Thursday February 7

 Posted by Matthew Cutler at 11:31 pm  Ghana
Feb 062013
 

Just a few little ramblings from me today:

1. Ghana lost the soccer match to Burkina-Faso [yeah, take out the atlas and look where it is located.. It is just north of Ghana and south of Mali]; so they are out of the tournament. Burkina-Faso will play Nigeria for the championship of Sunday.

2. Toilet construct is now really on the way. The crew poured the concrete– a small cave in on the end required some clean up work. The metal pillars are in and the cinder block work has commenced.  Watching the making and pouring of concrete– I thought of the Israelites working to build the store cities of Pithom and Ramses: large bins being lifted on shoulders with rocks and some with sand and some with water– all being poured in to a mixer with cement and some other bag of stuff which I could not identify. Then the mixture was poured into other bin and then down into the hole. Lots of workers, doing heavy labor. They start at sunrise and work to sunset. But unlike the Israelites, they are not complaining– at the end of the day, the contractor stands and pays them ALL as they leave. That line from somewhere in the Jewish tradition about not holding the wages of the laborer over night echoes loudly in my head!!!

3. Heading to Accra for the weekend– spending shabbat with Gerry and Irit Magnes’ nephew. Saturday and thru-out the week, I wil visit other friends of friends: Judy Brown’s exchange student from the 1960s and the family of Eric Block’s coleague’s {Professor Rabi Musah} family as well… Hmm– wasn’t it Scarlett O’hara who said: “I have always relied on the kindness of strangers”?.. wait– it might be Blanche Dubois in “A Street Car Named Desire”… Regardless– I hope no one will say to be that they don’t give a damn nor will I stand in the streets of Accra and yell “Stella!!”

4. Great breakfast conversation– who is your favorite Biblical figure? Pastor Manu said Abraham– his faith guided him where ever he went. So true for that man– his faith is strong and his energy limitless. His passion for soccer is intense– boy, can he yell at the TV set!! Mine was Betselel– the holy artisan who build the Tabernacle with a wise heart. I am no artist, but the work of my hands thru social justice is certainly a manifestation of my faith.. Who is yours?

5. Speaking Bible– I have thought a lot about Rebecca at the well. I am gleaning new understanding of why she watered Eliezar and his camels.. and why she was willing to go with him to meet Isaac. In fact, many Genesis and Exodus naratives have taken on new meanings for me as a result of this experience…

6. I do have one fear. In an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”, Howard returns from space and constantly talks about it to everyone he meets. “You know I was in space”.. “When I was in space”…. “That is funny, it reminds of this time when I was in space”– got a funny feeling I will be like that with my Ghana stories. But my friend Seth Limmer told me that I should not worry, it sure beats having to listen to the same old stories over and over again, at least now they are new stories!  

7. I am amazed that children are so respectful of their elders here. Children jump when they are asked to do things– no eye rolling  or the comment “later”. They do!.. A word to the third or fourth born at home: there is a hierarchy in a family. The first born does not have to do things if teh second born is around; the same holds true for the third or fourth born– they do more to sustai the household… Hmmm– maybe that is why Jacob in the Torah was doing more housework than his brother Esau who was out in the field? Next year’s sermon idea!!!

8. What have a gleaned from this experience? My faith has grown stronger, my appreciation for what I have has been more secure, my love for my family more profound and my commitment to to tikkun olam more define… Yeah I got a lot to think about when I get home in 8 days!!

   

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