Saturday, November 04, 2006

Greetings from Axim Sat evening, 11/4

Blogging for the group's big day is Diana.

Dear family and friends,

Breakfast started here at hotel with Administration of secondary school coming to breakfast to award and give gifts to Jackie J and Jerome C for their work in the secondary schools here this week. About 4 came from the school administration to make the presentation. How great it was to see our current and retired teachers in the delegation honored.

Susan H had organized through Bentil that we be able to go into the water with boat this morning. So most of N. American delegation went, and some of Ghanaian delegation who were in a boat for the first time in their lives. We left the Axim beach, wading into the water to get to the boat and on it, with lots of little kids around playing in the water. Headed to Bebo Ayeze Island out in the bay where the Ghana Ports and Harbour Lighthouse sits. We saw trees with bird nests, hanging upside down, and yellow birds flying around. Some said from canary family. Most of us climbed the very steep 3 flights of curved stairs to top of light house for magnificent views and pictures. One could look back to the Castle of Axim which had been used to house slaves before deporting them. In between Bebo Ayeze Island and the castle, there was a small island that we learned earlier was where the slaves were led to through a tunnel to be put on boats, never to return again. In more current years, that castle has been used for some administration offices. We also could see the colorful flags on boats flying as boats road waves in and out to the sea. (We saw their catch later on when on the beach.)

Upon returning to the beach, we waded through the water again to dry sand, and there was a porpoise that had been caught -- by accident. A tuna had been on the line, and the porpoise had gone for the tuna and swallowed the hook. Around the beach, the catch of the day was being distributed, and women cutting up some fish. The meat looked like a wine color of red.

While on the boat trip, Barbara G and Maryanne W went to Women's Aglow meeting where Barbara spoke this morning. They reported a good session with the women.

After lunch, all but two of us in Amercan delegation and most in Ghanaian delegation headed by bus to Nzulezu village. To get there, we rode about 1 hr, then had to canoe via canals and a lake, paddling about 1 hr, 4 or 5 of us to a boat. This village is well known because it is on stilts in the lake. Once there, we walked the "main path" above the water with their housing and school rooms along the way. Primary education is done there, older goes out somewhere to school. Protocol always means you visit the chief, and tell him of your visit. Our Ghanaian friends gave the chief a bottle (probably gin), and then translated some history the chief told us about. Originally the people here were from Mali, elsewhere in Africa, and came here and settled to avoid war. Intermarriage occurred over many years, and now they call themselves Ghanaians. Returned via the boats, and more paddling (and these paddles are of very heavy wood!) and got rained on. Here in these boats a few of our new Ghanaian friends from Axim in the delegation came, and it was also their first time in boats, hanging on tightly, and first time to Nzulezu.

Arrived back at hotel about 7:30pm, it gets dark here at 6pm being on the equator. Full moon tonight is shining brightly. Then all ate dinner, and Jerome led the group in a "talent show night"

Tomorrow Rich will be giving the sermon at a Methodist church. Others are going to various churches and spending their last day in Axim. The Monday morning departure early will come too soon. Sunday evening the District Executive is coming and hosting a banquet at our hotel restaurant for our last night together.

How can it be that we leave Axim on Monday? So soon!! We'll all cherish tomorrow and our last visits with folks here. Monday will be drive to Kumasi via lunch with Barbara G's friend in Cape Coast.

Dennis, our psychiatrist and hence, Dr., has helped arrange help for Ablema, the young 13 year old girl with eye problems. About 6 months in Cape Coast with treatment and lodging with Dr. there should cost about $500 USD. We hope to get enough to help the family make this happen.

Signing off for the evening, Diana, blogging again today to help share with family and friends back home.