Tuesday, April 28, 2009

FINAL AFRICA ENTRY, FINALLY!! :-)

ENTRY 4

Feb 12, 2009
Today was a major bummer of a day. This afternoon our external hard drive, which had all our movies were lost. I tried everything I could think of to recover them, but it didn’t work. Nothing had happened to it, either, so it was strange and quite sad. I will certainly be bringing it back to the store. I hope they let me return it.

Then, this evening, again, nothing abnormal happened, but my computer’s cord would not work. It wouldn’t charge the computer. Now, not only no movies, but no music, email, journal, nothing!!!

Aside from these two tragic events, we had a good day. We went to the church/school to teach, but we didn’t. We will next week. We also met with George regarding the dam project. Not sure what we accomplished, but it was a good meeting! J

Feb 13, 2009
Today was a good day. Nothing much during the day, but we stayed over at Franks after dinner and I had a good talk with Cecilia. She showed me all the pictures of her dresses, and one from when she was a baby. She told me about her family and then and showed me a picture from her Christian wedding. She and Frank looked so young!

While we were talking and there was an obituary on the TV of the ‘sudden’ death of a 107 year old man. He was a family member from her father’s side. She said that her grandmother lived to be 110 years old. She was never sick, slipped while doing laundry and broke her hip, she died a few days later. She also said in the villages that often people will lived to be 120, 130, sometimes even 140!!

Feb 14, 2009
Valentines Day.
Today was a fun day. First, we gave the kids a whole cedi to spend at the little store. They love going to the store across the street, and now they had their own money to spend! All during and after breakfast they kept saying Im ready to go home (aka I want to go spend my $$)

Finally, we go to the store and they each choose a pop and lots of little candies or sweets as they call them here.

Then home to rest. We are going to go to the craft village and pizza at noon.

Well, at noon, er…uh…2pm. We head to the ATM. I need to get money before we go. Well, that’s not going to happen today, BOTH ATM cards and 2 ATMs I am still getting the same message, Invalid Transaction. A quick, yet paniced call to dad and we find out that our account is fine, but some of our banks ATM cards have been compromised. Ours must have been among them. We will have to wait until Tuesday (Monday’s President day) for dad to confirm and then transfer the money to our personal account. No craft village today.

Instead we go to see the bats. There is a part of town where all the bats tend to congregate. There were a lot. This place happened to be by the Kumasi Zoo. Frank asked how much it was. Again the broonie gets the shaft. 3 cedis for each adult, the Ghanaians are only 1. Still 3 bucks for a zoo is not bad.

The zoo was small. Only about 20 exhibits, not including the 1000s of bats flying over and living in the trees above you. There was nothing fancy about the exhibits, simply cages with a sign.

There were ostriches, snakes, turtles, crocodials, lions, porcupines, baboons, monkeys, and chimps.

The chimps were by far the best part. They surpassed all monkey exhibits in the US. They would perform—hang upside down, do flips, put out their hands for food, etc… If you threw food at them they would catch it. If you didn’t---watch out! They would fling poop or spit water at you. One baboon threw it at Jody, but he blocked it with his hand. They were really neat.

After the zoo we went to pizza at a small resturaunt at a hotel. They advertized oven baked pizza and Frank says it’s pretty good.

We ordered two. One cheese and one with the works. (Ham, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, artichokes)

They only had one size, equivalent to a US small. And they were 12 cedis each (about$10). It was worth it. They were really good. Malachi ate 4 pieces—2 of which were with the works. Something he never would have done at home. The kids loved it.

After pizza we drove around for a bit and went home. When we got home a storm began. We sat out and watched it, the wind cooling us down. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

February 15, 2009 ELLI IS BORN!!

Today we spoke at a small church in Kumasi.

Daughter summed up her feelings about Sundays quite well this morning. She said, “Is it Sunday?” I said, “yes.” She said, “Oh man, Sundays are always so long!”

That is true, especially for them. They have to wear nice clothes and sit still in a long service that is really hot, with nothing to do, that is in a language they don’t understand.

Son expressed his same feelings during church. He said he felt like he wanted to go home (in Kumasi), because church was hot and long.

During church Daughter was entertaining herself by cleaning her shoes. I looked back and she has rubbed the bottom of her shoe with her hand and then looks at her hand and licks it! It was so gross, even the pastor next to her told her to not do that; it’s bad for you. Oh, that girl!

After church we went home to take a nap while we wait for lunch. Right as we are about to fall asleep and right after Malachi already had—coby comes to the door. It is time to eat.

We get up. We wake up Son. Quite reluctantly. We go over. Walk in and dinner is not ready. It’s not even close to being ready. We were not happy. It appears that Coby decided it was play time.

Finally, dinner is ready. It was so good! Cabbage and Califlour, chicken, rice and a sauce. It was a good sauce, a little spicy but not much. Son ate two helpings of it!

After dinner, we went home to finish our nap. At about 3:30 I get a text that Elli is on her way. Jenn’s in labor. After our nap, we went over to franks for a bit and visited. They were all happy to hear about Jenn and prayed for her.

We went home and waited anxiously for news. The kids prayed for Jenn and Elli. We went to bed early and slept with the phone next to us. I certainly wish I were home right now. I am so sad I am missing her birth.

Finally at about 11:30pm I get the call that she is here. I am so happy, but sad that I am not there. Now, I am anxious to get home to meet my niece.

February 16, 09 Monday

Today we went to the school to teach. I taught English. We were supposed to leave at 9, so I could have time to review the lesson before my class at 10:35am. We got to the school at 10:20am. Thankfully it was a test day. So I didn’t have to do much.

This evening we played card games with the kids. They love it. They love, love, love playing games with mom and dad. After that, we read some from swiss family robinson. Then, early to bed.

Feb 17, 09
We had the day off, so we did some pre-packing and cleaned up the room.

At dinner (which was vegetable stew with fish) we brought over the toys and gifts we had. We gave coby some rescue heros and cars. Quedru, we gave a dool with several outfits, a bottle, and feeding tray, and a purse. Lucinda, we gave a doll. We gave Linda and the baby some lotion and receiving blankets. The rest of the toys we gave to Cecilia to do what she like. She said she would bring them to the church to use in Sunday school. She said they also need toys for nursery kids.

The kids really enjoyed giving their gifts and seeing the kids play with them.
Feb 18
Today we when we went over to Frank’s we saw Lucinda playing with her doll. She was carrying it everywhere. Her mother came over just to say thank you. She was so grateful.

Today we went to the church to meet with George about canaan Life. It was a good meeting. George is a vital need for Canaan Life. Bringing management to Frank’s vision.

Linda had her baby today. Via C-section. So Frank and Cecilia and I and Malachi went to the university to see her and to get some money from the ATM.

He is so cute! Linda was still in recovery, so we didn’t stay.


Feb 19
We were supposed to teach today, both Jody and I, but the truck is broke and frank had to leave early for court, so no teaching.

We spoke to Cecilia quite awhile today about old methods of discipline. She said that in the old says, parents would mix ginger and pepper and put it by/in your nose, ears, eye, mouth.

They also beat you with a cane, either on your hand or your back or legs. If you were really bad, they would hold your arms and legs and beat you. Some parents would even take their kids to the police and have them beat you, if you were really bad.

WOW! Sure glad I wasn’t an Africa kid.

They still “beat” kids with a cane. Nothing like what was described. They may get one on the rear or the hand, but that is it. Even the schools do this. BUT, this I must say, the kids respect adults and are very well behaved.

We had a great dinner of fried chicken and yam chips. Yummy! After dinner, we all went to the hospital to see Clifford. He is so cute! Linda seems to be doing well and will come home this weekend.

This afternoon, when we were talking about going to see the baby, Son asked if the baby drank mamma’s milk. I said yes. He said, I have seen lots of baby’s drink mamma’s milk in Africa. It was so cute, and so true! There really isn’t a “bottle” option around here. Formula is WAY too expensive. Even orphan babies are usually wet nursed.

After two weeks with no water, we finally have water. Yay! But then we (and all the pastors staying for the conference) tripped a breaker. So, no power, but we have water again! The power was turned back on soon.

This weekend is the annual NTA Ghana council conference. All of Frank’s pastors come into town, and most are staying in the conference center. It will be a very busy weekend for Pastor Frank.

Feb 20
Typical day in Africa. We went to the church with frank because Jody had to teach…or not. They took a field trip! So we are in the hot office for nothing.

Frank has his pastor conference, so we will be here awhile.


During our office visit, we were served porridge. It smelled so so good, but it was the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten in my life! It burned, and was sour and bitter and spicy all at the same time.

Feb 21
Today, we went to a funeral. It was Frank’s uncle who passed away. It was quite an ordeal. A BIG ordeal.

When someone dies, the family gathers that day. Then there is a celebration one week after the death. Then, sometime after than anywhere from a few days to a month, there is the funeral, which is on a Saturday. EVERYONE comes to the funeral. First there is the burial, not as widely attended, mostly for family. But then there is the memorial portion. People come, there is LOUD music. You greet EVERYONE, shaking their hand. Then you sit and visit for a moment. Then, you are brought to a courtyard where you are fed or given drink, depending on what is being served and what time you come. Thankfully, we only had sodas. Then you go back and sit and visit. During the visiting, you make a donation. A receipt is made out, and an announcer announces who you are and what you gave. Then you sit down, and EVERYONE, comes to you and shakes your hand and says thank you.

Certain clothes are worn, and they are either red or black or a combo.

The NTA church came, about 40 in all in one group entrance, to be an example and say we are here for you in your time of need. It is one of their ways of evangelizing.

There is dancing. One person will get up and dance and people will surround them and like “brush” them with their hankie. It is their way of saying we are here to lift you up when you are down. This funeral lasts from early morning, around 5 until after dinner time, around 6/7.

Then, the next day, the family, dressed in black and white, get together for a meal of thanksgiving. This happens after church and lasts all afternoon.

Finally, the next day, the family gathers one last time to sort out family matters such as the will and take care of the funeral bill, which is paid for by the donations. Then they will decide what to do with the remaining balance. This time is also used to resolve any existing family disputes.

And, that is it for the funeral…until a year later. Then there is another big celebration, celebrating the anniversary of the death. This is always advertised by posters around town. This is also when the tombstone is put in place.

During the funeral, which was really boring for those of us who don’t speak Twi, Daughter was so board. She said it was the longest day of her life!

She was slouching all over the place, and I kept telling her to sit up and put her hands in her lap, and to sit like a lady.

After the funeral, Frank asked what I was doing, and I told him, I was reminding her to sit like a lady and to mind her manners. He said that is what he thought. A lady came to him and asked. She thought I didn’t want Daughter touching the chair, because I thought it was dirty. But then when she came over to thank us for our donation, Daughter shook everyone’s hand, so she changed her mind about being offended.

I was so hungry on the way home, but too scared to say anything, so I just prayed lord, please let them have us over for yams and chicken, but not if its anything else.

Lo and behold! Yam chips and chicken! Yay! It was like 8pm, so it was cold, but still good. We ate fast, and then we went to bed. It had been a long day.

Oh, right before the funeral, we did have jalapo rice. We had to eat fast, and didn’t really have time to finish, so Coby got his rice in a plastic bag. Son wanted more, so he got some in a plastic bag, too. He ate it all, some before the funeral and some after. He loves it. He is truly African now!

Feb 22
Today was Sunday. Our final service in Kumasi. Jody spoke on Joseph, it was great message. Very sad, though, I am ready and not ready to go home. I want to see my family, especially Elli, but I am not ready to leave here for good.

Afterwards, we napped and had peanut butter soup. We also walked to the store, and guess what we found?! Chocolate chip cookies! AWESOME! They are so so good.

Feb 23 09
Today we just hung out as we are winding down our trip. The plan is, which changes often, to leave for winneba and accra on Wed. We will stay in winneba until Sunday AM and then go to accra. We’re gonna stay in a 11 cedi/night hotel with no ac. That should be interesting.

Fried chicken again for dinner. It was pretty yum. I love it. Cecilia made fufu for herself and Jody asked if he could beat it. She agreed. They all thought it was so funny! He did Ok, but will have to work on his technique. The Collin finished the job. Making fufu is quite an art. You take boiled yam, casaba, or plantain. Place it in a wooden bowl that his wet. Then you take a large stick with a flat surface (this is usually made from bamboo) and beat it. While one person is beating it (usually a man) the other person (usually a woman) gathers and folds while adding just a bit of water with her wet hands. She also picks out any imperfections. This is all happening within the rhythm of the beating of the fufu. So, you gotta pay attention and hope the beater is, too, so that you don’t lose a finger. In about 20 minutes, you have fufu!

Feb 24 09
The past two nights neither Jody nor I have been able to sleep. Last night we were both up until 2am! We mentioned this to Frank and he said it’s home sickness. He says whenever he is about to go home the same thing happens to him. Hmm. Never knew that.

Today, Anointing came over and brought Jody a tie. It was very kind of him. We’ll miss him.

We also noticed today that there were some hot pink chicks (as in chickens) running around the yard. What is the heck?---ask Malachi would say. We asked Frank about this and he said the farmers will paint the chicks pink so that the hawks will think they are bloody and dead and will not eat them. That made me feel a whole lot better---I thought it was some sort of radioactive freak of nature!

Other than that, nothing much today. Oh, but we are not leaving tomorrow. Car problems again. We’ll leave Friday. Maybe.

Feb 25
Today we went to the Post Office box to see if our package from Susan and Krista made it. After 3 hours, we still don’t really know. Let’s just say, the Post Office workers aren’t in a hurry to help. T hey wanted a tracking number, but when we said we didn’t have one, they wouldn’t even go look to see if it came. What a bummer. They said if it comes before Friday that they will call us…I don’t have my fingers crossed. That they will call, that is.

We went to Wed night church. It was a farewell service for us, but it rained, so there was only like 5 people there. Well, at least they told us that’s why there was only 5 people!

We said good bye and gave a final word of encouragement. The lady that our church helped by a hair dryer for several years ago gave me a thank you gift. A beautiful cloth a photo and a letter of thanks. It was, of course, presented to me. One thing we have learned is that anonymous giving is not the way to go around here. Everything is a presentation followed with handshakes of thanks.

Feb 26
Today we got ready to leave. We are not leaving now until Saturday, and we will stay in Winneba until Wed. We packed up most of our things and cleaned out most of the room. We spent the rest of the day resting and spending time with Cecilia. She was making palm soup. It is quite a process. You start out with the palm nut/seed. You boil it for a day, and then all of the oils begin to come out. You press out all of the oils, and use that to make soup. It is pretty good, without the fish.

Feb 27
Papa’s birthday was today. I am pretty sure the kids were the first to say happy birthday, since they called him at like 6:30am Oregon time.

We had a very special treat today. Collin’s bother, the judge we met in Accra was in town. He lives next to frank and owns the small store we go to, which his brother runs. Well, he has a daughter who is 8. Her name is Aquia. She and Daughter played together all day. Aquia knows about Hannah Montana, and even has the DVD. So, that was WAY cool. Daughter was smitten. They played “Hannah” all day long.
Before dinner, it rained. All of the kids played on the porch during the downpour, but they didn’t stay very dry, playing in the water seeping through the gate. They had so much fun. Daughter says she is sad to be leaving Aquia tomorrow.

I can’t believe tonight is our last night in Kumasi. Two months goes by fast. Too fast.

Feb 28 Final Day
Today, we left Kumasi. It was really hard. I cried as we said good bye and as we left town. I am not ready for this adventure to be over. I am not ready to say good bye to my family here in Kumasi.

This morning, we finished the packing and cleaning up of our room. We had some fufu and packed up the car. We took some final pictures and said good bye. Gabriel will be driving us to Winneba. We were in the car and on our way by noon. The kids took a nap and 4 hours later, we were in Winneba.

Winneba is the poorest city in Ghana. It is about 45 minutes from Accra. They are known for fishing and smoked fish which they export around Ghana. It is way below the poverty line for all of Ghana.

That said, the beaches are beautiful….except for the excessive trash. We are not staying at the hotel we were told about. Instead, we are staying at a “resort” that is right on the beach. It is a pretty nice place. We feel really luck to be staying here. It is going to be fun.

We got all unpacked…unloading all 11 bags. Then we went and got some dinner at the restaurants and went and put our feet in the warm water.

Then, after showers (an over the head shower, what a treat) it was bed time…at 7:45. Our room is small with only 1 double bed, so dad and Malachi are on the floor. The ladies get the bed.

Mar 1
Final Sunday. Winneba was one of Jody’s favorite places from last time. I didn’t go last time we were here, I went to another church, so I was excited to check it out. WOW! It was LOUD and they were into it! It was a great church service. I spoke on Standing and God’s armor.

There is a blind man there, whom Jody remembers from last time. He really gets into the service and has someone watch for him so he can dance.

The service was LONG, and afterwards we went back to the hotel. They brought us dinner, jalapo rice. We ate and then spent the afternoon playing in the water. The kids loved it. They have never been able to place in the ocean without freezing.

After a swim, we got cleaned up and went to get a soda. Half the church was at the restaurants. There was a soccer game on, so we hung out at watched it while the kids played on the playground.

Mar 2 Monday
Today, we went into Accra to go to the craft market. We get there, and get out and Malachi has to go to the bathroom. He said in the car that he had to go number 2. Jody took him to the bathroom, but only accomplished #1. Ok, we are on our way. The market is always crazy, because everyone is trying to sell, and you have to not act interested and trust in your guide to barter for you, so you don’t get ripped off. I was prepared for a long day.

Well, about 30 minutes into it, Son is crying. I realize he is probably hungry, so frank buys him a soda to tie him over, but the vendor has to go and get it. In the mean time, he breaks down. His tummy hurts. He tells daddy, I gotta go, and I gotta go now. So Jody had to run with him to the bathroom. They barely made it. Poor guy is “running”. We meet up with him, and I bought him some Imodium. He WOULD NOT take it. So, this day has gone downhill FAST. So, I said, give me 10 more minutes and I will be done. I and Frank go into the market, I picked a store, and just bought what I thought would work for people. I am about to leave and run back to the car so we can take him home when I get a call. It is Jody. Son wants a lion. (He could not decide earlier). He is also feeling better. I get him a lion and we get on our way.

He is fine now, even though he has NOT taken the medicine. We decided to get some pizza on our way home. We got pepperoni pizza. Well, it was NOT pepperoni. It was cut up hot dogs on pizza. No one ate the hotdogs. They got picked off. Yuck.

We went home, took a nap, and then went to the beach again. Then some dinner and bed. Tomorrow will be our last full day here.


Mar 3
Today, Jody went to go meet some guy who is an inventor. Frank wanted to meet him. They didn’t get to meet him, you have to write a letter and request an appointment. While they were gone, the kids and I hung out, got some lunch and finished Swiss family Robinson.

When Jody got back, we spent one last afternoon at the beach. Tomorrow, we will head home. We are so very excited and so sad, too.

Mar 4-Final day.

Today we packed up and were on the road by 9am. We went into accra and went to the accra mall. WOW! It was SO COOL. It was a touch of the western world in Africa. Two supermarkets, a book store, and several European stores, with a few American ones, too. They had a real food court, and even a real movie theater with new releases. We got REAL pepperoni pizza and real ice cream. They had nice bathrooms. One in which I found a one peswe, which I needed to complete my collection. Thank you Jesus for that little gift.

After looking around for a bit, we headed to the Trade fair. We went last time on our way from accra to Kumasi We looked around for awhile, but after a bit, we were just done and ready to go home.

So, at about 4, we headed to the airport. We went to customs, and the lady asked if we had kids. We said yes, and she said OK, and passed us through. It pays to have kids when going through customs.

We got all checked in about 6, and waited. And waited. Finally, three hours later, we are on the plane. The kids fell asleep right away. Jody and I stayed up watching movies. We would sleep on the next leg.

We got to Amsterdam and were so tired! But the end was in sight. We found a bathroom and took “showers” and got new clothes on. Then we found a mc Donalds, and at 6:30am in the morning, we had hamburgers and French fries. The kids were SO SO excited. They ate it up fast.

Then, we decided to “cross into Amsterdam” so that we could go to the starbucks. We wanted to get KT and Brian a city mug. And some coffee for ourselves. First coffee in 60 days. It was SO good.

Well, about 20 minutes after our mcdonalds and starbucks binge, it was payback time. Yeah, the tummy does not like fast food and coffee after 60 days of good eating.

Finally, back on the plane. I was so exhausted. So was Jody. But neither of us slept. I think it was the combination of excitement and real movies that just needed to be watched. The kids slept for a few more hours and then watched movies the rest of the time.

Finally, we landed. We were home. It was so good to see Ellie for the first time and the look on the kids faces when they saw their nana and papa was pure joy.

We are home now, but our hearts are still there, and we are open and ready for the next chapter God has for us. When will we return? What will we do while we are here? Only time will tell, but one thing remains true. We are not our own, we are bought with a price and where HE goes, we will follow.

1 comment:

Vicious said...

ok, i'm finally getting to finish catching up on these!
I seriously almost cried when you talked about leaving. But. NO COFFEE FOR SIXTY DAYS?!! ARE YOU MAD? LOL! Even tho I haven't seen you yet, Its good to have you back!