Peggielene Bartels was born in Ghana in 1953 and moved to Washington, D.C., in her early twenties to work at Ghana's embassy. She became an American citizen in 1997. In 2008, she was chosen to be King of Otuam, a Ghanaian village of 7,000 souls on the west coast of Africa.
An important part of my mission as King of Otuam is to bring empowerment to women. I truly believe that the future of Africa lies in the hands of its women. Women, who nurture the children and take care of resources for the entire family, must be educated to bring these gifts to their communities. In Africa, more and more women each year are entering university, politics, and business. I hope that more women will become kings like me.
My main mission is to bring Otuam into a prosperous future, to make it a modern, healthful place to live and work. It already has many advantages: beautiful weather, lovely beaches, an ocean teeming with fish, rich soil, and friendly, hardworking people. But it needs greater access to clean water, improved medical care and educational institutions, repaved roads, hygienic toilets, and many other basic necessities of life.
We in the United States often take for granted all the blessings we have. We can turn on our taps and have water, hot or cold, instantly. We can push the toilet handle and boom! There it goes. We can call 911 and have an ambulance at our door within minutes providing the best medical care on the planet. Children, no matter how poor their families, receive a free education through high school. We can all go to the local library and choose from among thousands of books to read for free. But many people in the world don't have these blessings. They suffer needlessly, and in some cases, they die young for lack of basic resources and medical care.
Helping the world's poorest people is a double blessing; certainly the people in need are blessed when they receive food, vaccinations, clean water, and education. But it is perhaps even more of a blessing to those who give.
You can endeavor to bring blessings to others. There is so much suffering in this world, so much scarcity and injustice, that there is no lack of work for you to do and countless worthy organizations you can help in a variety of ways. So please, when reading my story, ask yourself how you can help your less fortunate brothers and sisters. For we are all brothers and sisters, spiritually and genetically. If you are born to some prosperity, you are fortunate for two reasons: you have many physical comforts, and you are in a position to help others who do not.