Today, I decided that it was time for grateful thoughts. First, I’m so thankful for all your prayers during the seven days that we have been in Ghana. I can feel them and they are carrying us as we walk (and drive!) through each day. The top photo is our driver, Kaykay. It’s really amazing to put your life in someone’s hands like we do every moment that we are on the road. There are no seatbelts in our little Kia, there are no traffic laws on the streets, and many people behind the wheel here have never attended a driving course. It shows. Sometimes we drive on the right side of the road, and sometimes we veer over to the left if there are ruts on the right side. We create passing lanes over hills, around curves, and even when there is another car coming straight for us. Kaykay has impeccable timing, but I do my part by silently lifting up some prayers during our excursions. So thank you friends and family, for praying along with us.

I am also thankful that Erin is here with me. That’s her in the photo above with her students Sarah and Beatrice. Spending ten days in Africa with your child turns out to be a very effective way to bond. As we walked through the woods yesterday with the machete-wielding man in front of us (his purpose to clear the way and kill the snakes), we looked at each other and shook our heads. “Nobody would believe this if we told them,” I said to her. Africa is an experience that often defies explanation and description so the person you are with is really the only person who “gets” it. If for some reason she and I ever have a big fight, surely we can pull back together if one of us says, “Remember that time in Africa when…”

Here’s one that will surprise you: I’m thankful for the unrelenting and cruel heat. My body has found new ways to sweat, sunscreen only sort of works, and I can drink two water bottles and never have to go to the bathroom. It’s a shock to the system but this is my entrance to summer. There is no weather system in Oklahoma that could possibly bring around this kind of heat and humidity – even in the middle of August. Oh, and would someone please remind me of that when I begin to grumble about the Oklahoma heat?

Of course, traveling to another culture and country makes you appreciate your own even more, so I could make a list of things that I take for granted at home: brewed coffee, paved roads, reliable electricity, and other things that might make life easier here. But once you get used to what you don’t have, you make do. And I’m staying in the Miklin Hotel, so I have everything I need. The children that we tutor each afternoon have almost nothing. Adu has one corner in one room in a tiny house. He doesn’t own a pencil sharpener so he brought a razor blade to school today to sharpen his pencil (broken pencil leads drive him crazy). He has one pair of shoes. Every child in that same school shares that same story. There is an anonymous quote that goes like this: “Sometimes I want to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world. But I’m afraid He might ask me the same question.” Those of us who have much to be thankful for also have much to decide about how we share those resources. What will we do with our time, money, and goods in order for others to be able to live as God intended? I believe God weeps for His children who do not have enough. I would weep if they were mine.

So tonight, I am closing my eyes with a prayer of thanks on my lips. It seems like a good way to end day seven in Ghana. So, goodnight from Kumasi.