it was a nice few days in mpraeso, kwahu district. mpraeso is way up high on the top of a mountain. you can't believe the view, and the photos simply don't do it justice! in fact, i honestly didn't even try to capture it on photo during this trip. i just allowed my mind to take it all in. the haze was too much for any camera.
we arrived in early afternoon on wednesday--the B family and i. we checked into the WAGS hotel (yes, like WAGS the dog!) and then quickly headed to the site of the brand new kwanu orphanage. the home is nearly complete now. almost all that is left is to hook up the electricity (which is a major undertaking) and get water to the home. the home is on a beautiful plot of land, outside of the village with plenty of room to run and play.
After our visit to the orphanage site we headed to the current foster home. the current home is in the middle of the village By the time we got there the S family and their group (a group of 10 maybe?) were already at the home. To say it was a bit chaotic may be a bit of an understatement! There are currently 16 children who live at the home, but there were quickly over 50 people in the house. neighborhood kids, American visitors, neighborhood parents, and anybody else who felt like coming. the ghanaian phrase 'you are invited!' was never so true!
i tried to find the kiddos that i had special gifts for--gifts sent to them by their American families. Even through the chaos those were special moments and i look forward to sharing those photos with their parents when i get home. one child giggled as he practiced his new last name. GREEN! THE COLOR, GREEN!
next we all went inside the home to pass out goodies and donations. i had goodies--the S family brought donations of clothes and such. my kids' homeschool choir had donated some litte stuffed animals, bracelets, and headbands. each child received one, gratefully. then they received their clothes from the S. family. it was hard to know who had gotten what, so we told the kids that once they got their new clothes to go outside and i would give them 'toffee.' that did it! i quickly had a long line of kinds formed to receive their 2 or 3 pieces of candy. before long it was getting dark and it was time to head back to the hotel for the night.
thursday was to be the day of the inauguration of the kwahu orphanage home--a sort of formal event for government officials and special guests within the community and abroad. i was very excited to be able to attend. i think i even wrote about it on the blog before i came. well, as it turned out, my stomach wasn't on the same page. i woke up feeling ill. since the home doesn't quite have restroom facilities it wasn't in anybody's best interest that i attend! i ended up sleeping until noon and then using the rest of the time to write some documents that i needed to write. the interenet connection in mpraeso was just about non-existent. if i could get it to work, it would take 10-20 minutes to open or send one email. so between opening/sending i worked on my documents and such. the lord had it all worked out and the day was still fruitful in the way. by late afternoon i was feeling better.
at around 4:30 the B family and i went back to the foster home for a while, where we met up with the S family and their group. everybody was playing out in front of the house. i humbly accepted a chair from an elder in the village, and got to know williams (written about in a previous post) and other children. Before long we were headed to a place called Eastern palace to have a bit of a party with the children.
my group was the first to arrive at the Eastern palace. we mentioned to the owner that there would be about 30 more people arriving soon. her eyes got pretty big! obviously, she didn't have prior notice. that might have been nice for her. there were probably more like 50 people by the time the neighborhood kids and parents decided to hop in the van uninvited. why would a little restaurant in kwahu have food ready made for 40-50 people? they wouldn't. as is always the case in ghana, the adults were served first--jollaf and chicken. by the end of it, 2 children were sharing pretty small plates of food, and i'm pretty sure some children were left with only sachet bags of water to drink. BUT there was music and dancing and i really think the americans were the only ones focused on these small details. =-)
after dinner the B family said goodbye to their amazing children they had just spend 5 days with. as they did one last 'family hug' it was all i could do to hold it together. there are many good parts of my job, but getting to see families and kids falling in love...that might be the very best of it all.
this morning we were planning to wake up and head to larteh village--a village near eastern, volta, and greater Accra regions. however, there was a misunderstanding with the scheduling and so our party (the B family and i) needed to head directly to Accra so they could catch their flight in time. we still made a good time of it. We had a more leisurely trip back to Accra so we stopped to buy pottery on the way home. [Eastern Region is the only place i've personally seen this sold.] it's so incredibly inexpensive. i actually paid twice as much as asked for a bowl i purchased because i just couldn't bring myself to pay the equivalent of $3 for something i knew would sell for $35 in america. next we stopped in aburi where we purchased a few last minute items. finally, it was lunch at the buujo restaurant just outside Aburi (love the setting of that place).
We got back in Teshie about 4pm. now the B family is gone and i am half packed. tomorrow will be a day for final goodbyes. i hope to meet with my friends muna in the morning. then it's off to paul's house to say goodbye and also to meet his volunteer james (excited about that)! finally a quick goodbye to my ghana mum comfort before heading back to the hotel for a final shower and packing up. joha will pick me up at 5:30 with hopes of getting me to the airport by 6:30 for a 10pm ish flight.