In May 2011, Kemah E.P. Washington earned his Ed.D in Higher Education Administration. And since he was a graduate assistant with the Graduate School from 2008 until his graduation, we thought we'd give an update on Kemah's new endeavors -- and what he's doing with that Ed.D.!
Some of you might know that Kemah was instrumental in establishing Graduate Education Week, as well as helping to produce many flyers, slides, web pages, and publications. But it seems that Kemah was also raised in a family with a long history of service. Kemah's grandfather was an Episcopal priest who served on a five-year mission in Liberia. His father was born during that mission and named 'Kemah' (which ". . . means "Big Brother" in the Liberian language.). So, it was no surprise to his family that Kemah had a desire to follow the family tradition.
In September 2011, the Washington family -- Kemah, his wife Brandi, and daughter Kennedi -- finalized plans for a year-long mission to West Africa. They are currently serving at the Baptist School and Orphanage Complex (BASCO) in Trotor, Ghana. Although it started as only a few mud huts, BASCO houses and feeds more than 120 orphans, educates over 200 children, and has a staff of 21 teaching and non-teaching staff. The compound now consists of a girls and boys dormitory, four rooms for teachers quarters, girls and boys washrooms, dining hall, auditorium, administrative office, classrooms, a computer lab, and library. A medical clinic and kitchen are now in the process of being built thanks to the generosity of local and international supporters.
Brandi says that running an orphanage "is gut-wrenching work." And she doesn't know how Pastor Victor Ofori-Amoah (the school's founder and director) can do it day in and day out. But all the commitment and dedication pays off when a student can go to high school or when other students can get donations of flip-flops or basic school supplies.
Even still, there is a need for long-term planning for BASCO -- and this is where Kemah's expertise comes in! He will be working with Pastor Victor to develop a long-term sustainability plan for the orphanage and school. One of the largest and most important of the projects includes overseeing the planning and building of a high school. Another important project is to establish a program for young girls that focuses on their growth, enrichment, and self-worth. Clean drinking water, renewable energy sources, and improving the school's piggery and poultry farm are also on the Washington's 'wish list.'
Obviously, Ghana is a far cry from the Washingtons' life in Raleigh. But their experience in Africa -- the culture, the language, and all the new friends and supporters -- as well as their drive to make life better for others will last a lifetime.
If you would like to know more about the Washingtons adventures in Ghana, click HERE to read their blog.
Click here to view archived Graduate School stories.