Posts Tagged Ghana

Christ Affirms Culture

Perhaps one of the most moving segments of the recent Nkonya New Testament Dedication was a play mounted by the Tayi cultural group.  Drawing on historical music, dance, and formal protocol, the New Testament, “God’s New Oath” was presented by the Tayi Chief to the Chief of Nkonya who accepted it on behalf of his people to use it to lead, care for, and bless them.

When I figure out how to edit out selected segments of our hours of video tape I’ll try to put it on the blog.  For right now, here are some stills.

The Linguist for the Chief of Tayi challenging the Chief of Nkonya to forsake all evil and receive the newly written book, "God's New Oath"

A dance, traditionally only performed by virgins, celebrates the Chief's acceptance.

Presenting a copy of "Bulu Ntam Pɔpwɛ" to the Chief of Nkonya. Three times the question was asked, "Do you receive this?" Three times the affirmative was given, "Yo ,Nahɔ." " Yes, I have received it."

The Chief, leaving the gathering, New Testament in Hand.

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Hot off the Press

She didn’t have the privilege of attending school as a child.  She doesn’t read English. But she learned how to read her own Mother Tongue.  And now she has a New Testament in her own Language to read.

The New Testament in Nkonya

A New Covenant of Love

She can read it for herself

Congratulations

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Tsúfɛ́ dwɛ́ Bulu lɛ́hɩɛ dwɛ́ anyánkpʋ́sa

Children’s Day programs at church, or Recitals presented by Primary Schools in Ghana often utilize a well loved formula.  It is certainly used throughout Nkonya.

Picture a row of children ranged across the front of the stage.  Each in turn announces his or her name and gives a short recitation in a clear voice that easily carries to the back of the room.  Similiar to, but very different from the bashful presentations that grace many Canadian Christmas programs where children are put on stage before adoring parents.

“My name is Adisa Sullivan. I come from Red Deer, Alberta.

My quotation is from John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only beloved Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

The quotation is most often given in English, the language of school instruction. Sometimes it will be given in Ewe or Twi, also languages studied in School. Until recently, reciting it in their best understood language, Nkonya, was not an option.

I often think of a Presbyterian Catechist who said, “I have been a Catechist, and have read the Bible in Ewe for many years, but I didn’t understand the death of Christ until I read it in Nkonya.”

This is why I was so impressed when I attended a children’s service in  Nkonya-Asakyere and watched children recite and read in their own Nkonya language.

Yohane 3:16

Tsúfɛ́ dwɛ́ Bulu lɛ́hɩɛ dwɛ́ anyánkpʋ́sa.Mʋ́ sʋ ɔlɔpʋ mʋ Bi ɔkʋkʋ́nʋ́ ɔkʋlɛ pɛ́ ámʋ há, mɛ́nɩ ɔhagyíɔha ánɩ́ ɔlɔhɔ mʋ gyi omóowu, mboún obénya nkpa ánɩ́ ɩtamatá.

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15 Billion to Spend

A spin off benefit of going to the pool in the pre-dawn hours is that I often listen to BBC’s Business Report on CBC Radio One.   And sometimes one catches interesting things.  Like the fact that China, a country on the hunt for more resources to meet its needs, has just signed deals with Ghana that total over 15 Billion in loans and get it in on the ground floor with Ghana’s newly discovered off shore oil and will give it 80% of the shares of a new Bauxite Refinery.

I once picked up a book that was designed to give North American Business etiquette tips for cross-cultural enterprises.  It was organized by country.  The only entries for Africa were Egypt and South Africa.

No wonder China is seizing a wide open door of opportunities on the continent.

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Catering in Accra

What should I do when I grow up?  Options start narrowing  if you are one of the many rural students in Ghana who don’t make it through the government exams at the end of  Secondary School (Junior High School in Canada).  The respectable choices are few, especially if you are a girl. You could  go into farming, or small scale trading, apprentice as a hair-dresser, or a seamstress, or find a job as a maid/child minder in Accra.

An outside option- because it’s relatively expensive, is to find a place at a catering school.  One girl from our town was fortunate enough to find a sponsor and do just that.  Here are some pictures of studying catering in Accra at an independent catering school.

Students provide their own uniforms.

Classroom Uniform

And have the option of living in the attached Hostel.

Hostel Dorm Room

This school presents a very tidy set-up.  The compound includes a classroom block,

Classroom Block

Here classes in English, Math, and various skills specific to catering are taught four days a week.

Part of the first year class

There is also a cooking block where each student is equipped with a sink and a propane stove for practicals.  Part of the costs of studying here include buying all your own cooking utensils and the ingredients needed for each practical cooking class.  This partly explains the ratio of four days of classes to one day of actual cooking each week.  For many students it is a challenge to find the extra ten dollars a week they need to buy the foodstuffs for their day of practical cookery.

Cooking Classroom

A entire chicken and all the ingredients for a complete meal.

And a computer class room.

Computer Room

The day begins with practical cleaning.  In this case, cutting the grass in front of the compound.

Keeping the grass down

Followed by a general assembly that includes singing the National Anthem, repeating the Twenty-third Psalm, and instructions for the day.

Assembly

Those taking their practical exams today are dressed for the kitchen.

White uniforms for cooking, orange for class

The Head Mistress also met with her teaching staff for a short time of Bible Reading and Prayer before starting the school day.

Head Mistress

Staff Devotions to start the day

After assembly the students disperse to their various classes or cooking assignments.

The day these pictures were taken was the end of term exam day for a portion of the second year students.  For the exam each student was preparing and serving an entire meal.  Minestrone, roast chicken and potatoes, and a pineapple dessert. We find the students standing, everything fully prepared, complete to name tags, awaiting the arrival of the examiner.

Waiting for the examiner

All ingredients in order, and ready to cook

Also ready to serve the food once it was cooked

An establishment that seems to personify Ghanaian values of things done decently and in order and not “just any which way.”

Will studying there ensure a job?  The headmistress assured me that her graduates are sought and prized.

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To go beyond the norm

It’s common knowledge in Ghana that to farm is to wrest an uncertain living  by the sweat of one’s brow.  There is a steady exodus from the rural areas to the city.  However, there are some amazing men who stand as exceptions.  Foster Ofori is one.

We have cooperated with him on a goat-rearing program for AIDS patients and a few weeks ago I went to take some pictures to send back to donors.

While I was there he showed me some of his other on-going projects and I was impressed.  Industry and innovation on a shoestring budget.

In one darkened room he was rearing nocturnal grass-cutters (cane rats) .  The original pair had been trapped from the wild by a hunter but have adjusted to captivity and regularly produce offspring.  I asked, “Have you eaten any yet?” He said, “Yes, four.”  Well worth it, I would say.  Their succulent meat does not taste like “chicken”- more like ham.

He ushered me into his yam barn, beautiful and  sprouting with promise for  the planting season.  He indicated a particular yam. ” You see this one?  People don’t like to plant it because when it is harvested in August it has a lot of moisture and doesn’t make  good fufu.  However, it keeps better than any other. Now in February, when my other yams  have spoiled, it is still good and makes excellent fufu.”

In the yard I had seen one of the children with a pile of  empty “pure water satchets.” carefully opening one end on each.   Pure ice cold water, conveniently bagged in individual servings, has become omnipresent  and can be bought almost anywhere.  Unfortunately they tend to be discarded without thought and next to the ubiquitous black plastic bags most purchases are sent home in,  are probably  the most common littered item  around.  I wondered what they were being recycled for.

In the yam barn I discovered the reason.  There, on the ground, were several hundred bags filled with soil, sprouting young mahogany seedlings.   As I looked at them I thought, “For all that is preached about reforesting, how many make the effort?”

No wonder Foster has no yearning to move to the city.  He is forever exploring and extending his ideas for innovative farming.

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Safe, Simple, Satisfactory to Millions

When I think of Western “Baby Carriers”,  cluttered with straps, and fasteners, and elaborate enablements designed to accomodate a rapidly growing infant, marketed at inflated prices, I can’t help thinking of K.I..S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and contrast them to  the two yards of cotton cloth that safely packs babies close to Moms across Africa.

Recently a young mother was visiting me with her baby and as she rose to go matter of factly transferred her baby to her back.  I grabbed a camera to snap a series of pictures of this commonplace action, repeated so many times daily, without a second thought.

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