Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday's Updates From Jake in Ghana

Today the team said goodbye to Asikuma and made the 5 ½ hour journey to Cape Coast. Cape Coast is the home of Hoops Care International (, the basketball organization Jake got hooked up with early on in our adventures in Ghana (read about our first ever visit to Cape Coast HERE). He and the organization’s director, Claudius, have remained connected over the past 3 years and Claud always asks Jake to host basketball camps for his players whenever Jake is in town.
Today Jake held a 1 hour mass camp for around 75 kids (the student-teachers on our team had the day off and visited Canopy Nature Park). Then he took the 25 most talented players and put them through another 1.5 hour camp of higher intensity/skilled drills. Collage from the day's events via Claudius...

And some of the pictures Jake sent me on his phone...

Some girls came to camp today which was exciting – typically girls don’t get the opportunity to play sports in Ghana due to cultural mindsets.


In between the two camps Jake held a bible study with those involved at Hoops Care and shared the gospel with them. Cape Coast is another area in which many false gods are worshipped. As Claud was showing Jake around town today a man called out a greeting to Jake so Jake stopped to introduce himself. As he was shaking hands with the man Claud told Jake that this was one of the high priests in town. He said, “He watches over the idols.” The high priest then proceeded to ask Jake if he could take Jake to his god. Jake said, “No, I will stick to Jesus and I think you should do the same.” Let’s just say the high priest wasn’t too happy to hear that and he said a few choice words to Jake in his own language that we won’t repeat here. :) Later on in their walk around town Claud and Jake came upon one of these idols – here is what they look like:

It makes me sad and angry that the devil has deceived these people into exchanging the One and Only, Living, Breathing, Almighty God for a piece of concrete with a fish painted on it.

Isaiah 44:6,9-11 ~ This is what the LORD says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing? People who do that will be put to shame; such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame.

At another point during their walk around town Claud and Jake stopped and sat down to talk with some children who were all alone.
At first glance Jake had noticed the cute little baby and so he sat down to play with the baby. Then he realized the little girl laying down was not resting, but in fact very sick. Claudius told Jake that Cape Coast has a huge problem with malaria and it is getting worse. The town swarms with mosquitos because of its proximity to the ocean. Claudius felt the girl’s head and looked at her eyes and knew that she had a very severe case of malaria. From there Jake felt led to get the girl to a hospital for treatment. However, the girl’s mother was out selling for the day so they could not transport her without first talking with the mother. As it turned out, Claudius’ office was right around the corner from these children, and a pastor that Claudius has on staff would be at the offices the rest of the evening. Claudius said he would have the pastor return to the girl after dark when the mother would be home from selling and then the pastor could take her to the hospital. Jake left money with Claudius to be used for the girl’s treatment. I should mention here, that the reason parents don’t take their children to hospitals and clinics themselves is because they cannot afford the treatment. If you show up at a clinic without health insurance the cost is almost 10 times what it is if you have insurance. To get health insurance in Ghana it is only 4 cedis (about 2 U.S. dollars) and that covers you for an entire year. But when you are living off of less than a dollar a day, it is just not feasible and hardly any of the villagers have health insurance.

Interesting sight in Cape Coast… pigs on the beach...

That is a pretty skinny pig if those words even go together.

Jake had a great time with Claudius today, and mentioned that Claudius has a huge heart for special needs children and those with handicaps. This is extremely rare in Ghana, because a lot of times those with physical and mental challenges are written off as cursed and are usually ignored and mistreated. Claudius held a practice this afternoon for children with down syndrome and cerebral palsy. Then this evening he hosted a game for those that are wheelchair bound. The game was under the lights and they had music blaring. Jake said it was a really fun atmosphere…

Tomorrow the team will tour the Cape Coast Castle - the castle and dungeon where slaves were imprisoned and tortured before they were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to North and South America as part of the slave trade.  Pictures from my tour through the castle are in the post linked to at the beginning of this post.  They will also visit the Cultural Center in Accra to do some shopping for souvenirs and then they will board their flight to come home!

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