City of Refuge Ministries
By Harper Williams, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017
During my time spent in Ghana I was able to go on a Semester at Sea trip to a NGO called “City of Refuge Ministries.” This was one of the highlights of my time in Ghana for many reasons. I was also very excited to help out this NGO in any way I possibly could. The day began early and was well organized. Once we drove about an hour away from Tema we arrived at our destination.
We initially were greeted by the two founders of the organization and they invited us to their church service, being that it was a Sunday morning. I was ecstatic about this but I could not help but realize that this could make others in the group of about forty somewhat uncomfortable. Also this made me realize that in all of the SAS booklets or online signups, the description of the program never mentioned that this was a Christian organization. It actually completely left out the word “Ministries” in the title, it just read “City of Refuge Trip.” While this was not an issue for me personally, being a Christian, I realized that this could have put others in a tough spot.
As the day continued after the church service we were given a tour of the complex and then were able to eat our box lunches provided by SAS. After lunch we were given many options. We could simply play with the kids through soccer, basketball, volleyball, or arts and crafts. This was a great day because with it being Sunday the kids had the day off so they were all in very good moods. The ages ranged anywhere from 4 to 18. The purpose of this NGO is to free children from imprisonment, whether that is working as a slave fishing or prostitution. City of Refuge Ministries uses various tools to release the children from these situations and bring them to their property where they can live and go to school.
They had many facilities available for the children on their campus. These included a church, garden, housing, offices, soccer fields, basketball and volleyball court, a cafeteria, and a playground. The entire day I was extremely impressed with the work that had been done at this NGO. There is stills so much work to be done but they are doing an amazing job getting the ball rolling.
I was very pleased with how SAS handled this trip. I never felt as though we were exploiting the NGO or uncomfortable in any way. The field office did a great job arranging this trip and I would highly recommend it to others.