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, August 23, 2011

Being back and busy!

I've been busy since I've been back in Ghana...but that's no big news, right?

Monday morning, we were supposed to meet at 8:00 am with the chiefs here in Doryum to discuss the orphan sponsorships (we are offering 8 full school sponsorships each year). Since there are 8 clans in Doryumu, we had to wait for the 8 chiefs to arrive. And, as Stacy says, TIA (This Is Africa), so the chiefs finally all arrived by 10 am and we were able to start our meeting. We chatted with them about selecting one orphaned child that we can sponsor from each of their clans. We will give them a full sponsorship to attend our school, including the uniform, school fees, book fees, and lunch fees. After talking through the details of the orphan sponsorships, we agreed to take the chiefs out to our Children's Village Site. So, John piled the oldest chiefs into the car and the rest of us climbed into a trotro (a word for a very old van) which the assemblyman was driving. Tom, Stacy, and I squished in next to Daddy Joe and we definitely felt Ghanaian for the moment.

Stacy has this saying. Every now and then, she will say, "T.I.A.". For awhile, I wasn't sure what she was saying, but now I know it to mean, "This Is Africa!". And that trotro ride was one of those things where all you can say is, "This is Africa!".

First of all, we were totally squished in there, almost lapping one another, chiefs and all. Then, the assemblyman almost missed the turnoff into our land, and we had to screech on our breaks and begin reversing toward our turn. Well, if you know anything about Ghana's roads, you'd realize that the shoulder on the road isn't the safest place to drive. We began reversing only to have one tire drop (quite a drop) off the side of the road. Needless to say, besides the slight worry that we might topple over and the loud scraping that was required to pull the trotro off the side of the road, we made it! After that adventure, we began driving to the site and wouldn't you know it, the military trainees were out practicing...WITH THEIR GUNS! Next thing you know, we had a group of trainees pointing their rifles at us. Tom, Stacy, and I all kinda ducked down a bit. I just kept watching this one young girl trainee who was having a hard time loading her gun...I kept thinking how unsteady she looked...oh goodness, I was glad to get out of there!

We finally made it to the site and took the chiefs around. They were impressed with the progress and took a picture out there to commemorate the day.

Since then, we've been busy! They assigned a young man from the village, Titi, to work with us. Tuesday and Wednesday, Francis, Stacy, and I went around from house to house to do orphan investigations. Thursday and Friday, we have been registering children for our school. By the end of the day today, we had (including our own CORM kids) over 40 50 children enrolled in the school. Halfway there! It's been fun getting to meet the children and I am praying that they will be committed to paying their own fees, bringing their children, and participating in all that we have planned. We will see!

Tuesday night was one of the most fun nights that I have had in Ghana. After the kids went to bed, the basketball boys (a couple of guys from Hoops International Cape Coast), Tom, Christy, Stacy, Nosa, and I all sat around the table outside and told stories and laughed and laughed and laughed. Nosa was the one who was entertaining us the most! I laughed so hard that I cried...and I cried so hard I thought I was going to wake up the next day with swollen eyes! Nosa is just so funny!

So, altogether, life has been busy...but it's been good! It's almost as if I have not been gone at all. There is so much to do and we're just always so busy! Ghana is good!

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