First off, we want to apologize for our delay in blogging. You will understand as you read about our journey up in the north.
Our early flight left from Accra to Tamale where we were picked up by Abraham, our host and founder of the Redemption Children's Home. Abraham founded the children's home six years ago. It is a private organization that operates on donations/volunteers.
Bumpity-bump-bump. That's all we can really say about the bus ride from Tamale to Damongo. It was a three hour drive on a dirt/gravel road (going 20-30 mph) from Tamale to the remote village of Damongo. Can you imagine having to make this journey multiple times in a week to go to the bank, access internet and get other essential items for your home! The village is a small community of 29,000 residents. The roads are filled with chickens, goats, sheep, mopeds, cars and people. There is about a half mile of shop stands in the city center and the rest is surrounding countryside. No alarm clock needed. Between the roosters, chickens, sheep, goats and call to prayer (There is a large muslim population where they pray five times a day--one is at 5 a.m.--that is in the morning people!).
We arrived to our Guest House located across the street from Abraham's home/guest house. To our surprise, when we opened the door to our room, we found ONE bed. ONE full size bed. Yes, we did share a bed for nine days. Let's just say staff bonding rose to the ultimate level! We were fortunate to have all our meals prepared by Abraham's staff for our 9 days in Damango. It was interesting to see how welcoming his home is to all his volunteers. We met many people from Holland who stay with Abraham for months on end helping with the children.
For the 9 days in Damango, we spent our time helping Abraham's staff at the Redemption Children's Home. Our days were broken down in two parts, the morning consisted of breakfast at 8 a.m., and then we were off to work with the children. We were assigned to help the teacher in the school house with the children (ages 4-7). During the downtime we found ourselves helping the staff with the babies, cooking, and cleaning. After lunch and a short break, we headed back to play with the children for a few hours before dark. Sista Beth tricked Sista Leena to run races with the children on very hot Sunday afternoon. Picture skirts, sandals and dirt pathways as children ran circles around both of us. For all those that have children, take a moment to imagine what it would be like for five adults (that's all the staff he has) to take care of 50 children. There is no down time, with cooking for 50, babies crying, changing dirty diapers, and cleaning up after the kids only to get back up and start all over again. Exhausting... Even our short interactions each day had us in bed by 9 p.m. each night.
***Future staff retreat ideas: sharing beds, hand washing each other's clothes (that includes underwear), strut around in our towels, etc.
-Exhausted childless women...a shout out to all parents! - Beth & Leena