Friday, January 13, 2012

Jake's Ghana Trip Journal ~ Day 4

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

The last day of 2011 arrived with a rooster crowing as the sun came up in Asikuma. We all rolled out of bed knowing it was going to be a great day. The construction team had finished the work at the medical clinic except for a few touch-up items that they would finish over the upcoming four days.

Entry right inside front door of clinic..................

The construction team was now headed to the school yard to begin work on the new classroom joined together with the new library for the school. They had their hands full as they headed towards the school, but with Chris Gardner from Bella Homes leading the team I was more than confident they would complete this project by the time the bus pulls out on Wednesday, January 4th.

Dan and Tim beginning work at the library...................

Later Chris and the others got the roof structure up..........

[ To read about how all this construction began, go here:

To see where our projects had left off since our August trip go here: ]

Brittany, Typhanie, and Nick would spend the day getting to know people throughout the community. They spent a lot of time playing with the kids and building relationships within the community. The hope is that by doing this the relationships can be long lasting and real fruit can be produced for the sake of the gospel.

On this day I only had one goal on my mind and that was to spend as much time as possible with ‘Y’ and ‘A’. I wanted to continue to get to know them and have the girls become more comfortable with me being around.

Of course it was no ordinary day in the middle of the village. As I walked around the corner through the village I heard music blaring, and saw people dancing and dressed in their finest clothes. Out of curiosity I had to ask what was going on. The elders of the community told me it was an engagement ceremony where the man actually gives the engagement ring to the woman he plans to marry. This entire party was going on only about 100 feet from where I was visiting ‘Y’ and ‘A’.

When I arrived at the shack it became chaos as always. The kids around the village are always intrigued by us and quickly migrate to where we are at. I had people touching my hair, rubbing my skin, and even pulling the hair on my arms as the idea of having hair on your arms and legs fascinates them - the Ghanaians typically do not have much body hair.

Despite the craziness of the engagement party and hundreds of youth flooding the area, ‘Y’ headed right to my arms and sat on my lap. ‘A’ on the other hand gave me a sassy look and started giggling and ran around the corner. She probably played the peek-a-boo game with me for 20 or 30 minutes until I pulled out my I-Phone and let ‘Y’ play the monkey matching game. As soon as ‘A’ saw this going on her curious nature got the best of her and she was soon standing between my legs trying to get a peek at the I-phone. Every time someone tried to push her away she would smack them as hard as she could. Let’s just say that she has lots and lots of personality and is certainly no push-over!!

As the day went on the chaos slowly subsided and by lunch time people were getting used to me being in the village just hanging out. It was a great feeling as people would walk by and say “Hi Mr. Jake”. There were no more laughs and giggles or “obruni” being yelled out which means ‘white man’. I was starting to become part of the community and it was an incredible feeling after working so hard to build relationships over the past 12 months.

As I continued to hang out in the village with ‘Y’ and ‘A’, an aunt, their grandmother, as well as a few other kids, we all got to know each other better. I got to take in the morning bathtime routine in which one of the girls was placed in a silver bowl and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed!

I got to playfully chase ‘Y’ and ‘A’ around the hut, snuggle with them as they sat on my lap, and of course I watched grandmother crack more palm nuts. I observed the aunt and a friend cook and they tried to teach me how to make banku which is a local dish. We all danced together throughout the afternoon as the music from the engagement party had everyone in a good mood. Today God did a work on my heart with two beautiful little girls that He has brought into our lives. I pray that the Lord allows the adoption of these two girls to go smoothly, but I do have peace knowing that His glory will be seen throughout the journey no matter what His plans ultimately are.

After a fantastic day with the girls the sun began to go down and it was time to head back to the hotel to do a bible study with our core group of village kids - Albert, Fredrick, Asare, Manche, Ali, Mauli, and Ophilia. Tonight’s bible study was about the idea that Christ came to serve and not to be served.

The topic really hit me today as I sat in the village. Because of the color of my skin and because of where we come from, everyone attempts to treat me like royalty. Every time I sat down someone was running over to me with a bench. One time I sat down in the dirt to play with the girls and everyone nearly had a heart attack. About 30 minutes later when I stood up I had people trying to wipe my pants off. During the afternoon I bought an entire pack of water satchels to give out to all the kids that were hanging out with us that afternoon. A satchel contains about 30 bags of water and probably weighs about 40 pounds to carry. As I picked it up I had about 10 kids run over to me to carry the satchels for me, and when I told them that I would carry it some of the older men around looked at me like I was an alien.

The thing about the Ghanaian community is that status is highly regarded and once you receive a status level everyone tries to do everything for you. It has really become a problem with many of the men in the community. For the men that have not left the village, the majority of them sit around under huts all day long talking and playing cards, while the women and children fetch water, prepare meals, sell on the side of roads, track down fire wood, and care for the kids. Obviously there are exceptions, but not a lot of them. I want the young people that we are beginning to disciple to not only see what it looks like to serve and work throughout a day, but more importantly I wanted them to understand that no matter what status they receive on this earth God calls us to serve. He tells us over and over in His word that the first will be last and the last will be first in the kingdom of heaven.

Following bible study it was time for a great African dinner of fried rice, tilapia, chicken, banku, and okra soup. The kids hung out until about 10pm with us and then they headed home for the night.

We thought Asikuma would be pretty crazy on New Years Eve, but it wasn’t. They explained to us that they celebrate and party on January 1st as they celebrate New Years and Christmas on the same day.

Since the kids went home for the night and us Americans celebrate New Years Eve we decided we would ring in the new year in Africa with the card game Brittany had introduced us to the other night - Phase 10 - AKA the single longest card game in the history of card games. As the game took us past midnight we celebrated 2012 ahead of all of our American friends who still had a few hours until it became 2012. We had a GREAT time together on this New Years Eve celebrating in Africa and I am sure it will be one nobody forgets!!!

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