This is Brittany. She is one of the awesome youth leaders at Lifepoint who has recently returned from her first overseas mission trip to Togo, Africa. There, she joined a water well building team to check the water wells and also helped start the orphanage project. Here is her story.
In Togo you won’t see nice homes or tall buildings. In fact, the only mansion you will see is the one the president lives in. In some countries, like Ghana, the president gives back to his people. In Togo the president gives very little and sometimes nothing at all to his people. As you travel away from Lome, the capital of Togo, you see more severe poverty. Amuzekope is a village about an hour and fifteen minutes away from Lome.
There you can find a lady we call Momma and her husband Peter. They have an orphanage of about 40 to 50 kids. Thirty of them live with Momma, while the other orphans are cared for by people in the village until they can find a home. The 30 orphans sleep on three big feed sacks. All Momma had was a 2 bedroom grass hut and a two bed room cement home. One room of the grass hut is were the orphans sleep and the other half held their clothes, supplies, and they also kept the sacks of cement we brought to build the orphanage in there so no one would steal it before we got there to build it. One of the rooms in the cement house was for Momma and Peter and the other room was for the workers. She said three ladies there usually help cook and watch after the kids. She can't pay them. Most of them were abandoned by their husbands so Momma took them in.
One day, we got to take three orphan girls who were sick to the doctor in Lome. Momma doesn’t have a car so she has to walk to the doctor or hitch hike a free ride which is almost impossible. We took them to the doctor. The three girls were Akpagesha who is 5 years old, weighed 18 pounds, Valet who is 5 years old, weighed 22 pounds and Kafwee who is 6 years old, weighed 27 pounds. Their arms and legs are so tiny, they were literally like sticks and their bellies are so huge. We found out they each had worms. They think Akpagesha has Malaria and Valet may have something intestinal wrong with her. They weren’t sure. They took their blood and got stool samples from them. I think they were going to test them for AIDS also. Medicine and health care there is so cheap we were able to buy worm medicine for the whole orphanage.
I've got to interject with a story that struck me as Brittany shared her experiences with me. That was the story of these girls. As they drove back to the hotel from the orphanage, Brittany said that the girls were just so excited and bouncing around and talking to one another. When she asked the translator what they were saying, the translator told her that the girls were so excited because they had never before ridden in a car. They were lucky enough to be able to keep the girls at their hotel that night and give them warm showers and let them sleep in comfy beds. I imagine these girls, for one night, felt like princesses.
When we first arrived in Amuzekope they took us to see the well. They wanted each of us to pump water for them. To pump clean water for those babies to drink was an indescribable feeling. After we checked the well to make sure it was still running properly, one of the interpreters took me to where the orphanage use to have to get their water. The water hole was about ten feet from where they use the restroom. So I’m sure when it rained all that would mix together. Praise God they no longer have to drink that water!
While we were in Amuzekope we built an orphanage for Momma and the orphans. Now each orphan has their own bed. They have a kitchen and a table where they can all sit together. Momma is such an amazing woman and is so thankful for what God is providing for her and the orphans. Her and her husband’s faith in God that He will provide is like nothing I have ever witnessed. She said people walk miles to come see what God is doing.
I learned a lot from Momma: to not have worldly desires, to not be wasteful with food, water, electricity, with anything, and most of all to have faith in God with everything I do. The second team that went after us and was able to finish up the orphanage and it looks great! Momma and the orphans were so excited and the orphans had never seen anything like it. God is doing great things in Togo. Many people got saved while we were there and to God be the glory!! I hope my story raises awareness for the needs in Togo and not only in Togo but around the world. Momma is only one of tons of people in Togo who need help. We are called to serve and I know I have found my calling of where to serve.
Thank you Brittany for sharing your story with us! I'm inspired by your passion for these people and the obvious love you've developed for them!