15
Jun

Day 5-7: Tues-Thursday

   Posted by: Dean White   in Ghana

Destinations:

  • Latter Rain Church
  • Village of Akotiaku
  • The Mayor’s Residence

Purpose: Train key leaders who want to have an impact on the health & well-being of this community

Tomorrow: Visit and bring provisions to the “Witch Camp”

Highlights from Tues-Thurs:

  • Training
  • Meeting the Mayor of Ghana
  • The Team

Quote of the Day: “I want the people of Ghana to feel empowered.” The Mayor

Training

The last 3 days have been devoted to training.  For a full day we taught on the key principals of growing a healthy community and the action steps the leaders of the community will need to take to implement change. The second day we taught a Road 2 Health system that enabled the leaders to discover their greatest problems, the root causes, the results of those problems and then finally discuss solutions that they can implement from the community.  We started with about 50 key leaders, some drove over 2 hours to be here for the 3 day conference. We then also invited the community to join us for one of the evening sessions and had about 100+ people, many of them were college aged.  The training was a huge success.  I had the opportunity to lead most of the training and do what I love in regards to thinking on my feet and generating energy by engaging the crowd.  At first my jokes were not landing.  They didn’t understand baseball nor the analogy of baseball. But by the end I got them to laugh and understand a model they can adopt. I was very thankful to our leader of the group, Betty.  She prepared ALL the trainings, the schedule, the videos, the system, and much much more.  All I had to do was talk and engage others. Which was the easy part!  In addition to Betty, the rest of our team (The Ghana Nine) were AMAZING!  As I was teaching, I would get a whisper in my ear on something I was about to miss, or get a suggestion that would make all the difference. When the participants were asked to break into small groups, the team would join the small groups, facilitate discussions, take notes, and put people as ease.  I left feeling exhausted as if I played a football game and left everything on the field. But I also was invigorated on how well the team worked together. We had a very successful conference, and I was able to perform at my best because of this amazing team. We needed each person to do their part and commit to giving their best …and they did!  Betty laid an amazing ground work and then we all worked in our strengths.  This morning, day 3 of the training, was focused on putting what they learned into practice.  We loaded two vans and headed out to a remote village. The dirt road there was so full of pot holes it looked like the dimples of a golf ball. Luckily we have a very skilled and funny driver William.  We arrived at a village that I have only seen in movies. In this village, the people lived in mud huts with thatched roofs, had no electricity nor any running water or pluming. There is a chief in this village that approves all and anything that goes on or any outside influence that wants to come in to help.  We pulled over on the side of the road and began to work. The leaders did an amazing job and they were excited to get started.  We observed and supported as they instantly engaged the community, listening to their needs, and began building new relationships. It was hard to see people living with such little. Yet, after talking with them, they were just normal people like you and me. Yes they live in different conditions that you and I do, but they live life, have joys and problems like the rest of the world and appreciate a new friendships.

 

The Mayor of Ghana

One of the major things we were hoping for was to get a meeting with the newly elected Mayor of Ghana.  Betty has been corresponding with his office before we left and as of Tuesday this week we still did not have confirmation if we would be permitted a meeting with him or not.  Well, we heard back on Weds and after moving a few things around on his schedule and ours, we were able to come to an agreement for tonight at 7:30pm at his residence.  This meeting was crucial to the development of the PEACE plan that we have initiated in Ghana. If we were to develop the leaders, the leaders then empower volunteers and then the government not approve, all the work would be halted.  The contrast is also true.  With the government’s, namely the Mayor’s support, things can move much more freely and development in these cities can begin and the system that Saddleback and the President of Rwanda created can be readily adopted for Ghana.  Meeting the Mayor was an honor and very to the point.  Betty prepared an excellent PowerPoint presentation, I spoke on the alignment of the system and how all three-key people have the same goal; to empower the people of Ghana to better enhance their communities. That this vision is shared by Saddleback, Pastor Abraham of Latter Rain Church (who also came with us) and also you the Mayor. He responded with, “Thank you for recognizing this.” There were so many things that were perfect for this meeting.  Betty’s presentation, Lisa (part of the Ghana Nine) knew the Minister of Finance from previous missions’ work and ultimately arranged the meeting, Wilson (the owner of the Ponderosa, who also came) has done similar work in another area of Ghana and knew of areas in this district that were doing some of the work we recommended, and that Wilson & Pastor Abraham both live in this district.  Basically, it wasn’t white America, trying to bring aid.  It was proven systems that were created when Rick Warren went to Rwanda, these systems plus a leader in the community (Pastor Abraham) that has a proven track record of helping the community through the years, plus empowering Ghanaians to take pride in their communities and work hard to enhance them together.  All that is needed is a willing Mayor to say, “Let’s do it.”  We left the meeting very excited with a confirmation that he will greatly consider this and would like to speak with the key people in Rwanda.  Betty is already arranging the meeting!  We walked out of the meeting screaming with joy!

 

The Team

I really feel blessed to be part of this amazing team.  All of us are so different and our individual gifting has complemented each other. Wendy brings joy and a smile to everyone she meets, she is our photographer.  Mario is funny and is always in a great mood, he is our I.T. guy. Roylene, is quick with a complement and supportive word, she is Mario’s wife & our first aid/nurse. Sandra, a social worker with a heart of gold, keeps us singing on the bus. Kristy, who works with the homeless and those recently out of jail, handles all our finances. Lisa, assists Betty with logistics and planning and keeps everything behind the scenes working. Greg, Betty’s husband (he used to play for the Raiders), keeps us laughing and my ego in check.  And our fearless leader Betty, who handles planning, details, training, logistics, cares about the team like a mom, and keeps me on a short leash (an extremely difficult task).  This team, the Ghana Nine, feel like 9 gears of a watch. When one moves the rest move.  And even with the sleep deprivation, we have been in support and care for each other.  It is evident that everyone is valued and respected.  We have sung, laughed, played, and succeeded together. Each person has pushed out of their comfort zone and found new gold in their life because of it. And each one has impacted my heart.

 

Thought for the Day

The leaders that we trained and then let loose to do the work were beaming.  They were excited that we flew all the way from America (I am hearing those words in their voice as I typed it), to train them and give them a solid system for a successful and healthy community.  When they popped out of their vans, they took to the work like a kid to a candy store. It made me think about how powerful is a strong vision. And how often we are simply looking for a road map for life.  I too often look for a road map for my own life. A simple system that someone can teach me and then let me loose. It sounds so easy and yet for a vision to work it takes more than just will power.  It takes others to be there to support, encourage and run alongside with you.

 

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 15th, 2017 at 5:28 pm and is filed under Ghana. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment

Denise White Randel
 1 

Loved this post and though the pictures of poverty are hard to see, knowing that you are giving them tools to improve their health and their living conditions is so exciting! Love you so much and praying each day for your team’s health and safety.

June 15th, 2017 at 6:49 pm

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