Mother’s Day Lesson in Poverty and Love

Ghana children

A member of St. John Mary Vianney parish near Seattle greets schoolchildren on a visit to northern Ghana. The parish led an effort to help CRS build nearly 20 wells throughout northern Ghana.Photo courtesy St. John Mary Vianney parish

While visiting villages in northern Ghana, members of a Seattle parish were confronted with the realities of extreme poverty.

One image that stayed with pastoral assistant Jan Kline is when a mother thrust her baby into a parishioner ‘s arms and gestured for them to take the child with them.  While it may seem unfathomable for a mother to entrust her child to strangers, Jan explains: “She was indicating that she wanted them to give her child a chance.” And she had reason to.

In the three northern regions, 76 percent of Ghanaians are illiterate-the highest rate in the country. Villages here have long lacked access to clean drinking water, which led to a spread of the guinea worm disease.

Upon arriving in villages throughout northern Ghana, Jan says she was struck by the number of children selling items on the roadside.

The poverty “really blasts you,” she says. “It’s not something that you really process until all these things start adding up.” Then you understand why this mother did what she did.  “Every mother across the planet wants the best for their child,” she says.

Members of St. John Mary Vianney parish helped CRS build wells throughout northern Ghana.

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