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Archive for May, 2010

Codhani

The last week in Kara, Tiffany Shanks (another missionary, not on my team) took us to visit this unique site outside of Kara. Codhani is a place where handicapped people work to make all kinds of gifty and touristy items, mostly out of fabric that they design themselves. We got to see where they work and how they design and create.

One of several buildings in the compound

They use stencils and wax and dye.

This lady works over an open fire dying the fabrics

Some, though not all, of the fabric is woven on sight

This is the type of iron they use, with hot coals put into the iron itself. This is also what we'd see at the tailors around town.

The outside of the shop where they sell the finished products.

Inside; This picture shows about half of the shop.

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Home!

I’ve been home for about a week and a half now and have enjoyed seeing friends and family in Searcy, Arkansas. Now I am at my parents house in Milledgeville, Georgia relaxing a bit. My foot was somehow  injured during my trip home, so I’m trying to ice that and let it heal. I will be returning to Searcy soon to work on the next step, whatever that is. I hope to move to Nashville.

As this blog is called “Bethany in transit” and I am still in transit (and will be in a way for the rest of my life) I will continue posting on this blog occasionally. I have a few catch up posts to do from Togo, mostly pictures, so you can look for those in the next few days. Thank you to all who have followed this blog during my year in Togo for your prayers, comments, and encouragement.

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Grand Finale?

I praise God for his sovereignty over our plans, his faithfulness to watch over us, his good work of sanctification, his presence and comfort. I praise God for Jacque, who has determined that we will do fun things with this time, like playing spoons and has lent me her jacket. I praise God that this air port is clean and does not smell bad and I feel safe here. I praise God that my mom was not mad when I told her I was late and missed the flight this afternoon. I praise God that Sarah is sweet and positive. I praise God that I have a family who loves me and is worth crying over not getting to see today. I praise God that this air port sells real milk, which I love and have not tasted in 9 months. I praise God that at the last minute I pulled my pillow out of my suitcase to carry on the plane. I praise God that they speak English in the country I’m stuck in. I praise God that switching our tickets to tomorrow was FREE. I praise God that it is HE who provides, protects, determines, disciplines, and loves me. And he who has caught every tear I have cried today.

Now I will back up and give a chronology of the last 4 days.

Friday: It was my last day in little Kara, Togo, and I was feeling very sentimental about leaving Africa. During the day I packed, sorted out stuff to leave for the missionaries to use, worked cleaning and organizing the school house, and went to the market for the last time. I marveled over the difference in my perception of the market between first arriving in Togo and the end of our time there. What had been overwhelmingly big, busy, smelly and unpleasant had become familiar, exciting enjoyable (though still smelly in places-mostly the meat section where butchered animal parts lay on open counters in the heat with flies buzzing around all day). I walked around thinking how I would miss the unpredictability, the variety and the richness of the market experience. Later that afternoon I said goodbye to 2 of my 3 students and one of the moms, cried briefly, and then went on to have a lovely last evening with the Kennell family. Nicole Kennell served chocolate moose pie and gave us each a very random kitchen utensil to eat it with, each chosen for it’s appropriateness to our personalities but not for eating chocolate moose. I ate mine with a metal whisk 🙂 because I’m “shiny and multi-faceted”. I’m not sure if “shiny” applied to my personality or my face sweating in the west African heat.

Saturday: Matt and Grace Hangen came at 5:30 am to drive us to Accra, Ghana to catch our flight home. We are extremely grateful to them for volunteering to do this, as it is an 11 hour drive on rough roads. It was very surreal to know how close we were to leaving Africa. I tried to absorb and remember as much as possible from the scenery passing by. Saturday was Worker’s Day in Togo, like America’s Labor Day. We passed several mini parade-type displays of people dancing and singing in the streets. When we arrived in Accra, it was as if Africa was already slipping away. Already it was so much bigger and more Westernized than Kara. That night in bed, as I tried to journal and pray I didn’t know what I was feeling or what to say. I just felt dazed. I asked God to speak to me if he had anything to say. He did lead me to some realizations and scriptures that were difficult, humbling and beautiful all at once. I may say more about that later.

Sunday: Our flight didn’t leave until 10:40 pm, so the day leading up to that point was mostly quiet. We didn’t have money to spend or much to do, and were very ready to just be on the plane and on our way home. We entered the air port with energy and excitement. We were really on our way! After two very long and slow lines, and several comments from the male air port employees along the lines of “you should come back to Ghana, you should come visit me, you should be my wife,” we were ultimately told that something was wrong with our reservation and we had to go back to the ticket office. That line was the slowest and least organized line I’ve ever been in. At least an hour later, we had paid $70 extra on each ticket but we DID have our tickets. Success! We were going home! I settled in for a relatively comfortable, but completely sleepless night on British Airways flight 227.

Monday: We did a whirlwind tour of some major sights of London, which included our first Starbucks in 9 months. Best Caramel Macchiato ever… Taking the Underground from Heathrow, we saw the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. We snapped fast pictures and practically ran from place to place. All of these things were only at 2 different subway stops, but lots of little things combined to add unexpected time to our plans… Despite planning and watch-checking and determining to be back to the air port several hours early, we arrived at the security checkpoint in Heathrow 1-2 minutes later than their strict 40 min. cut off, and were not allowed on the flight.

Monday night, 11:30 pm: I am sitting on hard plastic chairs, stupidly divided by metal arms to prevent laying down. The Heathrow Airport is well-lit, but quiet, for an airport. Men drive small vehicles, waxing the floor. We were kicked out of the comfy  internet cafe/lounge area where leather love-seats tantalize us from a distance.  A female British voice reminds me repeatedly that unattended luggage will be “removed and destroyed” and I’m literally dizzy from exhaustion, and I’ve been freezing for 24 hours.

I actually wrote the first paragraph of this post after the rest. It is now the next morning and I DID sleep some last night and am very warmed by a hot Starbucks latte. I’m going home TODAY.

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