Traveling to Nalerigu

Trey points out our flight plane in the Accra airportOur trip north from Accra took most of the day. We took a domestic flight to the city of Tamale which has a much lower baggage weight allowance than the international flights we had taken. As a result we had to leave a trunk, a carry-on, and two boxes behind in Accra. We were a couple kilograms over our weight allowance (20kg each) but whenever I asked Jimmy how much it would cost he would reply with “It’s negotiable.”

Once at the airport I was told Trey didn’t count so we only got 40kg instead of 60kg. On top of that they made us check a carry-on which brought our luggage to a whooping 80kg! The cost? $40. I tried “negotiating” but got no where. Finally, Jimmy showed up and talked them down to $30. I seem to have lost my bargaining skills from when I grew up in West Africa. I’ll have to work on those these next couple weeks.

Walking from the plane to the airport in TamaleWe were met at the itsy-bitsy Tamale airport by Pat and Peggy Ozment, two missionaries working at the Baptist Seminary in Tamale, and our drivers who would be taking us to Nalerigu. Pat had a car seat for Trey and I had brought several boxes of Splenda and sugar-free candy for him. He is diabetic and was very excited to receive such goodies from America – sugar-free sweets are hard to come by out here.

Our truck to Nalerigu - it was full of our luggage and medical suppliesThe drive to Nalerigu took about 3 hours and was only paved about 1/3rd of the way. We fed Trey in the car and after about an hour he fell asleep. The dirt roads were pretty bad due to heavy rain in the past couple weeks. We had to pack shirts around Trey’s head to prevent the brain damage he would have certainly received as his head slammed back and forth in the car seat every time we hit a pot hole.

Trey plays with the camera in the cramped truckOnce in Nalerigu, we drove to the hospital compound (which I was surprised how large it is) and our driver dropped us off at our new home for the next 3 months. House #7.

Some of the neighborhood kids met us there and helped unload the truck and bring our luggage inside. They then hung out on the porch peering in the screen door as we unpacked. Trey had a blast playing with them through the screen.Trey plays with the local kids who were very interested in our arrival

A little while later one of the boys knocked on the door and asked “Madame, may we have a book to read”. Heidi grabbed some off the shelf and let them read them on the front porch. A couple minutes later there was another knock “Madame, my friend would like a book with pictures” Heidi opened the door and he returned C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. Heidi exchanged it for a Dr. Seuss book of Trey’s and he was much more content.

Here are a couple more pics from the day. As with all of the others, click them to see larger versions:

Even the sheep know it’s best to avoid the hot sun This bugger flew into my beard after this photo - my reaction looked a bit like a seizure
Trey walks down the path from our house A local boy greets Trey

Photos From Our Day in Accra

We stayed at the guest house compound today. I worked on their computers and Heidi & Trey played and napped. The guest house used to be a dorm for missionary kids so there is a large soccer field, basket ball court and playground on the compound. Trey enjoyed the playground and had a blast running around the soccer field.

We’ve also realized it isn’t a big deal that we didn’t pack any toys for him. As you can see in the pictures, he’s perfectly content with a pile of rocks. I can just hear him in 80 years saying to his grandkids “well, when I was a boy in Africa we only had rocks to play with!”

Tomorrow we fly to Tamale in the morning and then drive to Nalerigu in the afternoon. Please pray that the journey isn’t too stressful.

The Guest House Compound in Accra - yes, those airplanes flying over are LOUD Trey enjoys the warm African sun I climbed up the soccer goal post for this Trey tummy shot
Pink flowers in the courtyard Baby Trey hides behind a baby banana tree Banana blur
Playing with rocks next to the guest house security guard Who needs toys! Poster for the new Fox sitcom “Baby Prison Break”

Already at Work

12 hours in Africa and I’m already at work! Hey, that’s what we’re here for!

We are staying today at the missionary guest house – a “motel” of sorts for any mission team passing through the city. The guest house has high-speed internet and a computer available to guests for checking email and surfing the web. This morning I was able to “clean up” the computer and upgrade its memory (RAM). Now the machine runs much faster. A special thanks to Joe Materasso who gave us a bunch of RAM for the trip.

William works on the guest house computer

I’m also working on the business facilitator’s machine today. Upgrading his RAM as well and helping him backup all the important financial documents on his computer.

Arrived in Accra

Whew! We’re in Accra at the missionary guest house and boy are we exhausted. Trey continued to be a champ and was the most well-behaved baby on earth. And NO we did not drug him.

In fact, Trey has been a great asset. Twice we were whisked to the front of long security lines thanks to him. On our Accra flight a man was told to move so that we could have an extra seat for him. Upon our arrival in Accra we were allowed to skip the horrendous West African customs inspection ritual of having a man dig through all of our bags and question us about things all the while expecting a bribe. I think we might have to take Trey along on all of our trips from now on!

We’re off to bed now. We are tired but grateful that God got us and all of our luggage here safely and in a timely manner (often in West Africa you get one of those but not the other). Tomorrow we rest and buy some supplies. Then Saturday morning we fly to Tamale and then drive to Nalerigu that afternoon.

Stay tuned for Trey’s first pictures from Africa – coming soon!

In Amsterdam

Trey is the best baby EVER! It has helped that we have been seated by really nice people who play with him and don’t get annoyed at the occasional kick in the ribs. But still! He has been great! The flight to Detroit he was awake most of the time but very well behaved. On the 7 1/2 hours to Amsterdam he slept quite a bit but patiently read books and waved at the other passengers when awake.

In about an hour we leave for Accra. That flight could be tough – 6 1/2 hours with him wide awake the whole time.

In Detroit waiting to board our plane Trey LOVED this fountain in Detroit and really wanted to climb IN it! Playing with our seat mate on the plane

And we’re off!

I’m sitting with our luggage in the Tampa Airport waiting for our flight in about 30 minutes. Trey is having a blast with Heidi in the playground area.

Our strategy – let him run, run, run, run, run, run… so that he sleep, sleep, sleeps on the plane.

Here we are with Heidi’s parents before leaving:

Saying goodbye to the Jensens before leaving