The list of tasks to be completed was long.
Us typical abruni’s had a very “in-character” American “to-do” list because again, we were planning our time based on how we expect things to run in our own country.
We didn’t always plan on traffic jams that last for three and a half hours. In a cab with no air-conditioning.
We didn’t plan on the multitude of stops to get cedis from the ATM because we had to plan our cash well – only 400 cedis, roughly the equivalent of about $280, could be deducted each day per Ghanaian banking rules.
This sounds like it should be more than sufficient until you realize we were paying for furniture, wooden cabinets, health insurance, food, and medical costs.
And of course, I did it gladly because this, yes this, is what I want to spend my money on and yet we still had to plan carefully due to the constraints of the ATM’s.
But we were able to steal away a bit after our meeting with Social Welfare (to have The Fern House registered as an official NGO, which stands for Non-Governmental Organization) and go to the “penny market”.
Might I suggest you never go when they are about to close for the day?
The penny market is also known as the “Arts and Crafts” market in Accra (I think) and we were on a mission to purchase drums for our children.
The drums are beautiful and of course, very much a part of the Ghanaian culture.
I didn’t want to simply bring a home a t-shirt for my children. I wanted to return from this trip with a souvenir they would have forever. First, you select the style…
Then, the artists work their magic and display their gifts by carving specific names and symbols into a drum created just for that special person…
I chose the same symbol for each of my babes, the one that means “home is always where love can be found” because it is.
Should you be in Accra, Ghana anytime soon and want to purchase a drum, “Ultimate Drums” in the Arts and Crafts market is your place…
After ordering our drums and watching the soccer game being played for a bit, we moved on to other areas of the market.
And then we were practically mobbed.
Luckily, we had guides to help us through. I highly recommend this because as a general rule in Ghana, it is inferred that if you are white Americans, you have money to spend.
Two soccer jerseys and a t-shirt later, we were out of there.
But what I still carry with me, the sweet joy I remember of that somewhat overwhelming moment were two joyful girls having a ball despite the smell of open sewage and oppressive heat…
And I’m reminded that despite the pushy salesmen and the culture that is so different yet so similar, despite the heavy heat and dirt that seems to permeate the air, despite the strange odors and the clay streets, I see beauty in the eyes of the what is human.
But real and true and honest and pure and abundant and thankful joy, a joy that is rare where I live, a joy that is often contingent upon having so much more instead of so little, a joy that has strings attached instead of none, a joy that is conditional upon the market or the man or the marriage or the job.
An exhilarating joy beyond my comprehension and yet one I am so desperate to possess.
And I think I know the only way to achieve it, the secret they know that I don’t but am learning…
To be continued…
But alas, it is Monday and so I continue to countdown my ever-growing list of gratitudes. Thank you, dear Heavenly Father for…
481. The grace you wash over us when we are so trivial
482. Joy in the faces of those with so little yet still with so much
483. Awakening a soul to what you want it to hear
484. Affirming a faith in you that you are steadfast and unwavering
485. Creating circumstances that lead to the only possible solution – You.
486. Making me press into you, HARD, and for delivering
487. The beauty of culturally-specific art
488. A big cold bottle of Volvic water
489. A testimony that involves crossing the Nigerian border on foot and once being on an altar as a sacrifice and yet still here, a survivor that spreads the love of You and of course, You knew all along…
490. Your plan for each of us.