Helen, Mercy, and Plans


(Or Miawoezɔ, as they say in Ewe. We are trying to learn a few basic phrases while we are here, but the pronunciation is difficult to get a handle on. At the very least, we provide the locals a good laugh with our feeble attempts.)

We have been SO BUSY. Our first few weeks in Ghana seemed to move at a much slower pace; lately the days have been jam-packed and flying by. We are grateful for all the activity though and have definitely been sleeping well every night.

We have lots to report. Probably the most important development is that Bernard and Celestine (or Mama and Papa, as the girls will refer to them) have hired two cooks for the Yellow House! They have exceeded our expectations (that’s happened a lot this trip) in so many ways:
-It is a mother-daughter duo. The mom, Helen, does not speak English very well...but Mercy is very fluent. This is crucial since the girls might not know any English: Helen and Mercy will be able to communicate with them and translate for the American staff—especially in the first few weeks.
-Helen and Mercy will be critical in teaching the girls everything that we are unable to: cooking is just the tip of the iceberg. It is so important that these girls are raised Ghanaian, with an appreciation for and knowledge of their own culture. Who better to educate them than Ghanaian women?
-Long-term, the Ghanaian staff will be much more involved in the day-to-day activities than the Americans will. They will be the girls’ family: Mercy—who is 22—functioning as an older sister, and Helen providing that “motherly touch” that every home needs:) Mercy will live in the Yellow House, in the cook’s quarters, and Helen will come during the day.
-They are also members of the church Bernard and Celestine (and the girls, eventually) attend.

Here are a few more shots of the exterior of the house. Minus the dining table, all of the furniture is being delivered tomorrow. We can’t wait. I’m planning a nice long post with lots of pictures:)

plantain + banana trees along the back wall.
A rough floor plan. I make no claims to be an architect! A few changes have been made since we first drafted this up: The Spare Room will actually be the Ghanaian Kitchen, and the Office/Playroom will be the Office/Guestroom.
Some of the yard, and the start of the garden. That's the mango tree on the right. If only you could see what this yard looked like when Teddy and I first saw it: the transformation is unreal!
the lemon tree.
Courtyard. Mercy's bedroom and one of the bathrooms is to the left, the kitchen is through the door on the right.

Our To-Do List is noticeably shrinking and we are nailing down the last few details for our trip to the Lake…the trip where we will meet the girls and bring them home to Akatsi. If all goes to plan, we will leave two weeks from today.

We are SO ready to finally see the faces of these girls that we have been praying over for almost two years!

We’ve received some questions from people asking if there are any specific needs or ways that they can contribute during this incredibly exciting season. To be honest, we hate doing anything termed “fundraising,” lest it come across as schmaltzy or fake, but we recognize that people WANT to help, we could use the assistance, and this is a very thrilling and unique time. So why not?

We are operating under the assumption that the girls will be coming to us with no belongings other than the clothes on their backs. Mama Celestine (Bernard’s wife) has helped us compile little “bundles” for each kid that will include anything and everything they need: toothbrushes, clothes, shoes, towels, Bibles, notebooks + crayons, and a few toiletries. Most everything will be bought in Akatsi and support the local economy (their dresses, for example, are made by a tailor who lives near us and dyes, stamps, and sews his own fabric). If you would like to provide one or all of these bundles for the girls the cost is $100.00 USD each.

Our friend Sammy has made the cutest bunk beds out of bamboo for the girls. Each set (which includes two beds, mattresses, and sheets) is $300.00 USD.

The location where we are travelling to get the girls is extremely remote and a LONG way from Akatsi…over 17 hours by car. We are still ironing out the details, but have estimated that the transportation costs for this AMAZING journey will be about $200.00 USD per kid.

If you would like to contribute in any way to the aforementioned expenses, or any that aren’t listed (i.e., the dining table, the fridge, the water system) please email us at eightoaks.info@gmail.com. It would be our pleasure to send pictures or give more details so if you have questions, let us know.  

UpdatesEllie KriwielComment