A Day of Rest

Saturday, April 01, 2023
Lomé, Maritime Region, Togo
Our local elder, Guy was to have returned from a work trip to Dakar, last night, but his flight was delayed so didn’t arrive back until around 11:00 today. In spite of having to get up at 2:00 in the morning to go to the airport, he came to pick us up at 1:30 so we could start our service at 2:30. We were a little late but not much. It was good to catch up with Guy in his car, about the church locally and his service in it. He was running on adrenaline but felt fine, he said.
When the service started, he gave a good sermonette about preparing for Passover. The little chorale sang special music. My sermon dealt with what the Bible says about good and bad works in the context of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I had to keep tissues handy to prevent sweat from dripping off my head onto my Bible in the 90° heat. I have more than a few wrinkled pages.
After the service, the ladies served an early dinner. Crudité vegetable salad with vinaigrette to start, followed by tilapia from the Volta River, a dammed (that’s m not n, I’m not swearing) river mostly in Ghana but that starts in Burkina Faso. The hydroelectric installation provides most of the power for Ghana and some for neighboring countries too.
When I heard the word Volta, memories flooded my mind. My family has vivid memories of Lake Volta. We’d had a Pentecost service in 2000 in the rural village of Makongo. To head back to Kumasi, where we were spending most of the summer, we crossed the lake on a ferry carrying a large herd of cattle. We will never forget the problems the cowherds had getting the bulls on the boat. The cows were pretty docile and cooperative. But not the bulls; they did not want to board the ferry.
A crowd from the village gathered to watch the free entertainment. Some cowherds would pull on a rope around the bull’s neck. Others would twist or bite their tails (hygiene concerns are not the same), or whack them with sticks in a place where no male would like to be whacked. It certainly energized the bulls! One bull instead of going up the ramp when whacked, jumped off the side into the lake dragging a few cowherds with him. The crowd cheered spontaneously and raucously. Our young daughters gaped wide-eyed.
Back to the fish: it was delicious! We ate and talked of many things: the weird state of the world, how quickly children grow up, how to navigate educational systems, plans for preaching the gospel, the challenges of travel, and much more. As the sun set the air cooled a bit. In hot climates, the night brings welcome relief. Around 8:00 pm we left. We would have stayed longer but I wanted to let Guy get some rest after such a long day.
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Thanks for including the hilarious story about the uncooperative bulls and the bull-whacking. Also some topics are discussed everywhere, such as the weird state of the world. Thanks for the pictures.

Tess Washington

Thank you for the stories and the laughter it caused me! Such a joy to read your travel blog!