Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ghana Trip Itinerary

We leave on Sunday for Ghana! Our trip itinerary has shaped up really nicely – here is what we have [tentatively] planned:

Sunday, March 18th
-First flight connection departs from Des Moines at 3:18pm. From there we will catch one more connection and arrive into Washington DC where our night flight will then take us from the U.S. into Accra, Ghana. That flight stretch is about 11 hours, but it works out perfectly because you go to bed on the plane and then wake up and you are in Africa!

Monday, March 19th
-Arrive into Accra, Ghana at 12:50pm Ghana time
-Our bus rental will pick our group up at the airport as usual and then we’ll begin the almost 3 hour drive to Asikuma

-We will arrive at our hotel in Asikuma in the evening time. We will get settled into our hotel rooms, eat dinner which will be prepared for us at the hotel ‘restaurant’, socialize/meet and greet, and then by that time we’ll be exhausted from travel and off to bed.

Tuesday, March 20th
-This is the only day in which we have no big activities scheduled, so we will use this time to walk around the village visiting villagers that we have created relationships with, and check up on our construction projects. This sort of ‘free’ day is my favorite because I like to spend the day giving the village kids my full-on attention. PLAY is not a part of these kid’s daily lives, so I love bringing out bubbles, coloring books/crayons, picture books, and jump ropes and watching them go to town! The great advantage of Ghana is that most of the children understand a pretty good chunk of English, so I can whip open my Bible and teach them some scriptures, talk with them about Jesus, teach them songs, and ask them questions and we can communicate quite easily.

-Jake will be coordinating plans with the workers for the school project that I blogged about here. As of yesterday we have raised $9600 for this project!!!!! I’m telling you, SO MANY people gave to this – everyone from families in Jake’s Kingdom Hoops program, to our extended families, families of our friends, etc. The donations have steadily streamed in on a daily basis!

-Jake will lead a bible study time with the village kids in the evening

Wednesday, March 21st
-After lunch Kofi will pick us up to head to his foster home in the town of Kwahu – about a 2-3 hour drive from Asikuma. Here’s a sweet little video of the Kwahu foster home that I grabbed off another’s blog – a little glimpse of Ghana for you….

-This is also the day that we will meet the two girls who will become our daughters – AHHHHHH!!!!! I get goosebumps just thinking about it! :) I am BUMMED that I won’t be able to post any identifying pictures of them - agency rule until we pass court – so you’ll have to wait a little while longer after our trip to see their precious faces.

-We will also get to meet Anita, our Ghana adoption coordinator, who resides in Oklahoma but will also be in Ghana (and at Kwahu) the same time as us (she’s actually already there now – you can read her trip journals on her blog here ). Anita is really the main reason that we chose Adoption Advocates International to handle our adoption this time around. I am SO EXCITED to meet her – we’ve been emailing back and forth for over a year, so I already feel like I ‘know’ her. We kind of figured that we would meet for the first time in Ghana some day – and so it will be!

-We will spend time with the orphans at the Kwahu foster home and I’ve tried to pack some games and other items to play with them. One thing that I’ve noticed is that the children in Ghana LOVE to draw, and many of them are quite talented artists. I found a little book that teaches you step by step how to draw animals, so I thought it would be fun to bring that along with some paper and pencils.

-I am also packing the items to do the salvation bracelet devotional since that was such a hit in Asikuma on one of our trips.

-We will stay overnight at a hotel in Kwahu

Thursday, March 22nd
-We will attend the inauguration of Kwahu Orphanage which our church helped to fund (I blogged about that here)
-The plan is that the construction on the orphanage will be finished and that we can help the kids get moved from the foster home to the orphanage on this day.

-This trip we’ve packed mostly donations for the orphanage – shoes, clothes, etc – so we will be able to hand these out as gifts during the inauguration.

-Stay overnight at hotel in Kwahu

Friday, March 23rd
-Pack up and head to town of Larteh in early morning (about a 1 hour drive from Kwahu). This is the village that Justice is from.

-We will visit his birthfamily first thing when we get there. I am sure we will all be very excited and nervous at the same time [please pray for us!]

-You may remember me saying that Justice’s adoption was the first ever adoption that Kofi did....

Since then Kofi has also opened a foster home in Larteh. We hope to discover how our family can be a part of assisting this foster home as well – it’s really in our hearts to do something for the community where Justice came from.

-We are scheduled to serve a meal to the orphans of Larteh, play games, and also hand out donations of beds, mattresses, and mosquito nets for the foster home.

-In the evening time we will head back to Asikuma

Saturday, March 24th
-We have been working with Ken (our friend who lives in Asikuma) to plan a big banquet for all the children of the village. We are hiring a handful of women in the village to cook the meal, and then we will help serve it in the school yard at 3pm. This is something that I have wanted to do since my first trip to Asikuma last March. It had crossed our minds to package ‘Meals from the Heartland’ but decided it would be better to employ the women and cook local food.

-Then, another really exciting part of the trip is that we’ve arranged the equipment for a movie to be shown outside at our hotel on a big screen. Not just any movie though – we’ve tracked down ‘The Jesus film’ in the local language (for Asikuma that is mainly Ewe and Twi – the hotel owner said either language would be appropriate). We will be able to show the film as a gospel outreach for the villagers on this evening.

Sunday, March 25th
-Attend church
-Pack up and head to Accra on the bus
-Visit the cultural center in Accra for shopping
-Eat at Frankies or Airside hotel
-Head to airport for check-in
-Flight departs for the U.S. at 10:15pm

In addition:
Along with all this, we are also working on starting a for-profit tilapia (fish) farm in Asikuma off the Volta river.

Land has been donated to us and on this trip Chris and his construction guys will begin building the storage units for the farm. The goal is to create jobs and a microfinance industry…the money we make off the farm would go back into the community.

-Chris will also use this as an information gathering trip for construction of a bathhouse in Asikuma (actual construction will be during our August trip). The bathhouse would consist of showers, toilets, sinks (the community has a major public health problem because of these sanitary issues). The community would charge a small fee for residents to use the bathhouse, thus creating income which we would use for future projects.

EXCITING!!!!!!!! I will not have easy access to internet in the villages we will be in, so I will not be blogging during our trip, but will have lots to share when we get home!


Reicharts said...

This is awesome Janel!! What an exciting and memorable trip this will be. You and your family are incredible!!

Lisa said...

Praying you all have a wonderful trip. I can't wait to hear about it when you return!

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