The Buchele Adventure

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

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Steve’s Village Tours

Our home on the Ashesi campus has been one filled with visitors to the campus.   Some came to interview, others to teach, others to observe the remarkable happenings at Ashesi. Our friend Pete came bringing equipment for the new engineering program. Making these new friends and seeing the ones from our past is a mixed blessing.  We love seeing or coming to know new friends, but after they leave, the blues set in, and we find ourselves unusually homesick.  It’s the part they don’t warn you about.
The Bush Path to the Village
Many of our guests experienced “Steve’s Village Tours” the local attraction for those who want to experience a real Ghanaian village. It all starts with a walk down the bush path, and past the house of the local fetish priest. One never knows what will be seen at his residence, which is set well apart from the village. He has invited me to one of his “events,” something I will need to pray over before attending.
[Scare Crow outside the fetish priest’s house]
Next on the tour is the new church and often we meet Pastor Jacob. Pastor Jacob is maybe 25, and is figuring out how to be a new father (his daughter is two months old). His church is one of the new crop of African Indigenous churches that have no historic ties to the western or colonial churches and are a curious blend of the prosperity gospel, Pentecostalism, with elements of traditional religion. I expect Pastor Jacob and I to become good friends someday, but a friendship like this take time to build.
[Tall Sacred Trees]
[the old village cistern]
From there we walk through a sacred grove of tall trees to an ancient cistern where women still draw water. Think of Jacob’s Well, in biblical times, and you get an idea of the kind of gathering spot this once was. Tall trees surround the cistern, and women gather in their shade to talk before head-loading the water away.
[Pete & Friends headload water, everybody has to do their part]

THE REST OF THE TOUR depends on the interests of our guests. For example, a friend from Pakistan, so naturally we visit the mosque and greet the Imam. The mosque was a gift from the people of Kuwait but had fallen into disrepair by the time Ashesi moved here. Some of the Ashesi staff took it on as a community project, kicked out the goats, fenced the yard (to keep the goats out), repainted it, and cleaned it up so now it serves as the center of the Muslim community in our little village. The Imam and I will be friends someday.
Multiculturalism: American and Pakastani friends in front of a Kuwaiti built Mosque in Ghana, West Africa.
[Steve and friend at Mosque]
Other times we visit the Basic School, or the Kente Cloth weavers, have a coke in the local “chop bar,” (chop being the word for small eats), or to an artesian spring, where water pours out from a rock. Were it not for the many conversations a walk takes, the tour would take 20 minutes, but in Ghana, no walk is complete without greeting those along the path, introducing my their new friend, and catching up. Being hurried here is another word for rude, and you will be shamed proper for not greeting.
The National Accreditation Board (NAB), came to visit, as did The World Bank, but those types are not so interested in a village tour. The NAB was here to accredit the new Engineering curriculum which Suzanne was in charge of, and The World Bank, came to iron out some details concerning their Ghana Climate Innovation Center, a grant Suzanne helped write, and Ashesi won (she was in charge of that too). It was rather cruel that they both came the same week our friend Pete brought the equipment, it was already a stressful week, but Suzanne handled it with an amazing amount of grace.
Steve teaches Leadership 1
[Steve teaching at Ashesi]
Besides teaching Leadership to the first years as part of Ashesi’s four year leadership curriculum, Steve has been mentoring a number of male students, and bringing the message at our church in Accra. We feel blessed to be strengthening our ties to this vibrant international church that is the best of Ghanaian culture framed in a more western way to be both accessible and authentic worship.
Our last visitor was the son of a friend of mine from seminary. He had come to Texas from Kenya, and later brought over his family, with kids about the same age as ours. Our families became friends, and gave them two cars. My first church was their supporter and today everyone in the family has some sort of graduate degree.
[Suzanne, David, and Steve – David is Solomon’s son]
Next time you are in Berekuso, you are welcome to go on one of Steve’s Village Tours.


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