Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Africa Heartwood Project

We have recently become involved in a local charity called Africa Heartwood Project. We learned about it from Todd's djembe teacher, Andy Jones, who is the founder and director. They help the needy in Africa in several ways. These are the projects we have been involved in:
  1. They buy drums from local artisans in five West African countries and sell them on their web site Djembe Direct. The drums are hand made and very nice. That is where we got our two drums. If you've seen them then you know how nice they are.
  2. They help pay for the installation of hand pump bore holes in rural villages in Ghana. These provide clean water to villages that would otherwise get their drinking water from streams that might be far away, polluted or dry at certain times of the year. We have contributed a small amount of money to a couple of the projects.
  3. They fund the Refugee Orphan Home at Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana, Africa. There are over 40 children there that are refugees from Liberia. They are trying to help these children return to Liberia but have been unsuccessful so far. We have donated several items to the orphanage. Almost all of the items have been household items that we no longer use. After we donated a set of items, the orphans sent us a letter:
If you click on the image above, you may be able to read the letter. This is what it says:
Dear Sponsors,
We greet you in the name of our lord Jesus Christ amen. We want to tell you thanks for your kind support and love you people have shown us, we also want to let you know that we recieved ever things your have sent us which are listed below.
1. hats
2. mobile phone
3. mous
4. 10 ear piece
5. 1 digital phito viewer
6. with some drugs
7. mp3 player 3
Yours and only orphan:
They then all signed the letter.

The letter made me smile. It was a bit comical: No, we didn't send them any drugs! But at the same time it seemed so innocent and so sincere. We had given them what was basically junk to us and it was clearly something that they appreciated.

We have supported a variety of different charities, but this is perhaps the one that has been the most tangible. With some charities, the only interaction we have is a form letter. With Africa Heartwood Project we feel much closer. We've been able to talk to Andy about the projects. (He travels to Africa frequently.) We've also seen the videos that they've posted on their web site. And the letter from the orphans was special because it was directly from the people we have helped.

One fun aspect about Africa Heartwood Project is the fundraisers. They are most often drum circles or performances. If you get a chance, I recommend attending one. The next one is tonight, November 29. (Sorry for the late notice.) We are planning on attending. There is information about tonight's fundraiser, as well as other upcoming events, on their website here.

Giving to a charity is almost always rewarding, no matter what the organization or cause. But, we've found helping the Africa Heartwood Project to be a unique experience that has helped us be thankful for what we have and to appreciate the value in selfless giving. We hope to continue to support their cause.


Barb said...

OH Brent, I have a special place in my heart for Africa. I have had a recurring dream ever since I was little about me being in Africa it is under the same tree I am standing beside a chalk board, wearing a grey jumper dress, and a purple t-shirt. Sitting in front of me are the most beautiful children I have ever seen. It has almost become a nightmare for me because I often wonder if I have missed this opportunity or if it is still coming or if it is just a dream. Any way that is a really long comment.....ps love the post, love the project, love the drums.

Andrea said...

I'd love to come to a performance or drum circle, so let us know earlier next time.

One of my favorite book series is, "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency." The setting is in Africa. I wonder if Barb has read it. It is such a lovely book about life in Africa!