My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adventures at Akosombo and Accra

Today was an eventful day. We had our field trip with the kids to the Akosombo Dam this morning. The kids were excited for the excursion and I was excited to see the place that makes up Lake Volta. Our tour was given, oddly enough, by a man named Freedom (interesting that he is giving the City of Refuge tour. . .coincidence?? I think not!). He was really great with the kids. He taught them a meaning of a dam, what the Akosombo dam is used for (hydroelectricity) and so much more! I learned that the dam was built by the French in the 1960s and it took three years to build. The electricity that is created by the waters at the dam is used for all of Ghana and is also sent to Benin, Togo, and Burkina Faso (who also dammed up some of their rivers to flow into the Lake Volta as well). Lake Volta is the LARGEST manmade lake in the world! That's pretty huge! It was a really interesting tour and we had fun afterwards, eating corn and coconut, chowing down on some tuna fish sandwhiches, and enjoying hanging out together.

This afternoon, I got a chance to rest a little bit, get some paperwork done, and spend some time in worship. That was good and it's much needed as the end of this term has been a little stressful getting everyone's work together and graded, putting together exams, and all that jazz!

Tonight, we were supposed to go to Accra for the showing of the NYU documentary (the one that they taped when we took them to the Volta region). Unfortunately, we got a flat tire on the van and we are out of spares, so we had to find another form of transportation. John called up a taxi friend and he set us up with a cab, but the taxi driver got stuck in traffic, so that meant, it was time for us to walk. It was already dark, so in our nice attire (we were all dressed up), we hoofed it to the village in hopes of coming across our cab sooner than we expected. The looks that a couple of white girls get stomping through the center of the village in our Sunday best, yeah, that was pretty priceless.

We were almost to the police station when a big vehicle started coming our way. Stacy and I stepped off the road to give them way, and found ourselves ankle deep in mud! I only got one foot in and it wasn't too bad, but Stacy, she really got it! Her skirt, her shoes--it was like she was stepping in quicksand! Even her shoe was lost for awhile, until John saved it from the mud. We sloshed our way to the police station and asked for some water to clean up. The policeman called for a little neighbor boy to bring us some water and we were able to get, well, most of the mud off! Then, it was time to just WAIT. By that point, the cabbie's phone network wasn't working (which is common in our village), so we couldn't tell where he was. We waited and waited and waited. Finally, the policeman pulled over a passing truck and asked if he could take us to the next village where we could pick up a taxi a little easier than in Doryum. So, we climbed in and took off towards Alfienya.

Of course, as soon as we got in the truck, the taxi driver drove by us! So, John called him again, his network finally up and running, and told him to meet us in Alfienya or we would find a different taxi. So, off we went in the little truck. The only time I looked ahead was when I saw the spedometer read more than 100 mph. After that, I just closed my eyes and prayed that we would make it safely to Accra!

After the man, our new friend Eric, dropped us off in Alfienya, we only had to wait for a few minutes before the taxi driver showed up. And we were off! We had to be in Accra by 8:15 pm, but being that it was already past 7, I wasn't sure we would make it. But, John called the NYU students and asked if it was possible to have a later start time. Luckily, they were able to switch some things around and we had until 9 pm to get to their place in Accra.

When we finally made it to Accra, we realized that finding their school building in La Bone would be the difficult part of the journey. We roamed around a bit before getting close and having someone come out to find us. We finally made it and the NYU students were so excited! It felt like a huge reception when we got there. All of our volunteers and our intern, all the kids that went with us to the Volta--it was an amazing entrance!

We found out that the sound system had blown before we got there, so none of the videos had been shown yet. We chatted with the kids and got to see their classrooms and where they had been staying for these past 5 months. It was fun to kinda put a picture to what they had told me about their stay.

We watched 3 films that the students had worked on during the course of the semester. The first was on the traditional religions of Ghana. It was interesting and eye-opening. The second was our film, VOLTA. The students did an excellent job of putting it together. They really tried to capture so many points of view in the 15 minutes that they had to display the issue. They really showed how it was an issue that is hidden but needs to be exposed. And I loved the way that they showed DK--a freed boy, able to attend school and learn and grow and play as he wishes! We were so excited with the outcome and the possibility of use for the film in the future! Way to go NYU film team!!! The last one was on the first president of Ghana. It was interesting too, but perhaps I'm biased. I have to say that I loved VOLTA the best! After the films, Rosemary got up to perform her poem, Phenomenal Woman. She did great! I was so proud of her!

At the very end of the night, we had to say goodbye to everyone. It was sad to see them go as we've so enjoyed having them around. What a blessing they've been to our ministry and our children. I think it was good that we finally made it there tonight. They were so excited to see us!

When all was said and done and we were home, at almost midnight, I thought about today's adventure and realize. . .well, just another day in the life here in Ghana! You never know what to expect! And. . .I think I like that.

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