Holding babies—a dream come true! Last Wednesday, Allegra and I got the privilege of visiting Beacon House—an orphanage LCS is looking into adopting into our community service program. Beacon House is a privately run Christian organization that is houses children in two locations—one remote with 8-12 children and one in very nice neighborhood of Accra with 31-38 children ages 3mos. To 14 years. It was our first visit as a school program. Alan, the 20-30-ish youth minister and his wife, Amy, are this year’s hosting team. They have two small daughters and are from Indiana. Alan came to school to talk to us, so we could know what to expect.  Babies needed to be held—the four “aunties” that live in, run the house with a firm hand—Toddlers needing to be read to and played with, small school aged children needing tutoring, people to do crafts and in general love on everyone. There is only one teen, who has been there the entire four years of the program. He is fourteen, blind, and probably autistic. He is very sweet and learns who you are by the feel of your hand. Volunteers from the university come mostly Monday through Friday to help. Any Obroni (foreigner) is a volunteer—I think only the director and the Aunties get paid. There was a girl from Washington State (Bellingham)  living there for one month—she learned of Beacon House because her sister adopted two children (and later a third by the same mom) from there last year. Ghana doesn’t have a strong culture of adoption and we were told they just closed their foreign adoptions. These are all children have no parents, may have any of the following: AIDS, Malaria, maggot infestation, sexual and physical abuse. They are the worst cases of neglect and poverty. OY. I was so impressed how clean and modern the house is. They really are trying to bring love to these kids. Alan kept emphasizing that the children have nothing you can catch by hugging them or rubbing their backs. It was heaven to hold babies, read to toddlers, Allegra ended up being a horsy on the trampoline. (Yep, they had a trampoline that was new and big and in good shape!) I will back and be back and be back. I was also told, this was a rare service day, in that they were ready for us with paint buckets for the painting volunteers, craft project, school room with students needing tutoring, and they just started handing us babies as soon as we got off the bus! (In our last orphanage we were not allowed to hold the babies and the children were not allowed to play with their toys—they were in closets or up high on shelves). Heaven I tell you. Just nothing but loving and touching for two hours.

Okay, done with the heavy stuff. We are on vacay! Western Region—very close to Cote D’ Ivoire. The surf is crashing, crashing, crashing outside our window. I want a bathroom just like this for my birthday. My dream house is just like this one. (I don’t need the ocean out the window—though that would be nice!) The ride started  Saturday at  6:15 am in a Taxi to the STS bus station. The ride was surreal—even though we were in the country’s capitol, there was hardly a paved road on the entire 20-25 minute drive. The first person said, it is the bus over there, and the next person said it was the bus back where we were dropped off…We found the bus, bought plantain chips, took the last four seats…literally…and were off—Takaradi bound—about 3 hours.  The trip was smooth, we even took a potty break. Of course there is a but to that story! After the potty stop, we hit traffic—why? Because there was a tro-tro accident (a van overloaded with people and no regulation for drivers). It was ugly—in a ditch, lots of smashed up trucks and things. Got through that and got to Takaradi about 11: 15. By 11:30 (after the due haggling) we were on the road in a taxi to Axim Beach Hotel. Not much to report, except the tree in the road that held us up for 15 minutes(and the white gospel music playing over and over and over on an old cassette) . Into Axim and down a red dirt road for a long time…to the last gate.  Here we are. You see for yourself. Laughing, enjoying be together. Good Times. Xoxoox Amy

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