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05.01.2009 General News

Help comes to Ghanaian stranded in Philippines

By Philippine Daily Inquirer
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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—A Ghanaian deportee staying at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) is close to having his dream of returning home come true.

An Australian company and three Filipinos, all readers of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, have offered help to buy Jasper Kuwornu a ticket for his flight home.

Mark Anthony Delfin, a senior network engineer with the Sydney-based PennyTel, called Kuwornu on Dec. 29 to tell him that the company was willing to help. PennyTel offers ultra low-cost telephone calls (VoIP). It has offices also in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Delfin, who is in Manila for the holidays, said he read Kuwornu's story on the INQUIRER.net and e-mailed this to his employer, who has Ghanaian roots.

The official, who did not want to be named, immediately decided to extend help, Delfin said.

Victor Jose Luciano, president of the government-owned Clark International Airport Corp., has assigned one of his staff members, Richie Nacpil, to help Delfin in securing a plane ticket for Kuwornu. A one-way trip costs $1,200 or about P60,000.

Nacpil has also coordinated with Philippine immigration authorities to process the release of the stranded Ghanaian for his eventual flight, possibly after the holidays.

Nacpil said the CIAC has obtained a permit allowing Kuwornu to transit to Dubai via Air Asia.

Nacpil said they were only waiting for the confirmation of Kuwornu's flight.

“God is good. God should take good care of their lives and their families,” Kuwornu said, referring to the people who promised to help him return home.

On Sunday when his story was published, a woman called to offer support for his studies. Two other men called asking where they could send their donations.

Kuwornu said he was both thankful and surprised for the shower of kindness he had been getting.

He sought help when he called the Inquirer Northern Luzon Bureau on Friday through a telephone number he saw in the Dec. 22 issue of the newspaper. The paper was lent to him by Filipino firefighters stationed at the DMIA's Emergency Services Department (EMD).

A corner at the conference room of the EMD has served as his home since November. A month before that, home for him was a room at the DMIA passenger terminal.

His deportation put a sad end to what was otherwise a good plan.

Kuwornu arrived in the Philippines on Feb. 27 to study at a maritime school in Metro Manila. He failed to enroll because a brother who promised to support him in school died while working at sea.

Kuwornu used his time for volunteer work with the Life African Evangelical Mission, doing Bible preaching at the women's correctional prison.

A bid to return home on Sept. 28 via Air Asia in Clark turned futile. Malaysian authorities deported him to Clark when he could not show a transit visa to Bangkok en route to Ghana.

Another attempt to get to Bangkok through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Oct. 19 failed due to, again, lack of a transit visa. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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