By Debbie Edwards
I arrived in the Diocese of Ho, Ghana, West Africa, without preconceptions or expectations. This was because I wanted to experience everything with fresh eyes. I was not disappointed.
The entire experience, our wonderful hosts and the beautiful countryside were delightful. Here I will share some of my overall impressions and special memories.
David and I left Fredericton on Jan. 3 and arrived at Kotoka International Airport, in Accra, on our third wedding anniversary, Jan. 4.
We traveled with Robbie Griffin, from Grand Manan and chair of our Companion Diocese Committee, and Dr. Harvey Bass, who is an optometrist from Grand Falls.
Our first and primary reason for going to Ghana was to commission the Mobile Medical Clinic and, secondly, to spend time with Bishop Matthias and see parts of the Diocese of Ho.
I know that thoughts, videos and photographs have already been shared regarding the commissioning of the Mobile Medical Clinic, but I would like to try to capture what it was like on the day.
First of all, I had no idea that the ceremony, two hours in total, was going to be such a big deal! There were many representatives from local and national TV and newspapers, as well as representation from local clergy and government.
I was amazed at the degree to which the church, the Ho Teaching Hospital, Rotary International and government all worked together. For instance, the ceremony not only opened with prayer, but God just seemed naturally part of it.
Also, I was delighted with the singing provided by the Cathedral Choir, led by Prosper Mededues-Badohu, the son of Bishop Matthias. It was a delight to hear sacred music at a public gathering.
The experience recalled just how profound is the gulf we experience, in the Western World, between church and state.
Also, it was a joy to witness the gratitude expressed by the staff of the Ho Teaching Hospital for the gift of the mobile clinic, as well as the donation of equipment provided by Dr. Bass.
Another delight David and I discovered in Ghana was a whole new world of plant life! As you know, David often talks about our yard here in Fredericton and how much we enjoy gardening.
While we may not be super knowledgeable about plants and what they require, we continue to learn and grow new things each season.
David has an app on his phone called “Picture This,” which tells you the name of a plant, how to grow it and where it is indigenous. Well, did we give the app a workout in Ghana!
We saw so many trees and plants that we’d never seen before — mahogany, teak, mango, avocado, cashew and nutmeg, to name just a few.
However, two trees stand out in my mind because they were totally new to us and because they were both made into wonderful drinks. The first is a tree called baobab, which has huge edible fruit.
The fruit has many health benefits because it’s high in several nutrients, causing it to be nicknamed the “tree of life.”
Lucy, wife of Bishop Matthias gave us a delicious drink she makes from the baobab.
The other tree is called soursop. I am a bit puzzled about its name because the white flesh is wonderfully sweet, something like watermelon with big black seeds.
Bishop Matthias gave us cans of juice made from soursop and I was disappointed that we had a few to give back at the end of our visit!
My third lasting impression is the wonderful welcome and hospitality we were shown by
Bishop Matthias, his family and the various parishes we visited around the Diocese.
Of course, it wasn’t really a surprise in the sense that we are always graciously received here in the Diocese of Fredericton, but nonetheless, it was special because of delightfully different types of food and drink.
While we ate in several different restaurants, it was the food served in church rectories that I’ll long remember. A special thanks to Lucy, Rita and Angela, (Bishop Matthias’ wife and daughters) for great food and fresh fruit.
Another memorable time was Sunday worship at St. Patrick’s in Kpando. The fact that the entire service was in their local dialect, (apart from David’s sermon, which was translated), did not lessen the joy of being present.
I wish that everyone reading this could have heard the wonderful singing and drumming and witnessed the joy expressed through dancing.
While some of it was very different from a Sunday service at home, on the other hand, it was an Anglican service. I was once again reminded of the Bonds of Unity and how much we all have in common.
I will never forget my visit to the Diocese of Ho and to Ghana. For me, it was a thoroughly unique experience, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
David and I are always appreciative of your prayers and continued support.
Debbie Edwards is married to Archbishop David Edwards.
1. Bishop Matthias Medadues-Badohu, of Ho, Ghana, and Archbishop David Edwards of Fredericton enjoy a beach break at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean during David and his wife, Debbie’s visit to the Diocese of Ho in January. Their trip was primarily to participate in the commissioning of the mobile medical clinic donated by our diocese and Rotary to serve the health needs of the people of Ho.
2. The head table during the mobile medical clinic dedication at the Ho Teaching Hospital.
3. Bishop David receives a traditional Ghanaian shirt from Bishop Matthias.
4. Outside St. Patrick's, Kpando after a service.
So happy to hear about your trip and when I heard about the plants, I began to wish that I could have been there to see them. I love to garden and grow our veggies for the next coming year. By the way, belated congratulations on your anniversary.
John & Dianne Craft
thank you for sharing the joys of this wonderfilled adventure and the reality of our oneness and fellowship across cultures.such a happy occasio for all involved
Hello Debbie: Just now again reading your views of your trip to a whole new different world, so to speak. It was very visible to me how much you enjoyed this . Yes, the different culture, food, drinks all are so intriguing. And the hospitality you and Bishop David received was impressive of course. Thanks be to God for your experience and for getting back home safely with lots of blessings to remember.
I hear your joy, wonder and deep appreciation all wrapped up in God's love as you shared your comments, Debbie....so happy for you and David.