September 25, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ghana: Dallas News: Samuel Forson had met Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana and had always been curious about Americans. "I saw them, and I continued to question myself, Why would they want to come all the way from America to Ghana and help poor people? ... So when I came, I realized that it's just the spirit of Americans to help."

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ghana: Peace Corps Ghana : The Peace Corps in Ghana: September 25, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ghana: Dallas News: Samuel Forson had met Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana and had always been curious about Americans. "I saw them, and I continued to question myself, Why would they want to come all the way from America to Ghana and help poor people? ... So when I came, I realized that it's just the spirit of Americans to help."

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.185.151) on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 3:21 pm: Edit Post

Samuel Forson had met Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana and had always been curious about Americans. "I saw them, and I continued to question myself, Why would they want to come all the way from America to Ghana and help poor people? ... So when I came, I realized that it's just the spirit of Americans to help."

Samuel Forson had met Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana and had always been curious about Americans. I saw them, and I continued to question myself, Why would they want to come all the way from America to Ghana and help poor people? ... So when I came, I realized that it's just the spirit of Americans to help.

Samuel Forson had met Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana and had always been curious about Americans. "I saw them, and I continued to question myself, Why would they want to come all the way from America to Ghana and help poor people? ... So when I came, I realized that it's just the spirit of Americans to help."

Friends help family reunite

Ghana natives bring 4 kids to U.S. with community's aid

06:36 PM CDT on Saturday, September 25, 2004

By LaKISHA LADSON / The Dallas Morning News

Samuel Forson treasures even the most contentious moments in his house when his four daughters are arguing over the bathroom or what to watch on television.

After all, he and his wife, Elizabeth, waited five years for them all to be together: so he could teach them values; so they could eat together; so he could know firsthand what's going on in his daughters' lives.

And now he can.

"Oh, my goodness," he said. "You see I'm balding," he joked about life now that his family is together.

Mr. and Mrs. Forson left Ghana for the United States in January 1999. The plan was to bring their daughters who were staying with two separate families immediately.

But once the Forsons arrived here, they found bringing their daughters over wouldn't be so easy. They encountered bureaucratic red tape and also found they'd need about $10,000.

Mrs. Forson, 42, found work as a nursing assistant and Mr. Forson, 43, found two jobs one as a baggage service agent for American Airlines and one with the Irving Public Library's Bookmobile office.

Once library employees got wind of the Forsons' plight, they helped raise money to bring the daughters.

"We feel like we're all part of their family and that they're all part of our family, and care for them a great deal," said Deborah Vaden, the library's children's services manager and Mr. Forson's supervisor.

Christodia, the couple's outgoing 10-year-old, came first, in July 2003.

"She was the squeaky wheel," Mr. Forson said.

Christodia threw herself into American culture and has American dreams of becoming a pop star.

"I want to be like Hilary Duff," said the girl, who has a teddy bear named after the performer Usher.

Having Christodia was good, but the couple continued climbing the federal bureaucracy to bring the other daughters Marian, 15, Doreen, 8, and Lordina, 6.

At one point, the couple had to undergo DNA testing even though they had paperwork showing they were the parents.

"It's hard, but when you are focusing on getting your kids, you want to do everything possible to get them over," Mr. Forson said.

He relied on reason to stay positive.

"If they are asking for DNA, then it's possible that they are going to give them the visas," he said.

With the paperwork done, savings and retirement accounts dry, a bank loan and money raised through the library, Mrs. Forson went to Ghana in March to speed up the process. She lost her job but returned with the three girls.

"I'm happy that now I can care for my own kids," she said.

The children were welcomed with a party from library employees. The girls sometimes go to the library to read, play on the computer or do puzzles. The normally upbeat Mr. Forson is more joyful than ever.

"He smiles a whole lot more," Mrs. Vaden said. "That smile hasn't stopped."

Christodia's experience getting enrolled in school and adjusting to American life has eased the transition for the other girls. She can teach her sisters how to ride a bicycle and roller skate. Christodia, Lordina and Doreen all attend Barton Elementary.

Christodia, whose natural locks are now straightened and long enough to be pulled back in a ponytail, finds herself defending her sisters' short, natural hair to people who laugh and tease them at school.

"I told them not to mind 'cause I also had short hair, and people laughed at me, too," she said.

Now, Christodia beams as she talks about her friends and how she recently exchanged phone numbers for the first time with a peer.

Mr. and Mrs. Forson are adjusting, too. Wanting to participate as much as possible in the American culture, they became citizens Sept. 17.

Mr. Forson had met Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana and had always been curious about Americans.

"I saw them, and I continued to question myself, Why would they want to come all the way from America to Ghana and help poor people? ... So when I came, I realized that it's just the spirit of Americans to help."

And now he helps through his work at the library and at home. He can help his four daughters in the little ways that can be taken for granted, like with daily homework.

E-mail lladson@dallasnews.com or call 972-594-7198, ext. 2001





When this story was posted in October 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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Story Source: Dallas News

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