Saturday, March 10, 2012
Wow, this has been exactly as I had expected and hoped for. As wonderful as the entire experience has been for my father and I, there have still been many exciting surprises at every corner that just add to the comedic value. The only negative thing for all of you is the fact that without Jenny with me on this trip, by the time I retire to the hotel for the evening, I am so exhausted I don’t take the time necessary to collect my thoughts for the day. (Thus no Blog entry last night…) sorry!
I will try to recount the day. Our flight left Boise at 10:40am and we flew to Denver. It was awesome because both of us had a seat of our own with an empty one next to us. So it was soo comfortable on that flight. After a very short layover, we flew to Washington DC, and that flight was exactly the same. I was able to sprawl out and enjoy the whole flight. We had close to a five hour layover there and I was talking to my father about how much I loved these last two flights and that flying like this will make the 12-13 hour leg to Accra seem very nice. I almost even called our Travel agent from DC to thank her for the perfect seating placement. When we finally boarded the 757 to Accra, I worked my way to the back of the place and noticed the on the middle (Three seat row) I had the very middle seat. I also sat right between two very huge and smelly men. It was soooo tight and I couldn’t even take a deep breath without rubbing next to them. (And that was something that with my OCD about cleanliness would not ever allow.) So I just dropped a sleeping pill and prayed to the Gods of the friendly skies that I would fall asleep and it would be over quickly and that I could find my own little happy place. Well thank goodness for small favors; I closed my eyes just long enough to hear the captain announce the descent over the intercom. I don’t remember a thing about the flight and that is just what I was hoping for. When we landed in Accra, I looked forward and saw my Dad waiting at the front of the plane. It was enjoyable and maybe a little entertaining to see the nervousness and apprehension in his eyes that I felt just five short months ago the first time we flew into Africa. As usual we walked down the ramp and felt the totally encompassing heat and humidity that would usually stifle an American’s breathing and would make them wish for an air conditioner. I have to admit that for me (at least for a few minutes) it was like a warm hug from my sweet Ghanaian land. I could almost hear the whisper “AKWAABA” from the coastal breeze.
Ok, it was still hot and had an unpleasant smell to the air, but knowing the purpose for this trip really outweighed having to deal with the inconveniences of the temperature. (The end, truly justifies the means.) When we got off the plane I remember the mistakes I made last time that turned out to be a little costly. We went through immigration without a hitch and then went and picked up our luggage. I remember how annoying all the guys were that wanted to take my luggage and then expect a sizable tip for the service. I ran over and grabbed two of the free carts and brought them to the luggage belt. As our luggage came Off I grabbed them and we headed for Customs. As we walked up to the very cute and nice Ghanaian customs agent, she asked me the purpose for our travels. I said that we are picking up two children we adopted from an orphanage. She asked me from where, and I told her that the name was GMI in Teshie. She gave me a warm smile and said Welcome to the country and checked us in and didn’t even look in our baggage. As we walked through the crowd of people wanting to take our baggage we just walked through like we knew what we were doing. Why not, this is my second time here, I should be an expert by now, right? As we got out side I realized that I never saw a sign saying AAI or Seables. I didn’t wait for more than five minutes and I saw some missionaries who lent me their phone. I called Job and told him that if he knew of anyone coming to tell them we were on our way. I grabbed a taxi and we headed for our hotel at “First Junction” Teshie. Within 45 minutes we were at the hotel and found John (Black) and Job there waiting for us. It was great to get out of the cab and get a big hug from two of my Ghanaian friends welcoming us back to their county. A few minutes later we were in our rooms and the AC was fully cranked. Wow, what a wonderful feeling. We quickly put our suitcases in our respective rooms and walked over to see the kids. This time we were a little better prepared. I handed my camera to John and he filmed us as we walked in. It was such a great feeling to walk into the courtyard of the orphanage and see my kids come running up to me and wrap their little arms around my neck and just freeze as they stood there and took in the moment. I really am unable to put to words all the feelings and emotions I was experiencing as we just stood there and enjoyed the experience. Delight was so sweet as always and courage was so happy and both just quietly hugged me and told me thank you for coming back. Then after a short reunion I whispered, do you want to meet Grandpa? They both looked up at him and went and gave him a huge hug. It was so great, to see them immediately bond with him and love him unconditionally. I was reminded about the true, sincere love that these kids had for anyone who can love them back. The evening went so good. No drama and no problems.
The kids were wonderful and were so sweet. We walked into the orphanage and saw the remainder of the kids. The first thing I noticed was that there was only a small portion of the kids that were here last visit. As I saw the ones I did remember it was neat to see the expressions on their face as I called each of them by name. I looked and saw Little Richard, Believe, Daniel, Jawphett, Dejaneu, and many others. It was wonderful to see them. As we stood in a circle hugging and smiling and laughing, I notice that in a short time Daniel brought us several chairs to sit on and the orphans were sitting on the little concrete curbing that surrounded the Mango tree in the middle of the courtyard. They were all very pensive, quiet, and a few had teary eyes. I whispered to Delight and asked her why they were so sad, and she just looked up at me with a look like, “are you really that dense?” She didn’t need to put it to words. The kids were showing to me, the longing and hurt they feel when they see a family united. Even though these kids have nothing, the only thing they want for in life is a mother and a father. (Sisters and brothers would be a close second. Ha ha ha) we really enjoyed sitting together and talking with the kids but my heart was braking to see the others just sit and watch us. The thought that kept coming to my mind was, “How many times did Courage and Delight have to sit and witness this same thing?” I did try to call each of them up one at a time and hug them and tell them that I missed them, but that really isn’t what this reunion was all about. I walked over to John (Black) and gave him a really big hug, and thanked him for his ministry with these kids. I noted to him, that there were a lot fewer kids here than there were last time. He just quietly smiled and looked at the remained kids. I asked him if that truth was both a happy and a sad one. He once again just smiled. He loves these kids so much and truly gets what this is all about. What a great example of Christ. I love this man!
After a short while I grabbed our friend Richard (Big Richard) and we and the kids went to the “Ultimate restaurant”. As usual the kids ate Fried chicken and fried rice. I ordered some fried noodles, vegetables and chicken. It was very good. When the waitress brought out courage his Fanta Orange, I made the teasing comment to him not to drink it in one gulp. Well, I realized that I shouldn’t have said that because half way through dinner I noticed that his bottle was still mostly full. I had embarrassed him and I feel badly about that. It was just so cute to see him chuggle-ug that soda last time. We had a terrific dinner and then returned to the hotel. It was late and we were very tired so I didn’t write last night and just brushed my teeth and went to bed.
We got up and showered and walked down to the corner and bought some of those good fried Doughnuts that I loved so much the last trip. We then took a taxi (Devine) to Accra so Dad could see the market. It was loud and crazy just like I remembered last time. We bought all the souvenirs last time that I could possibly want so we mostly just walked around and argued with a few of the pushy street venders. I bought a few trinkets and a bag for jenny and then we headed to the “Next Door” restaurant for lunch. We even took Devine (our taxi driver and friend). I of course had the Red-red beans and red snapper and fried plantains. It was wonderful and I gobbled up every last bite. I was finally home and loved it to pieces. This meal was the ribbon and bow on the package. I do hope that someday I can find a recipe for Red-red so I could make it at home. We stayed a couple hours there and came back to the hotel. I dropped the two kids off with Grandpa and Job and I walked to first junction to find a friend of a guy we met on the cruise so we could deliver a gift to him. He was very nice and appreciative of our gesture. We walked back to the hotel and when we felt the AC it was like manta from heaven. We all four just crashed on the bed and feel into a deep REM sleep. Four hours later, we are now waking up and are planning to walk back to the orphanage to bring some gifts. I am excited for that. I will upload the last two posts to the blog and will try to write something each night.