Home > Andrew's Blogs, Mango Mission > Presidential Ground Breaking: Mango, Togo

Presidential Ground Breaking: Mango, Togo

Missionary Tim Neufeld writes about their preparations for the hospital ground breaking (October 22, 2009) which is amped up because the President of Togo is attending.

Update: President a no-show but approximately 4000 other Togolese present for ground breaking!


October 19, 2009

It’s only three days until groundbreaking day, and this place is a beehive of activity.  We spent Sunday moving and then planting five Palm-oil trees.  The move took from 7:30 until 3:00 in the afternoon, and we got the last of the trees in the ground just before dark.  There wasn’t time to stake them up, and we discovered this morning that the wind had blown two of them over.  So today we had additional work getting them up and in the ground, and then putting supports around all five trees.  Now we will have to wait to see if they survive the move and the climate here in Mango.  They are at least 15 years old, so this had to be a shock.  While I was skeptical about the feasibility of the project, I must admit that they add a touch of class to the property, and are going to be really pretty if we can surround them with flowers and bushes.  Not only did we have to struggle with the weight and the distance from tree to truck, but there is a good deal of danger in moving these things, as the branches are covered with razor sharp thorns.  I read somewhere that South Pacific Islanders used to make their war clubs out of palm branches, and I shudder to think of the damage they must have inflicted.

Today we also built the “monument” for the placing of the first brick.  That is an honor accorded to the President of Togo.  You can imagine that with his decision to come, we lost a good deal of control over the groundbreaking ceremonies.  The Préfet also sent school children out to clean the property, along with a number of women who came with their brooms.  Since it has been drying out, there was a lot of dust in the air.  We are praying for at least one rain to settle the dust, but we don’t want it on Thursday.  The number of people attending will be much larger than we had anticipated, but it also makes things easier in some ways.  Since the President is coming, things have to be ready, which means that the Préfet will be held responsible for any omissions or other problems.  So the local government is not responsible to see that the tents for the seating of VIP’s are set up in the proper order.  Although we pay, they will make the trip to Dapaong to get them, along with up to 500 chairs, and will have to see to it that they are ready for the day.  I can tell you I breathed a sigh of relief when they took over that responsibility.  We also got out of buying the food for the VIP meal, although we still pay.  The cook will do the shopping.  There will be, among other things, two sheep, a hundred pounds of rice, three or four gallons of cooking oil, three bottles of mayonnaise for the salad dressing, enough lettuce to make a salad for the 160 invited guests, along with green beans, carrots, and a host of other things that go into making a meal.  It looks to cost us close to $300 to feed everybody, but we think it is money well spent.

All the activity in town and on our property brings to mind the arrival of someone far greater than any earthly president.  The folks here are doing their best to be ready for the visit of their President, which at the most will last a few hours.  The Lord Jesus has promised to return to be with us eternally.  He assures us that when we see Him, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  We are told that everyone who has this hope purifies himself, even as he (Jesus) is pure.    Are you ready, or getting ready?

Yours in His service,

Tim & Esther Neufeld

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