Diocese of Portsmouth

    “I’ve learnt from God by spending six months in Ghana”

    Faith stories
    12 Feb. 2019

    TEENAGER Sophie Carabott is learning so much from God by spending six months in Ghana.

    The 18-year-old went to live with the Bishop of Ho and his family, and to help teach children in a local school who she first met two years ago. Sophie, who is the daughter of lay pioneer minister Fran Carabott and his wife Clare, flew out to Ghana in October and is due back in March.

    She originally spent time working in St George’s Anglican School in Ho back in 2016. She was part of a group of 17 adults and young people who helped paint a classroom for children with special needs children. Once she had finished her A-levels, Sophie, who goes to Harbour Church in Portsmouth, decided to spend six months contributing to a worthwhile project, and decided to return to a place she had grown to love.

    She said:

    “On the 3rd of October I embarked on one big faith-filled adventure to place very close to my heart. The Lord said “go to Ghana” so I did. It’s been almost five months since I left the UK, the memories I’ve made are endless and the friendships I’ve built are simply beautiful. I feel so blessed to be living in Ghana, submerged in their culture and living my best life to glorify Jesus with the gifts he’s given me.

    “Even though I am far from home, I’ve hardly ever felt alone. I’m surrounded by an amazing family that I have grown very close to, to me this feels like a second home. I live with Mother Lucy and Bishop Mathias at the mission house here in Ho, there are nine of us in total including me. Of course you can’t forget the pet goat and the two dogs that Bishop named ‘Stupid’, although I call them Mowgli as they live outside roaming around with their friends. Whenever I leave the house the dogs come running up to me wiggling their bodies with joy, I always feel so happy when I see them.

    “Life in a Ghanaian household is very different to my home in Southsea. Over here in Ghana we wash all of our clothes by hand using a round basin and a bar of soap, every week I sit outside on a little stall and begin to wash all of my dirty clothes in the hot African sunshine. Washing by hand is very strenuous and tiring, it usually takes me over an hour depending on how much I have to wash. Everyone in the house thinks I'm crazy as I like to wash directly under the sun, I tell them that I have to top up my tan, which they find extremely funny and probably really strange.

    “Food in Ghana is completely different to the food we cook in England. When I first arrived It took me a little while to get use to the tastes of their local foods, especially banku, but now I’m used to it and I really enjoy the taste. The way we cook is by using a coal pot which is a little fire. We heat beans and stews and fry plantain and yam using this fire. My duties are to fan the fire and keep it going so that it doesn’t burn out. Another local food is called fu fu, the way we make it is by pounding boiled plantain and casava which is a very strenuous task. We eat fu fu with something called light soup.

    “My day begins at roughly 6 am. I’m woken up by the rath of the local cockerel making its presence known. Every morning I help mother to set up her stall outside the house, I arrange all of the biscuits on the shelves as this has been my daily job ever since I arrived. Lucy sells so many different things that the school children come to buy, this is her mission. She sells biscuits, pure water, granaults, pens, books and many more.

    “After I finish helping set up the stall I sit and wait for baby Osborne and Ethel to arrive in the car, Osborne is nearly two years old and Ethel is five. At around 8 am, me and Ethel run down to the classroom, greeting the headmaster as we run across the dusty tracks of the school grounds. The class I teach in is KG2 which is the second kindergarten class, the students are of ages four and five.

    “When I first set foot in the classroom I was swarmed by lots of adorable children hugging me and touching my blonde hair. I experienced a beautiful moment whilst I was surrounded by a sea of children, a child from afar shouted my name and I looked round and saw a little boy run towards me. This little boy remembered my name from two years ago and gave me the biggest hug. His name is Courage and he’s my favourite student in my class.

    “Teaching at St George’s school is so much fun, I taught the kindergarten class a kids’ Christian action song called ‘Nothing’s too big big big for his power’ and we do it every day. They absolutely love it and I was surprised how quickly they picked up the words and the actions. I teach the children types of fruits, the alphabet, animal sounds and many many more. I have drawn lots of posters for the classroom walls such as names and pictures of different local fruits. The teachers and students love my drawings, especially when I draw pineapples they feel so happy!

    Sophie Carabott with some of the children from St George's Anglican School in Ho, Ghana

    “I attend a church called St George’s Anglican Church of Ho. The service begins at 9 am and ends at around 11 am, although sometimes is goes on for longer. The men, women and children all dress up in traditional colourful Ghanaian clothing. The style of worship is very different to my home church in Portsmouth. Over here we sing lots of hymns but also gospel praise songs which I absolutely love. There is a church choir that both Prosper, Lucy and Thywill are all apart of and it sounds beautiful. One of the things I love about this church in particular is the preaching, they are full of passion and love for Christ.

    “We as a family attend the evening service as well as the morning service, this begins at 5:30 pm and is an hour long. It’s a simple mass which is very prayer orientated. The dogs come and set under my bench whenever I enter the church in the evening and its really sweet.

    “Each month on a Wednesday we have a healing service which is a Spirit-led service, filled with prayer and worship, every time I come away from this I always feel so alive and full of the love of Jesus. We sing praises and praise the Lord for the wonders and miracles he’s done in our lives, and allow his presence to move amongst his people.

    “Market days are my favourite days, they happen every four days. Lucy and I walk to the road side and catch a taxi to the Ho market. This place is vibrant full of fresh fruits and vegetables. its a very busy place and I’m often scared that I’m going to lose sight of Lucy, so I walk close behind her. I help mother to carry the bags because they end up getting very heavy, especially when we buy lots of watermelons and rice. Every time I go to the market, I always stock up on fruits that I keep in my room. I buy mangos, blood oranges, papaya, avocados and bananas. The fruit here in Ghana is amazing, especially the mangos and bananas. They are so sweet and perfectly ripened from tropical African sunshine.

    "On Saturday mornings, Benedict knocks on my door at 5am and we walk to the local stadium where I play basketball with some of the local players. Benedict has taekwondo training at 6 every Saturday. I have met so many new people at the basketball courts, everybody is so welcoming and always looking out for me. As well as this, Prince and I often go walking up the mountain which is so much fun and there is an amazing view of the town of Ho when you reach the top.

    “My personal experience in Ghana so far has changed my life, I’ve learnt to appreciate the beauty of life and value each day as it comes. The Lord has been so good to me by protecting me on this epic journey through both ups and downs, whenever I face a battle I know that I’m not alone. Each day has been rooted with blessings, I wake up feeling refreshed knowing that he has my back in everything I do and where ever I go. This is just the beginning of my faith filled adventure and I’m so glad that I followed my heart and listened to the Lord’s calling because it had changed and shaped my life, I feel more than blessed.”