I so enjoyed the drive, as we turned off the main road at Mankessim and onto the long dirt road that took us out to Potwabin. Not much had changed at first glance…
…but if you looked a little closer, there were POWER LINES strung on poles beside the road all the way out to the village!!! YAAAY!!!
Another change I noticed included a cement foundation with wall supports, placed in the clearing where the old thatch-roofed shed that served as the school used to be! That is the foundation for the school/church building that Christ Harvests is constructing.
I was delighted to see Isaac there. The very first time I visited Potwabin, Isaac had begun to teach in that community. Christ Harvests had built him a 2-room home; but until the new school/church is finished the school will meet in that house while Isaac lives back in a small place in Mankessim. He rides a bicycle to travel to/from Potwabin to teach & preach.
We gave Isaac some school supplies -- like some crayons, flip-flops, colored pencils, pencils, notebook paper (purchased here), and rulers. We took each stop to schools several bags of items for the children.
The well, put in by God’s grace through Grace’s story, is being used for some purposes, such as washing clothes, washing hair, and cleaning. However it is very salty, and needs some type of filtration before they can use it for cooking or drinking. Small steps to progress, but steps all the same. The electricity transformer is ready & waiting for the remaining wiring to be completed to each home, in approximately 3 more months.
Once again, we met with the Chief & elders, and then we took a walk around the village, down to the muddy river. They all chuckled as I came into the circle, and I just grinned at them and said, “Oh Obolo Obruni!” Laughter erupted among us all – and then one of the men says, “Oh Obolo means fat!” And I replied, “Aane,” and we all laughed again. Ah well. Back to Weight Watchers for me, huh?
Dave gave his favorite "Big Kahuna" hat to the chief, he's happily enjoying it now!
They’ve created a park, with soccer goals, near the river; there is a grove of plantains nearby.
Potwabin Park's soccer field.
The elder walking with us showed us some of their fishing traps, and described the lobsters they caught. Dave was almost drooling with the thoughts of fresh-caught lobsters!!!
Another elder then came from another part of the river on his canoe. He grinned & waved at us as he paddled the canoe in circles from the water below.
It was almost time to leave – but I hadn’t seen Grace. She was at school, and would soon be walking home. But we had to get to Cape Coast, so we loaded up the van and prepared to leave. Then I heard a shout, and there was Grace’s mom, leading a goat on a rope, and bringing a large tub of plantains. A gift for us, she explained. I teared up…this small woman has gifted me with a goat and some fruit every time I’ve returned to this village ever since Grace’s surgery. It was not *me* -- it was beyond my power – it was all God who arranged everything in such a way that she became healed. But this woman hasn’t forgotten me – nor have I ever forgotten Grace and this village. It all reminds me of HIS power and connections.
So we accepted the goat & fruit, the guys tied the goat under the back seat, and put the fruit beside him. Then she asked if she could ride to town (Mankessim) with us, and climbed in beside Isaac.
Along the long dirt road, we saw her. There was GRACE!!!! I let out a holler!!
We picked her up. She sat by me, very shy as always. At first she just sneaked little glances at me, but each time I saw her do it, she smiled. She spoke very little; as I remembered from 2005, she didn’t speak a lot then either. And when she did it was always in Twi. We had a few minutes to just hold each other’s hand. She did say her favorite class was math, and that she was working hard at school. I gave her a pink shirt and a small bracelet, and a bag of candies; Dave gifted her mother with some cedis.
We stopped the van in Mankessim, gave each others hugs & kisses before we had to leave. Once again, I watched Grace wave as we drove away. But this time – she was smiling broadly. J Ahhh, makes me tear up just thinking about it all. Don’t we love a wonderful God???
On to Cape Coast, and Elmina Castle.
Folks, if you ever come to Ghana, by all means try to make the trip to Elmina. It is worth the time and whatever drive you have to make, just to learn the history of this place, and to see the tragic evidence left of man’s inhumanity to man.
We had a super tour guide – we made it just in time to be the last group of the day, and he patiently led us through, explaining things and answering our questions. The castle was built by the Portugues in the 14000’s, for the purpose of being a storehouse for ivory & gold to export. But eventually – the place became a storehouse for human trafficking. Some of the tunnels were so dark and narrow and low-ceilinged. The rooms were dark, very cramped, and just the idea of a thousand humans being crammed together in those rooms with little sunlight and ventilation makes my skin crawl.
I believe we can learn much from Elmina – about how NOT to treat other humans. I am reminded that it is truly a monument to SURVIVAL as much if not more so to slavery. The basic instinct of human life is that of survival, and if trapped any of us will do whatever we have to in order to live. To me, the story of the slaves from Africa so much parallels the story of the Jews throughout the Old Testament.
When we left Elmina, it was beginning to get dark. It gets dark early here; by 7 pm it is completely dark, like 9 pm at my home in the Carolinas. So we zipped along the road back to Tema, arriving there around 10.
If you’ve ever ridden any long distances in Ghana in a rented car…you know what “zipping along” entails! Hahahahah
I think zipping down Ghanaian highways in rented vans freaked poor David out more than just about anything else in his life! Maybe I’m used to it. Or maybe I just learned not to look!!!
That’s all for now, I still have a couple more posts to catch up, I’ll try to space them out so you don’t miss any!!
Love & blessings,