Hi! I made it here to Ghana right on time Saturday just before noon. I wish I had it in me to write a longer and more profound blog post right now, but the computer is going to run out of battery soon, and so am I. =-) This is my 15th trip to Ghana. I added it up and I've spent something like 9 months of my life in this country. One thing I should know by now is that you THINK you're going to have a lot more time and energy for online time thank you actually do! I spend a lot of time in thought (while I'm stuck in traffic), writing blog posts in my mind. There are lots of travel tips stuck in my brain too! The key is having the mental stamina at the end of the day to take them out before the are lost.
Saturday: Jet lag day. It's so fuzzy in my mind I'm having a hard time remembering. Checked into Rye Manor. Then... Went to Auntie Muna's house to be with a family as they were re-introduced to their daughter. Also met some kiddos that will hopefully have families very soon. Then... We all went to The Ultimate for our first meal in Ghana. At some SUPER dry chicken and fried rice. Welcome to Ghana! LOL! Drank some Alvaro. Yummy! Then... Went to Auntie Comfort's, but she wasn't home. =-( I think by that point it was dark so we headed back home and called it a night. When you're here, doing just those three things can eat up 4 hours easy. I always try to get in by dark if I can help it. Not a fan of Ghana past dark.
Sunday: Got up and went with my Brother Paul and new friend/driver Joe to church in Kasoa. I was meeting with a sponsorship coordinator that I hadn't met in real life. Wanted to make sure he was the real deal before we expanded things bigger than 3 kids. He is the REAL DEAL! So impressed. It was a wonderful service. I met the three kids, each wonderful in their own way. One of the kids is our own sponsored "daughter" and I couldn't be more proud of her. Her family is EXCEPTIONAL. She is the same age as my daughter Taevy and the two girls want to be "sisters," sharing letters and such between countries. I think it's going to be super neat. Let me know if you're interested in sponsoring a child for $35 a month. This is a very PERSONAL sort of program. Photos and letters and chance to meet the child and family if you travel to Ghana. Very cool.
Monday/Today: Shopping! Shopping day is always one of the more tiring days of my trips. Art and Culture Centre. I have an AAI family (and of course, I count them as friends) here, so I got to "show them the ropes" of the market. Took them to meet my drum and basket guys at the side of the market. It really is sort of funny. Even people in the regular part of the market are starting to recognize me now. Should I be embarrassed by this? Do most people STOP going to the tourist market after so many times? I don't know. But I love it. I think I could always find SOMETHING. Today I mostly shopped for my friends. Found all sorts of cool musical instruments for one friends (and a few for myself, since I also collect them). Found some neat dresses. A cool thing is that I have never asked if there were dresses for "fluffy girls" like myself because I didn't want to be embarrassed, but my friend happens to be a fluffy girl. Just so happens that they had some beautiful ones! So she and I both got one (and not just the totally freestyle type--it's got some shape)! After the market, we went to the mall so I could get this modem. I have MISSED being online. Long story. Then to GMI to see our sweet friends there for a bit. Then home. That's a 9am-6:30pm day in Ghana folks.
I was a HORRIBLE packer this trip. I guess I assumed I could go on autopilot and not worry about forgetting anything. Not so. I have learned my lesson. Here are some of the things I forgot:
Washrag (they don't have in the hotels here)
sunglasses (African sun anybody?!)
watch (don't wear one at home, but rely heavily on one here)
sunscreen (yeah...I'm pretty crispy right now. There was some 15spm in the room, but my skin needs 75!!)
INSECT REPELLENT!! Um, yeah. This girl uses 100% Deet usually, and doesn't usually take malaria medication. This time I didn't bring ANYTHING. But God is GOOD. My sweet AAI family that just left before I came just happened to have left a brand new bottle of 100% DEET "in case I needed it!" Can you believe that? So God!
One of the harder things about being here is that I have so many people to see and not enough time to see everybody as much as I would want to see them. I wish I could see my Auntie Comfort multiple times. I wish I could just sit down and hang out with her "just because." Same goes for Brother Paul, and Muna and Joha and several other people. But as it is I have to put everybody into scheduled slots. I am so thankful for this one week trip, but one week definitely isn't enough time to effectively see everybody I love here! I pray that they will all forgive me if they feel slighted, and know that my heart is with each one of them. [This isn't even mentioning the other people I'd like to have time to visit, like my old friend Romana, or the Beebe family that I have so much respect for!]
Well, the computer battery and my own are definitely about to go out now. Tomorrow is a day for meeting with Muna and Joha, to discuss the future of the organization. I also hope to visit Chorkor with the Smith family (visiting their kids' birth families). This is Ghana, so we shall see what the Lord makes of the day!