Thursday, April 24, 2014


My husband is gone on a trip.  The day he left, I fell and did this to my leg.  It is honestly the worst boo, boo I've had in a long time.  Like ever.  I hit the ground hard.  My leg hit a stepping stone, then my face and chest hit the ground...hard.  Like, hard enough that I had sand in my teeth and the imprint in my forehead.  I felt so, so stupid.  The kids came running, the guard came running, my helper came running, and I was horrified.  And in pain.

To make matters worse, I was just leaving to go to the guest house.  That was a fun drive over, operating the clutch.  Then, when I got there, I couldn't walk without the hem of my skirt rubbing against it.  This led to me walking around with my skirt hiked up enough to avoid the wound.  One of the housekeepers saw it, as I was going to get ice from the freezer to put on it.  She knew the perfect cure.  She drug me into the laundry room, insisting that she is a wonderful "home nurse."  She grabbed a rag and a bottle of Detol (think Lysol.)  Then, she set about rubbing my wound clean with this wonderful germ killer.  I assured her that I was fine and that she could stop, but she kept saying that she wanted to make sure that she had killed all of the bacteria.  Honestly, I was wishing I had a stick to bite.  Finally, after about three applications, she decided I was clean enough and she let me go.  I'm glad she took care of me since I was flashing back to that episode of Little House where Charles leaves Caroline and she gets tetanus in her leg.    

I'm sure it will heal up just fine... especially considering the fine level of care I received!  Now, if I could just learn to walk and talk at the same time, that would be good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Are they doing this in America?

The whole "Share a Coke with______" campaign.  

I doubt it.  Because it just wouldn't work the same way.  You see, here in Ghana, and in many other parts of West Africa, people have many names.  One of them is always the day of the week on which they were born.   So, the bottle above is the name for a Friday-born male.  The other day, I got one that had the name Amma, which is a Saturday-born female.  So, with 14 names, you would cover almost the entire population of a city.  It's everywhere here.  On every bottle and on billboards all across town.  In my opinion it's brilliant.  

It reminded me of just one of the cultural things that has become normal to me.  I had a language tutor named Laraba, the Hausa word for Wednesday.  We have a gate guard named Kofi, the Twi word for Friday.  When we meet someone who has a name that we struggle to pronounce, they will sometimes say, "Just call me Monday" or whatever the English name is for the day of the week they were born on.  Not everyone goes by their day of the week name, but they all know it and consider it theirs.

   We have a friend who had a son a couple months ago.  I asked him recently if they were ready to reveal his full name yet.  He told me that they weren't.  His mother-in-law insists they wait a bit longer, until the baby is stronger.  They don't want to name him too soon.  I think it's considered a bad omen.  Seems strange to us, doesn't it?  For now, he remains Kofi, because he was born on a Friday and they will use his "day of the week" name until they do his naming ceremony.  Of course, not all tribes wait that long.  Some of them have their naming ceremonies at just a few days or weeks old.  

Really, the cultural differences are sometimes so subtle and so fascinating.  And sometimes, they seem really far out.  Until you hand someone a basket of colored eggs and try to come up with some intelligent explanation as to why you would dye eggs some bright color as a part of your Easter festivities.  Then you realize that it might be you who has some really far out traditions.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

He is Risen!

Our family was very excited to see Easter weekend come along.   Easter is always an exciting time, because we are so very thankful for the fact that Jesus is risen!  Our faith really rests on that one fact and if that weren't true, if Jesus didn't really conquer death, well, quite frankly, I'd still be living comfortably back in NC, shopping at Target.  But, since I sincerely believe that he desires a relationship with each of us, and since my heart is to do what I can to make sure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to know of his sacrifice, I'm living it up in Africa, privileged to be a very small part in His very big story.

On Easter Sunday, we decided to worship at an international church near our home.  We have attended there a few times, but not since we returned from America.  It feels more like American church than most churches we visit here.  We knew that most Ghanian churches would have very long services and quite frankly, I just really wanted to worship in a way that would fill me up.  So, we went to the land of 90 minute air-conditioned services where the kids had the option of children's church.  It was a blessing and I left with a song in my heart.

Last year, we celebrated Easter as "refugees" in a guest house in Nigeria.  This year, we were thankful to host Easter in our home.  We were able to share an Easter meal with some of our colleagues and it was a blessed time.  Abby did most of her planning, as part of a home economics assignment.  She did a good job and took time with a lot of little details.  Lily served as her assistant and together they pulled off a nice afternoon for all.

Here are a few pictures of our Easter weekend:

Dying eggs is one of those traditions that I insist on keeping.  I can only remember one Easter of my life with no egg dying.  This year, we had no problem getting white eggs and unlike last year, they didn't cost extra when we did find them.
  As you can see, Abe's first egg obviously required intense concentration.
 Lizzie is focused!

The thing about coloring eggs is that we have very few in my family who actually enjoy eating them.  For years, my dad took them off of our hands, but seeing as he's back in the USA, we needed another option.   This year, we decided to color them and share them with some Ghanian children.  They were happy to have them and we were happy to share. 

Here's the crew, after church.

 He is risen, indeed!

 Our kids enjoyed Easter baskets.  I must confess, I have been trying to think of an excuse to buy these beautiful baskets for a year now.  There is a vendor near my home that always has bunches of them tied in trees and blowing in the wind.  They are gorgeous, but I couldn't justify buying them.  But, sadly, our $5 Target felt baskets that we've used the last several years, couldn't handle the climate here at the equator.  The bottoms were all falling out because the glue wouldn't hold.   I found myself in need of some baskets and well, the rest is history.  I'm pretty sure these babies will last way longer than our cheap felt ones, and they only cost a few dollars more.  Nana and Pap sent some American treats for the baskets, which were thoroughly enjoyed.  Ryan and I had bought each of the kids a new UK shirt last fall, long before we had any idea they would be in the championship game this year and saved them for baskets.  They were all happy to get them.

The kids enjoyed an egg hunt.  Ryan's parents also sent us candy for that via a volunteer.  It was all chocolate though and I just knew we would have a bunch of foil covered chocolate puddles if I wasn't careful.   I decided to keep it hidden in the fridge.  Abby stuffed the eggs the night before and then put them back in the fridge.  We left them in there until just before the hunt.  The dads hid them quickly, the kids hunted them quickly, and then I had the kids put it back in the fridge when the hunt was over.  We actually had kisses that were shaped like kisses and rolos in their original shape.

Abby and Lily made a pinata.  We did one round with blindfolds and I thought we might be there all day.  We did a second round with bare eyes and finally got that baby busted.  The guard was nice enough to let us use his club, since we couldn't find our baseball bat.

Here's our youngest participant gearing up.  She wasn't so sure about whacking that thing.
Abe wasn't so reluctant.

Here are the pinata artists with an "after" shot.

 Repurposing at its best!

That's one beautiful bunny!