Author: Tim Sample

When Water Flows

Two evenings ago, Fr. Clement was driving through Damongo, when a group of young men made him stop his vehicle and then quickly surrounded him. Although first surprised, he noticed that every boy had broad smiles on their faces. “Father.” they said excitedly, “We have water!” What better way to end a day than knowing that your efforts and generosity have allowed a town to go to bed happy and without thirst? Thanks to all who donated to this crisis. Through your generosity, we raised over $21,000 in about 5 days. The first amount has arrived in Damongo, and work began quickly. One main borehole is fixed, the new water tower is being built, and the other boreholes are in repair. We have found additional costs (as expected) as repairs have begun. Also as expected, nearby villages have heard that there is water in Damongo and are arriving to partake. We will be looking at some of their boreholes as well, so as not to overburden those that we have just repaired in Damongo. Just like the story or Jesus and the woman at Jacob’s well, you have stepped up for those you did not know, but dared to help.  They have received both water from the well, and a taste of “living water” through your kindness and generosity.   We at 72 Africa and the people of Damongo...

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World Water Day…Added Significance

Water Is Life Today is World Water Day! Across the globe, efforts are being made to ensure that people have access to potable water, and looks hard at those areas and people who suffer from a lack of such access. Have you stopped today to consider how easy life is when water is readily flowing? In his book The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge, Tony Dungy chose today to mention a friend of his who has a saying, “What’s down in the well will come up in the bucket.” This is similar to the lessons in the Bible about relating our words to what is truly in our hearts. At the end of the reading, Dungy challenges the reader to “carry a bottle of water around today to remind you to fill your personal well with God himself,” and when you do, “what flows out of your heart will be good, true, and satisfying.” I mention this not only because the analogy is apt for World Water Day, but also because an amazing outflowing from the hearts of our supporters has challenged the world’s stark realities. As most of our readers know, we have been faced with a water crisis in our African community of Damongo, Ghana. Starting last Saturday morning, we put out a call for help through our Newsletter, social media, and a crowd-funding site. I...

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What Ghanaians Can Learn From U.S. Elections

Next Wednesday, Ghanaians will go to the polls to elect their next President and, thus, set the stage for the next phase of Ghana’s future. Over the past year there have been all of the expected and typical political trappings of a democratic election, including the rhetoric that we associate with democratic campaigning. But this is about more than free and fair elections on a specific day. This is truly a test of whether Ghana’s young democracy has matured and is stable enough to be considered safe by international standards and, more importantly, whether its citizens associate themselves with the future of Ghana, or with more traditional tribal affiliation. For many this may be a surprising statement. Ghana is generally seen as the gem of West Africa. It is a seemingly stable, functioning democracy with political parties, a free press, and structures that allow for free and fair elections. Ghanaians are rightly seen as friendly, joyous, and welcoming people. Consequently, very few African experts would have paid much attention to these national elections having made assumptions and using national-level metrics that may well turn out to be invalid. Had it not been for our urging early on to organizations like the United States Institute for Peace and our ability to highlight unsettling trends in the Northern Region of Ghana, our government and democracy experts might be sitting here today...

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Give today to fight violent extremism worldwide!

  There are a few hours left of Giving Tuesday. It is a time to act to help those who are not as fortunate as you are and to support those who are working daily to make the world a better place. There are many ways to give; we hope that you will consider supporting our efforts to Wage Peace in Africa as a step toward eliminating the spread of violent extremism. Yesterday’s tragic events at the Ohio State University once again remind us of the ease at which ideologically based extremism can effect youth and how dramatic is the reach of extremist groups through social media. In this case, a young man who had a future and every reason to be joyful was turned and taken based on the lure of extremist propaganda.  Imagine the effect on youth who see no future and have little hope. Imagine if that one person was now hundreds of thousands. Without a concerted, sustained effort at the grass roots level – at the very communities where youth live — to prevent violent extremism from taking hold, peaceful communities will be lost, regional instability will ensue, and democracy and freedom will be at risk. We at 72 Africa focus on preventing violent extremism in Africa through three principal measures. First: to aid individuals, groups, and communities in identifying the roots of conflict and...

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Democracy at the Fringes: Actively Waging Peace

Today, is the celebration of the International Day of Peace, with various demonstrations of good intent and symbolic gestures throughout the world, including, especially, in New York City as world leaders gather for the United Nations General Assembly meeting. Likewise, it is a good time to look at our support of new and immature democracies, and remember that this form of government is only successful if those governed have a voice and are at peace. Over the next three months, these very basic principles will be tested in the West African country of Ghana, as it holds its national elections on December 7th, and it brings to mind my recent experience that bodes well for Ghana’s democracy. Most people would consider Ghana a nation for which there should be little concern. It is considered the most stable government in West Africa and has successfully held democratic elections with a transition of civilian government. What is easy to forget is that its democracy was only established in the past 15 years and although there are functioning political structures, the adjustment to democracy is still an experiment in traditional versus modern cultures and authorities. This is best exemplified in the three northern regions of Ghana (the Northern Region, Upper West Regions, and Upper East Region). In these regions, which have the most recent history of violence, tribal associations and religious faiths...

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