Becoming a travel worthy youth

Becoming a travel worthy youth

Another challenge for Catholic Youth in Ghana who may want to travel for WYD is being travel worthy.

A visa is a necessary document for international travel. However because we live in the developing world and developing countries have had too many experiences of people from developing countries becoming illegal immigrants their requirements are quite stringent.

Usually, some of the documents needed include: the international certificate of vaccination (yellow card), other vaccinations if need be( these may depend on the country in question), your original birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable), proof of employment, bank statements, your passport etc. Apart from the health related certificates, the other documents are meant to show your social and economic ties to your country.

So the first thing is to start acquiring those documents if you do not own them. Get a birth certificate and a passport if you do not have one.

Open a bank account if you do not have one. If you are “scared” that the bank may collapse, you can choose one of the old/established banks. Do well to engage in some bank transactions. Even if you are an informal/casual worker who is paid over the counter, do well to deposit the money into your account before withdrawing. If you are a student who receives an allowance, try to deposit your allowance into your account to create a financial footprint for yourself. This will make it easier to print out bank statements for yourself when you are doing your visa application. If you are self sponsored, you may need to request bank statements from a relative/other established member of society who knows you well and can guarantee your return. The person needs to have substantial funds in their account.

If you are employed, you will need a letter from your institution showing that you work with them. You may also need to attach your salary slips. If you are a student, you will need a letter of attestation/introduction from your school to the embassy.

If you are self employed, kindly make sure that you have registered your business. Please also make sure you pay your taxes regularly and have the tax clearance certificate. You will also need a bank account for your business. It would be ideal if you pay yourself i.e. you have a regular salary you take even as the owner of the business. You also need to pay SSNIT for yourself and your workers.

Even if you are employed but make some money on the side, do well to register your business since you never know what may happen. In fact, you improve your social and economic ties to Ghana by having multiple sources of income.

If you have not travelled before you can improve your travel worthiness by travelling to neighbouring African countries and countries where visa requirements are not as strict as developed countries. The trips do not need to be long. Just a weekend trip or a one week trip is okay.

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The case for participating in WYD in Portugal

The case for participating in WYD in Portugal

The next World Youth Day (WYD) will be held in Portugal in 2022. In brief, WYD is a Catholic Youth Festival that was introduced by the late Pope St. John Paul II in the 1980s.

The most immediate WYD was held in Panama in 2019 under the theme “Behold I am the handmaid of the LORD let it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38.The entire programme was focused on being fully surrendered to God and saying yes to His will. Pope Francis’s final message at the WYD included a reminder to all youth that we are the now of God.

As is usual, the venue for the next WYD was announced during the closing mass. The next venue is Portugal. The dates, theme and other details are yet to be announced. But from now till then, it’s basically about three years plus.

So a few thoughts. Portugal is quite close to Africa so it should be relatively less expensive. I want to propose that youth in Ghana decide to attend the WYD 2022 either as a volunteer or participant.

Whether you’re a student or a worker, it is possible to raise funds, save or be sponsored to attend the WYD. Although on the face value it seems expensive, it’s a very life changing experience which I believe every Catholic should have. Many parishes and dioceses in Ghana sponsor active youth to WYD. It’s important to start early; you can save daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly according to your strength. You can also raise funds from family, friends and other benefactors if need be.

The experience of travelling, the opportunity to experience the Catholic faith in another country, becoming a member of a Catholic family in another country, meeting and interacting with new people, sharing your faith with others and seeing the universality of the church are among some of the benefits of participating in WYD. There are many other benefits.

And the location! Portugal is old Europe so it will be pretty exciting to travel and see. In addition, because of the Schengen visa it will be pretty easy to potentially see a few other places such as Lourdes in France, a site of Marian apparitions. Of course, Fatima is also in Portugal so it’ll be great to visit.

You can go as an individual, with the Archdiocese of Accra, the Ghana National Catholic Youth Council (GHANCYC) or with a private agency organizing a WYD trip such as Safe Life Experience Consult in Ghana.
Try to explore the available options and choose what’s best for you.

A key thing to remember is to start getting your documents ready. You’ll need a visa which is quite a laborious process especially in developing countries where you need to show your social and economic ties to your country before you can be considered for a visa. So you’ll need your birth certificate, your marriage certificate if you are married, your bank account statements (which should be quite substantial; even if you’re a student please try to engage in some bank transactions). You would also need letters from your school (if you’re a student), your workplace (if you’re a worker) and your company if you’re self employed. You also need to add your company documents if you’re self employed. Salary slips may also be needed.

Angela Azumah Alu, 12/04/2019, Legon
lisbon 2022

 

 

 

USA 2019-4th/5th February 2019

USA 2019-4th/5th February 2019

06 February 2019
21:34
After supper on Sunday evening, we continued to talk and chat. Some did some more shopping. I packed most of my stuff since I was leaving on Monday evening.
Monday came even before we slept…Lol and soon it was morning. I finished up my packing and brought my bags down. We had breakfast and a time of prayer in the big chapel in the house since we couldn’t have mass; there was a burial service at the church. Denis had left at dawn with a parishioner who was going to Washington since his flight was taking off there.
Soon after, the bus came to take us to town. The plan was to take the ferry to Staten Island and back so we could go back to the Pauline bookshop. We opted for another trip since we wanted to see Lady Liberty and other sites.
So we went on another tour where we had to pay $30 per person (minus food). They provided a bus to take us to where the boat was. Then we had to wait forever for the boat to return from the tour. And then another age for enough people to fill up the boat before we left. It was very annoying. And the tour guide kept reminding everybody that there was food and drink downstairs…as if it was free. Fr. Alphonse arranged for us to get some snacks and drinks. They had hot dogs, empanadas, chicken nuggets, fries etc. And of course drinks! We had fun.
Finally, the tour started. It was amazing! She showed us lots of amazing sites: Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, Wall Street, the Brooklyn bridge, The Statue of Liberty and many others. We took lots of pictures and then… it ended.
We had to wait for the bus to take us back to Battery park. From there, we went to the subway to get a train back. Then finally we got home. It was almost 6. We called my friend Robert who was taking me to the airport. He set off to come and get me. We had a pleasant surprise in the person of Fr. Francis Asagba. It was great meeting him. He worked at Good Shepherd in the early 90s.
Robert came around and we went to the airport. We had a great chat on the way. Thank God for friends!
At the airport, I checked in quickly and went to wait to board. We started boarding at around 8:45pm. The plane left at 9:30 as scheduled. I slept, read changes and watched a movie, Patrick. The meal they served was vegetarian pasta with tomato sauce and something that looked like burnt onions. Oh no! I was really hungry too! But I could barely eat it. So I drew the attention of the stewardessbe assigned to our aisle and she brought me snacks. Those were better. Later we had breakfast. I opted for eggs. That was very edible for me. Finally we landed in Amsterdam. Since I was well dressed, I wasn’t cold. I went to check the boarding gate number and then got a seat there. Later I realized I had misplaced my Ghana branded muffler. I probably left it in the plane.
It was an interesting wait. I used the airport WiFi to check in with the team in the US and made some calls. After about two hours, we boarded. We left a little later than scheduled because of some problems with an engine or so. But finally, we left. I watched Sully and Oceans 8, played solitude, some videos about cities and slept. I was really tired. I had rice and chicken for lunch. As usual, I didn’t eat the salad. Later, we had some pizza. I spoke to the lady next to me. She’s a PhD student from the UK coming to Ghana to do some work on Malaria. It sounds exciting. And then, home! My dad was already at the airport. God bless him! Now I was warm because of the weather but I decided to suck it up coz my bags were full anyway. After check out and getting my luggage, we went home. Thank you God!
We had rice and chicken sauce for supper. And then of course, more hugs and pictures. It was great to have travelled but it was even better to be back home. Thus ended Angela’s WYD diaries.
TGBTG.
I’m thankful to all who helped make this journey possible and I pray for God’s blessings on them all. May we always live the words: Here I am the servant the LORD speak your word in me and let your will be done.

Reasons to attend World Youth Day in Panama 2019

Reasons to attend World Youth Day in Panama 2019

So this post was in response to a question about the need to attend the next World Youth Day in Panama 2019.

By way of introduction, the World Youth Day (WYD) is an international festival for Catholic and other Youth. It was started by late Pope John Paul II. It usually happens every two (2) or three (3) years. In between, there are diocesan and national WYDs.

In 2018, there would be a National Version of the WYD in Ghana from 27th July to 5th August 2018 in the Greater Accra Region with the climax at the University of Ghana. And in 2019, the international Version of the World Youth Day will be in Panama from 22nd to 27th January 2019. Here’s a link to the site: https://www.panama2019.pa/en/home/

The Youth of the Archdiocese of Accra will in addition to the WYD in Panama also visit the USA (Washington and New York) and tour in Panama. So they will travel from 2nd to 29th January 2019.

Below is the Post:
17/12/2017
16:57

Well, I guess it’s a question worth asking. And there are a lot of answers to give .

One of the very first things is that as a pilgrimage, it can be considered as in service training for youth and youth leaders. This is because it provides them with an opportunity to go and pray and to experience the catholic church in its universality. You might argue that we can always pray in the home church but remember that its the same reason why companies send their staff for training out of the office and why the kingdom of God is likened to a pearl you have to sell everything to get. There’s nothing like being in a place for the sole purpose of fellowshipping with God and other catholic youth. It is literally life changing! You get to hear God as never before because you are away from the usual distractions of life. Everyone who attends has many stories of how God spoke to them and used them to minister to others.

Secondly, as youth  and as Catholics, experiencing a Catholic celebration with millions of other catholic youth from all over the world broadens your horizons, gives you new perspectives on how to exercise your faith and how to lead and generally becomes a stepping stone for greater heights. The youthful exuberance is so much that it changes you.

Thirdly, you have the opportunity to exercise your faith through the various religious and cultural activities you participate in. In addition, during the mission days, you are literally a missionary to the family you are staying with. What a way to obey the great commission! You become a lifelong member of that family too! You also get to meet, make friends with and minister to other catholic youth you may never otherwise meet. And of course showcase great Ghanaian culture and experience other cultures.

A fourth reason to go for World Youth Day with the  Accra Archdiocese is that because of the format of going with youth from the various parishes, you literally have a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet with and spend time with other youth from the diocese over an extended period of time. The friendships and sharing that occur over this period tend to be lasting and very impactful.

A fifth reason is that since for many of the pilgrims it is their first time of travelling, it literally becomes an opportunity to get them out into the world in a faith like environment. This helps with getting your documentation and all other things needed for international travel in order. That way, the church is literally being shrewd in giving its young people an international experience so that in other years, they have an easier and smoother travelling experience. And of course, as you travel you see more and come back with more to teach and impact others with.

Anyway, I will end here. From a physical perspective, it seems like a lot of money and the question may be asked why that money should not be used to cater for the poor and needy in the church. Jesus’s words when Mary wiped his feet with an expensive jar of alabaster oil come to mind. The poor and needy will always be with us and we need to take care of them but, just as Mary anointed Jesus’s feet and Jesus promised that this act will be said in remembrance of her, so it is important for youth/the parish to literally do all that is necessary to take part in international WYD at this time because there may be no other time.

Angela Azumah Alu
17/12/17

wyd quote