Thursday, November 25, 2010

Back to Mother Africa!

The verdant lushness of the land. The refreshing innocence of the people. The grace and beauty of the women. The simple joy of the children. These are some of the things that make up African Magic and it was so good to touch them again in Ghana and, for me, for the first time in Cameroon.

This trip was primarily for the purpose of working with the Emissary of Divine Light groups in Cameroon and Ghana. A friend, Keith Anderson, and I had a delightful time with 22 people in Buea, Cameroon including a 3 day seminar with the highest mountain in Cameroon (about 4000 ft) for a backdrop. We spoke, wrote, played, and dialogued about spiritual principles and how they impact our everyday lives of home, work, relationships, and communication. I found that the food in Cameroon is pretty similar to that in Ghana and was VERY pleasantly surprised that the climate was much cooler. Actually, I'm guessing that it isn't that much cooler in much of Cameroon but at our higher elevation it was delightful. Though it rained several times throughout the trip, it always seemed to know when we needed to be outside and granted us those grace periods.

En route to Ghana, we stopped in Nigeria but our flight in was late and we missed our connection. Because we didn't have Nigerian passports we were not allowed to leave the airport and had to wait until the next morning to catch a flight. We had visions of all kinds of disasters but
were treated well by airport personnel and were made comfortable in the airport lounge. Big, soft couches definitely beat trying to sleep sitting up in plastic chairs!

Twenty-four people joined us in Accra, Ghana for a one day seminar in an excellent facility that is part of the National Museum campus. Many of these folks were old friends who have been associated with the Emissaries for many years but, in many cases, hadn't met together for years. This workshop acted as a stimulus to get people back together and a regular pattern of Emissary services has started up again and is already growing. In addition to the seminar in Accra, one of our friends there, Edward Bortey, had lived for a long time in the Brong Ahofo region and had set up a presentation for us in Dormaa Ahenkro. We spoke for about an hour to 85 JSS students and 15 teachers. Then Edward got up and summarized in Twi what we had said!! Guess I forgot my Ghanaian English!

With our official business done, Keith headed back to Accra while I continued north to visit friends in Kumasi, Tamale, and Daboya. It was wonderful seeing old friends again - both Peace Corps and native. I brought my Chief's walking stick all the way from Loveland, Colorado so I wouldn't embarrass myself upon my triumphant return to Daboya and then I left it in a friend's truck in Kumasi!! Fortunately, I managed to call my friend Musah and he arranged for someone to meet me at the river with a replacement walking stick. It was thrilling but a bit off-putting to be greeted by so many with cries of "Garba - Asan-san-san. Fo dan ga!!" which means, "Welcome so much Chief. You have grown fat!" Hey, can I help it if there are DQ's and Baskin Robbins on every corner in the US??!!

It was also wonderful to meet the new Peace Corps Volunteer, T.K., and see what an impact he is having in the village, particularly with the younger people, after only a couple of months. I was disappointed to hear that in the 10 months without a PCV present, the Daboya Tourism Management Team failed to meet at all, did not hold their scheduled elections, had let the new Visitor's Centre begin to run down, and had reverted to the old way of charging tourists. In other words, everything we built there for tourism was set aside. Hopefully, T.K. will get it going again. On the flip side, I was thrilled to see that the upgrade of our clinic to a polyclinic is almost complete. All of the old buildings and Nurse's quarters have been remodeled, wonderful new beds put into place, and a new laboratory built. A new Medical Assistant and nurses are in place and all that is left to do is to bring a full time doctor there. They even have a TV with a satellite dish set up in the waiting room!!

I got to see my brother-from-another-mother Dada Pramananda in Accra and he is still diligently trying to get funding to build a library and regional market place in Daboya. I am grateful for his continued efforts and the blessing he is trying to bring to Daboya.

It was good to visit again AND the heat, mosquitos, and bad roads reminded me why I decided to come back home to Colorado! Of course, it might have been a better return if there wasn't snow on the ground........

Check out the spiritual group I am associated with, Emissaries of Divine Light.