Warm embrace with Janet and Dela
Celestine ... in her eyes ...
Laughter in the kitchen--bread making ... sort of!
How tall you are doesn't matter! (Desire and Porsche)
It is 2:14 AM here in Accra, and shortly I will get up to a church that I have never been to before and hopefully hale a taxi (more like stand on the side of the street and pray that he knows enough English and you know enough of what you’re talking about to get him there). This journey has been humbling, full and overwhelming at times. Yet, what I saw and experienced last week does not compare to anything I have known in my 10+ years as a therapist or any of my travels. God gave me a glimpse of what is to come. The girls got up EVERY morning at 4 AM. I slept in until 5:15 AM to get up and run/walk around the grounds fighting flies and dodging unsuspecting chickens. I would return, grab a bucket of water which the girls carried on the heads from the well the day before from about .7 miles away. Clean the toilet seat, finish then hope there’s enough water in the bucket from the person before to pour in the back of the toilet, pull the string, then flush…maybe. See, there’s no running water at the Centre. So then I proceed to the shower where there’s another bucket this time with a scoop for pouring the unheated water over you to shower. Personally, I found it a bit too much to bear even in the sticky heat. So I would “cheat,” wetting my wash cloth with the water from the scoop then squeezing the water over me. Once I was gently scolded by the House Mistress, Mercy (who I affectionately called “Auntie”), for NOT wearing my dusty dirty flip flops into the shower to clean them. Returning to the room hurrying to dress and be at breakfast by 6:30 AM. Sometimes, to be sure I wasn’t late, I would bathe after breakfast, which, for me, consisted of tea and a small palm-size sandwich which the Cooking students creative thought of daily. Maybe an egg with tomato, but if I had egg the day before the sandwich may just be of tomato and cabbage. Each morning I would lift up the plate for a culinary surprise. The students often watched eagerly from the side to view response, always approving. A few days in I began sitting with the students during meal times, declining the “chef’s table” set up for me in the kitchen. I wanted to know the students, even if it only meant through me being present and available.
The day would fill with me observing lessons; Dressmaking, Weaving, English, Integrated Science, Math, Cooking Year 1, Cooking Year 2, etc. Even a full day with the Cosmetology/Hairdressing students off site at their salon. I quickly went from “photographer” to participant getting up my first Saturday there at 4:30 in the morning to run with the students. That, in itself is a story all its own! Later that day I “helped” the girls carry water from the well by hand which resulted in one girls saying to me “Madame please, don’t come back, please.” Translation: “You’re spilling the water everywhere, please allow the professionals!” True, I could barely make it from the kitchen to the room with my tea without spilling it. They on the other hand make several trips with pales, buckets, large rubber gas can-like containers, large wash bowls and anything imaginable to carry water on their head. Rarely spilling a drop in their gazelle-like grace! The size of the girl didn’t matter either ranging from about 4'1" to 5'11". They all contributed in what also seemed to double as their time to socialize, joke and laugh.
These girls are in great need. Twice, in one day I was unexpectedly called on for counseling and ministering. First in church last Sunday with one of the girls who was fighting an emotional and spiritual battle, then later that night 3 girls brought another girl who was crying in her bed out to the Centre courtyard. In between the simmering chaos and language barrier I got one girl to translate what was happening. The girl’s “heart is hurt” she replied. I am hurt, even angered, at what these 40 girls, ages 14 and up, experienced—some as early as the age of 5!
His Majesty however has not forgotten these girls. It is clear through their smiles, willingness to learn and the support I am receiving from people like you to get me there to help foster their healing. I thank you and Him for what He is doing and about to do!
Please become “1 of 100” people that makes the commitment to these girls who are courageously turning their backs on the gods they once knew for the Jesus they are now coming to know! Prayerfully consider a tax deductible commitment of $13.54 or more a month for 5 years or $162.48 or more a year.
Click “Give” at www.internationalministries.org/teams/744-richardson or “Donate” at www.RovaughnaRichardson.com (you will be naviaged to my IM page).
See More Pictures and Video Logs from the Vision Trip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/questtohealvictimsoftrokosi/.