​Church today was awesome!! Amber and I went with Agnes, our cook. I don’t know if the one that we went to last week is atypical, but at this church, they had someone translating. We asked after the service if they usually say everything in Ewe and English, and they said, “if we have visitors”… so they just did it for us. It was so nice! Actually understanding some amount of what is happening makes a huge difference. Nico went to another church, and he said that when he got there, they asked for a volunteer from the congregation to sit with him and translate. I guess the one we went to last week really wasn’t the best place to start.

This service was more similar to what I’m used to at home. The whole thing was about an hour and a half. We started off by praying individually about a few different things. I prayed silently but everyone else was shouting theirs out which was pretty cool. I obviously didn’t understand any of it, but you could tell that they were praising God wholeheartedly. We moved into some singing which was all in Ewe, and Amber and I joined in with the clapping. Next, they asked any new people to stand up so that they could be welcomed… it was nice and awkward because it was just Amber and me… and there was some time to walk around and shake hands and greet one another. Then there was more singing, the sermon, singing and offering, and the end!

The church location was cool too because it was just a bunch of chairs outside under a tree, and there was a box of instruments that people could take to participate in the music. The whole atmosphere was really chill, and I felt comfortable there, unlike the last church where I felt out of place and lost the entire time.

Our backyard chickens hiding from the rain

The sermon was also exactly what I needed to hear. The pastor talked about how when things are going poorly in your life, it’s easy to remember and call on God and the people who support you through the hard times. Then, once things are going well, you forget about God and take those people for granted again. It’s completely true, and it was a good reminder for me right now.

After church, the rest of the day was mostly uneventful. We went to half of the soccer game until it started raining, and then we sat at home, ate cookies, and drank hot chocolate. Those are the best rainy day activities, in my opinion. If only I also had a couch, fuzzy blanket, and big screen tv…

​This was our first Sunday in Frankadua, so Amber, Nico, and I did what everyone else in town was doing and went to church (after managing to drag ourselves out of bed… my whole body is aching). Church here is quite different than it is at home. Well, at least as far as I could tell, but the whole thing was in Ewe so maybe it was more similar than I think..? But probably not.

The first difference was the length of the service. At home, it’s an hour to an hour and a half. Here, the one we went to today was 3 hours. 3 HOURS. Yes, you read that right. We got there around 9:15 (it started at 9), and people kept trickling in until at least 10:30. Things were still in full swing when we left at 11:30, and I’m pretty sure that it ends at 12. So I guess that’s one similarity and one difference –the service is longer, and just like at home, everyone is late.

Next, there was WAY more singing. It seemed like people were just randomly deciding who was going to start each song, but there must have been some sort of method to it. Sometimes it was the choir, sometimes the people in the front right area, sometimes a group of people from the audience went up. I definitely don’t understand.

The coolest part was when they took offering. They put a bowl at the front of the room, and everyone sang and danced their way up to put their money in the bowl. After everyone was done, the singing and dancing kept going, complete with people running up and down the center aisle, one with a baby strapped to her back (who amazingly slept through the whole thing). It was awesome.

Finally, around about 10AM, they did a couple of scripture readings in English, and a woman delivered what I assume was the message for the day. Every once in a while, she said a few words in English. Not sure if that was for our benefit or if that’s a normal occurrence, but we were definitely the only people there who couldn’t understand Ewe.

Anyway, the whole thing was quite an experience. We went to the church that is associated with the school where we have summer school, but there are a TON of churches in town to choose from. I think I’m going to try to go to a different one each time we’re in Frankadua on Sunday, and I’m interested to see how similar/different they are to each other.

I wish I had gotten a picture as soon as everyone stormed the field, but I was too caught off guard to react quickly. This is after most of the people cleared, but you can still see some running around

The other activity of the day was watching a soccer game (my favorite thing… not). The Frankadua team was playing against one of the best teams in Ghana. Apparently a bunch of the other team’s players are on the Ghanaian national team, so this was a big deal. Fernanda, Amber, Nico, and I got there just before halftime, and Frankadua was down 1-0.

With about 10 minutes left in the second half, Frankadua scored!! Everyone stormed the field like we had just won the game. It was insane. People were running around like chickens with their heads cut off for at least 5 minutes, and I’m sitting there thinking, “aren’t there still 10 minutes left?” I don’t know if goals are always celebrated that enthusiastically or if that was just because of the importance of the game, but it was pretty crazy.

The post game celebration… Just mentally overlay a crazy amount of noise, and you’ll have an accurate depiction of the scene

At the end, with a score of 1-1, the celebration resumed with singing and dancing and people playing drums and trumpets and one annoying vuvuzela. From the looks of the party, you would think we had won the game, and when we left about 15 minutes later, it was still going strong.

All in all, I think today was a pretty good day for my cultural education. Even though I only understood about five words at church and am not the biggest soccer fan, it was really fun doing normal things and feeling like part of the community.