“You Are Welcome”

In Ghana the Best Things are Yello“You are welcome!”

As Mrs. Karis Mapes greeted us, memories of 2018 started to flood back into my mind. The standard greeting reminded me that I was once again immersed in Ghanaian culture. It wasn’t just a dream: I truly was back in Africa.

We had braved 35 hours of flight time and layovers, arriving safely in Accra shortly after 4am. But the weariness was worth it.

I happily sipped on a plastic bag of cold, purified water before going to bed. The sun was slowly making its daily appearance, but we needed all the rest we could get after two days of flying and before our 14-hour overnight bus trip.

Twelve hours later we peered through the large windows as our bus carefully pulled out of the station. The mass of humanity surrounding us parted like the Red Sea as our driver honked and started to move forward.

Loud music streamed through the speakers as we bounced along through town. “Over the speedbumps and through the potholes to Upper West Region we go!” If only that was a real song, nothing would have been more fitting to play on those CrAzY roads.

Suddenly, loud arguing and shouting ensued as we exited the city. I could distinguish a few words of English, but not enough to understand what was going on. But it was clear that someone was not happy!

I looked up to see that the driver had switched from music to movies. The source of the shouting was merely a movie for us to enjoy. Alas, the long night of quarrelsome movies had begun, a staple on Ghanaian bus trips. I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the sounds.

Thankfully, I was mostly successful.

When we finally arrived at our final destination the next day, I almost felt like I was back at home.

“Bzzzzzzzz!!!” The early morning cambus (small, tricycle-like modes of transportation) whizzed by as I exited the bus and leapt over the two-foot deep street gutter.

Mr. and Mrs. Mapes, Olivia, Alyssa, and I retrieved our numerous belongings from the belly of the bus and got the attention of a couple of those cambus. Typically, we can fit two or three people inside these small taxis. This time, we divided up five people, four large suitcases, and five smaller suitcases and bags between the two cambus.

Somehow, we all fit…

“Here we go, team!” Olivia called out cheerfully as we pretended to be as skinny as kids and piled on top of each other.


First Cambu RideAh! Fresh air with a hint of diesel. Riding to the Mapes’ home in an open-air vehicle was such a refreshing way to wake up. It was also a nice contrast to the bus we had just disembarked.

Thus began an exciting two weeks in West Africa. After going to Ghana in 2018 for the first time to help with the inaugural Making Melody Camp hosted by West Africa Baptist College, I got to return this year with my new wife for the second annual week of music.

“You are welcome!”

Over and over again we were greeted by the Ghanaian nationals as they visited us at the Mapes’ home. They are so friendly! Whether you meet someone for the first time or reacquaint yourself with an old friend, they always make you feel welcome.

In the next post I will write specifically about the Making Melody Camp…if I wrote it here, this post would get really long.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for caring!