I’m a day behind now because of the extended power outage. It’s about 7:30 a.m. in Ankaase, which means that most people have been up for a couple of hours. The roosters have even settled down. People here get up early and work in the morning during the cool hours, as well as throughout the day. And they don’t kick back in the evenings, as far as I can tell. The village streets are busy with people who all seem to know one another and have loud and passionate stories to tell. A sound that is always a part of any conversation, – whether it’s a pleasant exchange or an argument – is laughter. Everyone laughs here and at first, because I didn’t understand the language, I assumed they were laughing at me. I can’t completely rule that possibility out, but it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable anymore. When I have asked Evans what they are saying, most of the time it has nothing to do with me, the “obroni” (white person). They are simply talking – and laughing. Ghana is a joyous place. People love to greet and ask you how you are doing. When you answer, they laugh. You get used to it.
And of course, everyone wants to have their picture taken. And talk to you. And shake your hand. I’ve shaken so many hands I feel like an obroni politician. I’ve tried to remember with each hand I shake and with each set of eyes that I look into that I am seeing Jesus. It’s true. But I have to remind myself of this because I so easily look past the eyes. When I remember that these are the eyes of Jesus, an amazing thing happens: I don’t worry about whether they are laughing at me, or if we speak the same language or our skin color matches. It doesn’t matter that they are African and I am North American. I can walk through the village alone, the obroni, and know that we look just the same in the eyes of God.
Our six sponsored children came to the mission house after school yesterday. Unfortunately, I had not prepared anything for them to do except video their sponsor greetings. While each child was making their video, the rest of them would need something to do. I realized that I should have brought a small game and some drawing paper and colored pencils. I immediately thought of the game “Trouble,” which would have entertained the children with the little pop-o-matic dice. Why didn’t I think to squeeze that in my luggage? The only two games I saw in the mission house were word games, and with these kids – who mostly speak Twi – that wasn’t going to do it. I searched the house for any kind of game for the children but didn’t find one. Keep looking. So I kept looking. Again, I checked the bookcase where the two games were and moved them a bit to reveal a dusty box wedged in behind them.
Okay, now I need some drawing paper and colored pencils. Preferably a new set because the chances were slim that I would find a pencil sharpener. I remembered a package of computer paper back in the office behind my bedroom. I slipped a few pages out and dismissed the idea of colored pencils. I would let them share the pens and pencils I had brought.
I looked. No colored pencils. I felt silly even hunting around for something so unlikely. So I went back to the bookshelf and (I kid you not) tucked in between some books in the bookshelf was a brand new set of 30 colored pencils. Never opened.
Because I am too much of a cynic, when people tell stories like this I’m always trying to find the logical explanation. Or I half believe them. Or I just don’t listen. Here is what I know: I had a need and everything I needed was provided. I don’t learn that lesson very well because I continue to worry, fret, and try to help God make sure He provides for me. He doesn’t need my help. He’s got it.
So the kids and I had a great time. We played with the pop-o-matic Trouble, drew stacks of pictures, played some basketball (I jammed my finger but I’m not whining), ate Hershey chocolate bars, and talked about our favorite foods. It was hands down fufu, which by the way did NOT get my vote. The kids made their video letters for their sponsors, which I’m excited to share when I get back to the U.S.
We have two more days in Ankaase before we leave. Today we set up the computer lab (story and photos to come!), and tomorrow Peter and I are meeting with 12 women who want to become sewing apprentices. This crazy idea keeps rolling around in my head about women in the U.S. who might want to sponsor a seamstress apprentice. Women who have little education in Ghana need a skill so they can help feed their family and know that they are contributing to the community. Seamstresses here are respected and do well. But if they do not have the resources to enter the three-year apprentice program, they are limited to selling bread, firewood, porridge, or take desperate measures just so they can survive. So our wheels are turning about this.
The power is out again so I’m shutting things down and continuing my day. Until tomorrow, goodbye from Ankaase.