Monday, May 16, 2011

Pure unsafe goodness

Don't stop your crying on my account
A frightening lion, no doubt
He's not safe, no he's not safe
Are you tempted now to run away?
The King above all Kings is coming down
But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good
I know you're thirsty, the water is free
But I should warn you, it costs everything
Well, He's not fair, no He's not fair
When He fixes what's beyond repair
And graces everyone that don't deserve
No one knows Him whom eyes never seen
No, I don't know Him but He knows me
He knows me, He knows me
Lay down your layers, shed off your skin
But without His incision, you can't enter in
He cuts deep, yeah He cuts deep
When the risk is great and the talk is cheap
But never leaves a wounded one behind
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/k/kendall_payne/aslan.html ]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Fail and Some Change

Ok, people.

I failed.

I completely let the travel blog idea go. The thing is, I don't care. Those are memories, and they will be recalled as needed, and not dwelled upon needlessly. Things change.

The thing is, I'm returning to Ghana. In 7 days, my feet will be in red dirt again. A friend of mine told me last night that he had a vision of me standing barefoot in the dust of Northern Ghana, showing a deep and unhindered connection with the people I love so much. I think this is my new perspective on travel.

I pray that this summer will be an awakening and union of many spirits to Christ, and to one another. Let's build bridges. Barefoot.

Please, brothers and sisters, pray for our family and family-to-be in Ghana. Pray for God to join our souls.

Or do you not know that he who joins himself with a prostitute is one with her in body, for it said, "The two shall become one flesh." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with Him in spirit. -Paul's letter to the Corinthians.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A day in Ougadougou

When I woke up wrapped in my $10 sleeping bag, I was a little surprised by the uneventfulness of my sleeping hours. Everything was still intact. My bag was still there. Taped debit and passport untouched. It was around 730 in the morning, and Sofiatu was supposed to meet me @ 9 with the taxi driver to show me back to the originally planned hostel, La Pavillon Vert. About 945 rolled around, and I lost patience. I had no money due to a raised fare for Sofiatu and her passenger, and no Burkinabe phone, and I had forgotten the PIN for my new debit card. Uh-oh.

On a scale of 1 to 10 my French at this point was an F, but I somehow managed to communicate to the Lil Waynesque hostel clerk my needs. He offered to give me a ride to the bank on the back of his scooter, even letting me use his phone to call the US for my PIN. To further it, when I offered to pay him after all his services, he refused the cash. This first of many of God's unexpected helpers along this journey was a critical turning point in my attitude for the day and for the trip. Amazing what joy can be restored by a scooter ride and a few franc phone credits. After many "merci"s, he drove away to return to his hostel desk, and I was left to find a taxi to La Pavillon Vert.

The name means "the green patio" and that's what this place was. Refreshing. After throwing my junk into my room, I sat and chatted with Matt and Niko, a german and an englishman also travelling up from Ghana where they were spending a semester preceding med school working in a hospital in the Volta Region of Eastern Ghana, and we decided we would take a tour of the city. We visited a couple of interesting attractions Ougadougou has to offer including the under-renovation Independence Monument

And the Bronze Market.

The artisan markets are among my favorite features of Africa. A very specific model of community among artists which predates any colonial influence. It's strikingly similar to early models of the church. A collection of people with one thing in common: Art. Sharing life, in many cases sharing rent. Supporting one another when times get rough all to uphold the trade.

When we returned sweaty to the hostel (it was the Sahel/Sahara in June), the first thing I did was take a refreshingly cold shower. Coming out of the shower, I noticed some familiar faces under the green patio. Sofiatu and her grand-daughter. She had been searching for me since our missed meeting in the morning. I explained to her that I waited, but she didn't seem to think I waited long enough. After making amends, I told her I would come to see her when I returned to Ghana and Burkina Faso, and that I would not forget her (I won't) and we snapped a photo for memory's sake.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A night in Ouaga

Our arrival in Ougadougou made me thoroughly glad to have funded Sofiatu's partnership. The central station was an all-out assault from a massive language barrier, and I'm not sure Sofiatu translated everything perfectly, but she got us into a taxi headed to the city-centre and that was perfect for me. Ouagadougou is a very unique place in that nothing signifies why this amazingly sprawling city is where it is. No infrastructure, no rivers, no defensively strategizing landscape. The approach into Ouaga is quite literally an instant transition from empty sand lands to sand lands with houses everywhere.
I had, in spite of this, planned it as one of my layovers for travel, and had found a rather nice hostel called La Pavillion Vert. I heard tales of a restaurant, and a nice courtyard and decent beds with fans for around 15 dollars a night. When I arrived, I was not disappointed. It was everything they had said it would be. A haven among the moto-filled craziness of central Ouaga. I was disappointed, however, when I went to the registry to see it all filled up. Not a bed in the house! After today, I was just ready to crash into a bed in a semi-hot room for a while, so when the taxi driver told Sofiatu he knew a place downtown I just agreed and we rolled away from the bless-ed La Pavillion Vert. We pulled up to this place:
This place might look bad from the street, but the street was really an alley behind some street vendors so not that many people really saw it. Besides, no matter what the facade was like it couldn't relate to the experience inside. We walked in to the register and the clerk, I think his name was Baba, stood looking like a slender Mr T. Gold chains and teeth abounded to show his obvious success as a hotel clerk. I must admit he scared me a bit at first, but tomorrow Baba becomes a friend and ally so I won't instill any wrong ideas in your imagination by further describing his appearance. He agreed to a lower price than I could have gotten at La Pavillion Vert, and that was perfect for a man of my traveling stature. I will say the concern on Sofiatu's face and her persistence in making sure my door locked properly troubled me a bit at first, but I'll just credit it to her motherly instinct to over-react. Now that I think about it, the door concerns may have been legit as they were made of steel and 3 or 4 of the vents had once been bent assumingly to the size of someone's arm and they did give me the only room with a large steel-barred bathroom window opening into the outside alley (only 1 of the vents had been bent open here). Nevermind, I just taped my passport and debit card to the back of the window box and went to sleep. A rough first day of travel, but tomorrow is a new day!