Sunday, December 23, 2012

Playing Catch Up Since September!

Since September we have had busy days helping over 850 PEF students, and working with them is sheer delight. Having been here 15 months, we've gotten to know so many of them and watched them diligently pay back their loans with sometimes small monthly payments, to larger amounts, depending on circumstances. Typical of a parting comment is, "I am so much grateful. I want to pay back this money so another student can have the same happiness." Pretty rewarding. Our office work can be tiring - after retirement we have jumped right back into the work place. However, we manage to break up the stress with visits/outings that give us some great variety. We've grown to really love Ghana.
On Dec 1st, our ward (Kwabenya) had their own "Helping Hands" service project: cleaning the local community hospital. We had a huge turnout with many helping hands. The hospital was so grateful for the ward's efforts, it did a free screening a few weeks later at the church to reciprocate.
There wasn't a place that our ward members did not clean -- if there was a corner -they were in it, a hallway - got it, steps, walls, bathrooms, levelers - got them all.
Our wonderful ward -- they showed up on one of the hottest, most humid days and donated hours for service. To change our pace a little, in the middle of December, we had a chance to drive 3 hours further west to the garden spot of Ghana -- Cape Coast. Annette and Dago Klein, Jane and Lee Curtis, and Barb and Mark Taylor made the experience all the better because they were with us.
Annette Klein, Barb Taylor, and me (Dago Klein, photographer). We're heading out on the Cape Coast Canopy Walk which was built in the 60's as a way for researchers to observe the wildlife. The jungle is so thick that it successfully hides over 250 elephants, monkeys, and some big cats. Our guide said visitors can hear the animals in the early mornings or late in the evenings, but rarely are they seen.
On the Canopy Walk (Me.. leader. I'm never a leader.) It was just awesome to be above the tops of the trees. The hike up to the rope bridges was a little steep in places, and the path was made of very jagged rocks, so that in the rain and mist visitors will not slip and slide.
My faithful followers. We could hear the calls of the tropical birds and see bright yellow butterflies higher up that we thought they could fly. There were also large bumps on the sides of the trees- these were ant homes. Amazing. We felt like National Geographic explorers.
It looks a little scary, but it wasn't, just a little unstable. The Canopy Walk was an hour away from our resort, known for the tropical grounds and ocean views. What an incredible experience.
Sunrise at Coconut Grove - with every wave that rolled out, one problem went with it.
The resort has one of the five golf courses that are in Ghana. If one plays early in morning, the caddies move the donkey and horses out of the way. Africa. David, the High Commissioner,organized the First Annual Cape Coast Scramble. The rules were liberal: first tee, hit till you're happy; one underhand throw is legal; mulligans were doled out according to experience....SO FUN.
Annette Klein hit THE perfect shot right into the crocodile pond -- he is now labeled "The Ball Eater."
Dear friends. We left Coconut Grove for a 5 minute ride to Elmina Bay Resort for dinner. What an great evening with Curis's, Kleins, and Taylors.
On our last morning, I got up early to walk and check out another sunrise. There were only a few people out -- truly a Zen moment.
The notice on the blackboard got our attention. It could have been labeled: Don't ask...this is what we don't have." The "etc." at the bottom was the best. The week following our Cape Coast trip we had visitors from Nigeria. One couple was the Jennings, the PEF couple assigned to Nigeria, also several employees from Welfare. We had 3 days of in-service (and Ghanaian lunch). We have tried it, it is nice, and we probably won't hunt for a Ghanaian restaurant when we get home.
Just had a dinner with the visiting PEF couple from Nigeria and others on the Welfare Committee. The next week was a big one for our dear friend and "boss," Fred Dei Oppong. He graduated with his MBA from GIMPA,( Ghana Institute of Management and Public Aministration) We were honored to proof-read his final paper for him - that is what retired English teachers do - and we are so impressed with his expertise.
The Graduate and his family: Nancy, Fred, Papa, Enshlaba
The campus is huge and very beautiful. The graduates were gorgeous, all dressed up in the most beautiful outfits. The intermediate entertainment was a drum performance that left one's head pounding like the drums - and the decibels had to be off the chart, but Ghanaians seem to love it.After leaving the graduation ceremony we took some time to see areas of the campus. Even though there are many buildings, there are still areas that are open and show the natural beauty where there are no buildings yet.
Taking our own tour of the campus...back to our car. There are a few fabulous restaurants here - one is Captain Hook's.
Celebrating my birthday with good friends! The food was delicious (seafood!), the decorations were awesome (which is unique because Ghanaians typically do not put up trees or have Santa visit), and the company was the best. This will be one of my favorite memories. We got some gifts for the families of Ben Gibbah and Fred Dei-Oppong. Santa hats werre part of the gift-giving.
David and Ben in their Santa hats -- Ben wore it all day, Best Sport Award.
Finally, we are starting to gear up for the end. As we were driving today, we realize how Ghana has grown on us, little scary how normal things like this are starting to look.

2 comments:

  1. The Momma is blogging again!! We really have been slammed for the fall months trying to get all the checks out as school begins again. Deadlines seem to be an after thought, so everyone wants their check yesterday! (Please, Eldah, I am begging you). It does not matter that they just turned in their last document today, after being due 5 weeks ago. When we get a "nugget", who is on top of things, we rejoice and bask in the joy of seeing potential leadership. We truly love them all, just some a bit more than others.

    We are grateful to those of you who sent us money to help some specific families--what a joy to give some very humble people (who are void of a sense of entitlement) a Christmas card with cash inside. $100 bucks represents 2 months income for most! Delightful fun and true joy. Thank you.

    We are leaking a little oil as we head for the finish line; I have two broken teeth, a partially torn mcl, and a torn pectoralis. Our area President is going to let us come home a few weeks early to get "Humptey Dumptey" put back together, regroup, and get ready to get back in the Mission Game again! Bottom line is look for us to show up in February instead of end of March!!

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  2. I'm thinking that going home to Fallbrook will require another huge adjustment. You two can and will do it though. Love reading your blog and recognizing places from the Haws' blog. It looks like such a fun experience, but I know it's been a sacrifice and a huge learning experience. Even here in upstate NY, we are stranagers in this land in so many ways. We love it though. We have developed a saying, "If you're blessed enough to serve the Lord, you're blessed enough". Bless the two of you!

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