Tuesday Travels to Toasty Tamale (tah-ma-lay)

We got off to a good start today with everyone making it to breakfast on time and ready to go. After breakfast we had some time to be with the Word and reflect on the trip so far. Some people spent this time in the heat on the deck and others chose to stay in their rooms and enjoy the air conditioning for a little bit longer. After this time, we gathered all of our belongings and piled into the vans to head to the airport to head up north to Tamale for a sports camp. The domestic airport in Ghana is very different from what we are used to in the US. It is small with minimum security and a short bus ride to drop us off right outside the plane. The flight was very quick, about 1 hour, but we still got juice and snacks. Once we landed, it was just a short wait for our luggage and then we headed outside into the very dry heat (34ºC) to drive to our next destination.

The drive went a lot more smoothly than the previous trips in Accra. We all kept our eyes peeled to see different wild life, and although we joked about lions and elephants, we only saw goats and cows. The landscape in Tamale is much different than the city and more of what we expected to see. It is very dry and hot here, which is different from the humid air in Accra near the ocean. On our way from the airport we stopped at a restaurant for lunch outside where we all enjoyed very large portions of rice, chicken, and pizza, along with the heat. With full stomachs we piled into the vans one last time to head to where we would be staying for the night.

Right when we arrived at the compound we were greeted by the local coaches who were all eager to meet us and learn what we had to share about sports. We started the clinic for the coaches right away and taught them about four different aspects of sport that we thought were important for all sports. We split in groups and took turns explaining and demonstrating servant leadership, team bonding, a dynamic warm up, and sportsmanship. During sportsmanship, the group got the coaches engaged with a game of rock, tree, and bridge. This activity exemplified encouraging teammates, being a humble winner, and still being positive if you lose. Through all of these activities, the coaches learned new skills and tools to use with their own teams here in Ghana. This was impactful for each of us on the trip because we were able to share experiences and suggestions from our own teams at Hope.

After the sports clinic we moved into the water filter demonstrations. We showed the coaches how to set up their own buckets for filtration. Once we got the filter all set up we filled the bucket with water and showed the coaches how the dirty water was transformed into clean water. The coaches were in awe and kept coming up to look at the dirty water. They could not believe that the clean water that came out was safe to drink. After demonstration, we gave each coach their own water filter to take back to their own village along with a t-shirt. They were very excited to receive the filter to be able to take back and share with their communities. It was an amazing experience to be able to hand them the shirts and filters ourselves and to see the looks of pure joy and gratefulness that they were feeling. We ended the session with a group picture with all of the coaches in their new t-shirts. When we took the picture all of the coaches happily said “CHEESE”, filling us all with laughter and joy.

Then we walked over to a cafeteria building where there was rice, chicken, vegetables, and a hot fish sauce prepared for us. We also had water that was packaged out of a bag and you bit the corner to drink it. We ate and chatted with different coaches at our tables. The portions were very large and many of us couldn’t quite finish, but some of the other Ghanaian coaches helped us finish everything, even the chicken bones. After talking with the coaches and learning a little bit about their lives we headed back to our rooms for a debriefing, sharing of God sightings, and games.

Today was long and filled with travel but rewarding but we would all do it over again in an instant. We are looking forward to tomorrow and more chances to learn and serve with the coaches here in Tamale.

With love,
Jacinda & Emily

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