First Time in Africa!

I love to travel. I love seeing the different colors and cultures and food around the world! And I especially love to see how my brothers and sisters in Christ are serving our great God.

Alyssa Teaching with WhiteboardOur trip to Ghana was two firsts for me- first international trip with my husband (awww <3) and first visit to the continent of Africa. My new friends were so excited that Ghana was my first African experience! So what was Africa like? Let me tell you…

Culture- The culture is built on a complex system of respect for people, especially for those who are older than you are. We rarely carried anything anywhere around music camp because someone always stepped up to carry whatever we had in our hands (down to my water bottle). The students were quick to clean the chalkboard for me and rearrange space so that we didn’t do the work. I was always astounded to see what they could carry and balance on their heads! It’s so nice for them because then their hands are always free.

Alyssa with Food at Mole National ParkFood- The food was definitely unique! We were there during the tomato season so tomatoes were in everything we ate in some form or another. We had fufu, cassava, banku, jollof rice, redred, and gari (just to name a few things :). The flavors and textures of Ghanaian foods are so unique that I don’t even know how to describe them to you… you’ll have to go and taste them for yourself! They also use lots of ground nut (American translation- peanut!) and plantain and cook with palm oil as their base for many dishes.

Shopping- We shopped both in the supermarkets and in the open-air markets of Wa. I love visiting the typical daily market because I love all the colors, sights, and smells; it reminds me of living in Perú and going to the market with my roommate and Peruvian family.

Our trip to the market was focused on buying material for curtains for our dining room/living room space. I loved flipping through piles and piles of brightly colored fabric and stretching out yards of material. Ghanaian fabric can sometimes have “surprises” tucked into the designs, like smiley faces or funny animal patterns when you see it all together. We finally decided on a fun pattern with colors to go with our simple paint colors! Watch for future pictures of our dining room/living room to see what the curtains look like 🙂

Baptist Church in GhanaChurch- Wooden benches, simple structures, open windows- these were the common denominator among the church buildings that we visited. But the church isn’t the building- it’s the people. The people greeted each other warmly and sang each song with all their enthusiasm, rejoicing in what our great Savior had done for them.

Our American churches should be ashamed at our lack of excitement in lifting praise to our Savior through song. The buildings were a little warm (by American standards) but that didn’t stop the people from squeezing another little friend or grandma onto the bench beside them. At one church, I turned around to see that most of the people behind me were under the age of 10 years old. They were sitting attentively and joining in whenever they could.

Music- The best part about teaching music in Ghana was that I was teaching the most eager learners I have ever met. They soaked up everything I told them and stayed in their seats at the end of class to ask more questions and to write down everything I had said. They all loved music and wanted to know how it worked and how to improve on what they already do with it. It was a tremendous blessing to be able to pour into someone else what has been invested in me over many years.