Sunday, March 05, 2017

Awkaaba to Ghana!

Akwaaba!  Welcome!!

The process of getting the library built can be compared to pregnancy -- exciting, yet long and increasingly difficult and uncomfortable.  Along those lines, traveling overseas as we wrap up the library portion of the project is much the labor that comes after a 4 year long pregnancy.  You generally know what to expect - it's long and uncomfortable, (although thankfully nowhere near as long as it takes a giraffe to labor!), and at times painful.  I remember being thrilled and thankful to be pregnant years ago but as labor approached, just like when traveling begins, I'd ask myself "what was I thinking?"  

There are few places I would willingly want to spend over 20 hrs traveling to by plane.  Ghana is one of them.  It's worth everything we have poured into this, and we've barely begun our overseas portion of this journey to the library. Being here just brings 'why we do this' into focus and makes it even more real, even though it is already very much real to us.

We left for Ghana in the evening of March 3rd, and after three flights, landed in Accra the evening of March 4th.  Our team member from the U.S., Caitlin, arrived a few hours later than we did.  Out of her 5 boxes of books for the library, only 1 arrive.  We were thankful that all 8 of our library boxes arrived.  We've been told by British Airways that her missing boxes would be delivered on the next flight to Accra.  Praying this is the case, as we need these by Monday so we can prepare what we've brought for our two trips to a Enyan Abaasa on Tuesday and Wednesday. While most of the boxes are books, some are personal gifts we have brought for the Compasdion Centers and Compassion children/families. We are scheduled to give all the library books to the library on Tuesday morning in an official presentation which will be attended by most of the village. We don't want to be unprepared. The personal gifts will mostly be given Wednesday.
After a four hour delay at the Accra airport, we made our way to the guest house and attempted to get settled in. My feet/legs did well on all three flights but the airport wait in Accra set me back some. I'm laying down with my feet up on the wall to ease the swelling, but I won't be able to sleep that way, so for now, I'm just journaling about our experiences. It's my way of processing the journey and sharing it with you as we stumble along.
The guest house is familiar to me, and it's like home away from home. Imagine a college dorm, but much quieter, like a convent, with families or adults who are also doing mission/humanitarian work. It works on an honour system, which is beautiful to see. You make yourself at home and pay as you leave. There have been many upgrades since I stayed here in 2011, not the least of which is air conditioning in the bedrooms. The hallways and the common areas are like a sauna, but the rooms are Canadian  I didn't expect we'd be blessed like this, but it is SO appreciated, especially as we adapt to the heat/humidity. Thank you Jesus!
The guest house is gated and very safe. This is especially important for Will so as to ease his culture shock, since it provides him a place to retreat as he processes what he experiences each day. Please keep him in your prayers this week as he adjusts to being here. He has never dared step foot outside North America until now, and he openly admits that he never had any intentions to do so until he met me, and even then it took him a while to embrace the idea (he would also openly admit that 'embracing the idea' is a stretch). This is as far outside his comfort zone as it is inside my comfort zone. He's here because of God's calling on his life, but in the few months since God made it clear he was coming, God had transformed Will's heart and gave him a boldness for what He has called us to do here, the likes of which I prayed for even before meeting him. It is one of my most precious prayers, and I am seeing it come to life. I am in awe of how involved he has become - beyond being supportive and encouraging, he has dug deep within himself and made it his own. I am so thankful to have him really partner with me in this. What God can do through us together is 10,000 more powerful than what I could ever do without his involvement.

When we stayed at the guest house in 2011, one of Joshua's favorite things was the "Coca Cola Cooler", filled with glass bottles of local sugar cane Coca Cola for 2ghc (roughly 50 cents).  Even though I hope to drink more water, I have definitely missed the Ghana Coca Cola.  Petreople from Touch A Life Foundation are staying here this week as well.  We partnered with TAL Foundation back in 2011 for the child slave rescue mission.  It was unexpected to run into them here.

Earlier, we ventured out and tried to find a place to eat as the guest house doesn't serve meals on Sundays. That gave us a chance to experience the culture face to face a bit more and to get accustomed to the rhythm of the language/accents. Once the the last 4 bags arrive tonight, we will pick them up so that we will be able to prepare everything tomorrow before we travel to Enyan Abaasa on Tuesday to deliver the books to the library. 
We will do our best to keep this blog updated regular in the next few weeks so that you can follow along if you choose to do so, or so that years from now, when we return to Ghana for our next project, we can look back through our experiences, much like we did this time.

We are very much looking forward to March 7-10th, when we begin to experience what we were called to do while here.

Thank you for all that you've done to bring this library to life for the precious people of Enyan Abaasa. Every prayer, every dollar, every word of encouragement, every bit of support in person or virtually... every single act matters a hundredfold, and it continues to matter. By investing into their lives and futures, you've helped break  the cycle of poverty for generations to come, and in the process, you've also invested into our lives. We will continue to re-invest ourselves right back into this.
Meda Ase - Thank You