The Church Service
It started raining about half an hour before we were supposed to leave for church. It kept raining past 9:30, our planned leaving time. When it got to be about that time, we asked if we needed to get going, our liaison, Agyeman, looked a little funny at us and told us that “it is raining”. Because it was raining, that meant the people who were walking to church would not head there until it was done, so we waited at the hotel until the rain slowed down, then left a little after 10.
When we got there, we were greeted to a mostly full church, open air on both sides. In my mind, I was thinking right away, a “southern” type of service with lots of singing and amens. It wasn’t quite that though. We went to a service spoken in the native language, not English (that is next week). While we couldn’t understand anything, we could still get a sense of what was going on. There was a lot of interaction from the congregation. like, a lot.
We were introduced to the congregation soon after we got there, having to get up front and introduce ourselves. It was at this point we noticed that the first 4 pews were full of kids. Instead of sitting with their parents, all the kids sat together up front, and were amazingly well behaved, as well as both amazed and amused by us.
Then it was time for the offertory, which went pretty much like this:
- Lots of music, the same song played over and over as some danced in the pews
- When it was our pew, you stand up and take your donation to the front, dropping it in a bucket with the day of the week you were born printed on it.
- go back to your pew and either sit, or dance more.
The goal of the different buckets was to have a game, to see which day of the week would raise the most money, encouraging people to donate more. Later in the service, another man came up to encourage us to donate more, even buying a bottle of water for 10 cedis. The phrase “10 cedis” was repeated many many times to encourage more people to come up.
Overall, it was a little tough to stay awake, the warm air combined with the rhythmic cadence of the language made it difficult. but there were enough times to stand or walk around that it made the 2 hours go by really quickly.
In the end, I couldn’t help but think of Will near the end of the service. They invited some of the kids to come up, introduce themselves and proclaim their faith to the whole church. After they did, the entire church gave an “Amen!” a few of the kids couldn’t have been much older than Will, so it just hit me a little harder.
My feet are covered in sand. We just had lunch at a resort called Kekes in the next town over. We headed there down a dirt road, easily the roughest ride we have had so far. We were greeted by another welcome sign, provided by Tigo, the cell phone provider. Then we drove another mile or so, through the mud until we turned down a road that had goats and children all over. The resort was nice, fresh fish for lunch, as well as a tomato sauce over rice that was fantastic. After we ate, we went down to the beach and played some Frisbee. It remains a blast to play, even if I am not quite so fast or agile as I used to be.
The beach was great, but it still wasn’t a complete escape from the poverty. As we were playing, we had to pause for a few minutes as a man carrying dried palm branches walked through. A couple of kids passed by too, even trying to toss the Frisbee with us. That being said, the beach was still amazing, the waves crashing was the only sound, with the warm air feeling perfect at the time.
We then came back to have some dinner. Yams, chicken and another tomato sauce. The yams were basically potatoes, not what we call yams sometimes at home. Combined with the tomato sauce, they were great. I am only ticked because I didn’t know there was fish available, so I missed that. At least I had some of the pineapple though.
After dinner, the electricity had been restored in our room. For most of the day, it had been out, with the explanation being that someone cut one of the wires, which nearly led to a fire. In any case, it is working now, so we don’t have to sleep in the heat with no air flow. We then walked down to the internet café, where a guy was sitting watching porn when we walked in. The machines were quite old and ran very slowly. At that point, I found out that I could get the wireless password, so I used my phone to send some emails and text with Rebekah. It was great to hear her day today was going better. It is still tough being so far away, not as bad as last night, but still rough. It seems like every kid I see close to Will and Henry’s ages, I am instantly reminded of how far away they are.