The Buchele Adventure

This is record of the Buchele Adventure, as reported from West Africa.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Visit from Home II - Sand Castling

Safari Beach could well be our favorite place on Earth and I'm not sure why. The beach is wonderful but the ocean has often been too rough for us to do much swimming without feeling beat up. The sand is nice for building castles, though they are gone by morning. The sleeping accommodations are beautiful, but hot if the ocean breeze dies down. The food is outstanding.

A few years ago James and Angelia (the owners of Safari Beach [click here]), were on a yearlong art-safari across Africa. Originally they are from Texas, Angela went to that other great school in Texas, and grew up about 20 miles from the church I used to pastor. James is a French-trained Chef, so the food was amazing. They had come to Africa to collect historic art, masks and carvings mostly from the village elders they visited. I don't know what they planned to do with their Land Rover full of art but they never had to answer that question as they settled down in this remote strip of beach and built a wonderful beach resort. My guess is that they had been staying at The Green Turtle [click here] and fell in love with the area, and decided to build a resort that went after a different market (read: upscale). Almost a year ago they had a baby boy, Parker, as did the owners of the Green Turtle, though I don't know if they had a boy or girl. Angela & James' resort has the feel of being welcomed into someone's home, without the awkwardness. There is attention to detail, and elegant simplicity, and of course some of the best food we have ever tasted.

[Parker & Angela]

We come there with stacks of daily comics and Time Magazines saved from the packages Suzanne's mother sends us each week. We spend our time sitting on the beach reading, playing cards or Sorry!, or this time, the game of Risk. And then there is sand castle building.

[Playing RISK]
[Playing SORRY!]
[Eating Breakfast]
[Sunset Swim with Suzanne and the kids]

For some reason much of the sand in Ghana isn't all that well suited to building sand castles. Its either made of the wrong stuff, or not angular enough, or I don't know what, but castles seem to just slump when the waves come near. The sand at Safari Beach is better than most, and no matter the condition of it, Anna loves to build them. But I'm not sure if she isn't building something else.

[Girls playing in the Sand]

Right before we left with Ashley & Karl, I had received an email from a friend who was helping me process change. He wrote about his time in the army, about when his unit changed, which was about every three years. He said at first it really bugged him because returning there in three weeks it was like "you were never there. No pictures on the wall, no heralding of accomplishments etc. I always wondered," he writes, "was it worth it and did I make a difference?" Those words were echoing around in my brain this week-end as Anna, and [Peter, Fox, Maddy, and/or any of the adults] helped her build castles.

[The Castle]
[Gets hit by waves]

[And soon it has been washed away]

For those watching, a lot of the conversations centered around what we had been doing here in Ghana; what we've been involved with. For example Suzanne's research topic, One Laptop Per Child-Ghana [click here to read], is about to launch this week or next, and so there is a lot of wondering about the difference it will make in Ghana. Her work in both teaching Computer Science and as Acting Dean of Ashesi is perhaps the most interesting and rewarding work she has done in her lifetime. But if my friend is correct, in five months (one month after we are gone), it might be as if she never was there. I know that was my Dad's experience. My sister Beth writes "Dad used to say that he looked upon his teaching there as like footprints in the sand, of no lasting effects." I am not so sure. Someone once wrote: "What you do may not change the world, but it will change you," and that has been my tag line for the last few weeks and perhaps my life. I know living in Ghana in 1968-69 certainly did change me, even if it missed the rest of the world. It all reminds me of something attributed to John Wesley, "Through prayer, God changes you so that you can change the world."

But getting back to the beach, it was wonderful to have friends from home, people who have firsthand knowledge of the primary season, and how interesting it has been. Its fun to hear of the latest fads, trends, and what occupies the lives of our friends. Its especially fun to have long term friends, ones who have known us long enough to have seen the changes, and not get lost in them. And then it is fun to get to know their kids, and watch them play with ours.

[Peter is just as happy playing alone...lastborn]

Anna and Maddy became fast friends, being only one year apart and pretty much went everywhere together. Peter tagged along and was a good sport about it. When he was included it was fine, and when he wasn't, like many lastborn's, he was quite self sufficient.

Ashley and Karl have traveled extensively with their kids, and it shows as they didn't even blink at the third worldness of Ghana, traveling on a Trotro, eating snacks from the side of the road, or drinking water out of a plastic bag. They were easy going and easy to please, and fit right into our family as if they had always been friends. Watching them, and just hanging out with their parents, we had a feeling of being intensely blessed.


Blogger LoreliC said...

We're having a similar experience. Did some sand-castling ourselves today.
On our drive to the beach, we saw some large goats with pink on their backs and I wondered what your take was on that...

11:57 PM, March 01, 2008  

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