Friday, March 16, 2007

Thoughtful adventures in Ghana, and a proud mother hen cluck

Indulge me, friends. I want to cluck with pride about one of our wonderful students. (Clucking twice, because Blogspot and the internet just ate the long post I finished writing due to one tiny piece of broken code. AKH! Now I remember why until a week or so ago I always wrote long posts in my word processor first and did a cut and paste. So I've just reconstructed this post.) Rachel is on semester abroad in Ghana. We usually don’t allow students in their final term go on study abroad –though we very much encourage study abroad during the students’ middle years here— but the college did allow it in this case, so Rachel will miss her own graduation this spring because she won’t be back from Africa. She is enrolled in courses in Cape Coast, though she has a bit of an opportunity to travel to Accra and elsewhere, and she has a great host family. She has been a stellar student, and she is now blogging from Ghana in her customary thoughtful way. Her blog has been on my blogroll on the right since day one, but in case you haven’t had a look, do – or just click here. The blog is mostly a way for her to communicate with her family and friends, but since blogs are in the public domain and her writing is so interesting, I am taking the liberty of recommending it.

Rachel is a keen observer and has a wonderful ability to reflect on her own experiences as well as the lives of those around her. She’s also well aware of the (post-) colonial dynamics and the realities of race and gender involved in her being a white, blonde intellectual from the U.S. who likes to read and dance and is residing in Ghana for just a few months -- and right around the time of the 50th anniversary of Ghana's independence. Although one of the theologians whose work* I teach and have studied for many years, Mercy Amba Oduyoye, is Ghanaian, I’ve never been to Ghana, and I am learning a great deal about daily life in its cities from Rachel’s “dispatches from the field.”

Rachel is also a devoted Methodist Christian, with a vocation to ministerial leadership, and the major reason for today’s cluck of pride is that Rachel writes in today’s post that she has been accepted at Candler (the divinity school at Emory University in Atlanta, a fine school of theology) with a full-tuition scholarship for next academic year. Hooray for Rachel! And blessings aplenty.

* I want to note that I am not endorsing by making this and a few other of the links on this page. (I encourage you to shop at your local independent bookstore, or if you shop by mail, to use the nice folks at, who function with a network of independent bookstores, sell used books but some new ones too, and have plenty of religion books.) But I’m using them here because for some of their books they have that nice “Search inside” feature so you can look at the Table of Contents and other bits. Those of you unfamiliar with the work of Mercy Oduyoye could start with this one. And one must always read her work in the context of the broader theological project of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians, which she founded. Two of her colleagues from the Circle have recently edited a Festschrift in her honor (she turned 70 a couple of years ago), on the subject of women, religion, and health. Have a look.

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