A truckload of supplies left Tusculum College Wednesday (Aug. 5) afternoon to begin its journey to reach the impoverished African village of Atorkor.
Volunteers at Tusculum College helped load a number of large totes and boxes of supplies collected by the college’s Center for Civic Advancement to send to Atorkor, a fishing village in southern Ghana on the western coast of Africa.
“The response from so many individuals and groups, both in our community and on campus, has been wonderful,” said Joyce Doughty, director of the Center for Civic Advancement. “I want to express special appreciation to the Tusculum football coaches and team members who pitched in at the last moment to help load the truck. We are truly blessed by the strong spirit of helpfulness and cooperation shown by everyone.”
When it reached the college, the truck was already more than half full of items collected by local churches, educational organizations and through individual efforts from people in the region that had been gathered for shipping at the farm of Ken and Dr. DiAnn Casteel. Casteel, associate professor of education at Tusculum, worked in schools in Atorkor last summer as part of an educational research project.
The volunteer effort has been in partnership with the Atorkor Development Foundation to provide needed supplies to the village. The foundation, which provided for the shipping of the collected items to Ghana, is a non-profit development organization based in Ghana and the United Kingdom. It was established in 2001 to help overcome poverty in Atorkor with a vision of transforming the village from an impoverished community into a self-sustaining one with basic amenities – jobs, a health center, clean drinking water for all, well-equipped schools and vocational center, electricity and affordable community facilities for all.
Items collected included school supplies, books, textbooks, clothes, linens, kitchen utensils, blankets, other household supplies and even bicycles.
“The items will benefit a wide range of people in the village,” Samuel Adjorlolo, the village’s chief and chairman of the Atorkor Development Foundation commented in an e-mail about the collection effort. “The school supplies will enhance the children’s educational experience and will undoubtedly contribute immensely to raising the standard of education in the village.”
“On behalf of the ADF, the school and the people of the village, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to all those who donated the items,” Adjorlolo continued. “I am very humbled by your kindness and generosity. I would like to thank the president of Tusculum College, the students and all the volunteers who helped load the container including the kind driver of the truck. Finally, a very big thank you to DiAnn (Casteel) for her vision, dedication, sacrifice and all the enormous efforts she put in to make this donation possible. God bless you all.”
The collection has been successful due to the efforts of many people, organizations and churches who deserve a special word of thanks, Casteel said. They include Mary Lynn Nicholson and the Cornerstone Sunday School class at First Christian Church, Christine Keys and Salem Presbyterian Church, Danielle Trent and McKinney’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Alpha Delta Kappa, the Greneville-Greene County Retired Teachers Association and the Sally Casteel estate.
Individuals to whom Dr. Casteel expressed special appreciation included Dr. Joe Parkins, director of schools for the Greene County School System; Dr. Lyle Ailshie, director of schools for the Greeneville City School System; Virginia Cooter, who collected science textbooks and materials; Joyce Doughty, director of the Center for Civic Advancement at Tusculum College; Trisha Wilhoit; Camille Berkley, who collected items in Knoxville; Mike Haner of Kingsport; Diana Blanco of Johnson City; and her husband, Ken Casteel, for all his support.