Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Sunday, February 25, 2018

crs awiapoThomas Awiapo

BLOOMFIELD – The Archbishop O’Brien Library will team with the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry in presenting a talk by Thomas Awiapo, a Catholic Relief Services (CRS) field expert, from 10:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 29. He will talk about his experiences with CRS.

One of four orphaned brothers, Mr. Awiapo says that he went to bed at night crying from hunger. Born into extreme poverty in northern Ghana, Thomas and his brothers crouched over a single bowl to share what little food they had.

Thomas’s two younger brothers eventually died from malnutrition. His older brother walked off one day never to be seen again.

“We’d wake up with no breakfast. We had no idea what lunch was. We cried for food,” Mr. Awiapo recalls.

One day, he smelled lunch cooking at a CRS-supported school and it changed his life. Like millions of children who have received meals provided by CRS, a daily meal lured him into the classroom and kept him coming back.

Today, Mr. Awiapo travels annually to parishes, schools and groups nationwide to tell his story to American Catholics as part of the CRS Rice Bowl Hunger Awareness Speakers’ Tour.

“I come from a family that knows nothing about education. I started to go to school simply to have lunch,” says Mr. Awiapo, who holds a master’s degree from California State University. He will share his story of the mud hut of his childhood and the school that he says “empowered me for life.”

The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield.

Refreshments will be served. The organizers recommend registration by calling 860-242-5573, ext. 2608 or 2623. Information about the program is available at 860-242-5573, ext. 2689.