Saturday, April 27, 2013

Doris and Isaac's Wedding

My very first destination wedding! Shot in Sunyani, Ghana, the bride, Doris Donker, is a sweet friend that I visit to do MF survey work with IAS. Today was her wedding day. As is typical of most events here, this one started 3 hours late, much to Doris' frustration! But once the wedding party arrived at the venue, all went well. It was hot and humid and, per tradition, long. I was thrilled to be a part of Doris and Isaac's special day!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Let the Little Ones

While traveling around the region collecting stories of people who are a part of the AAP MF program, I am always struck by how beautiful the little children are. I feel a little like the Pied Piper when I come into a village because the children always seem to follow me, begging me to take their pictures. It amuses me that when they are very young, they are afraid of the camera and cry when I point the camera at them. When they get a little older, and aren't quite so fearful, they still don't understand the concept of smiling for the camera or photographer! But when they are old enough to smile spontaneously, it is amazing! Their entire face light up and what a reward for the photographer!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Off the grid

After a few days off the grid with out access to the internet, I am grateful for the ability to be on when I am able.

Monday, I spent the entire day with Meda and her water engineers who traveled to four different communities to finish up boreholes there. Each borehole has the capacity to service at least 500 adults some who are currently walking great distances to port water from a watering hole or stream that isn't drinkable. They are grateful to African Assistance Plan in partnership with Living Water for the opportunity to host a borehole in their area(s).

Sunday, I went with the team to a village who had applied to AAP for a borehole to be drilled in their community and were told that their application was accepted. I sat with the elders and committee members, some who are women, who will be responsible for the maintenance of the borehole and listened to their stories. They are excited for what this means to their community and especially their children who are exposed to various diseases from drinking the unclean water they are currently drinking.
Their current water source.

An existing borehole.
Notice it is mostly girls who are sent to draw water.

Tomorrow, next stop is Sunyani and some MF interviews!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Finally arrived in Sunyani late in the afternoon. Quite the journey to get here. Besides the whole passport issue, and making flight arrangements last minute without confirming with Doris beforehand, everything went relatively smoothly.  Met this fascinating girl on my trip from Chicago to London: Janet. She is an Icelander with family in France in doing missions work in Greece. Loves apologetics and visual arts. I think, minus the napping, we must have talked the entire way across the ocean! And then once we arrived, we hung out at Starbucks until she needed to head to her gate later that morning. What a delight! She definitely sold me on the benefits of an IPad, sharing some really neat apps!
My flight to Accra was relatively uneventful. I ended up being included into a small collective of African travelers who walked with me through customs and I appreciated their care. Due to tech difficulties, it was difficult to connect with Doris, although I was confident that she had it all under control. Finally was met by family friend Watson, who saw me to my hotel room (where initially my A/C didn’t work, but maintenance repaired it…and got a little chilly sleeping!) and picked me up this morning, got me to the airport, helped me secure my flight to Kumasi and entertained me for hours while we waited for the flight to board. I am looking forward to seeing him again at Doris’ wedding next Saturday!
Was a fascinating victim to some small Ghanaian child, who helped pass time while waiting past security to board. Struck up a conversation with a British worker who was in the country building schools in partnership with an American organization. He spends 4-5 months in the area, hires locals to actually construct the buildings and then moves onto the next project/location in Africa when completed. I had a window seat assigned to me (7a), but when I boarded there was this older woman who was sitting there. I challenged her that she was in my seat; she looked at my boarding pass and insisted that I sit next to her...she was NOT relinquishing the window seat! REEALLY irritated me. But as I pondered my response, I decided to serve her if the opportunity arose, so, as we were getting off in Kumasi, I reached into the overhead bin and retrieved her bag for her. Felt good.
Was met at the airport in Kumasi by a preacher friend of the Donker family, who got us a taxi to the bus terminal and waited together for Isaac, Doris fiancé. It was wonderful hearing his stories about ministry, and he shared how, culturally, in Ghana if a woman/widow lives longer than 70 years, she is often considered a witch, and is unable to get help or assistance. This man sacrificially gives the offerings he receives every week and uses it to help these women live out their lives with dignity.
The bus ride was surprisingly confortable in a cramped sort of way. With all the windows opened, there was cool airflow and I was able to take little catnaps. The ride lasted well over 3 hours and Isaac and I had many chances to talk during that time. Nice man.
Finally, got to Sunyani and Doris! Cute as ever! We arrived at the wonderful Mungo Park Guest Suites and the accommodations are great! Then the three of us shared a meal together and talked and talked about MF and politics.  Loved my well deserved shower and computer time this evening and looking forward to the opportunities that tomorrow will bring. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The waiting continues

It is a good thing that I am pretty "go with the flow"...still waiting for my passport that hopefully has a visa inside! While it should have come sometime last week (per the expedited fee that I paid!), it has still yet to arrive. At least I was able to confirm that it is in the USPS system and should be delivered TODAY! Keeping my figures crossed!