The little girl in the photo is called Gemima and she’s three and a half. Her favourite colour is pink and her favourite food is tomato stew. She has just started in our nursery. Gemima comes from an incredibly poor family, and her brother, Aziz (right), is fourteen and is also sponsored.
The family had always been impoverished, but six years ago things got worse. They built a new main thoroughfare which divided their village in two - a very busy road on which vehicles travel much too fast. One day the grandmother was standing at the side of the road waiting to cross to visit somebody in the other half of the village when she was mown down by a truck that careered off the road and was killed. Funerals in Ghana cost a fortune because it’s a traditional concern to honour the dead properly, and so they went into huge debt over the grandmother’s funeral. The mother is a subsistence farmer, farming bananas and working for a landlord on a cocoa plantation which is the only income they have for the whole family – the mother, four children and an aunt who looks after the children while the mother is out farming.
Aziz's and Gemima’s mother is so grateful that two of her children are sponsored that she inundates me with bunches of bananas to bring back to the sponsors in the UK. She even brought me a live chicken one time! It was a bit tricky to explain I wasn’t allowed to bring it back in my suitcase.