Larry Colvin serves with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana.
On two evenings recently, Debbie and I invited the principal, Rev. Dr. Francis Amaglo, and his wife Rejoice, and the vice-principal, Rev. Frank Anku and his wife Lucy, to join us for dinner. Both evenings were greatly enjoyed.
The principal and his wife have never been to the US so we treated them to the flavors of Tex-Mex. Included in the evening fare were chimichangas with salsa, chocolate cake, and iced tea. Rejoice remarked at seeing two different varieties of cheese that she had never had cheese. This is an item not found in the Ghanaian diet. The principal noted he only had cheese when traveling and it was served on flights. From the way, he said this I don’t think he was duly impressed. Yet both did seem to enjoy all of the meal – including the cheese and sour cream which is also not commonly served here.
We avoided talking shop but we did touch on a bit of the history of the seminary and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. I had done some study on its history and I could never quite wrap my brain around the idea of Bremen (Germany) Presbyterians. Finally, the principal untangled the mystery for me. The German missionaries who first arrived in Peki were indeed of the Bremen (not Presbyterian) tradition. During World War I the British in what was then the Gold Coast forced all Germans to leave. Not wanting the seminary and churches to close or be un-attended, the Bremen leaders turned everything over to the Scottish Presbyterians. Today the church here remains Presbyterian but totally lead by Ghanaians. Following World War II it has returned to having a strong relationship with the Bremen Church. Puzzle solved.
The vice-principal had studied in the US and was therefore familiar with American foods. We served buttered chicken with rice. The dessert was peach cobbler. Lucy tried the cobbler but pronounced it too sweet. Ghanaians seem to enjoy a good heap of sugar in tea; they otherwise do not have the sweet tooth of most North Americans. The vice-principal noted that even though Ghana is a major producer of coffee, he had not tried it until in the US. Now, he said, he is hooked.
I made a comment which puzzled Lucy. Frank needed to explain the American usage of the phrase. He then shared some of his experiences of coming to terms with American English and customs. These brought laughter from all of us.
Both families asked us if we had learned to enjoy Ghanaian foods. We had to admit that most of the foods are too spicy for our palates. We shared that our neighbor has had us to dinner on several occasions but always cuts back on the amount of spice in our meals. Debbie has learned to be fonder of fufu which is a mixture of pounded plantain and cassava formed into a sticky ball. It is eaten with the fingers and used to sop up soup or stew.
We invited both families to come to visit us but warned they would probably enjoy the summer months more than the winter.
Larry Colvin serves with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, OGHS, and your special gifts.