Day four was another great day in Africa. Nothing really went as planned but when the day was finished it was a day filled with fun and craziness! The day began at 10:00am as the driver picked us up and brought us to Sakumono for a family-fun event that Esi had planned for our Isaiah 1:17 Foundation.
It looked as though we were holding our own county fair with inflatable toys for the kids, face painting, cotton candy, and of course some grilled tilapia, banku, and fried rice!! We had around 100 people show up throughout the day which was lower than what Esi expected but none the less we had the opportunity to dive into some more lives at the event.
The best part of the day was when an announcement was made that we were all heading to the beach which was about 2 miles down the road. I was unaware that we were that close to the ocean and I was even more confused as to why we were going to the beach. But, like I said from the beginning expect the unexpected and God will do the rest.
As we began to pile into the vans we were told that we were heading to the beach to help Esi and staff to sell the leftover food from the family fun event. To say the least this concept dumb-founded me a bit but I thought to myself this might be quite the experience and oh it was!!!
As we pulled within a few blocks of the beach we were surrounded by three lanes of cars in only two lanes of traffic and parallel parked cars on both sides of the road all facing in a variety of directions. My next view was the ocean and then a rough estimate of 10,000 Ghanaians all on the beach celebrating the New Year accompanied with stereo systems lining the beach, rap music blaring, and a variety of vendors selling every type of food.
I thought I had seen everything that was possible to see in Ghana but tonight it became possible to see even more. It was one big party with dancing, food, and swimming. Swimming at the ocean in Ghana provides its own experience. Swim suits are not required and the more I think about it I am not sure swim suits are even allowed. We saw people swimming in jeans and a T-shirt, summer dresses, or many of the men decided that clothes are not even necessary you can simply strip down to your underwear and go for a swim and then dance like crazy on the shore.
Besides the crowd and variety of swim clothes the most entertaining part of the night had to be when it was time to go. JD had decided to go out for a swim in the ocean and had gotten kind of far out so he could not hear us yelling his name that we were leaving. Soon Grace became annoyed that JD could not hear us and decided to get up and head down to the shoreline to yell at JD to come as we were ready to go. Besides Grace getting hit on by a few Ghanaian boys, everyone was looking at her and trying to figure out who she was yelling at. The entertaining part was that out of the 10,000 plus people on the beach there were only seven white people: Me, Lori, Dawn, Doug, Angie, Grace and JD; and JD was the only white person in the ocean amongst a couple thousand Ghanaians. As Grace was yelling for JD a couple of the Ghanaians started to point at JD and then yelled back at Grace to see if he was the one she wanted. I am not sure words on a page can do the scene justice, but the Ghanaian people around JD really were not sure if she was yelling at JD to say ‘lets go’ or someone else. This whole scene gave us quite a laugh on the way home. :)
Every day I have tried to learn something new and valuable that God is trying to teach me. Today it was the virtues of joy and happiness over the simple things of the world. I stood on a beach with thousands of people who have very little in material possessions yet they celebrated the New Year with such incredible joy it was hard not to be pulled in. There were no presents or fancy foods it was simply a joy of being together as a community and celebrating all that God has provided them over the past year and what he will provide in the year to come. I pray that this type of joy will remain in my life in all situations just like the Ghanaian people. Many times I believe I am coming to Ghana to help change lives but like always, my life gets changed the most.
Good Night from Africa!