16 December 2010 – A Series of Fortunate Events

Students Bridging the Information Gap – SBIG. At the meeting in Winneba on Thursday, Abdel told us the story of the beginning of SBIG, he called it a series of fortunate events. I hope I can do it justice here.

Let me tell you a little about Abdel. He is over 6 feet tall and built like an American football player, broad shoulders, wide chest, muscular arms and legs. His head is shaved. He’s Ghanaian but lived in the US for some time where he went to HS and college. He played football for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and was the captain of the team for his Jr. and Sr. years. The first time I met him I heard his voice before I saw him and thought I was going see a white New Yorker.

Abdel began the story of SBIG by saying “I blew my knee out and ended my hopes of a career in football. So what was I going to do now?”  He was working on Wall Street and knew that his company upgraded computers every year. He thought that they could send the old computers to Ghana. He went to his old High School in NJ to see if they would help him. They regretfully declined. Abdel went back to Wall Street to work on a plan B.

A short time later, Tom who was also affiliated with Abdel’s old High School in NJ, went to the school with a similar proposal. The man he talked to said “What a coincidence! Someone was just recently here with the same idea.” When he told Tom it was Abdel, Tom said “No, I just hired this guy at my firm on Wall Street!”

Tom returned to NYC and called Abdel. They met at Tom’s house. They decided they wanted to give computers and a library to a school in Ghana. Tom’s brother Richard was working in Ghana for USAID and knew just the school – BASCO! The first change in the vision was to send new computers. It would be almost as expensive to as expensive to get older computer ready to ship and to ship as the new ones, so they decided to ship new computers.. After organizational meetings and fund raising, in the summer of 2008 the came to Trotor in the Eastern Region of Ghana to the Baptist School Complex and Orphanage where they installed their first computer lab and library. This summer, 2011, they will install their fourth lab and library in the Volta region at a school/orphanage called In My Father’s House.

Last coincidence – June 2008 is when I came to Ghana as well! I like what these guys are doing Ghanaians helping Ghanaians. It’s what I have been telling my students. Sure go to the USA and have a cross cultural experience and learn what you can but please come back and help Ghana. Ghana needs bright young men like Abdel and Tom.

-vc

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