So we have come to the end of our first week in Ghana! It’s been a heck of a week…from schools to football matches to visiting sacred crocodiles! We’re loving the challenges and opportunities of this overseas experience!
On Saturday afternoon, we went to watch local children play football on a full size pitch outside Bolgatanga Cathedral. They crowd of children were quite nervous speaking to us at first, but once they got used to our presence, there was no stopping the conversation flowing! What we did learn was that football really unites the children of Bolgatanga. Elizabeth, who cooks for the Sisters, arranged for her son to take us to the match. Amos, 13, loves attending the football to support his 9 year old brother Pius, who is a key player in the team.
On Sunday morning, we were up bright and early and sat in Church by 6am waiting for Mass to begin. The wait was definitely worth it when in walked a huge Gospel Choir! There were over a thousand people at Mass. Even the Priest had 20 altar servers with him. What made our morning though, was when one of the young altar servers, Gabriel, recognised us from watching the football the previous day and ran up to us to greet us. Mass was a wonderful experience with singing and dancing for 2 whole hours. At the end of Mass, Father invited Sister Eunice and the four of us to come up to the sanctuary and introduce ourselves to the whole congregation…that’s 1,000 people staring at us! It was daunting, but we got a wonderful Bolgatanga welcome from everyone. It’s amazing how just knowing a little of the local language is so well received!
Once Mass had finished, we were invited to attend and participate in Sunday school with Sister Angela. The children don’t go to Mass with the adults, they have their own separate service, and over 300 children attended. We got a warm welcome from the children who were fascinated to see us celebrating the service with them. The children gathered around us at the end and just wanted to chat with us forever, which we all loved.
After a hectic morning, we were lucky enough to have an afternoon off and spend time with Sister Eunice. It was a brilliant afternoon. She showed us the culture of Ghana. She drove us to Paga where there is a lake with crocodiles in. The crocodiles are sacred to the area, as tradition has it, that they once showed a Chief where there was available water during a dry season. Don’t worry though…the crocodiles were used to humans, so none of us were bitten!
After the crocodile trip, we went to Pikworo, a former Slave Camp, where Aaron our guide, told us the history of slavery in the area. It was quite a moving experience, when you think that Ghana’s historical path started at these slave camps.
We popped in, on our way home, to visit the Presentation Brothers, Edwin and Valerus, who are friends of the SHCJs. They welcomed us with a cup of tea and some biscuits. This was a lovely end to our first week in Ghana.
Lots of love
Emma and crew (Patters, Chris & Amen) xxxxxxxxxxxx