Women to share African adventures

Longtime community booster and volunteer Kay Braby returned to Ghana this year, accompanied by Lorraine Ellens.

Honours: Ghanian officials thanked Kay Braby and Lorraine Ellens with tunics

Honours: Ghanian officials thanked Kay Braby and Lorraine Ellens with tunics

Kay Braby is an octogenarian on the move.

The longtime community booster and volunteer returned to Ghana this year, accompanied by  Lorraine Ellens.

The two women will tell the story of their late fall trip to villages supported by First United Church at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan 24, in the church sanctuary.

Braby and Ellens spent three weeks visiting some areas of Ghana which they and others have supported for a number of years.

“The experience was amazing and with digital images and video, as well as commentary, we wish to welcome you to learn more about this West African country, the people and their culture,” said Ellens in an email invitation. “The video clips will transport you to the heart of the village – the drumming, singing, yelps of joy.”

Ellens says when she and Braby visited the school First United Church helped build through fundraising more than five years ago, they were shocked to learn a feeding program had been suspended due to lack of funds.

Ellens says the women were personally able to donate enough money to keep it going for a while longer but decided they would invite others to help feed the students three good meals a week.

Braby and Ellens revisited all the places First United Church has been supporting, including the school in Ghana’s impoverished northeast region.

“We took basic supplies,” says Braby, noting Ghana’s government-run schools are extremely under-funded. “They were short of the most basic supplies, so we were very welcome there.”

Vida Yakong, a Ghanian PhD student in  the nursing program in Kelowna, has been back in her native country for several months and was able to give the women some guidance as to what was needed.

“She has started up an organization called GROW, which is an acronym for Ghana Rural Opportunities for Women,” says Braby. “The organization has done wonderful things in providing mosquito nets, goats, donkeys and donkey carts.”

Many Salmon Arm church members have contributed to the GROW project, for which Ellens and Braby received heartfelt thanks and honours.

Yakong and her family set up the Girl Child’s Education Program, a program to get girls into the education system in Ghana, 70 of whom First United supports.

“With this funding, we have been able to provide three meals a week for the children,” says Braby, noting it is an ongoing and badly needed fundraising project.

Annual fees for children, including uniforms, amount to $100 and anyone who wishes to help educate a child may make a donation at the church office on Okanagan Avenue.


Donations raised at next Tuesday’s presentation will go directly to the feeding program to be used immediately.