The Buchele Adventure

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

Friday, September 16, 2016

New Tools: Accepting Help and Borrowing Money

Living in Ghana I tend to read a lot of blogs, some of our colleagues in the field, others from people who just moved here.  It's almost a trend, move to Ghana, start a blog.  

Somehow I had ended up (mostly likely some enticing clickbait) on, and was reading “What’s Wrong with Western Missionaries” [click here].  It's a great read, but the cliff notes version is that they are too self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency is a quality admired and encouraged by Americans, and especially by men but when author Nik Ripkin wrote about the missionary who was known as “The man we love,” the reason leading to that love was “because he borrows money from us.”  He borrows money from the people he came to serve.  

I’ve done a lot of things here in our time in Ghana, and I’m constantly looking for more experiences to add to our bucket list, but borrowing money was never on, nor a candidate for that list.  It never would have occurred to me, and so after reading it, I prayed a silent prayer for an opportunity that I might be open to.  

Next day I am invited to have lunch with a student and as we get near the front of the line to order, he says, “this lunch is on me.”  Now I know he is a full scholarship student, and my unconscious  reaction was, “Oh, no, you can’t buy me lunch, it should be I who is buying you lunch,” but then the words from yesterday’s silent prayer come back to me, and I said, “Okay, that would be great.”  

Talking over lunch is something our students have to learn when they come to Ashesi.  Talking while eating is not part of the normal culture of Ghana, and you can almost learn what year group a student is in by what she/he does at lunch. The first years are silent, the final years, won't hardly shut up.

Outside Ashesi, rarely have I observed Ghanaian families eating together, and when they do, they eat in silence.  Sometimes they have invited me to dine with them, and that means sitting in another room, eating by myself while the rest of the family is off working, cleaning the kitchen or watching TV. It is a strange and lonely experience.  

Now it wasn’t as easy as just buying lunch, as the accounting system in the canteen isn’t set up for such generosity, but they figured it out, and we had an interesting conversation over a lunch of RedRed, plain rice and fried chicken.  [Here is my RedRed’s recipe]

You know, I have trouble accepting help, not only in Ghana, but back in Texas too.  The past month when I was there helping to care for my mother-in-law, so many friends and people I didn’t even know offered to help, and I just couldn’t accept.  I’m won’t be a candidate for “the man they love” anytime soon if I don’t learn to be as accepting as I try to be giving.  

So be patient with me, and keep asking and when I offer, be a good example and accept.


PS: Even if you are not a missionary, I recommend reading the blog on "Whats Wrong with Western Missionaries" [click here].


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