Mawuli School's current headmaster, W. Y. Bonsi (l.), a former student of Walter Trost (r.), at the school's 50th anniversary celebration in 2000.
Walter Trost founded school in Ghana.
In 1949, in the days of dirt paths, no running water, and a slow ferry across the river, the Rev. Walter Trost, his wife, Ruth, and their two young children arrived in the Volta Region of Ghana, where they helped establish a secondary school in the village of Ho.
Last month, at the April meeting in Indianapolis of the Common Global Ministries Board, Walter Trost's widow, Ruth Trost, presented the Mawuli School's 50th anniversary plaque as a gift to the board.
The Trosts had been invited by the clergy of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana. These clergy, having recognized the importance of higher education, dreamed of opening a secondary school that would prepare young people for human service professions. They searched and prayed for a headmaster who was both scientist and pastor. Walter, with a degree in biology and having served as a local church pastor, fit their requirements. With Walter Trost as its headmaster, the school opened in 1950 with 35 students.
The students named the school Mawuli, meaning "God is here." The school's philosophy of learning with the head, heart, and hands required that all students participate in planting trees and vegetables for the community. The school's emphasis on the sciences prepared many who now practice medicine in the United States as well as in Ghana. Today 1,500 students live on the wooded campus that has modern classrooms, dormitories, a new library and a chapel that seats 2,000.
At the school's 50th anniversary, Mawuli School officials presented a plaque to the Trosts, expressing gratitude for their role in establishing the school. In responding to the gift, Walter told the students, "Continue to work hard preparing to make a worthwhile contribution to your country, follow the good example of those who have gone before, and always remember that all Mawulians are family."
Walter Trost died in 2001. It was that plaque that Ruth Trost presented to the board last month. "Our years of service were among the richest," she said, "in sharing adventure and challenges and shaping the lives of young people, who now serve their country and ours."
Jan Aerie is Executive for Mission Education and Interpretation for Wider Church Ministries and Global Ministries.