by Michael Bascombe
The United States-based PETNA Foundation is planning a mission to Grenada next month to assist the poor and disadvantaged on the island.
The Foundation is partnering with the South Bay Community Church in Fremont, California to send the team to Grenada for one week, June 20-27.
The PETNA Foundation, which was formed several years ago by Grenadian Nicholas Earle Brathwaite, his wife Janice and Dr Stanley Long, has been working to help improve lives in some of the poorest villages in Grenada, Malawi and Tanzania and most recently underprivileged areas in the United States, Britain and Canada.
Mr Brathwaite said that this year’s mission will include approximately 50 people who will be traveling to Grenada to volunteer their time and expertise to serve people in some of the poorest communities on the island.
“The current economic crisis has been difficult for everyone and this is an expensive trip for many in our congregation,” he said. “We believe, however, that this is a worthwhile sacrifice as we aim to demonstrate God’s love and try to ease the burden on some who may be more severely impacted than the rest of us.”
Brathwaite, who is the son of former Grenada Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Braithwaite, said the mission to Grenada will be partnering with several local churches and some other organisations including a couple of homes for the elderly, a school for special needs, two orphanages and the Programme for Adolescent Mothers.
The mission’s team will include health care professionals, business professionals (many of whom are handymen), teachers, retirees, pastors, interior designers / decorators and some of the youth in the Church.
“This trip and our desire to help the poor people of Grenada have been well supported by Silicon Valley medical professionals, our friends in the business community and the congregation of our church,” said Brathwaite.
He said that Silicon Valley doctors and hospitals have donated medical equipment such as blood pressure monitors, blood glucose meters, bandages, ointments, band aids and other personal hygiene and first aid supplies.
Crocs, a leading manufacturer and retailer of casual footwear, has once again donated over 1,000 pairs of brand new shoes. “We have several boxes of school supplies, bags and backpacks for school children. We also have several boxes of books, educational games and computers that will be provided to a couple of elementary schools and orphanages.”
Brathwaite, a veteran of the semiconductor industry, noted that “because our team includes several successful business professionals and business owners, one of our objectives is to try helping some people in the poorer villages start “cottage industries”. To help with that objective several of our team members will be providing training, equipment, advice and some materials to help interested individuals get started.”
He said that they are awaiting a response to an email to the Health Minister in Grenada as to whether the mission’s team would be allowed to host a Health Fair or free testing services at some of the village clinics.
The PETNA Foundation was a major financial supporter of the first New York University Dental programme. The Foundation has also one home and almost completely rebuilt another for two elderly ladies in St. Mark, as well as provided full scholarships and partial financial assistance to several students to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees, supplied over 100 computers to schools and individuals, distributed brand new shoes to more than 1,200 individuals and for several years have been financing a meals and books programme at one of the elementary schools on the island.
Additionally, and as a gift to the people of Grenada, according to Brathwaite, on the evening of Saturday June 22, one of their team members, Carl Ray, will be performing his One Man play on “The Power of Forgiveness”.
Carl Ray is a professional actor and comedian. He is also a playwright, motivational speaker and author of the book “Cured — The Power of Forgiveness”.
He grew up in the South (USA) and in 1962, while being questioned by a white man in Butler, Alabama, Carl responded by saying “Yes” and “No” instead of “Yes Sir” and “No Sir”. As a result, Carl Ray was beaten severely for being disrespectful. An hour later the same man went to Carl Ray’s home and shot his father eight (8) times while Carl looked on helplessly.
Carl Ray’s life would never be the same. For many years he was burdened with the guilt of causing his father’s murder.
Ray graduated from Tuskegee University and worked for thirteen years as an Electrical Engineer in the Aerospace Industry before pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian.
In 1984, Ray met a man who talked to him about the power of forgiveness. Ray attributes the act of forgiving the man who killed his Father as saving his life. The most spiritual moment of his life occurred the day he forgave his father’s killer. Forgiveness released him from his self-imposed prison.
This concert is a gift to the people of Grenada by Mr. Carl Ray, The South Bay Community Church, The PETNA Foundation and Spice Basket. Although tickets will be required for admission to this concert, there will be no cover charge.