Photo of the Day

The man in black’s name is Johnny. He was the driver that took me to Frankadua this week. Johnny is wearing black because his father passed away last week. Tradition dictates that he wear black until his father’s body has been buried.

This photo is significant to me because it reminds me of the reason we are here. Johnny’s father was diabetic and when he fell ill Johnny took him to a public hospital in Accra. The hospital was over-crowded and under-funded. They had no running water or empty beds and were not accepting any new patients. Johnny sat in the hospital lobby for hours and hours and watched his father die.

The work Heidi and the staff in Nalerigu are doing makes a difference. The financial support the hospital receives through the IMB and the Faile Foundation makes a difference.

Yaws

A pregnant woman’s abdomen with 3 yaws papillomasA 30-something, 6-month pregnant lady came to clinic the other day with a complaint of having a rash on her abdomen. When she lifted her shirt, I saw three medium sized papillomas in a curved line on the right side of her pregnant belly. They appeared to be in 3 different stages of development, 2 of which had central ulcerations.

A Konkomba woman from northeastern GhanaI really had no idea what it was. I looked to my translator/ nurse for an idea. She said “it looks like yaws.” “YAWS?” I said, trying to figure out if she was just pronouncing an English word in a funny way. She repeated it. Then Mrs. Faile came into the room and agreed. “That looks like yaws.” I was still confused.

Come to find out, yaws is one of those diseases that I read about a long time ago, probably just once, figuring I would never see it. It is a non-venereal cousin of syphillis. The treatment is Penicillin or Erythromycin, both of which are safe in pregnancy.

Trokosi Slavery

Baptist Vocational Training Centre in Frankadua, GhanaThis week I visited the Baptist Vocational Training Center which helps to rehabilitate ex-Trokosi slaves and re-integrate them into society. Before I tell you about what the Center is doing for the girls and some of their stories I wanted to explain what Trokosi is and why it is practiced. As Westerners it is very difficult for us to understand the grip that superstition and fear have on West Africans who practice African traditional religions (known as ATR, animism, voodoo, etc…). It is this fear that drives such horrendous practices as Trokosi slavery.

What is Trokosi? Read More

It’s not Spoiled, It’s Fermented

Banku served with fried tilapia from the Volta River and a tomato sauceMy last food related post about the mold in cheese being delicious flavor got a lot of mixed reactions. Some folks didn’t agree with me that mold was flavor. After trying a local dish named Banku I too have found I disagree with someone else’s idea of flavor.

Banku is a sort of corn dough. Farmers grind their corn into a powder and then mix it with water into balls of dough. The doughy substance is then put in warm water and left to sit for 3-4 days. During that time the corn ferments and looses its sweetness. The final result is a sticky ball of dough that is quite tangy and sour tasting.

Banku with fish and okra soupBanku is served with a soup or a thick tomato based sauce. I had it with fish and the tomato sauce the first time and the second time with a slimy okra soup. I’m getting used to the dish but it can’t say that I rate it up there with my moldy bleu cheese.

Photo of the Day

Though there isn’t anything spectacular about this photo’s composition, lighting, or color I just like the subject.

This baboon and its baby were crossing the highway as we drove by. I had the driver stop and a managed to snap a couple shots before they retreated back into the forest.

There is something gripping (pun intended) about the way that baby is hanging on for dear life. You could also pull out some life lessons about parenting and trust.

A Baboon crosses the highway in Ghana

It’s a Small World After All

I was in a Muslim Hausa neighborhood of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire with missionary Greg Sharpe and we were chatting with this guy. It took me several minutes before I noticed his t-shirt.

A&M Hauling Clearwater, FL on a t-shirt in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire