Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Africa 2

Day Seven

We went to the school today. Daughter got to go to class for awhile. She really liked it. The kids met the other kids. They were shy, but then I would be, too, if a million kids wanted to touch me. They would swarm around them and pet their hair and try and hold their hands. We tried to play games and interact, but it didn’t really work. All the kids wanted to do was swarm us and touch us.
This afternoon we tried skype with mom and dad. No luck. Our internet connection just isn’t strong enough. We can hear them perfectly, but they can’t hear us, and the call keeps getting dropped. Very disappointing. We will try again in the morning. Maybe we will have better luck then.

Dinner was very interesting. It was a spinage fish casserole thing. Quite strange. Didn’t taste bad, though. Son really wanted to go out and play with Cobi. He was down to just the bites of the spinage thing. Jody said, you gotta eat it. He downed it without us telling him again. Praise God! Maybe we are getting somewhere.

Day Eight—Friday

Today we took the day off to rest and prepare for Sunday.
After breakfast, Dad, who stayed up until 1 am their time waiting on us and I tried skype. No success again. L I could tell he was disappointed and upset about that. Perhaps it will work at the church or an internet café. I know this is hard, and skype would make it just a little bit easier.
For dinner we had peanut butter soup. So good. We didn’t have fu fu with it, thank God. It was rice. It would be perfect if it was all chicken with no skin and no fish! AND if they would cut back the peppers to about none!
After dinner, Coby came over and he and the kids watched kung fu panda. They all seemed to like that, but poor Coby, they kept telling him what was going t happen next!

Day Nine

Regular breakfast again, oatmeal, eggs, bread, tea. After breakfast we went back to our house. We don’t really know what to do around here half the time social wise. Do we hang out, or what? So, we just go home. We’ll figure it out eventually.
After awhile, we went and looked for bikes for the kids. We didn’t end up finding anything within what we were willing to pay. We did go back down town, and we waited on Frank, forever!!

We went into a muslim part of town. You could tell the difference. We also passed the palace.
For dinner they made us spaghetti with meatballs....but it was Ghanaian style.
Pastor Frank bought Son a cucumber. He was so excited. . They are available here, but not a part of Ghanaian’s diets. Coby had never had one. He was afraid to try it. He ate his whole slice, but didn’t ask for more. He said he liked it but I am not sure. Daughter got two slices and Son at the rest. It was fun to see the roles reversed!

Day Ten-Sunday
Our first Sunday here! After a slow week, I am ready for some action. We headed first to a smaller church that is in Kumasi, but further out. We have met the pastor before last time we were here. Jody preached there, and the pastor interpreted for him. He preached on dreams and persuing them. The church was only half done. I asked Frank how long it had been like that and he said many years.
Daughter and Son both went to kids church. Daughter went first, and Son went when he became too wrestless in church. They both liked it and had a good time. Kids church was outside under a tree.
After offering there, we went to Christ the King Palace. I was to preach there.

They took 4 offerings. The first was tithes and offering, then a worship offering, then an offering to God, and finally tithes---like for members or people with giving records. They bring it up in their record book. I’m telling you, that is the way to do it!
I spoke on purpose and being created on purpose. Frank interpreted for me. It went good, other than the kids acting up! But what can you expect. It was hot and boring and they couldn’t even understand what was going on!

Day Eleven

Today we went to the school. We were told we would teach TODAY! Eeek! I was to teach JR high English (4th grade) and Jody was to teach Math, algebra and Religion and Morals. I was to teach on paragraphs. Ok, I can handle that.
While waiting, the kids went out a few times, to face the kids. You can only do it for a few moments at a time because they want to maul the kids. They are just so excited to touch them and be their friends. At one point the head master came over with her stick and said, go away or I will beat you. Boy did those kids run!

Here at lunch time kids bring their bowl or some sort of container and a spoon (sometimes) from home. Lunch is served at the school. No brown bagging it. They ate up… whatever it was….
My class was first. It went well. I was nervous, but after I got going, it was a piece of cake, and the kids really seemed to enjoy it.

Jody enjoyed his class, too, and said the kids did as well. After our classes, we went home and took naps….we sure do sleep a lot around here.

For dinner it was left over fish. Daughter loves fish, but not fish skin (never has). We picked as much of the skin off as we could, but she still was not being cooperative. Then she took a big bite and choked on a bone. I think it was more because she was throwing a fit and upset than anything else. She gagged it all up. I took her to the bathroom, cleaned her up, gave her a pep talk, and she came out and ate it all like a champ. I was so proud of her.

Day Twelve,

Back to the school today. Jody is teaching math again. He was supposed to teach at 8 but read his schedule wrong, so they changed it to 10:30.

I received our itinerary for the rest of our time here. We are speaking tonight, wednesay, and Friday. We were supposed to travel somewhere this weekend, but it isn’t going to happen, don’t know why. (side note: our Wednesday and Friday meetings were cancelled)

They showed me a list of pastors and asked if I could set up a website for the school. After discussing it for about 20 minutes I then realized that what they wanted was email addresses, not a new website. The ‘tech’ guy showed me how to get on with Franks computer, but for whatever reason the connection in his office doesn’t work. So I used the one in the assistant’s office. His computer is SO SLOW, so I set it up on mine to see if it would be faster (and to see if skype would work). It was so much faster on my computer, but skype still didn’t work. Sad. L I was able to look at the pictures katie sent, so that was cool. Not long after I got all set up, it was time to go home, so I will have to finish tomorrow.

We went home and took a nap again. We headed over for dinner about 4, and made it just in the to watch the inauguration. Then we had dinner and headed off to our meeting. We got there at 7 and the pastor said he thought that we were coming last week, so no one was coming to see us. We waited to see who showed up. Only 3 people, so Frank decided we would go and we would reschedule. On our way to church he had said that after church he had 2 places to go the DR and somewhere else. We headed to the DR’s house, and got stuck in traffic for what seemed like forever. It was probably at least 30 minutes.
Finally, the DR’s house. We were there for about 45 minutes. Then we left and wend to some other person’s house. I have no idea who they were or why we went there so late (got there at 9). I guess it was just a house call. They gave the kids a soda, and opened up what looked like a champaing bottle for us (and they had champain glasses). Jody and I just looked at each other. Had we been on our own we probably would have just drank it to be polite, but we know that frank says Christians do not drink in Ghana, so what are we to do? When it was given to us we both smelled it and it didn’t smell like alcohol, and the he tasted it. Whew, we were safe, just sparkling fruit juice.

Day thirteen

Back to the school today, jody is to teach Religion and Morals. I set up all the email addresses, about 15. I also got our banking info and posted a blog. All of this at home would have taken about 30 minutes. Here it took me 3 hours!! I was more than aggravated.
After I was done, we went home to rest again. I am about as rested as I can be! We were supposed to speak tonight, but it was canceled.
After our rest, we went to the university to go to the ATM. On our way home, we passed the church school bus. By the smell you could tell that something was wrong. The clutch went out. Frank said it was 200 to fix it. But what they really needed was a new bus, which is about 3000.
Day fourteen

Back to the school today, but not until this afternoon. So, we hung out at the house. Frank told Jody he could drive us to school. So he did!

Cecilia had to come, because she had somewhere to be. We dropped her off at the seamstress. Jody had to drive down a very narrow roadway to do so, then he had to turn around, and ran over someone’s fabric that was drying on the ground. Actually he parked on it as he waited for Cecilia until someone told him he was on it.
I taught English again today. I finished the lesson on paragraphs and then we did irregular plural nouns. For the last 20 mintues of class we talked of America and took pictures. They had all sorts of questions about Obama and wanted to know if I voted for him. Of course all they really know about him is that he is part Kenyan, black and the president of America, so he is a mega hero in their eyes. I told them that no I did not vote for him. He is not from my political party, and he and I have opposite political views. VERY OPPOSITE!!!

I asked them what they thought of Americans and the first thing they all said was that we were rich. Oh, don’t I wish! But truly, we are rich in comparison. In comparison, the poorest American is richer than the average Ghanaian.

After class, Jody drove us back home. We picked up Cecilia first. He did a good job driving
Day Fifteen

Friday. Jody taught this morning, religion and morals, and while he did that I tested all of the email addresses and taught George (Frank’s assistant) how to use them. That took awhile. If he has such a time, I can’t imagine how they are going to teach all the pastors.
After Jody’s class, we went home. Jody drove us again today. The car wouldn’t start when we went to leave, the kids had to give us a push. Jody has never jumpstarted a car that way, but it was no problem.
Dinner was yam and lamb stew. It was so good! Tasted almost like mom’s stew. After dinner, we sat outside with Frank and talked while the kids played soccer. I saw a huge beetle/cockroach looking bug and called the kids over to take a look. It was big; the size of a quarter. While they were looking at it, it flew up and touched Daughter’s dress. They all screamed, but she freaked. She hit her clothes and hair and then jumped into my arms. It was so funny! The little kitten saw the bug and attacked it and ate it. It took Daughter a good 5 minutes to calm down.

Son was beginning to be cranky so he and dad went home. I stayed with Daughter so she could play awhile longer.

I talked to frank about wages. The min wage is 2 cedi’s a day. That is for gov workers. They bribe people to get things done so they will make more money. He says it’s quite corrupt. Other trades make more money. Like a mason. He makes about 10 cedis a day, which is considered very good. A maid who does not live with you would make about 5 cedis a day. That is not the best, considering that she has to pay about 2 cedis to get to your home. One that lives with you would make about 3.
While we were talking, I noticed that Daughter is laying down in the small pile of sand/dirt (for building) that they have been playing in, making ‘snow angels’. I was not so happy about that. She came over and was filthy. Her hair was gray she was so dirty.

Not long after that, we went home. I gave her a bath and had to wash her hair 2 times and condition it once. It was nasty. Oh, the things that girl does when she gets into her own world!
As we are settling down, I noticed that Son isn’t looking so great. I took his temp, and it was 101.7. I gave him some Tylenol, and he went to bed. He said his head hurt, too. “Like a bone is broken”. And he is stuffed up. I hope he feels better in the morning!
Jody and I are a little freaked as malaria symptoms (and the bugs love Son) are similar to flu symptoms. But it is flu season here, too.
Day sixteen,

Saturday. Son had a fitful night, and in turn so did we. He seems to feel much better today, but we are going to take it easy just in case.
Jody talked to Frank, who called his DR (the one we visited, Isaac), who told us to be on the safe side, get Son some malaria medicine. It is available over the counter. Even though they are on anti malaria, it is not 100%. Jody went with frank to get it, which means many detours along the way. He took 100 cedis with him, since we had no idea how much it was. It was 4 cedis.
Day seventeen, Sunday.

Well, it seems that Son is back to his old self. But Jody was up all night. He was “running” as they call it. It was either the bean soup or the pineapple that he ate right before bed.
Daughter seems to have a bit of the runs, too.

Well it is Sunday, so off we go, good bad or indifferent. We are at his house by 7, so we can leave by 7:30. We leave at 8:15. We are going to a town about 30 miles out of Kumasi to preach and look at a dam sight. We are going to meet a chief. Frank asks if we have anything to give. We don’t (I should have remembered that!) He says we will give him an envelope instead (i.e. money).
Jody is not feeling well, but is going to go anyway. Off we set, of course stopping several times along the way. George, Frank’s assistant is with us, and so we are nice and snug. Daughter is now feeling bad, so she is in the back laying down.

Our first stop is the church, but we don’t get out. We pick up another person. Now there are 9 in the car. We are going to meet the chief.

We get there, and greet the queen/chief mother (very important person) then the chief, then a few other guys. We shake all of their hands. They shake all of ours, after we are seated. Frank tells them why were are there (to help the people, possible dam). The chief gives us his blessing and his support and says that he will write a decree saying that if he passes then the next chief must give us his support, too.
This is the youngest chief I have met. He looks to be in his 20s. He is actually 35. Just recently have chiefs been young, as they are not looking at wisdom in age so much anymore.
The chief speaks through a spokesman, which is funny. The spokesman stands up, and the chief talks, looking at him. But the spokesman doesn’t say what he says to you. You just respond to the spokesman. Jody spoke to the chief, but used his left hand to gesture. Not something you do, which we didn’t know. Thankfully Ghanaians are very gracious.

After our meeting, we took pictures, and then off to the church. The service was long, but good. Daughter was burning up the whole time. I felt so bad for her. They brought her some crackers and coke to make her feel better. Jody wasn’t doing so hot either. He preached, but I could tell he wasn’t feeling good. He had to go to the bathroom outside in the woods, twice. Gross.

After church, we met with the church leaders. We were going to look at the dam sight but didn’t. We will come back to do that. Jody was happy, since he felt so bad. So, then we are on our way…or not. We go to the pastors house for lunch. Rice with fish (I am pretty sure that Ghanaians put fish in EVERYTHING). Daughter said her tummy hurt and she needed to go potty. The wife takes us to the potty. It is a cement square with a hole. I figure you sit on the square, but you don’t You get up on it and squat. I was going to help Daughter, but the wife insisted. Daughter wasn’t getting the whole squat thing, so the lady sat her on a small bucket, like they would use for a child to potty train.. Daughter sat there for a minute and couldn’t go. I don’t blame her. I don’t think I could have either. So after a bit she got up.

Son did good on eating. They gave him a huge bowl of rice, which I was not expecting him to eat, but he ate like 5 bites without complaining or whining, which was good.
On home we go, and yes. We stopped several times. We were about 10 minutes from home, but stuck in traffic, when Jody suddenly stuck his head out the window. At first I thought someone grabbed him or something, but no, he was throwing up. The looks on people’s faces was priceless. One guy told frank to pull over because he was puking. I guess you don’t do that on the street. You pull over to a bush.
Poor Jody, I felt so bad for him. Finally, we are home. It’s 4 o’clock. Frank insists we eat something for dinner so he is going to make tomato soup. Sounds good, but I am sure it is not campbells.
The kids all slept in the car on the way home, so they watched a movie while Jody slept. Daughter still has a temp, but seems to be feeling better. Well, Daughter, Son and Jody all had to go “running” before we settled down, and to put a cherry on top of the day, our water is not working. I think the plumber was here working on something, and forgot to turn the water back on.Dinner was in fact tomato soup, homemade. And it tasted quite good, except for the fish floating in it. Again, they put fish in everything! Our baked beans, our rice, any sauce even if it has another meat has some fish in it too, our soup, EVERYTHING! Enough with the fish already!!
Jody didn’t come to dinner, I brought dinner to him. He wasn’t hungry.

Finally, we have water. Jody flushed the toilet (the whole bathroom and hall smelled so bad!). And I gave Son a bath. Then into bed we all go. It has been a long day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Finally, a post from Africa...

So, I was so busy running around getting all the last minute preparations done that I didn’t even have a chance to write and say we are on our way. But we are here, and in one piece. I don’t know how often I will get to post, but I will as often as I can.
You may find this quite detailed. I am journaling our whole experience while writing for the blog at the same time. I will try and cut uninteresting stuff out for you guys, depending on how much time I have to devote to editing.

Day One and Two
We are finally here. It was a very long flight, but everything went smoothly.
The only small glitch was in Amsterdam they made us check two of our carry on’s I think they thought they were mine. It was all of the kids stuff. Yes, I freaked out a bit, but then again I usually do when things are out of my control.

Everything made it to Ghana unharmed. Thank you LORD! You are faithful. I was telling Jenn that I always pray over my luggage, and have never lost a piece or had one delayed. I said I think it’s because God knows it is more than I could handle. J

We were the last ones through immigration, so we had to wait forever. We got all our bags. Including all our carry-ons we had 15 bags total. 2 of give-away stuff, 1 of food, 1 of bedding and towels, and then the rest were our regular stuff. I may have over packed on everything but the clothes but only time will tell. You just can’t run down to Wal Mart to get something if you forget it. You most likely will find it but will take all day and pay twice as much.

So, when you leave the airport, you are greeted by a few guards and hundreds of people. All that separates you from them is a fence, and a large sign telling you to beware of people who want to help you with your luggage.

One guard/worker helped us all the way to our car—unrequested (our car was in the parking lot across the street, so we had to cross the street with all our luggage). Then came along 8 other men to help us. Again, unrequested. Thankfully Pastor and Cecilia were there. We got everything in, and between Frank and us only paid out about $4.00 for the unasked for help.

We went right to our hotel. It is very nice. They had wireless internet, and gave me the code, but for whatever reason, I could not connect anyway. Bummer. We tired our cell phone, and they work like a charm. Better watch it or we could run up a bill real quick!
We were very tired, but so gross, too. So, we all took showers, cold of course, and after a snack, all of us got into the one king size bed. Note….Son not liking the cold shower. The kids were out cold within seconds. It took Jody and I a bit longer, as it was really only noonish our time. Son and Jody woke up at 4am. I woke up shortly after, and then Daughter. Yeah, our clocks are a bit screwed up. The kids played, I tried to get the internet to work, and Jody tried to get back to sleep.

Finally, breakfast time. Breakfast is included in the hotel room, so off we go, We order boiled eggs, sausage (for a little extra money), pancakes and OJ and Coffee. No pancakes today, and no OJ. Pineapple juice instead and toast instead.

Out comes the sausage….errr..uh…hot dog. Yeah, that’s right a hot dog. And, get this… the menu said 2.50 for sausage (2.5 cedi’s is the same as 2.5 dollars. Which for a Ghanaian is a lot) We didn’t know that meant per sausage, we thought per serving, which we ordered two of. They brought us 4 ‘sausages’ and it cost us 12 dollars!!

Back to the room to wait for Frank, and take a nap. When he arrived the kids were sound asleep (actually we were, too). We were going to wake them up and leave, but Frank said, No, let them sleep. We will come back at noon.

So, we all went back to sleep until noon. When he came back we reloaded the luggage. We had all of our luggage (15 pieces) in the back of his land rover/Mitsubishi Montero-like car. Then, in the back seat was all 4 of us, and in front was Cecilia and Frank. The kids think it is so neat that they don’t have car seats or seat belt. Off to Kumasi we went.

We stopped at a Judge’s house that Frank knows, used to be a pastor I believe for lunch. Yams (white like potato) and some red spicy fish sauce and boiled eggs was served. Daughter was a champ. She ate almost all of her food, and she was given quite a lot. Son at least tried it, and ate some of a boiled egg.

After lunch, we drove 51/2 hours without ever getting out of the car. We could have, but we just wanted to get it over with. The kids weren’t complaining, so we might as well take advantage of it. A full 46 hours after we left for the airport in Portland, we arrived in Kumasi. During the trip the kids just took it all in. They love it when they see someone carrying something on their head, and every goat, cow, chicken, dog and lizard deserved to be noted. Along the way, we pulled over and frank bought stuff. Kinda cool to do all your grocery shopping without getting out of your car!

When we got to their house, Frank said he was going to put us in the guest house (which we thought was the house on their property, but he was actually referring to the retreat center), but that cecilia thought we might get lonely, and so we were going to stay in their house. They were also worried that we would not feel safe. We went to look at the retreat center, and the kids stayed with Cecilia. Bad idea. When we got back, Daughter said I had a bloody nose. I said ok. You alright? Yeah. Well then Cecilia told me that Son punched her. I looked at him and he was on the verge of tears. He covered his eyes and buried his head. I told him It was OK, and we would deal with it later. Daughter said she swallowed the blood and that it still tasted yucky, but she said she didn’t cry (she really is a tuff girl when it comes down to it.)
Then Rice and some HOT red stuff and chicken. Again, Daughter was a champ. She ate everything on her plate. Son really struggled. He was tired, hungry, and it was just not good. Then Frank said would you like some chocolate milk? He said yes, and then when he found out that mean hot chocolate, he fell to pieces. There was no returning.

We took him to our room, and gave him some of our American snacks. I am so glad I decided to pack them. They are a God-send. We told them only one a day, but this day we let them have three. They deserved it. They had been thought a lot.

Then it was bath time, and again a cold shower. Son was not so happy about that. He cried and cried. Daughter, the pleaser, of course loved it. Son pretty much cried the rest of the night, and said I want to go home. He had both Mommy and Daddy in tears. We know this is a huge adjustment for them, and we wish we could make it easier.

Off to bed we go. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Day Three

Today is Sunday. We were going to take the day off, Frank told us to, but then when we went to breakfast he said they are expecting you be ready to go at 9. Then when we were about 5 minutes from the church he said, which one of you is going to share? Uh…thanks for he heads up. What’s that verse about being ready in and out of season? Yeah, so not ready. Jody and I both ended up sharing just a little bit. Daughter and Son sat with Coby (Frank’s grandson). In the congregation while we sat on the platform. They were pretty good….except that they kept playing with their water bottles. They started out with one and were fighting over it, so I went and gave them mine, so they each had one. Then they kept putting it on their heads. Finally Jody went and took them away. Two minutes later they had another one from the “water lady”.

During worship I saw something dart across the stage toward me. I stepped forward, and looked back to see a lizard (a good size one, body about 6 in) running toward me. It passed me and Frank and another guy trapped it and shooed it out the door. The kids thought that was awesome and both agreed that Papa would have screamed. Frank said another lady that was here did scream really loud when the same thing happened to her.

During church, the kids were starting to act up, so I went down to sit with them. Daughter said she had to go to the bathroom. I told her to hold it. She really had to go so after awhile, I got Jody’s attention (Son had fallen asleep on me) and he took her. He said an African lady had to show her how to squat and go on the ground. All I know is that when she came back in I asked, did you go? She said yes. I said, in a toilet? She said NO (with big eyes). I just started laughing.

OK, so this morning, we were woken up by some strange noise. Sounded sort of like a cow, but not quite. I thought it might be an elephant…in my very dazed sleepy state….and I also thought the white sand/cement outside was snow…yeah I was out of it. It eventually woke up Son, and so we were all up at 5am. A few minutes later, we hear a cow bell and singing… not a great way to start your day. And then that noise again. It turns out there is this group that each Sunday get up early and run and sing. No one likes it. The noise was a trumpet.

Oatmeal and eggs for breakfast and fried plantains. Son loves oatmeal, but wouldn’t touch it. It was not the same consistency, so he was not going for it. Neither of them liked the plantains. I don’t blame them.

After church, we went to a convenience store with three fast-food restaurants in it. A pizza place, a grilled chicken place, and a fried chicken place. We went there to get Malachi some fries. They also had a play structure just like McDonalds. By this point, Son and Daughter both had finally warmed up to Coby, and they played together the rest of the day.

The fast food is equivalent in price to fast food here, so for a Ghanaian, it is really expensive. The average Ghanaian very rarely goes out.

When we got home we had peanut butter soup. YUM!! Of course Son didn’t really like it. We ate it Ghanaian style…with our hands. Kids thought that was fun, but not for very long, and they wanted their spoons and forks back.

One thing I have noticed, it that things are more expensive than they were last time we were here. Bread is 2.50 fan ice is .50 and pop is .40 Last time fan ice was like 5 cents, and bread was a dollar. Pop was .25 cents. Frank says that they raised the minimum wage from 1 cedi to 2 cedis, and right after they experienced some major inflation. Hmmmmm…..sounds familiar….. We definitely have to be more careful with our money, as it will not go as far as it used to. In actuality, cost of living in regards to food, gas, and utilities, is quite comparable with home, it is only slightly less. Makes you wonder how they can make it on 2 dollars a day and we struggle with 8 and up per hour!

Day Four
Typical African day. We have sat around waiting. Which drives me nuts! I’ve got to put a book or bible or something in my bag. Frank had a court date today. We were supposed to be over for breakfast at 7:30, but we all woke up late! We were 30 minutes late.

After a while, we went on a walk to the fueling station which has a food mart. It is less than a mile away. We were on our way by ourselves when Rev. Bismak saw us. He was on his way to town, so he escorted us to the store. He held Son’s hand the whole way, which I think freaked him out, because he grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go. Ghanaians are very touchy, and it is hard to get used to.

After our walk we came back and sat in front of the fan. After a while we started school, then Frank showed up, and we went over for lunch. It was a really good lunch chips (fried yams…sort of like fries), fish, and baked beans. Loved it. Best meal so far. We spoke with frank for a bit, I went out to check on the kids, who were playing outside with Coby. Jody came out, and we walked through the house they are building. It is HUGE.

Went back to frank, but He was gone. We were supposed to go to town. We waited and waited….finally coby went inside and when we asked him if he had seen his Grandpa, he said he was sleeping. So we came back home. The kids and coby are playing outside, and here we sit.

I want to talk with the ladies more. Esi is our ‘maid’ and her sister helps, too. I don’t know the etiquette. They are almost always working, so do I and speak with them while they work? Would it be rude if I helped? I want to build relationships and be culturally relational, but I am not sure how.

Everyone serves us here, weather we ask or not. Ghanaians are very hospitable to their visitors, and it is pretty obvious that we are visitors. They want to serve us, and denying their service is offensive. Many act this way towards their leaders (aka Bishop, as we are getting used to calling him) as well. It makes it hard to relate, at least in my American culture brain. Here I want to serve them and they are serving me.

I asked Frank at what point do we stop being visitors. He said, when we move here, people will show us the ways and then we will be on our own, but this time, we are visitors. Two months doesn’t seem like a visit, but I guess that lengthy of visits is probably normal.

After awhile, we went back over to Bishop’s house. We sat around. The kids fed the goats and tried to pet the goats, but Coby scared them away. We ate dinner. White rice and some red fish sauce. It was actually pretty good. Little spicy, but good. Son ate the rice but we had to force him to eat it….even though it was plain rice. He wanted to just be a pain.

After dinner, we visited some more and then went back to the house, because Son was beginning to act out…he was tired.

We did what has become our regular nightly routine. Baths for everyone, tidy up the room, pb and j sandwich for the kids, prayer, and then bed for the kids. Jody and I go out to our sitting area and read.

Tonight, Collin, Cobi’s Dad, came to sit with us. It was a challenging conversation. He speaks little English, so it was hard. He is so very nice. I wish we could talk with him more easily. He is about to be a dad again, Laura, his wife, Frank’s daughter is about to have a baby. I asked him if he was going to watch and, with big eyes, said, “No, no, no,no!” He laughed when we told him the dads almost always watch and cut the umbilical cord in America.
Collin is a legal clerk. He wants to be a lawyer and will be going back to school soon. He has 4 more years to go. He is 35. His brother is a judge (the one we ate lunch at his house on Saturday). His brother also owns the little store across from our place. His younger brother runs it.

This afternoon, we went to the little store for a soda. You have to drink your soda there, because they want the glass back. They have to pay if they don’t return all of the glasses to the manufacturer. So we are sitting and drinking our sodas listening to Snoop Dogg cuss up a storm. That’s right…f this and f that. Thank goodness the kids don’t know what naughty words are…at least yet. See, neither do the Ghanaians (at least the ones that don’t speak it well) so they don’t think twice about it.

Day Five
Today was as eventful as yesterday was uneventful.

After breakfast, we went to town to get a wireless card and cell phone and a fridge, and about a million other things. We were in the car for about six hours. Stopping here and there and everywhere. It was us four, frank, Cecilia, and Esi. Tried to talk to Esi, nothing. Frank says she is very shy. We got the fridge, and a garbage can, and an extension cord, a bunch of food (Cecilia got), a blender for Cecilia, and I think that’s it. All of it in the car with all of us….and right before we get home, we have to pick up their granddaughter, Crystabell (about13) from school. She got in the car, too.

While in town, we went out to lunch. We had a “continental” lunch, chicken and chips (fries). Frank, Cecilia and Esi had fufu. Lunch was expensive. 44 cedis (about 40 dollars) for all of us! Geesh!

Our first stop in town was the internet place. Now mind you, we have made about 10 stops prior to this. It seems we can’t go 2 miles without stopping somewhere. One of which was to buy us water. 10 bags of 25 baggies of water for 10 cedis. Each bag is about 16 oz. Not too shabby.

It is going to cost 220 cedis (about 200 dollars) to get it set up. (expensive, but worth it if it means contact with the outside world) I said we want to do it, but I need more Cedis first. Off we go to get cedis. But we don’t. We go to lunch. Then after lunch, we go to get a cell phone. We (meaning frank) barter for awhile. We finally decide on an old school nokia for 25 cedis…about 22 dollars. It is used (they almost all are), but will serve its purpose.
Then we go to a few other stores, look at some fridges, exchange some money, and then we finally get in the car and head back to the internet place. We get there and find out that you have to bring the computer in. It will have to wait until tomorrow.

Then we stop to get a fridge. We looked at several places (when I say places I mean sides of the road), and decided, or rather Cecilia decided on a Frigidaire with a freezer. It was 100 cedis, about 82 dollars. It is a really nice half fridge, and it works great.

We get back in the car, and head to an onion market. Yeah, all onions all day. It smelled very strong. Tons of onion stands, but all from the same truck. Like how does anyone make money? Too much competition. Anyway, an old man came up to the window and asked Jody if he could marry his daughter, so he could go to the USA. He said a bunch more, but that is all we got. We get some onions.

On we go. We stopped and got yams. We stopped and got peppers. We stopped and got a watermelon. We stopped and got bread. We stopped and bought a blender. We stopped and got a fan ice. We stopped and got an extension cord. We stopped at what seemed like every seamstress (Cecilia sells dresses) in Kumasi. We left the house at like 10:30 and got back at 6:30. It was a long day in the car. Son slept half the time on Jody. Daughter was next to me with a garbage can on her lap. Esi was in the back with the fridge and all of our groceries.

Almost home…wait, nope….we need to go get Crystabell. OK, now, finally we are on our way home.

We were beat after such a long day in the car. So not long after dinner we headed back to our room. Unfortunately it wasn’t right to bed for a little MR. that had a nap! Grr… He was up until 11pm!

Day Six

Today was productive…sort of.

After breakfast we went to our room for a bit and did some school. Then we walked to the store and bought ketchup and ice cream and pop. We went a different way this time and found a little strip of shops (i.e. booths). It is an easy walk, but part of it is uphill, not so fun.

After that we had lunch, the same as a few days before, fish and chips (fried yams). The chips are very close to fires, especially with ketchup. Son didn’t agree. He said they tasted funny.

At 2 we were to go to the internet place. Well, when we went to get into the car, we knew we were in for it---Cecilia was coming with us!! Sure enough, we stopped several places on our way to the ATM. Then we went to the Internet place. They had a bit of difficulty because of my firewall. Once I disabled that it worked right away. I really have no idea what was going on, but it got working. 220 cedis later we have the internet…..well, sort of. We had to buy some minutes. We got those. OK. Mission accomplished.

Now, back into the car…oh, no! We are headed back down town! I have no idea what for, but we waited on Cecilia for a long time. While waiting we had a coconut each. Coconut milk is not that great—sort of like sugar water, and coconuts must be eaten more raw here or something, because they are slimy. Not hard like the ones you buy in the store. Anyway, they are gross. Son, of course would have none of that. While waiting we did see a lady with a whole pallet of toilet paper on her head. That was pretty cool.

OK, we are on our way….stop. Fan Ice wholesale. Stop again, some building materials. Several more stops and seamstresses, finally home.

Two things I have learned from our two days in the car. DO NOT say you would like to get something, don’t even act interested. If you do, you will most certainly be doing it right then, and prolonging your trip.

Secondly, you hardly ever get out of your car to do anything. You just honk or call out, and they come to you. That is sort of nice.

We get home and dinner is ready. Rice, Spaghetti noodles, and red sauce. It was good, but spicy. Son is eating better if we only give him two bites worth of the foreign stuff. He doesn’t fight as much on the regular stuff. Also, Coby has been eating with us, and that really seems to be helping.

Friday, January 2, 2009


We serve an awesome God who is able to supply all our needs. Today He was my pill multiplier. :-)

The kids are taking anti malaria medication. It is not cheap. Their insurance covers it at no charge, which is awesome, but here is the clincher...they will only cover 2 pills a month per kid. They are supposed to take half a pill each week, so 2 pills is a month's worth. And you cannot fill it until 28 days have passed. It's kind of hard to fill a prescription while you're in another country. So I bought 4 more pills, which cost $50.00 like I said, not cheap stuff! That would get them through the trip and when we get home I can refill it for free to cover the 4 weeks after that they are supposed to take it.

Well, tonight I am looking at the calendar, and I realize that I am a week short. I need one more pill. I have one bottle left to open. It's supposed to have 4 pills in it. I pray, God, please, please provide another pill. We need one more pill.

There were 5 pills in the bottle. Sure, some may say the DR mis-counted, or slipped in an extra for good measure. NO! MY GOD, MY JEHOVAH, HE made provision for us! He put that pill there....don't know what means He used, and it doesn't matter. What matters is His Word is true.

I just love miracles! God is awesome.