Living in a remote area of a developing country can be a blessing and a curse. There are plenty of joys and plenty of sorrows and plenty of challenges. Everything I try to do here takes so much longer than it does in the US. Everything! And it is so much harder, too! For example, I had a list of "office" type stuff to do yesterday. Alas! No electricity and the network for my wifi was less than horrible. I went to plan "B." I put two frozen water bottles next to my carton of milk to keep it cold in the refrigerator. And, one next to the jar of mayonnaise! Shopping can be a challenge most days. And, preaching to a congregation of 10 adults and 40 children, most under the age of 10 definitely makes me rethink how I will preach on Sundays. Driving a motorcycle on bad roads, with bugs hitting my face is common. But, those are not anywhere near the hardest job of all.
"What is your hardest job of all?" you might ask. Well, the hardest job of all, is taking care of myself. I'm getting better at it, but it is a huge challenge. Let's start with Spiritual health. I do have my time with the Lord and His word. We talk. I try to listen. But, I am usually thinking, "I should be doing_____." Fill in the blank. I feel guilty when I spend an extended time in prayer/worship/study. I feel guilty even though I know it is so important here. There are so many things fighting for a person's attention. and, spiritual warfare is very real here. I try not to feel guilty. It is a work in progress. Worship is always in Dagaare. I usually preach, so I am in Scripture a lot. But, I don't hear a message from someone else. I had communion maybe twice in the last year. Christian books are not readily available in my area. Internet reading and Kindle reading are possible, but, sometimes I need the book in hand to underline, highlight and make notes in the margins. Fasting has been added to my spiritual disciplines in order to draw me closer to the Lord.
Physical health...I'll start with food. I haven't seen any fresh fruit here in a few weeks. If I liked tomatoes and okra, I would be fine here. I don't. Meat is very questionable. Cheese? Those little triangles of spreadable cheese, they are available most times. If I didn't eat carbs, there wouldn't be much to eat. I have to travel two hours in a crowded less than safe van to buy cucumbers and sometimes lettuce, although lettuce season is basically over. It is too hot! Exercise...I started walking at least three mornings a week. I try to leave my house between 5:30 and 6:00 since any later, it gets hot! On my walks, I enjoy greeting the people in the community and having an impromptu Dagaare lesson at Ali's Tea Station. It's nice. I also joined the Be Fit Aerobics Club that meets every Saturday morning from 5:30-7:00 outside, on a basketball court. Medical help is available, for basic things. I wanted to get the rabies vaccine in case I ever get bit, it would give me more time to get to a doctor. I had to get it from Kumasi, at least 10 hours away on a good day! Someone here in Lawra gave me the three injections. I have been really sick a few times in the past five years. Ignorance is not bliss! But, now I know if certain things happen, I need to call Vincent, the Physician's Assistant right away.
I'm getting better at taking care of myself. I haven't "arrived" in that area, but, I am taking steps and making progress. This, too, is a journey. I am grateful for all of those who have kept a watchful eye on me when needed. And, I will keep trying...
Follower of Christ, Cross Cultural Worker, presently serving Christ in the Lawra area of the Upper West Region of Ghana.