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Lot's Happening in Carpenter by Kim Lawson
May 8, 2011

This is the second time I am putting this blog entry together. I could not get a good enough connection here to send it the night we arrived, and although I thought it finally sent the next morning, it has been confirmed by text message that it didn't post. I will keep trying and hopefully we can keep you all up to date.

After 13 hours on a bus experiencing roads outside of Accra that were nothing more than boulders and red dirt due to massive road construction; an unplanned detour when a bus ahead of us was stuck teetering somewhat precariously as it tried to get past an unmarked road closure; seeing the chaotic way the drivers maneuver through city traffic jambs in a couple of cities on the way; passing at least 48 broken down trucks (Liv was counting); restrooms where you pay to use them although there is no water in them and you'd better bring toilet paper cause there isn't any; eating our packed lunch of croissants and cheese at the side of a service station; seeing the people who live along the road as they manned their shops and roadside stands, or as they sat or worked by their huts, or as they gathered for a funeral in the customary red and/or black clothing, or as they biked and walked along the highway most often carrying wood or large bowls of items on their heads to their homes or amongst traffic trying to sell their wares; a very expensive case of soda (thanks Bruce); a random tire rolled down a hill by a young child in a village which hit the cargo truck carrying our bags and traveling in front of our bus (smashed out the signal lights but otherwise was fine); and our bus had the front passenger tire blow out, we arrived in Carpenter after dark at about 7:00 pm. (Yes. I know that was a grammatically wrong and crazy long sentence, but so was our trip! :) Just take your time and it should make sense :))

The closer we got to Carpenter, the roads became more nicely paved and the views more beautiful. The vegetation was lush and bountiful, and the villages were tidy and free of the junk and chaos that the more southern villages seemed to have. What a beautiful was opposite to our expectations. We've enjoyed sunshine throughout our travels to this point (even in London!), but as the skies became dark we were able to enjoy a beautiful display of sheet and fork lightening although it never did rain that night. Because we are situated so close to the equator (and the International date line, by the way), the days are about 12 hours long..6 to 6. I suppose we won't be able to put in a whole lot of 'overtime' hours on this build :). If you know Joe well at all, you'd know he'd be pushing for long work days if needed to complete our task in these 2 work weeks.

We were met by the 20 young pastors that we will be working along side the trades with, and David and Brenda of course! It was so great to receive their hugs of welcome. We settled into our wonderful accommodations as we sorted the 90 bags and carry-ons that the young pastors unloaded for us, and then went for dinner after quick prayer and instruction from Dave and Brenda.

We are the third group ever to stay in the brand new compound built for the training conferences and tribal leadership meetings. It's better than I ever imagined it would be. Comfortable foam mattress beds, large wardrobes, large venting louvered windows and a ceiling fan to catch the cross breezes, clean flushing toilets and showers with optional instant hot water which I did not need at all (water here is never cold as we know it and it is wonderfully refreshing! Really!!!).

The food prepared by their chef Abraham who they sent to culinary school, and his two trained helpers, is incredible! Full of flavor and a bit of 'kick' tailored to a level of hot that we can all enjoy. The fresh bananas, pineapple, mangoes, and watermelon are the freshest I've ever tasted, and the oranges are much milder yet very good! We even have access to a fridge to refrigerate our drinks :)

On Sunday we enjoyed a wonderful church service with the local village members and had a chance to dance with them as they do in worship and share an item of thankfulness. Sam reminded us and taught them about our recognition of Mother's Day in Canada, and then David encouraged all the men to show their appreciation for the women by coming to the ladies side of the church (men sit on one side and the ladies on the other with kids sitting and standing around the perimeter as there were no more chairs), to shake our hands or give us hugs. Thank you Sam! Considering this is the first Mother's Day I've ever celebrated without my children around me, and the fact that they are both in two separate continents far away from me, it made for a really special moment! (Thank you for the card you slipped into our bag Ren! That was awesome...I am doing very well, but I don't think I'll ever be able to keep your dad in line :)

After an amazing lunch on Sunday, we got to enjoy a wonderful African rainstorm. The winds rose, the rain fell hard, and the young ones on our team enjoyed slip sliding in the grass while it fell! The air was so fresh and cooler afterwards. It continued to drizzle some while the team spent the afternoon sorting supplies and preparing for teaching in the school. A couple VERY loud claps of thunder certainly got everyone's attention!

It really is special to be awakened by the rooster's walking below our windows, to see and hear the piglettes and chickens running around in the surrounding trees and seeing the children play with their live little monkey tied at the waist on a string instead of a leash around the neck as we would do with our dogs! We have mosquito nets over the beds, but so far the only bugs we've seen were a couple of large moths in the evening, a creepy large thing that looked like a bit like a stink bug but bigger, a few shad flies after the rain, and some ants easily killed with some Raid in the bathroom. Iguanas are common, but haven't been overly plentiful.

We are doing very well and full of thanks knowing we are covered in your thoughts and prayers. It was shared Sunday morning that just the other day, a car with a tire blow out just up the road from here, killed the three people travelling inside. We had the tire that rolled down the hill and hit our cargo truck, and then we had the front passenger tire blow out on our bus going downhill on the highway and we are all fine! We are so thankful for our wonderfully skilled bus driver Simon, and for our cargo truck driver Stephen who maneuvered us and our things through it all.

God is Good!!!

Thank you all!

Filed under: Missions Blog


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