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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 3: Gratitude

The previous day (Saturday) was a huge day with the long car ride out to Borges' village, the anticipation of finding, then meeting Borges, the craziness of the crowd, etc.  So for today (Sunday, Dec 23) we decided two things:

1.  Keep the trip close to home base (no long car rides), and;
2.  Visit a village where the need was great and the expectation was low.

When Eric told us he found a village less than an hour away where the kids had very little we were so excited to get there.  Apparently, this village didn't get too much attention from humanitarian visits and yet it was less than hour away from the capital, Accra.  I will tell you why I think this little village gets little attention in a second.

Here are a few photos of the sights from the car as we headed to this little village.  We weren't bringing food this time so we had a little more room in our trusty compact SUV, carrying the remaining balls (about 50?) and little gifts.

Apparently the best ice cubes you can buy makes drinking sensual.
I did NOT know ice cubes had that effect!  ;-)

Love the impact of color in this country!
Decorated for Christmas on Dec 23, 2012
Chicken coop by the side of the road.  I don't think too many of these chickens were
still alive by the time we passed by later in the day.

This little guy is helping push a medium-sized fridge to a
location where used appliances are for sale.
Just pushing and smiling!
He carried the door from the cart on his head.  Nice work!

The roads started to get rough as we neared the village.

I love the mix of colors in this photo of this girl taking a break
from selling bags of water, in the bowl on her head.

So, as we reached the halfway point to the village we pulled off to a different village and picked up Auntie Comfort.  The reason this village doesn't get much attention is because it's very difficult to find and the roads there, as we would soon find out, are rough.  Not just unpaved, rough!

So, Auntie Comfort hopped in a cab (there wasn't room for her in our car) and we followed the cab for about 25-30 minutes to the village.  I will just say here, though I think it's probably clear just by looking at Auntie Comfort, that she was an absolute angel!  So helpful in getting us through the protocol of visiting the village with the village chief and then keeping things going smoothly the entire day.  We miss her!

Auntie Comfort

Our arrival was fairly low-key initially, despite Vincent getting our SUV stuck in a ditch as we parked the car.  Sort of comical as like 50 guys emerged suddenly to help rescue us.  We got out and then walked through most of the village--which is ALWAYS fascinating--to find the chief and make sure he was OK with us giving gifts to his villagers.

One of the many beautiful children curious about these strange visitors from far away.
The Animal Control guy had't quite made his daily rounds yet.  Lovely!

Very nice Village Chief with his wife (at least one of his wives). 

I love this picture.  These sweet children with mine walking back to the soccer field to distribute gifts.

Once we had clearance from the chief we headed back to the SUV to start the distribution process.  I have to tell you that for me, and I know Marissa and Kylie feel the same way, this visit was more fun and touching than even visiting Borges village because these kids A) had no idea we were coming so the element of surprise made it more exciting for them and us, and B) rarely see visitors and they were touched and grateful that we came to see them.

So, same drill as the day before.  We had the kids form 3 lines so we could have some order as we handed out the gifts.

Here are the boys lined up, half of them in jerseys, not yet knowing why they are lined up.

Same deal for the girls.  Notice the tiny one in the front.  Wrong line sweetie!

Kylie and Marissa handing out suckers and fruit chews in purple gift bags.

These boys got used balls from our local soccer club in Logan.  Amazing to see
their grateful faces for something that most American kids would be looking to replace.

Pink is her color!

Sweet little face.

Marissa with one of the many smiles we had on this day, and this entire trip!

After handing out most of the gifts we had a few leftovers and that's always where things get tricky.  The girls wanted to give extras to the kids that tugged on their heartstrings but as much as we tried to discreetly give them out, it seemed like 50 other kids would notice and wonder why they weren't getting more.  Tricky but we managed.  I can't blame the children for thinking of the SUV where we had the gifts as though it were Mary Poppins' bottomless bag.  I distracted the kids by having us all play a HUGE game of soccer on their field.  It was chaos but distracted everyone long enough to give out the remaining few gifts to the kids.

A MUCH older "kid" hamming it up with a new jersey set.  I asked him what he did for work, he's 26,
and he said "I play soccer."  I asked if he got paid for that and he just repeated: I play soccer.  

It was such a rewarding day for us and how thankful we are to Eric Peasah and Auntie Comfort for making this trip happen!  We just showed up but they were the ones to connect us to this great group of children and adults.

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