Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Today was our final full day in Wa. Simon had promised to take us to the Regional Hospital in the morning, and we also had VBS in the afternoon. Not that busy from the surface. After an early breakfast, we sent Heather and Simon off to market on his motorbike. We were hoping to find some fabric to give to Mama J for a dress. However, after perusing all the fabric stores in Wa, Heather and Simon returned empty handed. We were hoping to get fabric similar to Angel’s dress fabric, but the closest fabric had the same print but different colors.
Defeated by the market but not discouraged, our merry band of six Nasala and one very tall Ghanaian set out for our tour of the hospital. By African standards, it was a nice hospital. Each department had its own building separated by covered walkways. Simon knew most of the nurses from his Sunday afternoon visitation. We saw the children’s ward and labor and delivery since those two departments weren’t too busy at the moment.

The children’s ward started with private rooms for the wealthier cliental and then opened into a 20 by 30 ft space lined by cribs. A nurses’ station was at the far end of the room. Most of the cases were high fevers from malaria and dehydration from diarrhea. When infectious disease cases are diagnosed, the children would be treated in an isolated room. Several of the infants we saw had IVs in: a situation that struck me as an improvement to some government clinics and hospitals that I’ve seen in other parts of Africa.

The labor and delivery ward was split into four sections according to the trimester and then post-partum. As we walked by the beds, the Muslim women hide underneath their colorful African scarves during the first and second trimesters. However, modesty was as much of a concern as comfort was for those women in their third trimester. In the post-partum care, the women shared their beds with their new infants for 48 hours before discharge. I don’t plan on having any children at this particular hospital, but they do average 20 births a day with a record of 26 babies.

On our walk back to the mission, a souvenir shop selling leather purses and African drums catches our attention. We indulged our urge to stop in and purchased a few Ghanaian keepsakes. Looping back through the market we searched for a soccer ball to take to VBS that afternoon, (sadly, no luck) and somehow our “short trip” turned into a two and a half hour survey of Wa. Whoops. Guess we won’t have time for round 3 of the cleaning competition…

The afternoon was spent doing laundry, packing, and working on VBS. Simon stopped by around 2:30 to help Elly to tailor her Bible lesson to better engage younger children with shorter attention spans.

In the kitchen, Auria and Heather sliced up a watermelon as a treat for all the workers to enjoy leter on our very last bus ride back from VBS in Ghana.

At 3 PM we packed up the cooler with tubs of watermelon and cold sachets, and grabbed three chairs for the skit before heading to the Seidus to catch the bus. We had to wait for Pastor John, Gabriel, and Amelia, so rather than stand around in the shade, several adventurous team members started climbing trees. Jesse came out of the house to join the climbers as they scaled a ginormous fallen tree in front of the house. Our three Ghanaian friends arrived at this time and chuckled at the sight of the Nasalla up in the trees. Simon shook his head and snapped photos.

We loaded the bus and made it to the village without incident.  But the people there must have expected us to arrive late again because no one was there. To pass the time until the kids showed up, we taught the Ghanaians ninja. Gabriel and Augustine loved it.

We were told to abbreviate lesson and song time due to a leadership meeting at Faith Baptist that evening. Heather received the memo and tried to keep her lesson for the older kids brief, but apparently Elly missed that note. The younger children listened attentively to the lesson about the fall and redemption of man for forty-five minutes. During that time, however, the rest of us got to play (or watch, which can be almost as fun) some African football with the older kids and teens. Well ok, unorganized soccer played with a flat basketball in a field of hard packed dirt, scrubby underbrush, and a cowpie here and there (just to keep you on your toes of course) may not seem glorious, but leaders, kids, and spectators alike thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Every time a Nasala girl (Joy or Heather) touched the ball the Ghanaian crowd would erupt with cheers.  I can only imagine what would have happened if one of the girls had scored.

We played until it became evident that the younger group was going to be late. We called in the group and debated whether we should go ahead and do the skit for just the older kids. For sake of time we decided against it as the younger group marched across the street. So we bid farewell to the village children, loaded the bus, and started back to the mission.

Of course we revealed our surprise to our Ghanaian friends: watermelon for everyone! We celebrated four good weeks of VBS and friendship. While those within the bus enjoyed the watermelon, the pedestrians and motorbikers we passed may not have enjoyed the rinds and seeds that were flying in all directions from the bus windows…

In the evening, Enoch stopped by our house to say goodbye, and we wrangled him into joining us for devotions. He shared with us how a friend led him to the Lord and how he had to put off a Bible degree because his Muslim uncle would only help finance his education if he pursued marketing. After several detours, the Lord had finally brought Enoch to the Bible College in Wa where he is studying for the pastorate. God’s timing is always perfect, and I’m all for it because it allowed us to meet him and his dear wife Cynthia.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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