I hardly know where to begin or to end in speaking of the life of our dear
brother, friend, and Yo Ghana! board member, Mr. Brando Akoto, who passed away October 28 after a long struggle with a rare form of cancer, at home with his wife and two sons, the family he loved so deeply and fiercely. There are so many stories, so many memories. I knew Brando for less than three years, but he left a deep mark on my life and the life of Yo Ghana!
Brando taught me that although there may be a million and one things to worry about in running a nonprofit or one's life, only one thing really matters: to love and attend to the person in front of you. Whether he was talking to students in Ghana or Oregon, listening to the challenges faced by teachers, administrators, street vendors, a child at church or one of his countless friends, no one could doubt that he or she had his complete attention. His solution to every problem seemed to boil down to taking care of relationships. Once people cared about each other, everything else would work itself out.
There are so many ways to spend a life, particularly here in the U.S., countless hobbies or pastimes, no end of distractions to keep us preoccupied until the end of a day--or all of our days. Brando illustrated that we are at our happiest, our best, when we elect to care for each other every chance that we get, that our numbered hours are best shared.
We are relieved that he is free from the terrible suffering that marked his last days and weeks and months. But his absence is as deep a wound as his life was a blessing. Thank you, dear friend, for lighting the way.
For those able to get to Portland, here are three events to mark Brando's passing:
Viewing of Body: Omega Funeral and Cremation Services, 223 SE 122nd Ave., Friday November 6, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 7, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Community Remembrance: African House (IRCO), 10301 NE Glisan Street, Saturday November 7, 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Remembrance Church Service: Portland International Church, 22 NE 80th Ave, Sunday, November 8, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.