Saturday, February 26, 2011

Market Day

Yesterday I went to market. (Market day is every six days.) My friend, Razak, led the way as we rode our bicycles to town. Razak was going to show me how to buy a good chicken, which, by the way, would be alive. When we arrived at the market, we first looked at the chickens. It was about 3PM and all the “good” chickens were gone. So, I will have to wait another six days. But, I did get a tour of the market. I bought a basket and was shown the proper Dagaare way to carry it.

I also learned how to tell if the okra was fresh. I bought lettuce & green peppers & a watermelon! Razak also showed me the meat shops. I was glad to see there were screens in the windows. But, to my American mind, it seems so wrong to buy fresh meat in 99 degree temperatures. There were some interesting pieces of pork that I did not buy.

After my tour and practicing my greetings, we rode home. I had a watermelon and my veggies in my front basket and my new Upper West Region basket on the back of my bike. People seem to be amazed that I have embraced some of the local ways already! After I got home, I washed my produce & now I am enjoying some cold watermelon. Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life in Lawra

Life here in Lawra is very exhausting! I try to get up early to do what needs to be done before Raymond Dery comes at 9 for my Dagaare lesson. I am amazed how much I have been able to pick up in a few days. I am far from fluent-that will take years, but I know the greetings & how to ask about home, family & work. I am learning the alphabet & if I hear the word correctly, I can spell it! I went into town this afternoon to buy bread and a few other items & people were so gracious in helping me learn the words that I didn’t know. I end up going into town or to the Lawra Integrated Health Centre (LIHC) most days to practice Dagaare before trying it on the town people. The problem with that is that it usually occurs in the heat of the day. Today it only reached 99 degrees. My ceiling fans are in, praise God & I have been able to sleep with my CPAP machine. I’m still not sure about A/C, although it would be great to have.

By the time I come home in the late afternoon, I am so hot & tired. I think today I have just lost my focus. I had a 2 ½ hr. lesson, did laundry, went to the Centre, went to town…and when I was fixing my lunch, I grabbed the knife, which I thought was in its protective sheath, but had easily come out of it. I cut the palm of my left hand, but not badly. I also stepped on something with my right foot. Marjorie checked it and there was nothing in my foot, so she cut off the hanging skin & cleaned it. When I got home, I used peroxide on it & antibiotic cream & a band aid. I don’t think I’ll be wearing sandals for a few days.

“Zu ne Lawra daa” (Tomorrow is Lawra market) and I am considering buying my first live chicken. Razak said he would show me how to slaughter it & get it ready for cooking. You can get legs & thighs from the cold store, but no white meat.

Prayer requests:
~ the healing of my hand & foot
~ the healing of my sinuses…it feels like I might be getting a sinus infection, but, maybe not. I’ll trust God!
~ finding “down time” that will "refresh” me without feeling guilty because I should be studying, etc.
~ the ability to recall and say Dagaare words & sentences appropriately.
~ the children and staff of the LIHC

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Final Trip

Sunday morning, the last of the furniture I bought was picked up. Then, we started on our final trip from Wa to Lawra. All was going well until, "bumpity-bump." We had a flat tire! I was grateful that it didn't happen on Saturday when our truck was fully loaded loaded with furniture!

While Anokye changed the tire, Mary Kay and I sat on some of the bush furniture that was in the truck. She was receiving and sending emails from the middle of nowhere while I read. We arrived in Lawra late for church, but safely! Praise God!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

On the Road to Lawra

On Wednesday, February 16, the truck was loaded with refrigerator, stove, all the household stuff I bought and my cases that I brought with me.
Then, I left Accra with Mary Kay and our driver and started my journey north towards my final destination of Lawra in the Upper West Region of Ghana.
The roads, at times, were bumpy and dusty.
We stopped along the way in Ankaase, to spend the night. In the morning, after visiting Osofo Anderson and his wife, we visited another good friend, Maggie. Maggie formerly worked as house help for colleagues who worked in Ankaase. When I last saw Maggie two years ago, I asked her, “What will you do when they leave?” and she answered, “God will provide.” And, indeed He has! Maggie is now the headmistress of a nursery/preschool, Royal Christian Academy that meets in the house she and her husband, Richie had built. It has more than 200 students in attendance! When we were there, the children were still arriving and class had not yet started.
On the road again…although sometimes it was very narrow. We were trying to find the shortcut to a village where one of Mary Kay’s churches is building a girl’s dormitory. It was the correct road and we finally made it!

 Next, off to Wenchi to check on some bore hles that Mary Kay had drilled. That’s were we spent the night, due to the generosity of Wenchi Methodist Hospital who put us up in a guest house for the night.
In the morning, we left for Wa and eventually for Lawra. In Wa, we greeted the pastor and introduced ourselves. It turned out that there was a meeting at the church of the pastors in the circuit (32 “societies” or churches) and we gave greetings there, too. I saw my friend Rev. Salia there. What a blessing! Then, I bought a gas cylinder to connect to the stove. Propane is used. When we arrived at the gas site, there were more than 50 cylinders ahead of us! When we picked it up later in the evening, ours was filled and there were more than 100 people in line. There had been no cooking gas for months!

We arrived in Lawra, late afternoon. We greeted the people at the Lawra Integrated Health Centre. After that, we went to my house and unpacked the truck, met my neighbors and I received the keys to my new house.

I now have a HOME in GHANA! Praise God!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Top 18 List

One of the veggies that is plentiful and easy to find in the Upper West Region is okra. This was never part of our diet in Western Pennsylvania, so I don't have much experience eating it or cooking it. But, it is a vegatable that I will have to learn to like.

Evidently, like most veggies, it has good health benefits, too! Here are the major ones:
1.The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
2.Okra's mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
3.Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals unlike over-the-counter drugs.
4.Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
5.Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
6.Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
7.Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
8.Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
9.Okra is good for summer heat treatment.
10.Okra is good for constipation.
11.Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
12.Okra is good for asthma. Okra's vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
13.Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
14.Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
15.Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
16.Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
17.Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
18.Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Are You Willing to Pay the Price?

A few days ago, I was reading the devotional for the day in the book, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. What I read had really challenged me. The topic for the day was the cost of sanctification. Am I willing to pay the price that is needed to be sanctified? I needed a definition for sanctification to fully understand the question, for in my mind I know what sanctification is, but could I explain it to someone else? Chambers defines sanctification as, "being one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us." He continues, "The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person's life is the unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ and the freedom from everything which is not like Him." What a goal! I know that Christ was living with the nature of the Father controlling Him. He did everything so that the Father would be glorified. Do I want that for my life? Really? I have to answer with a resounding, "YES!" but so many times I do not allow myself to be controlled by or led by the nature of Abba Father. My life does not always reflect the family likeness of Christ's life. He spent time with the Father...Christ's mind was like the Father's mind. Scripture says, "The Father and I are One." Am I One with the Father? I know there are brief moments of life that I know I am. Those moments increase and become longer as I become more mature in my faith. And, then, there are other times when the family resemblance isn't so strong. I need to be wiling to be set aside for the Holy Spirit to work in me and through me so the Father may be glorified. And, I pray, that this desire is much deeper than mere words. "Holy Spirit, work in me."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

....Take Off!

Yesterday was the day I left cold western Pennsylvania to fly to the tropical climate of Ghana. I had been waiting for this moment for so long, dreaming about it. My sister, brother, sister in law, niece and close friends were at the airport to spend time with me and to see me off. It was kind of strange looking back at them and waving, not knowing for sure when I would see them again. I got settled in on my flight to JFK and then on my flight to Accra. It seemed almost anti climatic. I don't know what I was expecting to feel, I was just thankful that there was not anything else I could do, and if there was, too bad, so sad...I'll get over it. What I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that God is faithful and He has been with me every step of the way!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Countdown: 15 hours!

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

I praise God for being with me and holding me up while I've been preparing for this moment in my life. Thank you for all your encouragement, your prayers, your support. Keep watch on this blog to see and read about the adventures that will be taking place in Ghana! To God be the glory!