Thursday, June 30, 2011

What do Goats & Christmas Music Have in Common?

Jessica Hunter & Priscilla Johnson

Absolutely nothing! That question alone should help you to understand the randomness of some of today's events including goats watching tv, a near fatal spider attack, and a fellow team member being named Chief of theYoung People! We know...It gets better!

Paula began our day with a rich, spiritual reminder to "trust and obey," as she exhorted us from Proverbs 3:5-6 to allow God to direct our paths and make them straight. Feeling uplifted and encouraged, we traveled from our Fairhill home to Abaasa Village. Abaasa has carved a special place in the hearts of all who have journeyed this way with Dr. Clerico. The villageis rural and small, but their arms and hearts are always open wide to receive us with what little they have. It is customary in Ghana to visit the home of the village chief beforetouring the community; therefore, we made it a priority to first go to see Chief NanaMensah III. We were provided plastic chairs and sat in a large wobbly circleand Nana (the Fante word for "grandfather" or "chief" in this case) Clerico sat on his special stool. (Ghanaian chiefs have carved wooden stools to represent their position rather than thrones and Dr. C. has one he sits on when he visits Abaasa.)

What an interesting sit-down this was. Where should we begin? Well, first Dr. Clerico offered gifts from the States to the Chief including a CSU Flag and shirt, a picture frame filled with pictures of past visits to the village, and a small money gift. Next, Chief Nana performed a libation ceremony acknowledging the village ancestors and seeking covering from God for us as we continue our journey through Ghana.

As all of this was happening, Chief Nana got up on several occasions to favor us with musical selections in the background. Very loudly "in the background," you could hear "Silent Night," "Auld Lang Syne," and (our personal favorite), "The Little Drummer Boy." Baby goats trampled through to the chorus of these holiday selections as one momma goat stopped to watch musicvideos on Chief Nana's tv through the open doorway of his small house. Welcome drinks of Coke and Sprite and Fanta Orange were brought in by elders of the village in honor of our visit, but Peco's drink had a special friend attached to it...Charlotte fromthe novel "Charlotte's Web!" Charlotte seemed a little frazzled and angry however, but with Peco's amazing foresight and wisdom, he was able to save us from Charlotte's wrath! God rest her soul.
As we talked among ourselves, Chief Nana and his staff seemed to be consulting each other about some very serious business. That business seemed to involve Peco, the Spider Slayer! They obviously loved him, and asked Dr. Clerico (our Chief) if he would permit Peco to become the Chief of Young People in Abaasa Village which translates to Mbrentse Hene in Fante. (In Fante culture, young people are single adults up to the age of 35 or so.) When Nana Clerico agreed and Peco accepted, several elders began to lift him in the air and sing and dance to symbolically represent his esteemed elevation. We all looked on in confusion, amazement and wonder at what had just happened to our brother Peco.
Our visit concluded with a village tour that allowed us to see what the relationship of Christian believers everywhere is capable of. With tears in her eyes, Paula was able to see the Methodist church built with money provided by fellow Methodists in the States. We are so proud of Paula and her husband Larry for allowing the Holy Spirit to use themfor such an incredible work.
We left the village and headed for St. Cyprian's Basic School, our teaching destination for the next week of our trip. The children and teachers greeted us with songs, dancing, and warm smiles. There is nothing like "Akwaaba," a Ghanaian welcome. We visited each classroom and became acquainted with the logistics of where each of us would be teaching. Much needed rest came immediately after for several of us who took naps, journaled and e-mailed during our free time.
Our evening ended with group fellowship. Listening to us talk atthe dining room table would make one think that we've known each other all of our lives. Somehow, most of us ended up together in the guest house lobby after dinner, and soon a dance party broke out! Our enthusiasm is so contagious that even some of the guest house workers joined us to learn the "Cupid Shuffle," "The Wobble," and a choreographed dance to, "Whip my Hair."
Where the Spirit is, there is liberty, and that freedom among us is not only seen visibly, but it is felt internally with the heart. Goats and Christmas music don't have anything in common, but WE DO, and it is a pleasure to learn about our commonalities and grow herein Ghana...together.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful day! Peco - I am so so thrilled that you have been given such an honorable title! Hopefully leaving your dog behind for a few weeks has now been made worth it! Paula, with tears in my eyes I am feeling your emotion at seeing the church - as one who also saw it from the beginning. And what hotel doesn't need a spontaneous dance party? Love that you are all having such a wonderful time together. Nothing is quite as special as what you all are experiencing right now. :)