Our final language lesson with Samuel was good, we learnt about numbers,
money and counting money, which is different from other counting. We learnt
‘power tools’ which are key phrases and questions to help us learn more
Ncham vocab. So things like, what is that called? Where is _____? How
do you say _________ in Ncham? We then headed for a walk around town to
buy a few supplies and practice a few phrases, we even stopped off for a
Coke. In the afternoon the girls had their hair braided and the boys
headed over to visit Samuel’s farm. In the evening we did our daily devotionals.
Every evening we look at a part of Jesus ministry as an example for our
own lives and ministries. Each team member takes a few turns during the
trip to lead the devotional, share a bit about the passage and ask a few
discussion questions. We talk about the day, sing some songs, do some
bible declarations and pray before bed.
This was the first of our 2 day family visits. We spilt the team into 2
groups, the first group headed to Madame Pierre’s house, she is the lady
who is doing the cooking for us. They headed out to the market, peeled
Yams, pounded FooFoo, ground Tomatoes to make the sauce and eventually ate
it all. They also made Bean cakes, which are white beans cooked off,
added to flour and water, whisked up then deep fried. The second group
headed to Samuel’s house to spend the day with his family, they also
headed off to the market, then they made the dough for doughnuts so that
it would rise. They learnt how to sweep, to wash and how to cut up fish
to cook, and rice, all done on a charcoal fire! After lunch, everyone
gathered at Samuel’s house to fry and taste the doughnuts. Late in the
afternoon we all headed back to the guesthouse for a debrief looking at
how much vocab we had learnt. We talked a lot about the lifestyle and
everyone’s simple lack of ‘stuff’. Just before dinner arrived, the tailor
and seamstress turned up to take our orders, joy was had in trying to
describe what wondrous creations had been drawn and making sure all the
correct measurements were with the correct designs and the correct cloth!
The prices were excellent and everyone was excited to see how they would
Today the two teams swapped houses so that everyone could get a full
experience, but also to be able to compare the two houses and lifestyles.
When Madame Pierre isn’t cooking for us, she runs a hair salon in town
with a good number of apprentices. Her husband used to be the keyboardist
for the translation team but now runs a women’s development NGO in Bassar.
They are quite well off in comparison to Samuel’s family. They are also
a bit older and have been working for much longer! As if the day hadn’t
been long enough, we had an early supper and then headed out by motorbike
relay taking the team to the Church of Pentecost on the road out of town
for a 1800 service. Much fun is had on the bikes and an evening service
quite suits the team! At the start of the service there was literally
about 8 people and the team in the church. As the sun went down, it got
darker, and after only a couple songs it was time for Tim’s 3rd preach.
Just as he started to preach, one of the ladies on the front row handed him
a torch, it became apparent there was no electricity in this church
building! Not exactly a carols by candlelight and certainly a new
experience having to preach whilst holding notes and a torch to see them!
Samuel was in good form and the team appreciated only having to sit through 1
translation this time. The pastor however was not an Ncham speaker and so
he had someone sat beside him translating from Samuel’s Ncham into his
native Ewe! I guess that is not so uncommon here. The motorbike relay
home was a little more exciting, in the dark and also the rain! Just as
the pastor was saying the closing prayer the rain fell, and boy was it loud.
As soon as we stepped outside we discovered it wasn’t as bad as expected,
the tin roof made it seem a lot worse!
At every church service we have made an offer to the congregation to
reduce the price of the Ncham new testament to make it more affordable for
more people. When it was first published it was 1000cfa (approx 800cfa =
£1) then they reduced it to 500 because no-one was buying them, so we
made the offer to reduce it to 300cfa and cover the extra costs ourselves.
Thursday morning was the day we had set for people to come to the
translation office to buy the New Testaments or any of the 4 Old Testament
book that have been published. It seemed like a long morning 0800 – 1130
but at the end of the morning, 150 had been sold! It was a tremendous
encouragement to the team, and also to the translators. Word had even
spread so that a few people from the Catholic Church bought some and even a
non-believer who was fixing the car of another guy who was buying bibles,
wanted one! The only downer was half the team getting sun burnt. So
the afternoon was spent slapping on the after-sun, drinking lots of water
Due to sun burn problems some of the planned excursions were put on hold,
a few did make it out to visit the bakery. They met with the baker and
then headed out towards the mill. The wheat gets ground in one room, then
in the next room, it is made into dough. Every baker has their own
recipe, and ours likes to add a bit of nutmeg which of course must be
ground before adding. Water and yeast and sugar and salt and a tablet of
bicarbonate of soda is all mixed up and then slowly added to the flour in
the mixer. The mixer has three parts. 1 – the motor linked to 2- car
axle with a fly wheel on it, adapted to take a dough hook instead of a
drive shaft. Which sat in 3- the bowl with a raised middle which sat on
a pillar so the operator could turn the bowl whilst the hook mixed the
dough. When everyone has had a good debate and is happy, it is pulled
out and slapped though a machine that can only be described as a giant
wrangler, which kneads the dough. From there, into a cloth sack and onto
a motorbike, off to the bakers house where it is made into 200 loaves of
bread. Some of which took the form of crocodiles, an elephant and even a
mobile phone! Post lunch was time to rest before we headed out to the
local gospel Radio station. Not something a team has done before, but
GREAT fun. We introduced ourselves live on radio and after a little
explanation as to why the team was here, we introduced ourselves in Ncham.
We then sang a couple of songs and got REALLY hot in a tiny studioesque room
in the back of someone’s house! The station covers 4300km2 which is
pretty large, but no-one can know the number of listeners. Having
motorbike relayed the team back to the guesthouse; Tim and Samuel go off
to the station to record a sermon. A wonderful opportunity to give the
gospel and make an appeal, encouraging people if they have responded to go and
find a church to get involved in. As we settle into Devotions the tailor and
seamstress arrive with the finished clothes. The team are very pleased
bar 1 dress that isn’t finished yet, due to some design questions and
The few who made bread, rise early (see what I did there?) to go and bake
it, but upon arrival we find it has already all been baked, they started
at 0100 and were done by the time we go there at 0630. A little
disappointing, but we did leave with 3000cfa worth of
bread we had helped make
which is probably far too much bread for a small team to eat! We didn’t
want that much, but we didn’t have the right amount of money, and so they
piled more bread onto the pile!
We headed out early to go to Tatale (tan-ta-lea) at 0730 to go visit a
church. Tatale is an Ncham speaking town over the border in Ghana.
Languages aren’t always restricted to country boundaries in fact there are
more Ncham speakers in Ghana than Togo. They are slightly different
dialects, but the Ghanaians can fully understand and read the Togolese.
We crossed the border fine, and got to the church to find everyone
emptying out and carrying everything to town. After further investigation
we find that one of the church members died early in the morning and the
whole church is going to run the funeral and the burial. So we go and
find a different church to attend and share there instead! We hung out
for a long while eating our packed lunch at the first church waiting for
the pastor to turn up so we can have a brief meeting with him before
And so here we are!