Disclaimer: There has been so much good happen in the past few weeks (I promise I will follow up with a post containing all of the good). I will share that with you as well, but I need to take a minute to be vulnerable and let you in on yesterday. Cue the Antoine Dodson “Home-intruder” song…” They climbin in yo windows….”
I had been warned that these days would eventually come. I refused to believe they would. I vowed I would not let the devil get a foothold in my thought process. Satan would not win during my time in Ghana. However then yesterday occurred. My love/hate day with Africa. I left for church with one of my roommates, while the other two went to their church service. It was a great Sunday at Hope City because it was their 2-year anniversary service. The place was packed; there were smiles, and a great time of worship. They even had food afterwards (which you know I am always sold if there is free food).
After church, some friends and I decided we would walk down to this French deli to grab dessert and a coffee. I had heard amazing things about this place and when we walked in, I believed them. We were debating on what to order when I looked down to check my phone. I had a text message from one of my roommates that read:
“Our house was broken into. They came in through Christy’s bathroom window. They took her kindle and went through our things. We are understandably upset and angry.”
I immediately told Laura (my other roommate that was with me) and we decided to skip the dessert and get a taxi home immediately (You know it was serious if I am skipping out on dessert people). We called our roommates to get the full story. We arrived and discovered that someone had climbed over our back wall (yes, even over the razor wire and tall walls), then they had managed to put a ladder up to Christy’s bathroom window, and gained access that way. They rummaged through the rooms on that side of the house and exited via our back door (which we later realized was unlocked and open, and this door is like FORT KNOX, it takes 4 turns on the deadbolt and 3 turns on the bottom key lock to unlock this thing).
That was it, the devil had gained a foothold. I was frustrated, annoyed, and overall the Madea, inner black woman was rising in me. I believe I said, “just give me a gun and I will guard my own house.” This entire situation had sent me over the edge because just Thursday night, after our school open house, some teachers and myself had gone across the street and had dinner together. Upon walking home (which is back across the street) my friends went into their gate, I walked down one to mine, which was where my friends, Emily & Mallory dropped me and kept walking to their apartment up a ways. I noticed there was a man sitting outside our gate (which is completely normal, there is always someone sitting on this make shift cement cylinder thing that acts as a community park bench almost). I rang our bell and waited on our guard to let me in. He was taking his sweet time (seriously this man has the reaction time of a fat kid on the 4×400 Olympic relay team). However while I was waiting on him to open the gate, out of NOWHERE, seven different men converged on this one man. They began to accuse him of surveying the street, our house, and being good for nothing.
They were shouting at him, and I said, “Why are you harassing this man?” and they replied with “Because he has been sitting here for 5 hours and has done nothing but watch us and you.” Finally our guard opened the gate and I told him that he might want to stand out here because there was a situation and it was about to GO DOWN (I mean like GO DOWN, like gangs of New York go down and hindsight I think the language barrier was present because I am pretty sure my Ghana guard doesn’t use the slang “It’s going down”). I went inside and dropped my stuff off, yelled for Laura to come join me (I figured two mid-west, white females were nothing to be messed with at this hour of the night). At this point I had texted two of my male friends who had been with us that night and lived next door to us. One of which I thought would come ready to pistol whip anyone, doing anything outside our house because he is Latino, a former gang member, and despite me thinking I have street cred, he has legit street cred. However to my surprise my British friend is the one who offered back up. I heard his front door slam, and saw his tall head above the wall marching out front of the gate. I figured this was going to be entertaining. Pete, my tall, white British friend, Laura & I (two mid-west white girls), Our guard, the random man being accused, and 7 random Ghanaian “neighbors” all trying to problem solve and quiet things down. Honestly Jerry Springer had NOTHING ON us that night.
Before I could make it out the front door, I realized Laura had already taken off and busted out of our front gate yelling “Hey you!” and then she realized that our British friend, Pete, was already handling the situation. Meanwhile our “guard,” and I use that term loosely, because I am pretty sure a Girl Scout den mother would be more successful at guarding our house than he would simply standing there watching. HE. NEVER. SAID. A. SINGLE. WORD. Pete finally talked all of the men down, sent the one man on his way. Our neighbors said they will continue to keep an eye out (that is what everyone does, they know the daily routine of our street, they know when something is out of place, or someone does not belong), and Pete then proceeded to give our guard a nice talking to regarding how he needed to be performing his job.
Ok so now that you have the backstory with the current situation on Sunday afternoon, you can see why my frustration was mounting. After the break in, we called our business office manager and she went to the police. Our roommate filled out a statement and to our surprise they actually had a “corporal” that was available in 15 minutes to come “investigate,” once again I use that term loosely because I am pretty sure our 4th graders at school in the science club would do a better job investigating than the inspector gadget wannabe that turned up at our house to gather information and look around.
While the investigator was there (who showed up in blue jeans and random polo type shirt, with a pad of paper armed with a pen), the power went out. SWEET GLORY! The devil was once again waging war with me, and my roomies. Power outages are no big deal, we can handle those, it just happened to be our week though to host our member care group. This means all staff show up at our house to eat and fellowship. Member care was starting in two hours. I quickly gathered all my ingredients and went to the apartment complex where some of the other staff live, and cooked at a friend’s house. With about 15 minutes until care group was starting, my friend Mallory and I walked back to my house. Praise the Lord the power had returned (this was huge because usually it stays out for at least 4 hours at a time). People were soon gathering and all was well in the world again because we had food and each other.
Thank you for bearing with me on this long one. I apologize if I lost half of you on the second paragraph. Oh and the icing on the cake is that all of this was going down while I am covered from the waste down with bites on my legs. Not sure what they are but hopefully some hydrocortisone will do the trick.
Bottom line & lesson learned: THE DEVIL IS A LIAR! He is definitely out to steal, kill, and destroy any good that is happening here in Accra. I have had multiple conversations with co-workers here, saying that despite the staff last year banning together and battling the mental stuff from the events last year, the devil is waging war this year personally. Health wise we have had staff hospitalized (Please be praying for Rebecca who is currently still in the hospital with a bacterial infection), we have had an epidemic outbreak of malaria among our staff, bronchitis, e-coli, colds, chest pains that were similar of heart attack symptoms, the usual stomach issues, fevers, vomiting, you name it and I am pretty sure someone has dealt with it in our few short months here. We have had multiple houses broken into, cars break down, and staff going through things with family back home.
I mention all of these things not say, “woe are we,” but to say, PRAY PEOPLE! I firmly believe that the devil wants to see American International School divided, struck down, and destroyed. Please pray against that. Pray for health. Pray for unity. Pray for safety. Pray for rest. Pray for endurance. The staff here at AIS is among the best. I have the utmost respect for the people I work with. They are strong, God-fearing, Holy Spirit led, encouraging, and praying people.
At the end of the day we were able to laugh everything off, relax, and simply say, “Whelp This is Africa.”