On Jan 25 we met our team in New York to fly to Accra Ghana where we would take a 5 hour bus ride in to Togo. We were going to build an Aquaponics Facility for the ABWE Blind Center. To learn more about what an aquaponics facility is you can view this video.
Here is our team.
Since we were going to New York we decided to go a day early and see the city. We met up with Jeff from Tampa, Aaron from Indiana and Travis from Minnesota. We took the train from the airport into the city, checked into our hotel and the first thing everyone wanted to do was get some New York pizza.
We saw some sights that evening. It was very cold, 17 degrees with a wind chill of 6 degrees. This Florida girl was beyond frozen! The next morning we hopped on the subway and headed for lower Manhattan to see the city.
We saw the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and the Stock Exchange building. Across from the Stock Exchange building was Federal Hall, where George Washington took the oath as the first President of the United States. We also saw Trinity Church where parts of the movie "National Treasure" takes place. It is also where many took refuge on 9/11.
This is Freedom Tower, the new building going up at the World Trade Center.
The 9/11 memorial at ground zero. It was so cold some of the water was frozen. It was sad remembering the events of that day.
We got back on the subway and took it to Grand Central Station. My husband and I posed for a photo here.
Then we went to the Empire State building and took the elevator up to the observation deck. The big city seemed so small from way up there.
We took the train back to the airport to meet with the rest of our team from various parts of the country for our flight to Ghana. From there we took a 5 hour bus ride to Kpalime Togo. Here are some sights along the way. We arrived late but since we were the first of 5 teams on this project, we had to get everything unpacked and organized. It was a late night.
The next morning we went and checked out the project site. We then rode up the mountain to go to church.
This is where we had church.
I always enjoy going to church is different countries with different languages. It is awesome to see people in such different cultures than ours worshipping the same God that I do. Even though I don't understand anything they are saying God understands every word!
Oh and when the Togolese worship, they raise the roof! I love to hear them sing!!
We arrived part way through Sunday School. This is where the children had SS. When they were finished they carried their benches and joined us for the regular service. The children are very well behaved.
Here is my husband Kevin, me, the preacher, my daughter Krista and her husband Josh.
Visiting with new friends after the service.
The children's SS class and the Baptismal.
That afternoon the blind students came to welcome us. They sang for us. Here is Christine and her daughter. She is the girls dorm mom.
The nest day Joan, the missionary in charge of the center, took Krista and I to visit the classrooms. This little boy was so cute! He was in Kindergarten. The next little boy was in about third grade. He was reading his lesson in Braille to us. We followed along in a different book. He did a great job!
These are some of the older children. The teacher in the first photo is blind as well. Notice the diagrams on the wall in the second photo. They are all done with raised materials so the children can feel them.
After cleaning up the house we stayed in and preparing lunch, Krista and I went up to the jobsite to check out the progress. These are the tanks the vegetables will grow in. Josh drilled many holes for the rebar and for the poles for the greenhouses that next week's team will construct.
John and his helper mixing the concrete. It's a dirty job and John does an awesome job.
Kevin and Josh pouring the concrete. Every wall had to be filled solid with concrete to hold the pressure from the water that would fill the tanks. It was coming along.
We had to get up very early everyday to make breakfast for the team. Today we had sausage gravy and biscuits and grits.
After we cleaned up breakfast Joan took Krista and I to Patience's house so she could measure us and make skirts from the material we had purchased. Here are some photos I took along the way.
There were goats everywhere.
Then Joan took us to the market. I love going to the market! We bought a few souvenirs there.
After lunch we went to see the progress of the jobsite. The tanks were about built and now the stucco crew was hard at work. On each project we hire several nationals to help us. This helps them have work and gives us a chance to share God's love with them.
Kevin and the others getting started on the fish tanks. Nate, David and Zach worked hard at building the walls.
That afternoon some of us went for a walk.
There was a hotel just down the road. Not very appealing from the outside but I hear they have excellent food in the restaurant.
That evening Krista and I went to visit the girls. My 8 year old granddaughter Haley made a little booklet for them sharing how they can know Jesus as their savior. She was very concerned about them and wanted me to make sure that someone would read it to them. She even put raised stickers on the front so they could feel them. Joan translated it into French and Christine translated into Ewe, their tribal language.
They enjoyed it and asked if they could keep it. Then they asked if they could touch our hair! :) It was fun!
With the vegetable tanks built, it was time to see if one would hold water. Josh is waiting for the water.
There was a problem. No water! So they had to pull the pump 172 feet out of the well . It had a bad splice so they fixed it and tried again.
Yay! Water!! Here are two very excited missionaries. They have been praying for this for 5 years and now God has answered their prayers. This project will provide food for the students and faculty and will serve as a source of income for the center as they sell the extra. It will also be a training center to teach other villages how to provide good healthy food for themselves.
The blind students were excited as well!
Travis cutting pipes for the plumbing. The poles are installed for the greenhouses.
Krista and I pose for a photo before going back to start dinner for everyone. Working hard in the hot kitchen. Most trips I have been on have had four women in the kitchen. Occasionally three. This time there were just two. It was a lot of work making sure everyone was fed, and had plenty to drink. A couple days they brought back as many as 10-12 extras. We didn't have much spare time but we got the job done!
One evening we went to church service with the blind students. They sang their hearts out!
Then they wanted to "describe one of us to the rest of the students. I don't think the men can grow facial hair for some reason so when the young man got to Dewey's beard he was quite surprised. It was very funny. Then it was Becca's turn.
On Friday we had a free day. ABWE runs a hospital about thirty minutes away so we went to take a tour of it and some gave blood. CWE also has done two projects on the hospital grounds. One is a missionary guest house and the other is the maternity wing of the hospital. Here are some sites along the way.
The road went from bad to worse.
Kevin, Becca, Jo, Mike and Dave waiting to give blood. Jeff is showing us how it's done. In the states most of us can't give blood because of our travels but in Togo they were happy to take it.
While they waited to give blood the rest of us were given a tour of the hospital. We are so blessed to have the facilities we have here in the states.
This is the waiting room for the clinic and the triage area where they are checked in and assessed.
The emergency room. They have no HIPAA laws there and told us to feel free to take photos.
The men's wing and the maternity wing. No private rooms here.
If you stay in the hospital a family member has to take care of you while you're there. They need to cook for you and tend to everything except for your medical care. This is where the family cooks and sleeps.
This little girl was so cute. The next photo is a termite mound outside one of the guest houses. They are everywhere.
After the hospital we went back to the house to have lunch. Some of the nationals were still hard at work digging the trench to bury the water pipe. We had them take a break and shared the Gospel with them. Some of the team had been doing that all week long working side by side with them but we always do it as a group as well. The following week we heard that five workers had accepted Christ as their Savior!
A couple photos before we headed back out. Some of the men purchased material and had African "man suits" made. Here is Kevin and his "twin brother from another mother" Agbeko. And Josh tries carrying the soda African style.
We headed back out to hike to a castle and a waterfall. We came upon this truck on the road. Who do you think gave way?
Some of us wanted to save our energy for the hike to the waterfall so we waited at the bottom of the road while the others went to the castle. Some ladies were bagging up something to sell on the roadside.
Friendly little boy.
I've seen as many as five on a "moto". They carry all kinds of things besides people on these things too.
After a while it was time to move on and get to the waterfall.
Finally we made it.
The guys found a rope so their goal became to see who could make it to the top of the waterfall. Four of them succeeded. Kevin, Josh, Jeff and Travis. Boys!
Here is John and Joan sharing the Gospel with our guide.
It was a great day and a great week. I was blessed to be able to experience it with my husband, daughter and son-in-law as well as the awesome team that God put together that week. The missionaries were awesome as well. It was a very exhausting week and after 32 hours of travel to get home I am ready to go again!
The below photo was taken after we left.This is the framework for the shade cloth, put up by the second team.