I met Jeff at the Tampa airport, we flew to New York to meet the rest of the team. There were twenty of us, we introduced ourselves then boarded the flight to Accra Ghana. We flew all night, 10 hours, then Arrived in Accra, which is 5 hours ahead of New York, so it was already afternoon. On previous trips the flights arrived in Accra in the morning so we had all day to drive to Togo, but since the airline changed their schedule we had to drive into the night to get there. The border checkpoint in Togo that we use is a bit chaotic, this time proved to be even more so than previous times. The armed guard at one of the checkpoints didn't like the way our Ghanan driver spoke to him, so he had us all get off the bus. While the two Africans argued, (the Togolese and the Ghanan) I noticed the one with the gun ready himself for conflict, fortunately Bruce interjected with the magic words, "ABWE Hospital. The Togolese then said "why didn't you say so" and let us and pass. Finally after well over 30 hours of travel from home, we arrived in Adeta Togo and got some sleep.
The next morning was Sunday so we were able to attend services with the church for whichwe were about to build a permanent building. They had been holding services in this bamboo and palm frond structure. I really felt like I was in Africa that morning.
Notice the Choir standing in the background.
A boy standing to the side watching all that is going on.
I told them that I lead music at my church, and asked if I could get a photo with the music leader and the Choir. We did, but had no success getting the people to smile, I don't know if it's because they are not used to getting their pictures taken or what.
After church services, several of us took a walk up the mountain behind the hospital complex where we were staying. Here are a few photos from that walk.
The landing strip for the small plane at the Hospital.
Monday morning we began working on the building.
By lunch time we had made a lot of progress. We had an amazing team that worked together extremely well, not to mention the Africans were eager to work and were always there to lend a hand.
The walls going up fast.
Our trusty vehicles that took us to work and back each day. The little bus was 20 years old and the African roads had taken their toll on it, riding in it was brutal. The Land Rover was equally as old and beat, but handled the roads a little better.
This was our tool shed, and break room.
One day while I was taking a break and drinking some water, these ladies walked up singing and clapping. They were showing their appreciation for the work being done for them. I didn't understand the words, I'm not even sure what language they were speaking, but I could tell by the tune that they were singing "Bringing in the Sheaves".
Off in the distance was a small creek, the women brought the water for our mortar mixer from there using those big bowls and carried on their heads.
Another view of the tool staging and the surrounding area.
Taking a break with a few Togolese children.
The road home at the end of a hard day's work.
Riding to the job in the morning.
If you look through the brush, you can see our building, I took this photo so you could see how dense the foliage was.
Another photo opp with a child, I think this was the Pastor's boy, notice he doesn't smile either.
After 3 days work.
And after 3 and a half days.
While some of the crew stayed behind to weld the trusses in place, the rest of us took the majority of the tools to the next project site. To get to the second site, we had to drive up the mountain behind the hospital then down the road a good way. While driving up the mountain, on one of the switchbacks, our driver missed his gear while downshifting, panicked and we came close to rolling backward down the side of a mountain. One of the guys in our van caught it all on video, so we have proof. A 15 year old boy in the back seat wet his pants. What a fun experience that was.
No sooner did we get moving again, we had to share the road with a large dump truck. We barely squeezed by, just up around the next bend, Mensavee was stopped in the truck with all the tools on it, he hadn't been so lucky. The dump truck clipped his trailer and bent a wheel. Since the tire had a tube in it, we were able to continue all the way to the next jobsite.
Notice the person relaxing along side the road.
A few kids came walking by, I started by talking with them, learning their names, then we started playing around and goofing off. Notice in this photo how the little girl to my right is looking at me.
This is the area where the second church building is being built.
The current building.
When I see a road like this I just have to walk up it and see what's there. I asked Adam if he wanted to go for a walk, so we did.
We walked through the next little village, turned around and began walking back. Two children saw us and ran laughing and yelling something. I think they were probably telling about the two white men walking down the road. This little boy was one of them and posed for a photo, the little girl had already gone around the corner.
We arrived back to the jobsite, ate some lunch then sat around chatting and watching the ants eat any food that had hit the ground.
The next morning, Friday we took a little tour of the hospital facilities. This is the main building, I think it is somewhere around 45 beds, run by missionaries, and is the second busiest hospital in the whole country. That doesn't say much for the Togolese health care system. Without these missionaries, many more people in the area would have very little opportunity to be treated for their medical conditions.
Here is a cool photo I took that night, I was trying to get a photo of the bats in the tree, but all I got was the tree and the moon.
Saturday, on our way to Kpalime to visit the blind center, we stopped by one of the Christian schools begun by missionaries. This is inside one of the classrooms
Once in Kpalime, we visited the Blind Center, we will be doing a project here next year. These children are taken in, taught to read brail, and also taught how to be productive members of society. Without this center, also run by ABWE missionaries, most of these children would be left on the street.
We left the Blind center and went up the nearby mountain and visited this old chateau that we had walked too a couple years ago when we were here. It looks like they've removed all the furnishings and windows and are going to remodel and update it,.
This is Kofi, he works with ABWE and went with us.
The road leading up the mountain.
I liked the art on these windows.
I was taking a photo of the old VW in the background.
The small waterfall along the road on the way down the mountain.
Saturday morning we loaded up and headed out, 30 some hours later I was home
More to come next trip.