA has a separate account.

4.       Financial situation – The largest financial commitment of RA in 2014/15 is to Oxford House, Inc. to keep Byron Merriweather in Ghana for one year ending June 15, 2015. Uncommitted funds in the WWF/RA account as of October 1, 2014 were approximately $10,000.  A RA checking account has been opened at SunTrust Bank in Bethesda.

5.       501(c)(3) application – In April, receipt of the RA application was acknowledged by the IRS. Nothing has been received since that time. 

6.       Byron Merriweather in Ghana – Byron continues to be the main contribution that RA provides to the budding recovery movement in Ghana. With Byron playing a reduced role, the House of St. Francis continues to do very well with an average of 20 residential clients. The “Grand Opening” of the HSF was held on Oct. 9; it was a great success. A new HSF chairman and board of directors is full of life.

7.       Ghana programs – Perhaps the largest contribution of RA in Ghana is fostering cooperation among recovery players. Professionals and people in recovery from the U.S. and Ghana are used for training purposes. A consortium meeting held on September 25 holds much potential. Twelve-step groups continue to expand, with about ten in Accra. Two Oxford Houses for men are doing well. An Oxford House with program for women is in its formation stages.  About $12,000 is needed to pay advanced rent and start up and running expenses. A grant application is being sent to an NGO in Sweden. Byron and Dan are spending less time at the HSF but we are available as needed. RA provided no funding to the HSF in 2014 to cover expenses. The HSF is largely breaking even but staff is still not on full salary. As described below, recovery experts from the U.S. provide excellent training, motivation and sharing of expertise.

8.       Website and Facebook – Thanks to Mike Houle and Shelia Stigall, the RA website and Facebook sites are up and providing good information on RA and its work. We are in need of managers for the sites.

9.       Dan and Agnes in Ghana – Dan and Agnes arrived in Ghana on April 22 and plan on returning to Maryland on October 22, 2014.

10.   Ethiopia women’s facility – In response to a request by David Whiters, in June, 2014 RA provided $1,000 to assist in the establishment of a transitional housing facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

11.   Kristen Harper in DC – As the executive director of the Association of Recovery Schools, Kristen was in Maryland/Wshington, DC from August 5 to September 6. She provided information about RA at places such as ONDCP and as a panelist at the 4th SAMSHA & NAADAC recovery lunch which she attended with Mike Houle of RA.

12.   Georgia Southern Univ. to Ghana – A group of over ten students and staff from Georgia Southern University spent the month of July in Ghana. Six of the students helped to carry the recovery message with RA in Accra, and others were with recovery facilities and 12-step groups in Cape Coast. This third visit from GSU did a lot to create synergy between recovery in Ghana and the U.S.

13.   Texas Tech University to Ghana – Ladd Hight was in Ghana with RA/HWF from June 4 – July 23. He spent most of his time at the HSF and Oxford Houses but also assisted at Pantang Rehab and  other facilities in Ghana. He did a lot by helping clients work the steps and sharing his experiences regarding recovery in the U.S.

14.   Recovery personalities visit Ghana – The recovery professionals and others listed below contributed much to the RA and other prevention, treatment and recovery programs in Ghana in 2014. As of now no visitors are scheduled for 2015 but we are in discussions with “The Midnight Mission” in Los Angeles which may send two 12-step people in long term recovery to assist in Ghana next year. 

15.   David Whiters to Ghana – David spent two weeks in Ghana in March and moved with Byron to do a lot to further efforts of RA and others. He facilitated several workshops and worked with public and private efforts regarding ROSC, 12-step and related efforts.

16.   Gerald Marti to Ghana – Gerald was in Ghana from June 10 – 23 and provided excellent training in Back to Basics, 12-step and medical aspects. He was particularly helpful at the HSF and to the senior staff of the Narcotics Control Board where drug courts and related matters were discussed. Health care workers at Pantang Hospital learned a lot from Gerald.

17.   Jerry Moe to Ghana – Jerry was in Ghana from May 30 to June 8 and did outstanding work to further the RA presence in Ghana as related families and children. His teaching techniques are being widely used. For a full article on Jerry’s visit, see RA Facebook page.

18.   Sheila Stigall to Ghana – Shelia spent two months at the HSF in 2013 and another two months beginning July 16, 2014. Shelia taught 12-step recovery and added to the HSF in so many ways. She did much to enhance the RA Facebook page where details of her visit can be found.

19.   Nancy Alexander to Ghana – Nancy was in Ghana for about a week beginning June 26 attending an international conference. She visited the HSF and Oxford House and introduced RA to the Accra East Rotary Club.  On returning to the U.S., she assisted RA prepare several documents including the RA fact sheet.

20.   Consortium meeting – On September 25, RA/Hopeful Way Foundation sponsored a consortium meeting with 40 persons present. “Recovery Ghana” may be the name of the consortium which holds great potential for furthering a recovery movement in Ghana. A separate report will be sent. Next meeting to be held on October 30.

21.   National Commission for Civic Education – GHC1,000 ($350) was provided to the National Commission for Civic Education to enable their field staff to develop addiction related programs at schools in Accra. NCCE arranged for Jerry Moe to visit children from families suffering from addiction in Accra.

22.   Prayer camps – RA is developing a relationship with prayer camps, where many Ghanaians who suffer from addiction are taken for treatment. A resident of the Oyarifa Oxford House goes on a weekly basis to such a camp where he carry’s the 12-step message as part of a University of Ghana research team.

23.   Kintampo request – RA has received a request from a person in recovery at the Kintampo Rural Health Training School to assist in developing a program to deal with an apparently growing problem with alcohol and drugs in the town. The school prepares mid-level health professionals to serve in Ghana’s rural areas.

24.   Theme for 2015 event in DC – We are looking for ideas to guide the theme “Youth” for the RA 2015 event and board meeting. Please submit ideas.

25.   RA office – In the coming months steps will be taken to establish a RA office, probably in the Bethesda/Washington, DC area.

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 “”. 

-          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. (  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 ( is updated from time to time but the blog ( 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 “”.