Africa has long been associated with stereotypical imagery of exotic animals, remote landscapes, and thatch huts. But the people of Sub-Saharan Africa are rapidly redefining the reality of what life is like on the world’s second largest continent.
Commonly known as the Gold Coast Bombax (Bombax buonopozense) or ‘false-kapok’ tree has pods full of a silky cotton like substance that surrounds its seeds. Its ingenious design allows the pods to burst open and release the seeds to float away in the wind.
Here’s an video of tree opening one of the pods from the silk-cotton tree. You can see how compressed the cotton is inside as it just keeps on expanding and expanding!
In Mampruli, the tree is known as a vobga and it’s flowers are harvest to make a delicious soup. They fetch quite a price in the market when they are available.
Sumnibooma#1 Baptist Church, a place we visit fairly regularly, has a new preaching point in Tambɔna, a very small community a couple miles away. They erected a simple shelter in which they meet weekly for a worship service. Sumnibooma#1 sends two or three of its members to lead the service.
Often for such events I preach a sermon that has a theme that matches the meaning of the child’s name. However, this child had no traditional name (those are often connected to proverbs) and his English given name was Desmond. Desmond is an anglicization of the Gaelic locale Deas-Mhumhna, or “South Munster.” So basically, Desmond means “Irish guy from South Munster.” Kind of hard to preach a sermon in a rural West African village on that topic.
Thankfully, I found one claim that the American meaning of Desmond has become “gracious defender” (don’t ask me how). That was a much easier meaning to tie to Scripture since Christ is our gracious defender – our advocate before the Judge!
Whenever Dr. Vince “Tiiya” Waite comes to town, I take him out to Namoori to visit his old friend who is chief of that village. Often we go out to the Gambaga Escarpment just north of there after visiting with the chief and enjoying a meal together. Several of his courtiers guided us and took us to a new spot a bit farther east down the scarp.
There they showed us a natural spring that attracts wildlife year round. In fact, we saw a troop of about 10-12 wild patas monkeys running through the trees below. They also showed me a new path I did not know of that allows one to walk down the cliffs and get to the White Volta River.
It follows the trend that each village seems to have its own path down the Gambaga Escarpment to reach their farms, the forest and the river. So far, I’ve seen such paths at Gambaga, Dintigi, Namoori, Zarantinga/Namaasim, Sakogu, Baungu, Kpatiritinga, Nakpanduri and Tusugu.
With the help of her older brother, KJ is getting pretty good at this walking on stilts thing!
January 28, 2018 was an exciting day in Nalerigu. Mr. Robert Jackson, US Ambassador to Ghana, paid us a visit with his wife and an entourage of embassy representatives. Among them was Mr. Jimmy Mauldin and his wife, both former missionaries at the Baptist Medical Centre. Jimmy served as the BMC Administrator for several years in the 90s. He is now the Economic Adviser to the Ambassador in Ghana.
Ambassador Jackson first received a tour of our hospital led by Dr. Tim Cahill and Mr. Stephen Yiddi. After which we had a meal together at the BMC guesthouse. All the American citizens living in East Mamprusi District were invited (my family, the Cahills and Rachel, a PeaceCorps volunteer in Jawani).
The visit concluded with a visit to the NaYiri in town. I was very proud of the wonderful welcome that Nalerigu’s paramount chief, elders and subchiefs gave our Ambassador. He too was very impressed and promised to continue to USAid’s efforts to assist the people of the Northern Region, specifically mentioning CHPS and indoor mosquito spraying.
The NaYiri gave the Ambassador an honorary title of Sumniraana or “Chief of Good Relations.” Ambassador Jackson graciously accepted and responded to the lunsi‘s call to dance Damba (watch their video clip on Facebook).