The Day in Akim-Oda

Monday, February 03, 2014
Akim-Oda, Eastern Region, Ghana
After a very good night’s sleep, I didn’t have to get up
early, so was able to take my time getting around . The phone started ringing at about 9am, and I spent a good bit of the morning on the phone. 

I took a taxi on into town to the internet café and was able to connect to send off a blog entry, and collect my email. I responded to one or two, and brought the rest back to work on them and prepare responses when I get to Accra tomorrow and am able to connect once again.  

Yaw, the taxi driver, came to get me and brought me to the home of Eshun and Comfort Plange, the local pastor. We chatted and had a Malta while they finished getting ready for the Bible study in the outlying village of Asuboa. I learned that Asuboa is the Twi word for
crocodile. There is a pool that the locals still draw their water from, but when the first people came to settle near the water and build a village, it is said the pool was full of crocodiles. So anyone who wanted to come to this village came to where Asuboa lives, the crocodiles. The pool is still here, but I would imagine the crocs were eaten a long time ago…

We left a little early so they could show me one of the local sights – what is billed as the largest tree in west Africa . There is a small sign, and you just pull to the side of the highway where there is a tiny shack and a path leading back into the jungle. It is run by the Ghana
Tourist Association, so the man requires a fee to take you back (typically a native pays 1 cedi while a foreigner pays 15!). Eshun negotiated with him, and for 10 cedis he took all four of us back.
If you’ve seen the movie Avatar, this is the “home tree” of west Africa. Our guide said it is over
200 feet tall and huge around. He also said it was originally discovered by passers by about 400 years ago, which would obviously make it much older than that.  It doesn’t compare to the giant Sequoia’s of the Pacific coast, but it is a huge tree none-the-less, and worth the little extra time it took to run out there and see it.  

On the way back into Asuboa we stopped by the house of an elderly member named Naomi. She is above 80 years old (many of the older people truly don’t know exactly how old they
are, because no date of birth was recorded or preserved, so they estimate their age based on things they have experienced in their lives). She is often unable to attend services because
of her legs and knees, and it is at least a half mile walk from her house to the church building, perhaps a little more. We were going to bring her over in our taxi so she didn’t have to
walk. But when we arrived we were told she had already left, walking to the Bible study. She wanted to come since the white man had come to speak.  

We had just over 20 for the study, which means almost everyone from Asuboa was present. Once again I covered the topic of Joseph in the study. Very few brought a Bible, and when I asked Eshun afterward I was told that only two or perhaps three of the people can read and write any language. Most of them, like a huge percentage of rural Ghana, are completely illiterate. Weekly Bible studies often consist of the pastor or elders just reading sections of scripture and then explaining what it means, since they have no way to read it on their own.  

Yaw dropped me off at my hotel promising to be here by 9am to take me on down to Accra. Will see if he comes at 9 Obruni time, or Ghana time (which can be anywhere from 9 – 10:30
or 11). He gave me a good price for the trip, and I wanted to give him the fare since he does quite a bit to help Eshun in his travels here, and life is hard for him. In talking with him he must pay the owner of the car 30 cedis a day and then he must cover the fuel. If he takes
more than that in taxi fare, that is what he makes. Some days he said he makes 5 cedis (equivalent to $2.12), and other days he doesn’t make anything.  

Since he is taking the car so far tomorrow he must pay the owner double the normal rate plus cover the fuel. But even with that he should be able to take home 20 – 30 cedis for the trip tomorrow, which is more than he might typically make in a week.  

I do have some reservations though. His taxi is an old and very worn little Kia. I hadn’t noticed this before, but on the trip this evening when we got out on a more open highway, I noticed the front end tended to move around on the road a little even when the steering wheel wasn’t being turned. I’m sure important parts of the car are so worn that it has a lot of play. At what amounts to about 50 mph the car starts to feel somewhat less than stable, so I’ll be sure to buckle up when I get in and pray for protection – something that should be mandatory here
anyway, but even more so when one knows the condition of a taxi he’ll be taking
all the way down to Accra…

Photos & Videos


Tess Washington

Interesting to know about the existence of the "Home Tree". Good to know about Naomi and the rest of the brethrens. Hope you'll have a good ride back to Accra!