In the fall of 2016, a colorful little guy named Flat Staney left Mrs. Beverly Tatum's second grade classroom in Alabama and traveled in an envelope to Mr. Larrel Witt's house in Missouri. Larrel was preparing to visit his daughter, Oleta, in Ghana in early December. Flat Stanley traveled by suitcase with Larrel and Dr. Michael Shoemaker across the Atlantic and to the town of Nalerigu where Oleta was concluding an internship at Baptist Medical Center.
In fact, Oleta wrote about Flat Stanley's adventures for Mrs. Tatum. Or, perhaps we should say that Flat Stanley told the story...
Oleta Witt and Flat Stanley at the hospital in Nalerigu
"Oleta and I had the opportunity to visit some children that were in the hospital, and deliver some toys to them. The children were so happy to receive their toys.
"Oleta and I went and explored the village of Nalerigu. We went down to the river and walked across the dam. People were there washing their clothes and collecting water to take back to their homes. Later we went to this place called the Escarpment. I was afraid when I looked over the edge of the cliff and saw how far down it was to the ground. The view from the cliff was amazing! I also went inside a real African hut.
"While we were in Nalerigu, we were invited over to the Cahills' house for dinner. The Cahills are doctors that are medical missionaries, and they work at the hospital. I enjoyed playing with their 2 girls. I even climbed up in their Christmas tree.
"Our dinner was interrupted when we saw a big grass fire behind the house. We had to go outside and put the fire out like firefighters. The flames were huge and quickly spread across the field, burning anything in its path. You know what we did to stop the fire from destroying the house? We had to start another fire and it stopped the fire from coming closer to the house. It was a really cool and scary time. I still can feel the heat from the flames when I think about it.
"After we left Nalerigu, we traveled to Mole National Park. We went on an animal safari. I saw lots of monkeys, baboons, antelope, wart hogs, and an ELEPHANT!!! It was so exciting!!!!
Dr. Michael Shoemaker, Larrel Witt, Flat Stanley, Pastor Sammy, and Oleta Witt
"Then we traveled on to [the city] where Oleta lives. She is a medical missionary. We traveled out to several different villages doing ministry work. I even got to help paint a church in the village.
"On our way out to one of the villages we found ourselves in a parade celebrating the election of the new president of Ghana.
"I loved my time in Ghana. It took us over 24 hours to travel to where Oleta lives. That is a long time to be in a BIG airplane. However, Oleta’s Dad let me watch movies and eat any food that they served on plane. I wasn’t very hungry; the food didn’t look that good anyway."
Ghanaian food--waakye and fish. Yummy!