Yes – we have arrived in Ghana and what a cultural shock. We had imagined in our mind’s eye what the conditions would be, but was not really prepared for the living conditions and language barriers. We have it far better than the Ghanaian people, but still is much, much below the many conveniences and luxuries enjoyed at home.
We had a wonderful time in the MTC and enjoyed time with the – “Utah Palmers” – It was great to spend time with Jeff & Alice, Trent & Rhonda and Matt & Tana and their families. What a blessing to have supportive family who are striving to do the right things in life.
The flight to Ghana was good, but grueling. We believe we were awake for about 30 hours before we were able to get some sleep. We arrived in Ghana at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday the 26th and then (after a rigorous hour going through customs) took a 3 hour trip to Cape Coast where we spent the night in the Cape Coast mission home. Then on Wednesday morning we arose and drove 4 hours to Kumasi, where we had a luncheon with the Cape Coast Mission President and his wife and three senior couples. We then were introduced to our apartment. All streets are lined with little stands and shacks where people live. Because of such great humidity, there is black mildew all over the buildings. The appearance is extreme poverty, but hidden among the shacks are some nice structures. Women have giant loads that they carry on their heads – the most amazing one we saw was a woman with 8 to 10 full grown hens (with their feet tied) on a platter on her head and a couple of hens in her hands – they are for sale. Because they carry so much on their heads their posture is perfect. We also saw a woman carrying a crank sewing machine on her head. Amazing!
Our apartment is behind a seven foot wall with steel gates locked with a giant lock. Our apartment has bars on the windows and a gate with another giant lock. Then the door to the apartment has double locks. Security lights are required in the evenings. We do have a filtering system so we have water that we can drink and also have a water cooler like we have at home for drinking. We have a washer and dryer and a fairly nice shower. The floors are concrete, as are the walls. With all the bars on the windows and locks around you feel like you are imprisoned. We have some basic furniture. The mattress in the bed is quite thin and hard – no box springs. It’s like memory foam – it has so much memory that when you finally get a small curvature in it and then turn over, the indention is still there and stays there until morning – no new curvatures. Another challenge to sleeping are the chickens that run free – especially the roosters who crow in the early morning right outside our window (I guess it should make us feel at home, right? We’re getting used to it.) The electrical power is very unreliable so the power cuts out for hours at a time – which is fun with the humidity and heat – particularly in the middle of the night when you are trying to sleep. The other challenge with where we live is the partying activity that goes on all over the city – and especially right outside our front gate where there is a “Chop Bar” and the native music goes loud for the better part of the night.
The biggest challenge is getting around. We have a nice brand new 2012 Toyota Corolla – that is the good news. The bad news is that driving is an adventure to say the least. There are few traffic signals – and the few they have are generally ignored. They use their horns all of the time just to let people know that they are close to them – watch out! They have very few signs and streets are narrow and rough and go any many directions. Very few addresses – finding your way is just learning from somebody how to get somewhere and then remembering how to go again. American type food and products are hard to find, but we are gradually finding places to get the basics.
The mission home here in Kumasi is really nice – once again behind high, thick walls with a security guard on duty 24/7. We have been challenged getting the new missionary zones, finances, housing, transfers, etc. etc. in preparation for the first official day for our mission, which will be tomorrow – July 2, 2012.
We think we have already fallen in love with the people. They are so friendly and helpful for the most part, however you have to guard for the predators. Today was our first day at church in the ward we will be attending – The Asokwa Ward. There is one stake in our mission with about a dozen units in it an there are 8 or 10 branches beyond the one stake. The ward we attended today was very well run. They ask us to bear our testimonies after they introduced us. A lot of what is spoken is not understood. They speak fast and with such an accent you have difficulty understanding them. Much of the time they also speak “Twi”, which is a tribal dialect. We probably understood about 50% of what was spoken in sacrament meeting and the investigator class – maybe a little more in priesthood. I think Relief Society was more “Twi” and less English – so mom was perhaps a little more challenged there. The people here put a high priority on their dress. Everyone is well dressed – not tattered or torn or ragged. They wash it by hand and do lots of ironing. But, their homes are quite the shambles.
We met with the new mission president yesterday. They are very nice. They have a very strong British accent.
Right now we are working on getting internet access so that we can have more connection with you. We have a weak wifi here because there’s a member who lives close who has it. So, hopefully we will be setup soon so we can skype.
Sure love you all. Hope your lives are going well for you. We’ll let you know when we are fully connected.
Dad & Mom
Our Car at Mission Home