My driver was at the hotel by a few minutes after 7, and I had already paid the tab and checked out of the hotel, so we loaded up and started off for Akim-Oda, my last stop before going back to Accra. We traveled up the coastal highway to the town of Winneba before starting north. The coastal highway has been greatly improved over the years since I first started coming to Ghana. Now it is a relatively smooth and easy drive, so we made good time to Winneba.
From there north the roads deteriorate to a more "normal" condition, so travel was much slower
Mr. Sackey, my driver, showed up in a rather new 2010 Toyota Corolla to pick me up. I’ve used him a number of times because he is careful and cautious, and he is also very prompt. With some cars and drivers you feel like you are playing Russian roulette on the road, but not so with him. From previous conversations I know he has some regular contracts with both Ghanaians and some foreign businessmen/oilfield workers and at least one pastor (me). He has apparently been very careful with his earnings, and is slowly improving his vehicles. That is positive.
The drive took about 4 ½ hours, and we arrived about noon at the hotel, the Ntiamoah Hotel. I really didn’t know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised with the hotel. Rather than the dingy fairly dark hotel I left in Takoradi, this hotel is bright and clean
The only drawback to the hotel at the moment is a birthday party of some sort on the patio right beside the pool. They have quite the sound system set up out there! There are four speakers, and it must have taken a flatbed truck to get them here, they are huge! The bass is unbelievable – I’m sure it must be powerful enough to register on a seismograph…so if you read a news article about small earthquakes in Ghana, don’t worry, it’s just the sound system for their party! The staff has assured me the party will be over shortly
The local pastor, Eshun Plange, called and had arranged for a taxi to meet me at the hotel. A young man named Yaw came to pick me up and take me to the place where they meet for Church and Bible Study. The town of Akim-Oda is a fairly large town, and we don’t actually meet in Oda itself, but in what I suppose you would call a suburb called Aduasa, which in the Twi language means thirty. Thirty whats, I don’t know, but there are far more than 30 people who live there.
Eshun purchased a small Royal motorcycle several years ago, and it has served him well in traveling around to visit the members. He rode it to the building, and since we had some time before the study, he asked me to get on the back and we’d go visiting. I have to admit that the rutted dirt alleyways that pass for streets are more easily traversed on a motorcycle, but two of us on this little one was probably overdoing it. Several times when we went over a ditch or rut we bottomed out the shocks on the back. I kept trying to lean enough forward that I didn’t cause the front wheel to come off the ground!
The town has a small radio station, and every week Eshun preaches a short message on the radio. Last week he told them that their Senior Pastor from America was coming in this week, so as we went around town, and walked back to meet several people, folks who weren’t even associated with the Church came out to greet us and ask if I was the white man from America he had promised. In a village way off the beaten path, a white face is pretty rare. I’m likely the only white man to visit some of these homes – ever. They were all smiles and very friendly, and it was a unique and enjoyable experience.
The little one-room school house the congregation currently uses is small, and we were filled to overflowing. Several members who normally aren’t able to attend due to health made a special effort to come tonight. We filled the room, had chairs on the sides and even had people sitting behind us, because that was the only space left. I couldn’t get a count, but I’d estimate we had 70+ for the study. I once again covered lessons from the life of Jacob.
One lady who sat in the front is the owner and proprietor of the school. She lets the Church meet there free of charge, even though she is not a member. Last spring there was a bad storm that ripped the tin roof off the building. She couldn’t afford to fix it, and since we don’t pay any rent, we sent her some money from our Ghana budget to replace the tin. The shiny new tin is clearly evident, and she wanted not only to hear me speak but come and thank me for helping them get a new roof. You never know who sees the light we let shine, or what God may choose to do with it.
The trip back to my hotel is probably 12 – 15 kilometers, and rather than wait for a taxi Eshun offered to take me back on his motorcycle. I thought about the dark and potholed road where we would undoubtedly be going much faster than we did through the village, the crazy swerving the cars and trucks have to do to avoid leaving important parts of their suspension in the holes, and I thanked him for his kind and generous offer, but opted to take the taxi. I understand about God’s protection, but I also want to balance that with not tempting Him…and four wheels trumps two, especially over here.
Back at my hotel all is quiet. The party is over, I assume the seismic speakers have been taken back where they came from, so I’m looking forward to a good, quiet night’s sleep.
Travel to Akim-Oda
Sunday, February 02, 2014
Akim-Oda, Eastern Region, Ghana