Monday, March 30, 2015

For the Days When You Just Need a Vacation.....

After driving around the outskirts of our overflowing city, we head for the bush.
As the road winds and twists, up hill and down, I can feel the tension slowly leaving my body.
We are headed for a bit of a much-needed holiday.
A handful of days to be spent enjoying creation and our Creator and each other.

We've planned, and saved, and dreamed of this day for months now.
Our work here is fulfilling and rewarding, but everyone needs a sabbath from time to time.
It is time for ours.

We reach the turn-off road, but it's not really much more than a two-track.
Our little car is surprisingly resilient, but after the rains last week, this road with this car may not be doable.
We decide to try ~ just 5 km to the guesthouse.
How bad can they be?

We soon realize that we're going to need to lighten the load a bit to make it through some of the rougher places.
The girls and I jump out of the car to walk and direct John over the places where the road is mostly not a road any more.
The hush and heat of the surrounding vegetation settles on us like a wet blanket.
 From time to time we meet villagers on their way to somewhere else, most with a funny smile on their faces as they see the bronis walking because their car is too small.
Birds flit over head, giant centipedes cross our path, and rustling in the undergrowth make us wonder what might be spying on us.

We pass through a few villages, greet the elders sitting by the roadside, and start an impromptu parade of giggling school children who quickly emptied their desks to come follow the white people.
We arrive at our destination soaking wet with sweat and happy.
A step through the bamboo gate, and we have arrived.

The crater lake is shining at the bottom of the hill, begging us to jump in.
We head for our mud-brick bungalows, each a cool and welcoming retreat from the sun.
Simple, clean, colorful, cheerfully decorated by the artist-owner.
A treat for the eyes.

We spend our days exploring, hunting, playing, eating, splashing, resting....
a stone beach crawling with scarlet and black caterpillars that *need* to be caught and put in the rocky castle built just for them {or so I was told by my bug-loving 3 year old!}...
the neighboring cocoa farm skirted with dry leaves and burgeoning with ripening cocoa pods...
fried fish that an hour before were swimming in the lake...
our food for the next two days growing everywhere we look...
skipping rocks, and plunking stones, and soaking ourselves whenever the inspiration hits.

We have some big plans, too, to go along with our quiet ones.
A very first time horseback ride for the big girls.
An hour of learning about and reveling in the beauty of these amazing beasts that carry us far around the shore.
The feel of sitting up high in the sky and swaying back and forth over the beach grass.

We take time for art, too.
Time to learn something new, just because we can.
An experience that fills our mind with imaginings, the possibilities of what we can do with our new found skill.

The artist-owner teaches us about traditional African batik ~ the art of creating intricate patterns with wax and dye.
The girls learn how to use the hot wax, back and forth, print by print, they are creating a detailed pattern that will only be completely revealed at the end.
It's trickier than it looks, but soon the intimidation fades and they begin enjoying the process.

Batik is not a quick form of art ~
a layer of wax,
followed by a layer of dye,
another layer of wax,
then another layer of dye.
They also must decide if they want to use the stamp, the sponge, or the Indonesian wax pen.
And then, how much is enough?

Each layer of design is followed by a layer of time.
The colors must set completely before they can be added to.
It's enough time to run back down to the lake and cool off, or maybe a few minutes to grab nature journals and go "sploring", as Lili puts it.

After allowing the dyes to dry over night it is time to see what's been created.
A hot water bath followed by a cold water bath.
Back and forth between the two pots until all the wax has melted away and their designs can clearly be seen.
Another few hours drying time, and they're done.
A useful treasure to be proud of ~ a memory maker and keeper from our time here.

We enjoy silvery mornings as the sun slowly rises above the surrounding hills,
eternal afternoons splashing in the waves,
long walks along the pebbly shore,
and hushed evenings around lantern light and campfire.

We play games,
and sit,
and breathe,
and discuss,
and love,
and try to gather up all the blessing that is these moments.
A sabbath for our souls.

*We were privileged to visit Lake Bosumtwe as a family last week.
We stayed at Cocoa Village Guest House {which had NO mosquitoes!!!!!}, and rode horses with Elodie at the Green Ranch.
This is the best holiday we've taken as a family since coming to Ghana almost 12 years ago ~ much to be thankful for!


  1. LOVE your photos and your holiday. I guess I loved everything, from the African prints and wonderful walls and architecture to the batik making. Thank you for letting us tag along to your vacation.

  2. Praise the Lord, wonderful to hear love you all :)

  3. Looked like a lot of fun! :) Glad you were able to get away as a family. Love you all and miss you much!

  4. Hi Patty,
    I came across your blog a few months ago and have really enjoyed reading it!!
    It has been an encouragement to me these last few months as I moved to Ghana!
    Thank you so much!! May God richly bless you!
    In Christ alone,