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Bartering 101 in Ghana by Kim Lawson
May 18, 2011

It looks like the "busy" update finally posted! I've been trying since Friday, but have had a data connection problem. Through phone calls home, some family members have mentioned that they've left comments...unfortunately I haven't been able to get beyond the first page of my blog to read and answer or post them. My goal has been to update you every couple of days, and I've tried, but to no avail, but tonight it looks like it finally worked ;).  I will keep trying.

Sunday on the drive to the church in Kintempo, I forgot to mention that David stopped the truck and the bus because he saw a bulldozer in a field knocking down many Shea nut trees. He spoke to the operator of the bulldozer and spoke to the operator's boss on the phone explaining that although they were clearing the land to plant mango trees, they should be working around the Shea nut trees seeing as that is possible for they grow a distance from one another and the mango trees could be planted along side them. Monday, David had someone stationed at the site to guide the operator on what trees to keep, and before dinner the bosses came to meet David to fully understand his position and will be now be working to preserve them. The cosmetic world is finding huge value in the Shea nut butter, and NEA has developed a program that supports the women by buying the nuts from the ladies, hiring other ladies to process them and they ship huge amounts of it yearly. The ladies working the system started so poor they would all share one dress between 5 ladies for special occasions. Now, as David says, they have many dresses, but way beyond caring for themselves and their families, they have funded the building of schools and clinics in their communities. The Shea nuts are one of the only means of sustainable income for the ladies, so the trees are extremely valuable. David is working very hard to preserve them.

Monday we were back to work at the work site and in the schools, minus 3 of the team. One has been unable to sleep, one was bitten or stung and was experiencing a numb arm and headache, and one was having 'The African experience'. It is very, very hot and although we try to drink enough, it's really tough to keep from being somewhat dehydrated at one time or another. When you work bent over and the sweat pools in your sunglasses until you can't see, and it runs off your nose into the dirt below, you know it's just another workday in Africa. When you shower under only cold water and by the time it runs through your hair and over your neck it's warm, and just getting dressed again you feel sticky like you need another shower, you know your personal cooling system is running overtime :)

After dinner Monday night, David coached us all with 'Bartering 101' :). He is preparing everyone for our planned visit to the market day in Subinso on Wednesday, and in Accra on Monday before our flight home. Bruce Young learned his lesson so well when overpaying for the case of chilled soda he bought on our way here, that he is now getting such a low price for the canned Coke he's buying right here in Carpenter at the store next to the compound, that he has to get the town chief's approval to buy it for that price! (The chief's wife and daughter run the store :). David suggested Bruce buy it and sell it for more to the rest of us because no one else seems able to get the same deal from them :). Others have walked into Carpenter to buy machetes. I can't wait to see what is at the market in Subinso. Joe and I won't be at the market in Accra with the group on Monday. We will be visiting our Compassion sponsored child, Prince, who lives just outside of Accra instead! I can't wait!

Tuesday, the team was complete one again. There has been some engine trouble with the large passenger van over that last few days and this morning it wouldn't start again, so several were riding in the back of the pickups again. Today is the day we start building the creosote trusses.

Continue praying for health and strength, and that the problems with the passenger van are worked out. So far the worst injury has been a very blackened fingernail that happened on day one. More of the workers are working up quite high on scaffolds at this point. Continue to pray for safety as well.

God is Good!  All the time!!

Filed under: Missions Blog


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