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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Monday, April 4, 2011

What a week!

Last week was a crazy week, so I'm sorry that I didn't write. On the way home from Cape Coast last weekend, I started to feel like I was coming down with something. My throat was getting sore and my head was pounding. I knew something was happening. The next day, when I woke up, I was pretty sick. Fever, chills, headache, body aches, sore throat, all that jazz. Yeah, it was pretty miserable. But, since I'd had it before, I knew what it was and was able to start my anti-malaria treatment right away. I was sick for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. By Wednesday, I was feeling about 95% back to normal. Praise God! It was definitely not fun, but the anti-malaria treatment and an antibiotic put me back on the road to health. Whew! Wednesday was John's birthday. So, we took all the kids to the beach. It was such a fun day. We played in the water, some of the kids played a little football, and we just relaxed. It was a blast. I can tell you though...bucket baths don't work very well for removing sand from every inch of your body! It required a LOT of water and I think I was still getting sand out the next day! Thursday night, I left with John and Stacy and a group from NYU to go to the Volta. I'm learning that traveling to the Volta gets easier with each trip. The 10 hours crammed in a car is not fun, but if you can figure out how to spread your legs out a bit and if you can get a window seat, the journey isn't too hard. You can get enough sleep to manage the day ahead! When we arrived in Benjamse, we all hung out for a bit, ate some breakfast, chatted about the plan for the weekend and the purpose behind City of Refuge Ministries. Then, we all took a little nap. In the afternoon, we all got in a boat and headed across the lake to the Outer Bank and a new community called HousaCope. This was the first time we had visited this community, but had heard that there were a lot of trafficked children in the area and wanted to do some community entry to see if they'd be willing to work with us to release their children. The community entry went really well. The chief was very happy to work with us, we got to see their school, and we chatted with a few families and slave children. Man, that village was FULL of slave kids. Some of them were in pretty bad condition. It definitely needs some help. We'll plan on doing a feeding, deworming, and registration of children next time we come through. On Saturday, the NYU students had planned a children's program, so Daddy Jo was able to get together a group of kids at the local school in Benjamse and the NYU students split up into 3 groups and they all worked with the kids on something different. One group had the kids draw on fabric squares that will be made into a wall hanging for our Research and Rescue Facility we want to build in Benjamse at some point. One group did dances with the kids. And another group sang songs and played theater games. It was really successful. We started with a very small group of kids, but by the end, we had hundreds of kids in the classes. They loved it! In fact, when it was time to be done, they all followed us back to our house. The lady who owns the house wasn't very happy about that and finally, she got some water and threw it on them, yelling at them to go home. But, I'm glad that they enjoyed their day. After that, we worked on putting together a boxes of food for a village that we work in called Gruby. Everytime we do a feed, we get better and better at it. In Gruby, we planned to register, deworm, and feed 300 kids. We set it up at a school building. We had the kids stand in a line and Stacy went through and numbered hands until they got to 300. If the kids didn't have a number on their hands, then they weren't registered and were told to go to the back of the line. It was really efficient and we were able to get through the line quickly and efficiently and we were able to register 300 kids with relative ease. It was quite a success! That night, we brought the group together and did some debriefing (YGAP would be proud--we did a lot of communicating with this group of students!). The students all had excellent questions and had some really good feedback comments for us. It was really good. All in all, it was an excellent trip! Glad I was feeling up to going! This week is busy, busy, busy with final exams in the classes and rehearsals going on in the afternoon. I'm looking forward to finishing up this week because after that, I'd only have ONE MORE WEEK until Katie comes. So excited for her to be here! Well, gotta get ready for school.

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