Orientation narrative in the words of one of our participants
Yesterday we sent all but three of our participants out to their language projects; all arrived safely! The leaders spent much of the day debriefing and making revisions to the orientation program for next year. The rest of the time John has been doing e-mail and other similar office type tasks while I have been cleaning up and trying to sort through the piles that seem to be everywhere as we begin to settle in to living in Tamale. When John read the e-mail below and shared it with me , we thought it would be a wonderful way for you to hear what our time has been like so far….for our participants. Enjoy!
Hello friends and family,
Right now, I have been in Ghana for almost exactly one week! The name of my program is Discovery so I thought that you would enjoy hearing about some of my discoveries both big and small over the last few days!
1. Ghanaian Teammates
When I got off the plane in Accra last week, my team of seven North Americans was joined by six Ghanaians. Most on my team are from the South while most of the trip will take place in the North which is very different. Their welcome has been incredible, and they have acted as guides and culture teachers as I and the others acclimate to the culture. This is making for one of my best abroad experiences.
The weather has not been quite as hot as I expected. It is very hot from about ten to four, but because the sun sets around 6pm, as we are near the equator, it is cooler earlier.
3. Accra Scavenger Hunt
Our first two days, we had what I would call “scavenger hunts” in Accra as we learned to do basic tasks like use currency and buy food in the market. My proudest accomplishment was learning how to use the trotro. These are small buses or big vans which people use to get around the city. They follow regular lines, but there do not seem to be any transit maps so I had to learn where the stations are.
Additionally, the vast majority of the trotros are not marked so you have to go through a parking lot filled with them asking where the one going to your destination is. It was a test of my assertiveness.
4. Trip to Tamale
Last Friday, we took a bus with no AC to the North of Ghana to Tamale. I enjoyed looking out the window the whole trip and getting to know teammates. We went from the south filled with concrete block houses, banana and mango trees to the much flatter and grass filled north with round mud huts and thatched roofs.
5. Eating With Hands
So in Ghana, much of the time, you eat with your right hand and no utensils. You make balls of various grains and use it to sop up meat stews. My favorite so far was an okra fish stew. And it is not as unsanitary as it sounds because you wash your hands with soap and water before.
6. GILLBT Visit
Yesterday was one of my favorite days. We visited the Bible translation center in Ghana! We got to meet many of the workers and learn about their jobs. One thing that I enjoyed was watching the checking process for an OT translation. A translator from England as well as two native speakers of the language were sitting in a room and checking the translation against a related language, the Hebrew Bible and several English translations. We also visited the literacy coordinator. After translation is normally necessary to teach people how to read in their native language! It was neat to learn about how this changes people’s lives both spiritually and educationally.
7. What I am learning
A lot, but here is one from today - In devotions we read about how the disciples were sent out in pairs by Jesus with nothing but were well-provided for. Interestingly, a few verses later, when Jesus is on the hill with 5000 people, the disciples wonder how they will all be fed, but Jesus more than provides when he feeds all 5000. I hope that I will learn from the disciples mistakes! I need to remember to trust how God has provided for me in this week and remember that God will provide for me in the weeks to come.
That is all for now. Blessings!