"Returning home, Chacha walked through the house with wide eyes. He loved the soft carpet beneath his feet and could not understand why mom and dad live in this big house all by themselves," Stringer said. "He pictured our home in an urban skyscraper with concrete and was surprised at the rural environment and country style. He wanted to touch everything and explore every nook and cranny."
After approaching several colleges, Stringer was able to get Cazenovia to agree to a scholarship for Foli.
"The first person we met on campus was Robert Croot, dean of students, who nearly ran down the sidewalk to meet Chacha. His warm introduction portended the future as dozens of other people reached out to us both with offers of support and friendship throughout the day," Stringer said. "We couldn't walk down the street without bumping into someone who read about Chacha in the paper and wanted to welcome him to the community."
Though Stringer has raised enough money for tuition this semester, she continues working toward funding four full years of Foli's education.
"Development without education is like a skeleton without flesh," Foli said. "My people have to learn, likewise myself."
Not only is there culture shock, but a difficult transition to the American teaching style. In Ghana, teachers still use the old British model which emphasizes rote memorization over critical thinking.
"Not all of us will be awake to witness the midnight rain, some will be asleep, some will be awake," Foli said. "That means I have this opportunity to be alert during the midnight rain."
Foli spoke of the traditional methods of his village and is versed in ancient cultural healing taught by his father and generations before using drums and herbs. He was recognized as someone who was quick to learn and was chosen by his father to be the next in line for this honor.