Trip to Takoradi, and Bible Study

Thursday, January 30, 2014
Takoradi, Western, Ghana
I was able to spend a little time talking with the hotel owner while in Elmina, and some of the things he related about the economy are rather disconcerting. I have seen only a couple of other people in the entire hotel, and he said occupancy is very low. Much of the time he has more staff on hand than guests! But he said this is the way it is throughout Ghana right now.

He serves as vice-chairman of the Ghana hotel association, and the reports he is getting is that hotel occupancy is down a lot all over. Western tourists are not coming in the numbers they have in the past, and domestic travelers aren't spending as much either. He feels Ghana is in a recession, but the government won’t admit it publically because that would cause more panic and further reduce the influx of foreign capital.

Two of my taxi drivers have mentioned that it is much harder to make a living, because fewer are taking taxis, and everything is getting more expensive. A driver must negotiate with the car owner for what he must pay the man every day – say it is 50 cedis. He must pay the owner that amount plus cover the fuel. Any amount he makes over that is his money to take home. But one driver said some days he doesn’t even make enough to cover what he owes the man, so he works all day and actually loses money! One of the drivers is quitting and trying to find something else to do.

I had a little time at the hotel before it was time to come down to Takoradi. My driver was on time, and the trip was smooth. The local pastor, Joseph Baah, had found a little hotel for me that he thought would be sufficient. It is sufficient – perhaps even nice by Ghanaian standards. It does have working a/c which is nice considering it is 90+ and very humid outside. But there are only two settings for the unit: on and off. So you run it until it is cold enough to hang meat, then turn it off until it gets hot and stuffy again. Ought to be an interesting couple of nights…

Joseph had to leave me for a bit to pick up his children from school, so I grabbed something to eat. He showed up right on time to take me over for Bible Study. I have been to this building two or three times before, but I could never find this place on my own. Once we leave the main paved roads, we start weaving through "residential" areas. That consists of small cement block or sometimes mud brick little buildings with tin roofs and what passes for an alleyway winding serpentine like down through them. Joseph expertly guided the taxi driver telling him when and where to turn until we ended up in front of the building used by the Church. I wonder how long it took the taxi to find his way back out of the maze again…but then I suppose he's used to it.

This is not the normal night for Bible study, so we were unsure the numbers who would be able to make it. It was estimated we might have 30, but by my count we had 42 people there for Bible study! I covered four characteristics of Joseph’s life, that allowed him to rise from slave to 2nd in command over all Egypt. The points I drew out were 1. He had the power of choice, and didn’t choose to wallow in “why me?”, but chose to do the best he could no matter his circumstances. 2. Endurance. He endured more major setbacks than most of us will ever know, but he kept patiently enduring. 3. His relationship with God grew. That is how he was able to endure, because he knew his Creator was with him and ultimately working everything out according to plan. 4. Compassion. Once he was second in command he could have gone to seek his revenge against Potiphar or his wife, but we have no record of that. He could have squashed his brothers like bugs, but instead he forgave them and gave them protected and favored status.

It was so hot in the building that by the time I’d finished the study I was nearly dripping wet. Stepping outside it felt like the temperature dropped 20 degrees! Wow, we should have had the study out here – except there is no light and thousands of mosquitoes, so perhaps inside was better…

After dark when it cools off many more people are out and about. The tiny little roadside shops (or in this case, alleyside shops) are all open for business until 10 or 11 or later, and people are busily walking about, talking, listening to music and generally enjoying themselves. Numerous taxies are now also plying this area, which creates some interesting logistical problems. The alley is really only wide enough for one taxi, so when two want to pass, combined with a lot of people all milling around, the drivers each have to perform a rather intricate dance (and the pedestrians have to dance a little too). I tried to snap a couple of photos from the backseat of our taxi to try and capture the sense of it, but nothing came out clear.

In hotels without hot water, like the one I’m staying in now, I’ve learned to bathe in the evening. The water is typically pumped into a large black polytank on the roof (to provide water pressure), and it heats in the sun all day, making it as warm as its ever going to get. By morning it has cooled off, and fresh cold water has been pumped in, making it as cold as its ever going to get. I always opt for as warm as I can, ergo, bath in the evening. And after a quick call back home to talk with my loving wife I’m off to bed.

Photos & Videos


Andrea West

Thank you for sharing your life with the brethren there and writing this account so we can also share in their lives. I look forward to meeting them one day.

Tess Washington

Hi Mr. Clark, off you go to sleep! Well done for today...very interesting and informative blog...thank you for all the work that you do. It's amazing how hot it is over there while we're freezing here in the US! I laugh with your description of that alley where the drivers have to "dance" and the pedestrians doing the same thing! I like the points about the life of Joseph! Great lessons! Our Ghanaian brethrens surely appreciate all your teachings!