In the period 1980-2005 when I lived in Ghana, an increasing number of friends and acquaintances from the large circle of people dedicated to global  issues of justice came to visit us. In one way or another they were involved in questions of poverty, the search for greater equality or friends interested in cultural realities in Africa. We had an Open House Policy! Ken Carbonu, still an academic starter at that time, was already at the early beginnings part of these activities since  we were friends.

 

When I left Ghana in 2005 because of eye-problems, what was set in motion was just carried on and Ken and his future partner Emefa took it upon themselves to maintain those intercultural contacts. For them it was a choice that goes without saying. They went as far as allowing some people to join their family life for several years on end and even help them find work.

 

In the meantime I had arrived in Rotterdam and the importance of intercultural contacts in respect of the future of our world dawned on me. It led to the conviction and the guiding principle of our work with intercultural realities:  increased cultural contacts are to be coupled with respect for one another’s culture, religion and cultural customs. To succeed requires that personal and individual contacts with representatives of other cultures are laid.

 

 
     

 

 

 

 
 

During holiday periods which I spent in Ghana I realised that my eye-sight remained stable and I could easily move around. My desire to return to Ghana  after my period in Rotterdam increased. For Ken and Emefa  it was almost self-evident that they offered me a place in their little family.

 

A nephew of mine, Patrick Visser, for the first time in the company of his wife Ilse on a visit to Ghana, witnessed the warmth and the friendship of so many people and how it affected me that after some days he remarked: ”This is your home, you seem to come to life here!“

 

That was the start of my return. Now we needed planning! How to get a piece of land, build some accommodation for the dual purpose of  having a home in Ghana and in the nearby future being able to receive visitors ready and willing to come into personal contact with Ghana’s rich and colourful people.

 

 
             
 

 

In Rotterdam I came to know Mr. and Mrs. Koos and Adri Batist. Some years back, they had travelled to Tanzania and, ever since,  Koos had wanted to make good use of his building experience somewhere in Africa and his wife wished to join him. We decided to join hands in Ghana.

 

Koos designed the houses and every year we travelled to Ghana  and started the building process with assistance from different local craftsmen. At present, the living quarters for the family Carbonu and myself are roofed. What remains is furnishing. The guest house is still under construction. For the time being, we will share rooms and make them available for visitors within the living quarters.

 

Ghana is a wonderful country and it is worthwhile to visit places. There will be ample opportunity to go around. But what has priority for us is that you will get closer to the circumstances in which people live and the people themselves.  Then something marvellous will happen: mutual understanding and respect will grow. These are preconditions in order to establish just relations worldwide.

 

Oyarifa is expecting you and will offer you new and surprising perspectives.