My name is Teddy Noyes. I met someone on Facebook recently that really changed the way I look at the world. His name is Nantomah Ponadow.
Nantomah is 28 years old, and he lives in Bimbilla, Northern Region Ghana, along with his wife, father, brother, and 4 sisters as well as his nieces and nephews.
When I first met him, it was my American instinct to think "he probably wants to scam me or get money from me." I was wrong.
He explained to me that he gets to use a phone during harvest season, because that is when he gets paid and can afford some credit for his phone. His entire family saved up and bought a phone for him, because he is the strongest and provides for his family. He was only looking for a kind soul to speak to for a while after a hard days work.
He works for his brother during harvest season farming rice for his family. He wakes up, walks 6 miles for 2 hours to his brothers farm to farm rice for 7 hours. He then walks back 6 miles to his home and prepares a meal of rice for his family. Then he goes to sleep and wakes up to do it again.
His daily wage for this work is 15 Ghana CEDI per day. Which is equivalent to around $3 USD. He uses 5gh CEDI to purchase 2 days of phone credit.
However, the rest of the year he cannot chat with me or anybody because he can't afford that $1 phone credit. Money only comes to him during harvest season. Throughout the rest of the year, he looks for employment but has no such luck. He has a degree in agriculture and his only aspiration in life is to own his own farm. But there is no way he could ever save enough money to realize that dream and start his own farm.
Nantomah makes the equivalent of about $450 USD per year. His family eats rice every day, and on Thursday they eat fufu; an African dish that they prepare with flour and yams.
I have spent just about every moment of the day speaking to him since I met him, unless he is working. I have gotten to know Nantomah as well I can and I have learned that he is one of the most genuine people I have ever known. He cares only about the well being of his family and his people. He does not complain about his life. He does not take for granted what he has, which is not much. I love him like a brother, and I am extremely proud to call him my friend.
We video chat every day. I get to see his family, and they are always happy and smiling back at me through the camera. Together they support each other and make it through each day.
But if Nantomah doesn't get up and walk 12 miles a day to work for 7 hours harvesting rice, he doesn't eat that day. Plain and simple.
I have begun sending care packages for him, but that is just something to help lift him up a little everyday, it is hardly enough to change his life.
I want to help him realize his dream and propel him as far forward as possible into a better situation. He has all of the skills and the heart to realize his goals, but due to his situation there is no possible way he will ever save the money he needs. He isn't asking for fame, or to own an expensive car and a big house. He just wants to be able to eat without breaking his back every single day.
His goal is simple. To provide for his family. Prosperity. Even in the slightest. Not too much to ask, but increasingly difficult for Nantomah. He has to work extremely grueling hours, for almost no money. And he is grateful as is. He does not even know I am trying to raise him money and he has never once asked me for anything. Only my friendship.
Remember, this is a man who walks 12 miles a day and works 7 hours hard labor just for a meal. He still considers himself unemployed. He thinks I am filthy rich (which I definitely am not) and he has never asked me for 1 red cent.
If we can raise Nantomah and his family just a little chunk of money, we would be providing him and his family with a new, better life. If we raise him $3000, that is equivalent to over 6 years worth of income for him. He would be able to purchase the tools he needs to start his farm and drastically improve his quality of life. He would be able to purchase a moped, and not have to walk 12 miles every day.
All I ask is that you donate the change you have left from your morning cup of coffee. Even just 25 cents. Any contribution to Nantomah and his family is much larger than it may seem to you.
1 Ghana CEDI is equal to $0.22 cents. He makes 15 CEDI per day, 2 months of the year. Any contributions will add up in a big way for Nantomah and his family.
If you have read this far I greatly appreciate you taking the time to hear his story . If you decide to donate to my friend Nantomah and his family, I hope you understand that you have helped a family of loving, caring, grateful human beings in a very significant way. Every single $1 is literally 4.52 Ghanain CEDI. 1/3 of Nantomah's daily wages.
I know helping just one family will not improve the state of all life in Ghana, but the money we raise will not only provide Nantomah with what he needs, but also his family and his community. I can't stress enough just how significant every tiny donation is.
I sincerely thank you for your time and consideration. Nantomah will be extremely, genuinely grateful beyond words.