Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New kids on the block

(written several weeks ago)

We now have over 30 new children. Most of whom live in the newest house, the Linary House. The new house parents are Samuel and Betty Affriye. They have three sweet children of their own in addition to all of the new children they will be caring for. I spent some time with the new kids last week on their first day in the house. The electricity was turned on just last Tuesday. I came and helped them to clean. I cleaned the louvers (the windows). The kids were a little taken aback at first at a white girl cleaning in their house, but I wanted to make sure they knew I am here to serve. They proudly showed me their new rooms and wardrobes (which were being unloaded that day from town). One little guy opened up his wardrobe and beamed as he pointed to the few small clothing items that sat there. It was so precious to see how proud he was of the few things that he owned. As I was cleaning I heard Ma Betty giving the welcome speech to some new children that arrived as I was cleaning. She sat them down and told them that they would be loved and cared for here. She told them that they could call her Ma, but that they also had so many mothers and fathers at the VOH. She told them that they also had many brothers and sisters. She did a great job of welcoming and assuring the children they were in a safe and wonderful place. I can’t even imagine the thoughts swimming in the heads right now, overwhelmed by this new place and all the new people. Some children were digging for food in garbage cans before they came, and now they are fed three full meals a day! What a transition.

I walked to the bath house with the kids, and showed them where to fetch water for their baths. One sweet girl, Abigail (6 years old) clung to my hand the whole way hardly saying a word. She is the one in the picture. Many of the kids cannot communicate in English. I am working with many of them in reading classes on basic skills such as alphabet recognition. Several of them are very skinny- in need of nutrition. Some are quiet and reserved, while others seem to feel right at home already.

Already I have seen a drastic change in several of the children. Evans and his sister Eunice came about a week before the other new children. Evans refused to go to Bible class and worship one Sunday morning. He just sat on the ground away from everyone else until his house dad came for him. He wanted to go back to his hometown. Now, he follows me everywhere. He wants to be a part of everything going on at the village and is generally quite happy. He almost got in a fight the other day with another child who was teasing him because he was jealous that some other children were holding my hands, so he just held onto my arm as we walked. I am so thankful I have the opportunity to be here with these children as they learn and grow. What a unique opportunity to witness the power of love, community, and Christ in a child!

I apologzie for my lack of communication over the past 6 weeks. I did not have a source of internet access until this week. I have many stories and experiences to share since my arrival back at VOH from Christmas. My heart and mind are overflowing with many things. I hope to share some of that with you. It may take some time in order to be able to process and write down for you the many things that have been going on in the past few weeks.

I feel the earth move under my feet...

I’m quite sure all of you are more than familiar with the terrible earthquake that occurred in Haiti. Heck, if I know about it in Ghana I am sure everyone in the whole world knows about it. The Ghanaians heard about it all right. And for some reason, someone decided that Ghana was next on the earthquake hit list. A mass panic started one particular night (a few weeks ago now) that the earthquake was coming to Ghana that night. And in some places, it wasn’t an earthquake but some form of explosion that was imminent. During the middle of the night, the house parents here were getting phone calls from people telling them they had to get their children out of the house. In town, families were waking up to knocks on their doors to get out of the house. Whole communities didn’t sleep all night for fear of the impending disaster. Many sat around and listened to the radio waiting for some news. From some reports, apparently some people went so far as to claim the earthquake had hit Accra and various small towns between here and Accra and that it was headed our way. The whole panic was spread by mobile phones-no radio or tv report ever spread the story, and yet everyone across the entire nation heard that some tragedy was coming. All while I slept unaware of the mass hysteria sweeping the country. When I woke up at 4:30 to go jogging with the house parents I noticed in Fetteh that many of the people were awake earlier than usual and listening to their radio, but didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until I arrived at school that I learned about the whole situation. The director, Fred Asare, was receiving phone calls all night long from concerned individuals begging him to evacuate all the guests and children. I found it quite amusing the next day to learn about the sleepless night due to the unfounded rumors about earthquakes in Ghana.