Adopted family looks to bright future

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Adopted family looks to bright future


TEMA ― In this port city west of Accra, the capital of Ghana, a 61-year-old Korean minister, Choi Yong-sun, runs the West Africa Mission where he is taking care of seven youngsters.
Two of them are typical Ghanaians with dark complexions, but the other five have lighter, brown skin and familiar facial features.
They were born to Korean fathers and Ghanaian mothers.
Their fathers were crew members of ocean liners that used to be based in Tema, but have now all left Ghana.
There was even one particularly cold-hearted father who left for Korea one day before his child was born.
The children live with their mothers or their grandparents near Mr. Choi’s house and earn money by selling fruit or sandwiches on the street. Mr. Choi pays for their schooling and invites them to his house on the weekend to teach them Korean.
Mr. Choi’s daughter, Hye-jin, who graduated from the University of Ghana, helps them with their studies and also teaches them about manners and etiquette.
Mr. Choi also gives them pocket money, although this isn’t wasted frivolously ― it helps them to meet their most basic needs, such as buying lunch.
Most students in Ghana do not eat breakfast before they go to school and so those with no lunch money would have nothing to eat until dinnertime.
Both Felicia Lee, 17, and Angela Lee, 16, are good students. Felicia wants to be a nurse while Angela wants to be a medical doctor.
Isabella Gang, 12, also hopes to become a doctor someday. Francis Choi, 13, who has a dignified look, dreams of becoming a businessman and the youngest Kim Bok-nam, 12, is interested in becoming a pilot.
Mr. Choi came to in Ghana as a missionary in 1992 and began looking after these biracial children one year later.
“One day a woman came to my church and begged me to take care of her baby. When I went to see the baby, he was sleeping on a cement floor without a blanket. I felt so sorry and took him to my house. That was the start,” Mr. Choi said.
Mr. Choi got close to him, but he ran away from the house while Mr. Choi and his wife, Kim Young-shin, were on a recent sabbatical. After that, they stopped bringing children over to live in their place.
Mr. Choi said fortunately the current children are growing up to be and healthy and happy.
There are more than 60 young biracial children of Korean fathers, in Ghana. Most of them live with their mothers, but all of them have difficulty making ends meet.

by Jeong Yang-jae
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