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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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Water and Internet

When I first moved to Ghana, we lived in Tema. It's a city, busting with noise and activity, places to walk to and people always around. A harbor city, there seemed to be access to so much there. Even though, I felt like I had fully moved to a foreign country, so many different sights to see and with a culture so different from my own, I look back and think of how good God is to prepare me with only giving me what I could handle at the time. Regular electricity and running water, high-speed internet with the ability to easily Skype, the comforts made it easier to transition.

Look at how little they all were back then!

I moved to Ghana in July 2010, and by November of that same year, we were packing up our big white van and moving everything to one house in Doryumu. By the time everything was packed up, we left our house in Tema late in the evening. The ride to the new place was hot and stuffy as we rode with children and stuff piled on our laps. The whole way to Doryumu, I wondered what we were getting 
ourselves into.

Moving-Ghana style

And we arrived in Doryumu that first night...

The electricity was at half-current, the fan barely moving, my stuff scattered about my new room, and my mattress on the floor. I fell asleep that night with tears in my eyes, wondering again what we were getting ourselves into, nervous about the unknown.

And I woke up the next morning with the light flooding in my windows and the sounds of distant birds, the morning sounds of children getting ready for the day ahead, and suddenly, I felt...home.

My Doryumu room-changed in the next month when Edwin came to join me.

That place had its share of challenges. Slow internet. Electricity fairly unreliable. But it was the water that was the greatest challenge of all. For a year, we rarely had running water, and never to our house, but to the tank outside. We hauled water from our tank to our rooms for bucket baths and to flush our toilets. And then came the day when water was connected at our land, and we began to haul water in the yellow containers we had saved up over the year to our Doryumu house. After several days of leaving the water in those yellow containers, green algae would grow across the top and after our baths, came rashes that felt like our itching would never reach deep enough.

So, when we moved to our new land, even without electricity, I was satisfied because...water! Showers! Flushing toilets! I felt spoiled. And loved. Oh yes, strange, but it was like God saw the struggle and anxiety that came up in me without having access to regular water, and he poured out his love with the water at the Children's Village. Internet was still a challenge and electricity wouldn't come for months, but...water!

My move to the Omorefe house at the Children's Village

And then, last summer, John and Stacy left on furlough and construction began on the Akosombo Dam and during the months they were gone, we experienced several weeks without water (eternally grateful for the well FTO dug here years ago). It sent a flurry of emails back and forth between here and the States, but with Uncle Nosa's help, we got our well and pump up and running and by the time they had returned, our water supply was back to normal.

Returning to Ghana this year, after my furlough in the States, I came home to one week of water and one week without. This was my normal shower:

Oh, how spoiled I had become after two months of regular access to water, and heated water at that. It was so hard to get used to again. The walk to the well after a long day at the school seemed like such a chore (and I am forever grateful for Aunty Jacky who worked hard to help me keep my bucket full!!). 

And then, one day, the water never came back on. It just stayed off. 7 days...8...9...

And I got nervous. I got frustrated. The laundry piled up in the corner of my room.

And then I felt a check in my spirit. The year without water. The thousands here in Ghana, some of whom I live just across the road from, who do not have access to regular water or clean water of any form. The many who live at the Lake Volta who bathe and work and drink the water of the lake, suffering from parasites that plague them for years, causing damage to their kidneys. I remembered and my perspective altered. I was reminded and I had to repent for the state of my heart.

And wouldn't you know it, the next day, the water came. 11 days now. 

On, how these small things change our lives.

Today, I am grateful for the blessing of running water. And if it turns off tomorrow, I will be grateful for well-water. Because I know the truth, and I have to remind myself of the truth, that there are still those in my very community without.

And today, I am grateful because for the first time since Tema...Internet...unlimited...and fast too.

I can write a blog and upload pictures and download music...the first time in years.

Today, I feel loved. And grateful. And blessed.

When I think of all that God has done for us, all I can do is stand in awe.

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