As I walk around town and in the countryside, I am amazed at the variety of different things that the African carry on their heads – from a simple platter with peeled oranges to sewing machines and tables. They learn while they are young and get such balance. Some use a cloth on their head to help with the balance, but others without. I can’t balance a book on my head and walk any distance.
During a visit to a more remote village one evening, I was met by Richard and here he is telling me of all the types of rice, harvesting and marketing. I guess I really never thought about the different types of rice or their nutrition value – they have one here called ‘red rice’ and it is much higher in nutrients than most of the others.
One of our programs to aid women and getting them started in their own micro-enterprise (small business) is beekeeping. We are in partnership with the Ghana Forestry department and have 52 women enrolled in the program. Though for the Africans and my former neighbors in Indiana, bees can be scary and fear of being stung. So as part of the program, we visit each of the women’s communities as a form of follow up to see her set up and then for the entire community we show a film on bees so that they understand better and are more welcoming to bees and the woman’s business – in the photo I am setting up the screen. This has really ministered to these women and will allow them a way to earn money without much time invested everyday so not to take them away from their families.
We had the opportunity to host Dr. Mike Barrington from Rotary for a couple days last week. Here we are visiting with some patients who came to see the Mobile Eye Team in the community of Ashaiman. Usually about 150-200 people come each day to see the Mobile Eye Team.
We received a container from the Netherlands and I was encouraged to see that there was an entire pallet of New Testament Bibles. They were produced by Health for Life, a project initiated by VVHS/BKV, International Bible Society and Mercy Ships-Netherlands. Their aims is to provide people in developing countries with in-depth information for healthy lives, both spiritually and physically. Primarily they will be used by the HIV/AIDS educators who are working with the local churches to create mercy coalitions. They have given us 250 for use by our disciplers and crew members as they are in relationship with, prayer and ministry with people here in Ghana.
This village has no electricity or water – they walk a good distance to another village to a well to obtain water. For these children, the well drilling rig is great entertainment as they had just started and were drilling through sand and it was flying up in the air. School is just starting up next week and so they were enjoying the show. Our team will usually work in a village for a week and besides the well drilling and sanitation lessons, they have time with the people and especially with the children to share our Father God’s love for each of them.
We have partnered with Ghana Water and Sanitation to help impact 38 communities. We will be drilling water wells, constructing demonstration latrines, teaching on community hygiene and training 3 residents in each community on water well maintenance. We have a great team together to be in these villages helping to provide the basic necessities of life and sharing their heart and faith with them. They have had some technical problems in the beginning, but they are up and going now.
Are you envious? I was driving to several of our well drilling sites – about an hour and half from the port city. The night before, it had severely rained and so the ‘roads’ were not too good. The ship has about twenty Land Rovers which are used by all the teams working at off-ship sites and all the business and activities of the ministry. Some are in better shape than others. I was hosting the captain, chief engineer, and second engineer as I wanted to share with them what is happening in Community Development Services (CDS) with well drilling and sanitation. The vehicle before me had our executive director, her assistant, CDS manager, and one of the communications photographer – she took the photo.
This morning we prayed particularly for the leaders of the nation. We prayed for President John Kufuor, his wife Theresa, the various Ministers who are serving here – particularly for the Minister of Health, Manpower, Transport and the Members of Parliament who have helped and continue to help with our time and the people of the nation of Ghana. President Kufuor, a devout Roman Catholic, is in his second term and the next elections will be in ’08.