The plane touches down and the passengers clap and cheer -- you KNOW you have arrived in GHANA! AKWAABA!!
As I step off of the plane and down onto the tarmac, I breathe deeply and smile.
Baggage claim is the usual zoo, with people clamoring for their luggage and parcels, and young men offering to assist you by asking for your luggage tags. (For a tip, of course!) Then everyone queues up to go through Customs. Some people are waved on through; others (like me -- with the odd looking tubs instead of suitcases) are waved to the side. The Officer asks me what is in the tubs and I explain very briefly our water purification ministry, and describe the contents. Not totally satisfied, she asks David to cut apart the zip-ties so she can look inside. He complies with her request; the top tub contains plastic 2-gallon collapsible water containers, buffered with a few t-shirts. That satisfied her and she waved me through without looking inside the other containers.
Joining the rest of our group, we walk through the airport. As we pass through our final checkpoint, we hear a big “HEYYYY!!!!” There stands Richard, Chief Takyi, and Pastor Johnson, along with another friend, Joe. The next several minutes are filled with bear hugs and introductions. We chatter as we walk across the street to a large bus that the church secured for our transportation. As our bags are loaded into the bus for the trip to Tema, a kente cloth welcome banner is given to each of the team members.
It is odd, to feel so “at home” in a place so far FROM my home. But it is also a GOOD, warm feeling.
Our group this year is the largest we’ve had in Ghana. As a result, we are not staying at Rev. James’ home. A lovely 8-bedroom house in Tema is our “new home” for a few days.
When we enter the house, tables are set for a sumptuous breakfast. Soon we are feasting on omelets made with fresh eggs and vegetables, Ghanaian “sugar bread” (ooooh my favorite!) with a choice of pineapple or ginger jam, Milo, coffee, tea, and juice. Several ladies are busy in the kitchen, preparing our next meal for later in the day.
Our team this year includes John Cromer, Dottie Wiegel, Bobby Brown, Julia Brown, MacKenzie Brown, Sydney Allsbrook, Syd Allsbrook, Zachary Johnson, Christie Farley -- all from Grace Church of Columbia, SC. Joining us here also is USC graduate student Joe Chen; our partner Davi Trotti will be joining us later in the week.
We will be resting some more today -- and perhaps will make a trip to the market this afternoon. But God has assembled us here together for a PURPOSE -- perhaps for several purposes. And we are eager to serve, alongside our Ghanaian friends from Christ Harvests the Nations Ministry.