By Edna Ethington     7/17/2017

In January Fr. Rudolph “Rudy” Alumam, a priest from Ghana, Africa, who was serving as a parochial vicar at St. Irenaeus Church in Cypress, conducted a Ghana School Supplies Drive for two weekends.

He hoped that the drive would provide students in his village of Vea in Ghana with tools to improve their education. He said that there were 100 pre-school students, 1,000 students in two elementary schools, and 250 students in middle school. High school students had to travel to other towns for their education. Fr. Rudy said that most families in Vea were too poor to provide school supplies and uniforms, and often the students would come to school hungry, without having had breakfast. He hoped that by improving the students’ education, they would have better opportunities in the future.

St. Irenaeus parishioners responded with great generosity and filled 80 boxes with their donations of school supplies of pens, pencils, notebooks, scientific calculators, shoes and clothing for men, women and children–even soccer balls. Parishioners Dave and Dawn Gallagher offered to put all the boxes on shipping pallets and trucked the boxes from Cypress to Oakland. Other parishioners donated funds to pay for shipping all the boxes from Oakland to Vea in Ghana, which included 450 miles of ground transportation at a cost of approximately $3,500.

It was thought that the supplies would reach Ghana within six weeks, but the shipment was delayed by two weeks and finally reached Ghana in mid-April. When it arrived, the people from the Vea village came to oversee the transfer of all the boxes to a commercial truck. Fr. Rudy said that the truck had to travel 450 miles from the port to the village of Vea. Fr. Rudy’s cousin, who is a teacher in Vea, helped to deliver supplies to the different schools using his motorbike. He said that it must have taken many trips back and forth to deliver everything, but it was done “with joy to be able to help other people.”