Monday, October 16, 2006

It's All Relative

This weekend we spent most of our time in Accra, the capital of Ghana. We spent time running errands in the city and driving through the market. Again, our senses were overwhelmed by all there is to see and take in. We drove through the 4 square blocks of the market, which took 45 minutes, because it is impossible to get through for all the people walking to and fro, carrying anything from a T.V. set to peanuts to fried plaintain chips (which are really good with salsa) on their heads. There are signs everywhere that say, "Don't Urinate Here", and you begin to understand why very quickly as people undo their "lowers" (in Ghana your shirt is considered your upper, and your pants your lower) and urinate wherever they happen to be. And this phenomenom does not stop at just going Number 1, as we were loathe to discover first hand.

There are so many things we take for granted in the developed world. Traffic lights that consistently or ever work, for instance, are a novelty. Much more often there are about 8 men waving branches in the intersection, often expecting a tip for this service. Many are grateful to pay this tip, because it means that the traffic will not be "snarled," as one missionary put it. While on the topic of roads, I am so grateful to live in a country that cares about it road system. The road to and from Rafiki is quite possibly one of the worst we have ever been on. It took us 40 minutes to go 2 1/2 miles, because it rained this past week. They harvest sand here in Ghana, and the sand trucks drive this road regularly making it a complete disaster for everyone else. As we bump along and eye mud puddles warily, I am reminded of how efficient America all of the sudden seems to me. As we were coming back late this weekend, Barb was driving John and I on the "Kododu Road". She had John get out to test some of the puddles, but warned him not to go in too far for fear of the shistisomes. "Just what is a shistisome?" you might ask. Well, they apparently breed in standing fresh water, and once they get into your skin, they lay eggs in your blood vessels and worms grow inside of you. This sounds like something horrible that I am making up, but I kid you not. The doctor here says it's better not to risk it and steer clear of the water. No problem. No shistisomes for the Spensts. No Siree.

We went to another Ghanaian church, this time in Accra on the campus of the teaching hospital for West Africa. It was all in English and made up of mostly upper class people, though we were still the only white people in the room and did have our picture taken several times while we were listening to the sermon. It was encouraging to be in a Ghanaian church that was really preaching the Word, because so often here you find that Christianity is mixed in with everything else. It's like people want to cover all of their bases, so they believe in the Christian God and go to church and call themselves Christians, but they also believe in all kinds of other superstitions and strange things. Many times they are not living out the freedom that we have Jesus Christ, but are continuing to live in bondage to untruth.

As we begin our third week here, we are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Rafiki and God's work here. When we see the kind of schools and other places that these kids could be living, it is a privilege to get to serve them with this kind of quality education and love and facility. And they are learning the truth here! It is such a blessing to hear hymns ring out each night over the campus both in English and in Twi.

Thanks for the comments and the emails!

5 comments:

Patsy said...

Greetings John and Carol,

You are missed by all here but it seems enthusiastically received by all there! Who couldn't love foreigners dancing down the aisle!!
Watch those 'lowers'. I would have a hard time over there.
We are praying for you, knowing you are in God's care and protection. We love you!

ellen ruth said...

I often read your posts allowed to Jeran and she's really jealous of ya'lls experience. She wants to be a missionary so bad.
Good to hear you guys are still doing well! I'm praying for you and love you very much!!

Brian & Steph Claus said...

Hey John and Carol,

Just wanted to say hello from the tropics of Costa Rica. We wanted to let you know that you are officially enrolled in Language school and have a wonderful host family to stay with. We look forward to seeing you in just a couple week. We are praying for you!

Brian and Steph

Anonymous said...

Hey John and Carol,

Just wanted to say hello from the tropics of Costa Rica. We wanted to let you know that you are officially enrolled in Language school and have a wonderful host family to stay with. We look forward to seeing you in just a couple week. We are praying for you!

Brian and Steph

Anonymous said...

Boy, and we fail to thank God for what He has given us. What unthankful wretches we are. To be so blessed and so unthankful. We miss you,but am thankful for your experience and the fact that you are letting God use you to show others His love. Love, Sylvia