Hare Krishna Basu Ghosh Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
As you will recall I wrote to you earlier that my wife, Kesava Priya Dasi (she’s from Denmark, in Europe) and I (am from Canada) moved to Accra, the Capital City of the Republic of Ghana, a large country with a population of more than thirty four million, located in West Africa (near Nigeria) in September of last year.
We obtained one year work and residence permits to facilitate our preaching activities in Ghana.
The immigration officer, a friend of the temple, assured us that upon expiry of our permit, it would be extended for an additional three years.
My wife joined ISKCON in Denmark in 1980. She has been involved in book distribution, cooking, college programs and organizing festivals over these past 43 years.
She is particularly inclined toward developing relationships with students – youth preaching.
During my childhood, I spent 14 years living in different parts of Africa, as my father worked for the United Nations.
About 12 years ago I travelled with Mahavishnu Swami and other devotees around East Africa where we had many large public programs, that included kirtan, lectures, drama presentations, and massive prasadam distribution.
Our truck had about 20 devotees – many locals and a handful of devotees from England (UK).
By all accounts it was successful – thousands heard the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, had prasadam, saw live theatre and bought books
Particularly the prasadam distribution program was well received by the locals. The village elders would encourage people to attend our programs.
Coming back to Ghana, ISKCON has been established here since 1981, and has a good name throughout the country.
We recently observed the 25th anniversary of the installation of Sri Sri Radha Govinda in the Accra temple.
Another temple adjacent to ours opened a couple of days ago. Devotees of Jagannath were brought in from Odisha and the grand installation ceremony took 9 days to complete!
The books we distribute have been sponsored, however, they are shipped to Lagos, in Nigeria and a transport company has to bring them through both Benin Republic and Togo before reaching Ghana.
The transport costs need to be covered, so we have to pay a nominal fee for the books.
We try to collect a minimal amount from people who take our books. Not always easy as at the present time the Ghanaian economy is in a pretty dismal state.
What will REALLY help book distribution here – both in Accra and surrounding areas would be a vehicle.
The main highway to Accra – a distance of 31 kilometers from the Radha Govinda temple is a difficult one. The road is under construction, and is littered with bumps and potholes. There is dust everywhere, and it is in no way what one could consider to be a pleasant journey.
We have two established sites where we have set up our book tables in Accra, but in order to take our folding table, chairs and books we have had to hire a vehicle.
There are many places we’d like to go, but depending on public transport for this is extremely problematic.
A devotee here, Chaitanya Prema Das has been organizing a twice monthly mass prasadam distribution program. To do this, he too must hire a vehicle, as he and the temple there do not have one.
Please see the pictures of what I consider to be an ideal vehicle, that I am sending you along with this.
It is fuel efficient, maneuverable in tight spaces, it is low on maintenance costs, and can be used for both transportation and display of books. We have no shortage of ideas and plans for preaching programs here. If only we have a vehicle, we can help Chaitanya Prema with this essential prasadam distribution program.
Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) would cover the cost of a decent vehicle, necessary registration documentation, insurance and modifications to facilitate both store and display books
You had suggested I present our proposal to you, and you would circulate this to your friends and supporters for their kind consideration.
Your’s in the service of Srila Prabhupada and the ISKCON preaching mission,
Kesava Priya Dasi
Accra, Republic of Ghana