If you haven’t read Part 1, start there.
As I said, it was exhausting, but in a very good way; nothing we did (even sitting on the beach watching kids and fishermen) was filler. They weren’t just trying to keep us busy, the good foks at YWAM Ghana had a purpose for everything they were doing. It wasn’t always planned as well as we would have liked, but we adapted, and they adapted for us, and it worked.
The second point I will make about my trip to Ghana – and I use the word “my” on purpose, as I am looking at this more or less existentially as opposed to a “what I did on my summer vacation” kind of way – is that it stretched me. Or, at least I thought I was being stretched. In reality, I found that my limits were much larger than I thought, like Indiana Jones in “The Last Crusade,” where he steps out on to what looks like empty air, to find a quite solid rock bridge (wow, what a cool analogy, like stepping out on “the rock,” you know…). Okay, enough silliness.
I was exhaused when I arrived, after 30+ hours of travel, and I think that just being that tired had a lot to do with my initial culture-shock. That, and the heat (everyone kept telling us how cool it was, compared to the past few weeks). This was also the furthest I had been away from home, ever, and I was not in control, of anything. Thank goodness for international cell phone service; I was able to call home, and connect with the world from which I was now physically removed.
I begged off doing much the next morning, but as I “caught the groove” of the church we were visiting, and realized that I was not without something to share with these people, and that they had things to share with me, I began to ease in a bit.
They made us feel as “at home” as possible, trying to give us food that we could at least recognize. Lots of fried chicken, lots of rice, and this wonderful red sauce that I am positive kept me on pepto-bismal throughout the trip. The pineapple was absolutely incredible- I still miss the pineapple. The people were absolutely wonderful – much more gracious than anywhere else I’ve been.
We had also each brought ample supplies of Starbucks coffee and French presses, so we were not without a little taste of home (except for our 2-3 days in the Central Region, where we learned to appreciate Nescafe – it’s really not that bad, if it’s all you have).
By the time we were ready to leave, about 10 days later, it had begun to feel like home, and I had some mixed feelings about leaving, already thinking about when I could return.
Next: thoughts on cross-cultural ministry.