From here to there.
After a week at Nonnie & Popa’s, where we ate lobster, fresh clams, and grinders and enjoyed the beach, Boston, and the hospitality of friends and family. Worship on Sunday was in the church Suzanne and I got married in 20 years ago. By chance, Suzanne’s best friend from High School was there also with her family of five and husband. They had been married a month before us, and so it was fun to see what our families have become. Again this was a church, First Baptist of Pendleton Hill with less that 50 people in worship, and so much like a family reunion, I could feel the love these people had for each other through the open air church from the late 1700s.
We arrived in Accra, Ghana on July 27 for a week long family vacation at the New Coco Beach Resort . At the airport we were met by Embassy staff, and escorted to our hotel, which was about an hour away. Coco Beach is located on a popular beach, which we very much enjoyed the hospitality, and the chance to slowly change time zones without much expectations on us. When we finally got settled it was about midnight (Accra time) and Grace was asleep, but Wesley and Anna, Steve and Suzanne just sat on the bed eating snacks and talking about how excited we were to finally begin this adventure.
It has been 38 years since I was here and much has changed. I think the biggest change is in the currency and food. When we were here in 1968-69 the cedi and the dollar were trading close to 1:1, now it is 1:9000. So today, the largest bill is the 20,000 note (roughly worth US 2.20) and so every large purchase is a large stack of bills and coins are almost unheard of. Food is the second change. I don’t remember pizza, burgers, and all this other western food being available. Now it is everywhere. Granted we have enjoyed the amazing Ghanaian food, Groundnut Stew (peanut soup), Fish and Banku, Fufu… but today we had our first burgers and they were Texas style: mayo, tomato and lettuce…and they were great.
The people here are some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen. Everywhere people are smiling, and saying “You’re Welcome” as a greeting. People look you straight in the eye and watch if you look at them back. If I remember correctly, in the 1982 movie a “Catpeople” there was this part Nastassja Kinski had discovered she was different, and this old woman explained that there are some people who different in that they are “watchers”, meaning they look into your eyes, and see perhaps the state of your soul. I’ve always felt like a watcher among people who are not. Here I feel, I’ve found a like people who are unafraid to look into your eyes, and perhaps reveal their own soul.
Went to worship on Sunday at a New Life Zion Ministries, a local Pentecostal congregation. It was amazing like Foundation’s worship service. One lead worshipper, and two singers, backed by an electric bass and trap drumset. They did 20 minutes of gathering music, and then worship started. Altogether it was fun, and the people were so welcoming. I wondered, when we entered the service, why there was this large space between where the people set and the pulpit. It was for dancing. Right in the middle, after the first offering, the singers took the stage and first the ladies formed a type of line dancing. After about 10 minutes of dancing, the men slowly took ever, and did the same, waving a white cloth. It was so fun, and I found myself wishing I wasn’t so white, and could dance like that. Then there was the speaking in tongues, and at the end of the service the introductions of anyone who was visiting the worship service.
Ghana is amazing, the people are so welcoming, friendly, and smilingest people I’ve ever seen. After church, the pastor invited us to his house (actually his son, Wesley’s age did). It was a little strange, but wonderful cross cultural experience, sitting in their livingroom, drinking coke, and watching Don Moen sing on the TV (which was on). Don wrote “God is Good” and “Mighty is our God” and said to be the Barry Manalowe of the Christian music world.
Let me finish by saying that we are well and tanned, and having a wonderful time.