In an inspirational letter to readers, Peggielene Bartels (aka King Peggy) outlines her goals as the new King of Otuam, Ghana. She begins by stating that:
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... 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.
Though she is the King of Otuam, Peggielene lives most of the time in Silver Spring, MD, and still works at the Ghanaian embassy in Washington D.C. In her letter she reflects on how fortunate we are in the United States and how often we take things like running water, reliable plumbing, and health care for granted. She encourages readers to empower themselves and share this wealth with those less fortunate. She writes:
We in the United States often take for granted all the blessings we have... 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.
She also reassures people not to be discouraged when up against seemingly impossible odds because sometimes "strange twists of Fate give you your heart's desire long after you have given up hope." As a younger woman Peggielene was never able to have children, but now, she says, "I have 7,000 of them."
To learn more about King Peggy, visit her website where you'll also be able to view images of the people of Otuam, Ghana in her photo gallery. Or watch this interview with CBS in which she explains how she came to be chosen as King (as opposed to Queen) and what it means to hold this title.
This article was originally published in March 2012, and has been updated for the
February 2013 paperback release.
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