Lauren’s last post from Ghana: fish have arrived!

The past week has been full of exciting events, but none are as exciting as the fact that THE FISH HAVE ARRIVED!  For those of you who may be new to our blog/website, United Hearts has started a sustainable fish pond project, in order to bring a source of income to our center.  We’ve spent the past two months preparing by digging the ponds, treating them, setting up fencing around them, and now, the fishies are finally here!

Transporting the fish

Their new home

The fish that they’ve been telling me are “mudfish”, are what we would call catfish!  They call them mudfish because they often  live in the bottom of muddy lakes and rivers, so they will be very happy in our ponds :)   For the first two weeks, they eat a special kind of food, and after that, they can eat a more generic brand of fish food.  They are fed 3 times a day, and are kids are having a lot of fun going down to the ponds and visiting their fishy friends.  The Tilapia will be arriving sometime in the next couple weeks, and then both of our ponds will be full of baby fish!

This has been such a great project to work on, it’s only thanks to all of the amazing people who support United Hearts that it is now a reality.  Without the fundraising of Georgia Goonewardene and my brother Wes, we would not have had enough funds to make this project happen.  When I think about all the people who have donated to this project, and what a difference it’s going to make in the lives of our children and staff, it reminds me of how connected we all are.  And it also reminds me of where we’ve been, and how far we’ve come.

Did you know United Hearts started with 5 children sleeping on a common mat?  Pastor Elisha sold pretty much all his possessions – including more than one car – to care for them and buy them food.  None of them went to school, and they had virtually nothing, with no prospects of sustainablility.  That was 5 years ago.

Now, 28 children,  new home, a school, and a sustainable fish pond later, I can’t even believe that that’s where our children started.  Not only do they have a giant new building for a home, but they have more advantages than most of the children in Bawjiase.  Because of all the people that know and love them, they have a future that will be so much brighter than their past.

Tomorrow is my last day in Bawjiase, and considering that I’ve spent 11 months of the past two years here, I’m incredibly sad to leave.  But through my constant traveling between the U.S. and Ghana, I’ve learned that the hardest part is worrying that I’ll forget everything I’ve learned.  When I’m here, I don’t have to worry about remembering what life is like for the people at United Hearts – I live it.  But when I go back to the land of excess, it’s all too easy to slip back into a life that doesn’t reflect what I now know from the time I’ve been here.  This tension – a pretty much constant feeling of “worrying about trying to remember”, is often how I feel once I’m back.  That tension is a huge part of my life, and I am constantly reminding myself of the moments that shape my life here.

Moments like this…

And faces like this…

Because those faces – and those moments – are what keep me going.  They are the reason I do what I do.  And they have completely changed my life.


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