Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mark Webb at the House of St. Francis

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to spend a day with the men and the staff of the House of St. Francis.
As you walk down the road you see the sign "House of St. Francis" but for most that go past it looks just like any other building. However, as you enter the building you soon discover that it is a place where lives are changed.
My first meeting was with a couple of the staff of the house. As they discussed a couple of the men they were dealing with and some specific situations of concern I was struck by the fact that the issues here are so similar to ones faced by the men I work with 5,000 miles away.  I was also struck by the enthusiasm of the staff as they discussed possible next steps and ways to help these men on their journey to recovery.
After the meeting I was told that we would soon be having a class and I was given the opportunity to speak about the 12 steps. While this was an unexpected surprise I was excited and grateful for the opportunity to share with these men. They quickly warmed up to this "white man that talks too fast" and started to share with me in a very open and honest way. I was again reminded that the similarities of addicts in Ghana and Canada are greater than the differences.
After enjoying some delicious fish for lunch  I got to spend some time with Byron Merriweather. To describe Byron as dedicated, enthusiastic and committed only begins to describe the passion he brings to his role at HSF. Byron sincerely wants every person that comes in the doors to gain what they need to get well and stay well.
Our day together ended with a trip to the Black Star AA meeting in Adabraka, Accra. As the tro tro bounced along enroute to the meeting I enjoyed the laughter and banter of this group of men who seemed to genuinely enjoy being a part of this community. It was fun to listen and join in and I was glad  that I had become part of this fellowship.
The House of St. Francis is doing an important and valuable work with a group who have great needs and few options to deal with those needs. They are blessed with a staff that genuinely cares and great things are possible for the House of St. Francis and I am grateful for the day I spent with them.
(Mark Webb is the Program Director of Glencairn Hope Acres Rehabilitation Center in Ontario, Canada)