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Half a world away, but home together again

Half a world away, but home together again

Zöe Hill ’23 September 28, 2020

For sophomore William Antwi, the global pandemic separated him from his mother, who spent the summer stranded in Ghana because of travel restrictions. It also reinforced for him the value of relationships. 

 At the conclusion of the fall semester, Antwi learned of the passing of his grandfather, who lived in Ghana. The funeral was to happen in March, the same month that COVID-19 would be declared a global pandemic. Without knowing what was to come, Antwi’s mother, Theresa Antwi, flew to West Africa for the funeral. 

To control the spread of COVID-19, countries began limiting travel. Some restricted air travel to essential only. Others completely closed their borders. 

William ANtwi and his mom at his high school graduationThe U.S. was working to bring its people home from abroad, but flights were few — and they were expensive. A ticket cost more than $2,000. His mother had to be available to leave within 24 hours of booking her seat. The plane could then land at any airport in the U.S. and, as William Antwi said his family discovered, “it was up to you to figure out how to get back home after that.” 

Anxious to bring her home, they began trying to get Antwi’s mother on the first available flight — the same idea, it seemed, of the thousands of other families also trying to get home. Flight after flight booked full before Antwi’s mother had the chance to connect with the airport. 

After four months in Ghana away from her son and unable to work, Antwi’s mother was able to return home in late July. He said they were fortunate: she returned safe and healthy, and her plane landed at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport, just an hour’s drive from the family’s home in Fairfield, Ohio.. 

WIlliam Antwi with the cityscape behind himWith his mom home, Antwi said he could start focusing on the school year ahead, where he is studying mechanical engineering technology. After the difficulties of the summer, he found relief in the financial help he received thanks to a UD donor. David F. Israel was a 1938 graduate of UD who remained a connected and active Flyer throughout his life. He and his wife, Louise, founded a scholarship to support students in need of financial help, a way to ensure their relationship to future generations of Flyers endured. 

“I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for this scholarship,” Antwi wrote to the family of his benefactors, who died in 1998. “College is a luxury that not all people can afford, especially UD, but you have made this feat a little less hard on my mom and me.”

“You have made this feat a little less hard on my mom and me.”

For more than just the financial support they received, Antwi and his mother are thankful to have the UD community supporting them. 

“The idea of having to pay for college this year was a daunting one, but now it’s become less of a problem, thanks to you,” he wrote. “I promise you I will make the most out of this scholarship and use it to achieve not only all my academic goals but my life goals as well, so that one day I may also give somebody at UD a scholarship like you have to me.”

100 years as the University of Dayton