Monday, July 27, 2009

On to Logba Tota!

We woke up in Alavanyo and went outside to take a look around. It had been so late when we arrived we couldnt really tell what the place looked like. The guest house where we stayed was surrounded by vegetation -- corn planted on one side, mango trees and cassava planted on the other side, and forest in the back. Across the street the hills rose up, exposing their rocky faces toward the morning sun. This was a really lovely place!

Worshipping with the people in Alavanyo the night before had been such an exhilarating experience! Christ Harvests plants churches all over Ghana; I've had the priviledge of meeting with some of them over the years. This was a new plant, just a few months old, and the people were already looking for a "home" for their church. In order to do this properly, representatives of Christ Harvests had to meet with the chief to request permission.

The meeting was scheduled for this morning, and we were to take part in the ceremony. I've had the honor of participating in this type of ritual before, it is exciting to witness the tribal council "in action." We drove to the center of town, and drums began calling for the citizens to come.

We were shown to our seats: a few rows of plastic chairs, arranged under a tarp for shade. To our left were more rows of chairs, and as we waited, the queen mothers and other women arrived, some of them singing, and took their places. Facing us were two rows of chairs, and one additional chair was in the center front. The elders arrived and took their places. the chief sat on the front row, in the center; the second-in-command chief sat directly behind him. Another gentleman sat directly in front of the chief -- between the chief and all of us. This guy was the linguist. It is not proper to talk directly to the chief; all communication must take place through the linguist.

So our spokesmen, Pastor Johnson and Chief Takyi, communicated with the linguist. He asked what our purpose was in Alavanyo; we explained that it was our desire to establish a church there. After some exchange, this was approved. The town also agreed to sell a small parcel of land on which a church structure could be placed -- a little closer into town instead of way out in the jungle! According to tradition, there is supposed to be a drink offering shared with the chief & elders once permission has been granted. In more modern day, the "drink offering" has become a cash offering -- so we gifted them with some money.

After some singing and a few more exchanges, we said goodbye and loaded into the van. I look forward to returning to Alavanyo; I believe it will be a strong church!

Back over the washboard road! It was no smoother in the daylight than it had been in the nighttime! But at least as we left, we could see where we'd been.

We wound our way around, through dirt roads, some semi-paved areas, heading toward Logba Tota. The Volta region is beautiful, with lush rain forests and tall mountains. It was a pleasure to see the countryside.

After driving several miles, we stopped to watch some young men weaving kente cloth. The looms are quite complicated, and the fellows used foot pedals as well as multiple shuttles to create the colorful, intricate designs. Their hands fairly flew as they wove the narrow fabrics, and the shuttles click-clacked as they worked. We purchased several pieces, then finished the ride up the mountainside to Logba Tota.

I love Logba Tota. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. We stayed in Chief Takyi's mountaintop home. Across the valley is the town; in the far distance you can see Lake Volta on the horizon. I've visited here nearly every time I've gone to Ghana. When we pulled up to the house, I jumped out of the van, eager to see the vistas from all sides!

Rev. James hadnt been feeling well since we left Tema. By the time we arrived in Logba Tota, it was clear that he was battling malaria. I've never experienced malaria myself; I am grateful to have had medication to keep from getting that on the short-term visits that I make there. He really felt bad, and retired to a bedroom as soon as he could.

Last year when we were in Logba, I had a lot of difficulty breathing. My asthma was just beginning to be brought under control; the high altitude coupled with strenuous climbs made it difficult for me. I remember having to deal with my rescue inhaler, just to make it to church.
This year was a different story, praise God! When we made the trek up the mountain that night for church, I made it with no problem at all! No inhalers, I didnt have to stop and catch my breath, I just went right straight up -- and immediately gave thanks for proof that I was better!

By the time our worship service in Logba Tota ended, it was getting late. We went back to the house and bedded down for the night.

The next day dawned bright and clear. We took a walk into town, stopping by the new school. My first year at Logba (2001), the school was in sad disrepair. But now, there is a brand new school built by a grant from some Dutch benefactors -- we took a brief tour and visited in each classroom.

On the way back to the house, David and Becky decided to try carrying water, Ghana-style: on their heads! I was really proud of them -- Becky particularly -- she carried that bottle of water balanced atop her head for quite a long distance up & down hills! :)

We had a prayer meeting with church leaders, then decided we'd head back to Tema. Rev. James really needed to get home, he was feeling really bad. We cut short our stay, loaded up the van, and began driving.

We stopped on the way home for a brief visit at Bishop Hermann College, where Chief Takyi's son Samson is studying. It was good to see Samson again, he's growing into a fine young man.

At last, we pulled into the gate at Tema. Home again! :)

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