The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Student from Ghana visits Morenci 10.8

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

In America, we hear stories from the older generation about how they trudged long distances through the snow to reach school every morning.

Peter York’s story has some similarities, and maybe some day he’ll be the older generation who tells tales of hardship to his children and grandchildren.

As of today, his stories are still the daily reality in his native country of Ghana.

Peter, who was named Papa Arhin in his native village, is now a student at Siena Heights University and he spoke Monday to three classes at Morenci Area High School.peter.york.jpg

As a youngster growing up in rural Ghana, Peter arose in the dark and got busy with a variety of chores such as fetching water. Then he joined other children in the long walk to school—about 14 kilometers or 8.6 miles.

“We were gone all day,” he said. “We only saw our parents early in the morning and again in the evening.”

The kids walked together, often passing through the forest and spotting scorpions and snakes. They sang songs to keep their attention focused on the long walk and to make the time pass faster.

“When you go in a group,” Peter said, “you don’t feel the pain of walking.”

They chewed sugar cane during their walk and that was often their only food for the morning.

The concept of leisure time didn’t exist for children in the village. It’s a luxury that millions of people around the world don’t understand.

Peter’s life changed when he was eight years old. An uncle took him to the city to attend school.

“When I went to the city, I started over,” he said. “About 10 years ago I began to discover who I was.”

He developed hobbies and interests and had the opportunity to dream about a future for himself.

His initial trip to the city of Accra was astounding.

“I never knew you could see so many lights, that there could be so many big houses and so many people,” Peter said. “It was a very strange place for me, but that’s where I was able to develop myself.”

He hopes to dispel notions of Africa as a slave nation, always at war.

“Africa is a good place to be,” Peter said, while acknowledging the problems of the continent.

Helping people realize their dreams and lifting them out of poverty could bring an end to the fighting that goes on in many areas, he said.

Peter describes Ghana as a beautiful country and Africa’s first constitutional democracy, a status achieved in 1957.

The country’s flag—red for the blood of it struggle for freedom, yellow for the rich minerals including gold, and green for the leading industry of agriculture—is highlighted by a black star.

“This not only depicts our black heritage, but it’s a star for all of Africa,” Peter said. “We were the first to gain independence and the star gave hope to the remainder of Africa.”

The nation remains very poor. When Peter was asked about medical facilities, he told students that clinics are scattered here and there. From his village, you often need to carry a person on your back to walk to a clinic and sometimes they die along the way.

Peter showed two objects from home and explained their significance to the students. He also spoke about his clothing and showed a robe worn at his high school.

His time in America will be used to enhance his skills, knowledge and experience, and to take a good look at how the country functions.

“I want to learn about what makes your country so rich, what makes it one people.”

All the while, his home will remain close to his heart.

“I don’t life in Africa,” Peter says, “but Africa lives in me.”

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