Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What a Day!

What a day it’s been! It’s definitely been one of those non-stop days, and although nothing out of the ordinary happened (well, for the most part), it was a great day. I taught my three classes right away this morning and was done by 11:35. They all went pretty well, and I think we’re getting into a bit of a rhythm…although, that can literally change in a matter of seconds!

By the time I finished grading some papers and organizing a few things, it was noon, so I was going to make some copies of sponsor letters so we could help the kindergarten teacher with those at 12:45. So in between I quickly decided to throw in a load of laundry; then I had to help the electrician find a plug some cord he was using, make the copies, and eat lunch. Well, apparently, this was a little too much, b/c I made a very stupid mistake… details coming soon!

We went on and helped the kindergarteners write letters to their sponsors, which was a lot of fun, because they are just SO adorable! This is when Amanda broke the news to me that I forgot to put the hose that drains the water from the washing machine (which we now use…instead of hand washing…yay!) into the shower. The result? I flooded Lauren & Amanda’s apartment! Haha…well, that might be an exaggeration, but I did flood their hallway and bathroom and their basket was floating. So, I got to spend almost 2 hours mopping that up! I can pretty much guarantee that will never happen again!

After that I opened the library and had some of the kids come up to read and color, while I helped some of the little ones with their sponsor letters. So, here’s my shameless plug for sponsors: We have TONS of new, adorable, eager to learn, African beauties who are still in need of school sponsors. For US$1 a day ($32/month) you can make a huge difference in their lives, and I can honestly say that the kids really appreciate their sponsors and greatly treasure any correspondence they get from them. If this is something that God has laid on your heart or you think you may be interested in, you can contact Every Child Ministries at ecmafrica@ecmafrica.org (direct your e-mail to Monica) or contact me and I can hook you up!

Okay, back to my day, just a few other highlights:

- saw a shooting star on my way to the girls’ dorm tonight

- Tawnee was in town and brought me back a Snickers bar! :)

- and…quick funny story: I walked one of the girls up to her classroom to get her books, and it was dark. A taxi just dropped some people off and it drove about ½ down the lane through the middle of our compound and stopped. I thought this was strange, so I pointed my flashlight straight at him to see what was up, greeted him, and quickly realized that he was out of his car, relieving himself! Haha…. Not expecting that one!

Just another day in Africa… :)

Lions and Tigers and Bears...oh my!

Yesterday afternoon I took some of the little ones on a "safari walk"! We ran from imaginary tigers and lions, played dead when we spotted bears, and killed imaginary snakes.... oh, to be 4 or 5 again! So fun! Here's a few pictures and the nice sunset we came back to...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where's Waldo?-Lizard Style!

Can you spot all 13 lizards?!?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

That's M'am to you!

A quick funny story to share...this afternoon I had to go pick up my medical report (for my HK visa), so I picked it up, got in a taxi, and the driver responded to one of my questions by saying, "Yes sir". Thankfully just as I was about to correct him, he started laughing and corrected himself. :) (This is a common mistake here...I'm probably called "sir" an average of 5 times a week, so I'm use to it and was surprised he caught himself.)

Ironically, I open up my report and at the top of my very professional report it says:

AGE/SEX: 25 years/M

What is going on here!?! :)

Weekend Adventures

Dear Friends & Family,

Thank you so much for your continued interest and support of my time here in Ghana. Here’s a little recap on what’s new on this side of the world. This past week was really good…school went smoothly and the weekend was great!

In school I continue to remember that small progress is better than no progress. I’m learning more than ever to roll with the punches and be flexible. This is key to keeping my sanity. I also try to remind myself daily that yes…math is important, but even more important than the sum of seven and five is that they know, understand, and see thelove of God modeled in their lives. This is a good reminder on days where seemingly nothing is accomplished.

Friday night we took seven girls to Mr. Fred’s house. He’s another missionary here who is currently back in the States. He graciously opened his house to us to use for a girls’ night sleepover. He has a really nice place and it even has…waitfor it……..electricity and air conditioning! Whoa buddy! :) Definitely a bonus! As we were pulling up to his house, Tawiah, who’s 11 years old, says, “Shangri-La!” haha… It was a really fun night, and I look forward to taking the older girls next time.Saturday felt like three days in one and was probably been one of the best days in awhile. We woke up, made breakfast with the girls, ate, cleaned up and headed home. After 2 bumpy car rides home, day one of Saturday was completed by 9 a.m.! Time feels so different here when you rise with the sun!

After a relaxed breakfast and time with God, we took about 20 of the boys for a walk to the dam. Normally walks to the dam are pretty uneventful, but then again, nothing is Africa is truly uneventful or easy…that would just be no fun. ;) So, we got to the turn-off on our path only to see it not only covered with water from the recent downpours (as I expected) but covered by a raging river! Okay…”raging” might be an overstatement, but it wasn’t a small stream. So, we re-routed ourselves and made it to the dam eventually…just took a little longer than we expected.

After spending some time at the dam, it was time to head back so we weren’t (too) late for lunch. We decided to take the shortcut knowing there might be some ri

vers to forge along the way. We were right in this assumption, but were in for even far more of an adventure than we had expected! We came to a lower part of land that is typically completely dry and it was very flooded! Only one choice now…. It was time to dive in! We made our way through it, which was really no sacrifice for any of us, since it was extremely hot. The water was so refreshing, and the only setback was that as I was getting into the water I stepped on some sand, which sucked my foot in and as I lifted my foot, my sandal broke! Not a huge deal… it just meant I had to walk the rest of the way through lots of mud, one more river, and through the village one-shoed.

These adventures definitely spiced up our walk to the dam, and it was such a great morning!

Here are a few prayer requests:

- - for the students to have the motivation and desire to learn.

- - for unity and love among all the children at the home and school.

- - Patience, love, gentleness, and understanding as we teach, train, and live with these precious, but sometimes troubled kids

- for God to ease the pain and heartbreak that some of the kids live with on a daily basis because of their past

I think that’s all to report for now! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing how you’re doing as well!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Annoying Ants

I write this blog for the sole purpose of gaining some sympathy! ;) haha... I feel like I am constantly fighting the ants here lately. I can understand ants in the house, but on EVERYthing?...c'mon! Here are just some of the items that I have had to remove ants from just this week:

10. our table
9. any glass of water that has sat on the table for more than 30 seconds
8. clean dishes in the drying rack
7. my bed
6. my computer
5. my body
4. the brown sugar (I have to admit, I still used it...just a little extra protein in that batch of cookies!)
3. any and all walls in our house
2. flour
and the number one most disturbing...my toothbrush!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The This Thing

One of my favorite Ghanaian phrases is “the this thing”. It can mean just about anything and can be used by just about anyone at just about anytime, and that’s not the only reason I love it….it’s just so non-descriptive that it just cracks me up! The crazy thing is that you almost always know what “the this thing” is referring to!

Yesterday, one of my students came up to me before school and said, “Ms. Dana, today is the this thing,” and I replied, “Yes…today is the this thing.” Of course he was referring to the test…what else? Haha…I’m going to miss all the African phrases so much… I can crack myself up pretty good with them, but I’m afraid people “back home” might not see the humor. I might just have to use them anyways… somehow. ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Village Visit & the Next Adventure...

Last night I went to the village to read to some of the kids for the first time in quite awhile. I was greeted by little Priscilla (a sweet, sweet, precious little 1 or 2 year old) and her brother running up and giving me hugs… ahhh…this is why I come here! So, I rounded up some kids (and of course the adults like the stories, too) and read a few stories. I just love being in the village. Something about it is just so simplistic…so relaxing… so real. I love the fact that they are so community-based. So much of their time is spent together.

I love just being able to get a glimpse of their everyday activities…a group of 4 little boys (young—probably between 2 and 5 years old) stood a couple feet away from where I was reading, ground their own hot pepper, and dipped their akpale (made from cassava and cornstarch) into it, looked over and laughed as I sang parts of the story… so precious!

I will definitely try to be more conscious of getting over there before I leave, which reminds me… some of you know, but I will be wrapping up my time in Ghana in mid-December. I’ll be in WI for the holidays (whoo hoo!...already put in a special order for lots and lots of snow!) and then Lord-willing, I’ll be heading back to Hong Kong at the end of December. I have been given the opportunity to take two long-term maternity leave sub positions. One is for 6th grade Bible and Math (my exact old position) and the other is for 4th grade… I’m very excited to go back and be reunited with everyone there in HK, share my experiences here in Ghana, eat lots of curry , and I’m hoping it will be a good time of discernment as I decide what God has next for me. So far He’s been more than faithful to line up all the details, so I am confident He will continue to make my path clear.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My New Identity

It never fails that when I introduce myself to a Ghanaian, they say, "Oh, Tina...such a nice name," to which I usually respond by correcting them. Then they go on to say, "Oh Dena...oh, okay." About half of the time I try to explain "DANA" and the other half I just smile and nod. :)

However, my favorite story is the guy who upon hearing my name responded, "Oh, Dinner...I like your name SO much. I will never forget your name, because I love dinner." After some laughter, I tried to explain, but of course to no avail, so I was called "Dinner" for a few months. Well, at least it always gave me a good laugh!

So, it's official...Tina it is! :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Call of Duty

Lesson plans, teaching, grading papers....I never imagined having one of my "teacherly" duties be spotting poisonous snakes, but I'm proud to say that today I did just that! :) I was walking to the library today after my class when I noticed a little slippery, slithery creature slithering just within feet of me... my first live-out-of-the-car snake spotting! :/ Always when you least expect it! So, I called to Tawnee to get one of the older boys to come kill it, and in the second I turned my head to say that, I had lost the snake! Well, thankfully we were able to spot it again...man, those little things can move! Freeman had come to kill it, and he took a rock and threw it at the snake... miss... Now it had slid behind the dog cage, so one of the teachers stepped in and used a stick to swat at it... success! :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Havin' a Ball at the Mall!

Saturday we were able to take the younger kids to the mall in Accra where they have a playground set up. The kids were ecstatic to be able to ride the train, jump around in bouncy houses, play in the balls and just be kids. They had a blast and I think us adults had just as much fun watching them!

When times are tough, all I have to do is find one of these younger ones, and I am guaranteed a smile and some love! :) (Here's a funny side story: When I got back from a run the other day, Moses (in the middle of the 1st picture) ran up to me and gave me a hug, so I picked him up. And of course I was extremely sweaty, which he quickly noticed and stated, "You are hot," to which I agreed. Well, before I knew it, he touched my neck and licked his finger! haha... he went back for more and then went to lick my arm...couldn't help but laugh, but I put him down and decided it was time for a shower! Gotta love that salt! :) haha....

They just make my day and are truly too precious for words. I love the innocence and love of children...
Comfort, Moses, and Nii
Aseidu and I