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Sarpong said she has never had a paid sick day while working for six agencies. In one of the cases, Petra Health Care of North Chelmsford allegedly hired aides without proper credentials, then made them attend training sessions during times they were supposed to be caring for patients. At first, she worked in a factory. But someone told her about home care work, which seemed more attractive and potentially more lucrative. She had no way of knowing, but she was one in a relatively large exodus of Ghanaian women who moved to the United States and entered the field in the s, according to Martha Donkor, a professor and author of a new book about Ghanaian women caregivers in the United States.
Unlike many Americans, she writes, Ghanaians see caring for their elders as honorable work, even a duty. As the eldest daughter, she was responsible for her younger siblings, and she quit school when she was about 13 to earn money for the family. She hawked bread and eggs, carrying her wares on her head, a common practice in her country. She had no way of knowing how demanding her life as a home care worker would one day be.
Sarpong guided her year-old patient through morning exercises at his Newton home. A recent day passed slowly, much like all the other days.
She washed and dressed him. She made his usual breakfast of oatmeal and strawberries. She gave him his pills. She recorded his vital signs in a notebook. She guided him in weight-bearing exercises and supported him while he walked slowly to the end of the hallway, clutching a walker. She watched TV with him. She transferred him from his wheelchair to his bed for an afternoon nap and arranged the pillows the way he likes them. While he slept, she swept the floors, washed dishes, and tidied the house.
She sat quietly with the client and his wife, who is also The only sound was the ticking of a clock on the table. His wife broke the silence.
Almost everyone you meet knows of one or two. At Camara Trading, a shop selling African groceries and other items with a heavily-trafficked money-transfer kiosk, owner Mark Kuffour says a large percentage of his customers are home care workers.
He was one himself, years ago. The money is going to her husband. Sending money back home is an unwritten rule of the Ghanaian diaspora. In Ghana, family responsibilities are paramount. The city is home to one of the largest Ghanaian communities in the United States. Many Ghanaian home care workers live there, and many shops and restaurants cater to people from Ghana. Her shop is on Main Street in Worcester.
But the relatives back home sometimes have unrealistic expectations: Her argument was that she will be respected, glorified even, if I build a house. And so now the pressure is on me to oblige. Not to mention taxes. Tithing is non-negotiable for Sarpong, a devout Seventh-day Adventist. She points to a passage that suggests blessings will come to those who tithe.
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There was the Ghana she remembered: But Accra had grown so much, the buildings were tall, and the city looked so modern. The number of evangelical churches had exploded, and pastors advertised on billboards that towered over the roads. Inthey constituted less than 10 percent of household income, according to the Ghana Living Standards Survey. The unemployment rate is close to 12 percent. Such basic services as lights and water can be hard to come by.
Potholes are so big and so common that people in Accra have taken to planting plantain crops in them, in protest. There are new children in the family. Children she remembers as babies are young adults now. Her sister Ellen has a new husband. A niece is engaged and is soon to be married. Michele McDonald for The Boston Globe The next day is Saturday, and family members meet up in their huge church — the first time Sarpong has been able to get to church in months.
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She looked ultra-American next to Ellen, who wore a traditional long African dress and head wrap in a bold geometric print, striking even amid a sea of women in vibrant geometric prints. Sarpong wore a short lacy dress and high skinny-heeled leopard-print shoes. After the service the family sat outside and ate kenkey and fish. She asked me if I needed anything for university. She sends money to each and everyone in the family, even small children. Sarpong tells her family as little as possible about what she does and how hard she works.
Although there are many big, new houses being built all around Accra, the water and power supply is intermittent, and only about 30 percent of the roads are paved, according to a study by the Ghanaian Institution of Engineers.
The two women have never met but have much in common, including families in Accra. But for Owusu, a decade younger at 36, her family is her husband and two young children. Locating her family at home was challenging for a reporter because streets have no apparent names.
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William Owusu was warm and gracious, though tired at the end of a long work day as a newspaper editor, with hours left before the kids would go to asleep. Arrigo is campaigning against it. Also, he has teamed up with Navegante, a small consulting firm that helps develop and manage casinos.
He has long wanted his year-old son and 7-year-old daughter to come to school in the United States, he said.
His focus has long been on real estate. Raised in Westchester County, N. His company, Royal Coast Company Ltd.
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Scott also failed to win licenses in Idaho, Washington, D. McCain said neither Scott nor Paoa is involved in his project in Revere. But he acknowledged that he worked with Scott in Hawaii, acting as a real estate broker for his investment team there. He also confirmed that Scott and Paoa joined him when he was examining properties for the project in Revere.
David Nealley, a city councilor in Bangor, is being paid to promote the Revere project by touting the benefits of the casino in his city. McCain declined to name the investors who have provided seed money for the project, saying they should not face scrutiny at this stage. The project will provide full disclosure if the project moves forward after November, he said. Murphy and Lisa Tuite of the Globe staff contributed to this report.