Friday, November 29, 2013

We love our missionaries

This Elder is from Nigeria and he is a great missionary.   He is a very smooth talker and can talk his way into your heart in no time.  
They wanted to plant a garden so we found some good dirt and started to haul it into our flower bed. We planted onions, garlic, and beans and they are doing quite well.   
50 lbs of dirt is not problem to carry if you know the secret.   
 No one told this missionary the secret.   The secret is;   (don't put too much dirt in the bucket).
The missionaries and the branch president, Elder and Sister Nielson and a new member to the church.   
 Here is the last of the 4 Elders that was here when we arrived and he is leaving us.   His mission is over and he will be going home in a couple of days.   I haven't ever met anyone who knows the scriptures as well as he does.   I am sure he has read them many many times.
They love to come over to our apartment and make treats.  Sister Nielson is the treat master of Ghana.   One big problem with missionaries is that you can never make enough treats to fill them up.   However they are always very grateful for what they receive.  
Elder Bakodie is saying his goodbyes just before we took him to Accra after 2 years of great work.    Everyone was sad to see him leave.    
 We have grown to love him as we do with all the missionaries we come in contact with here.   This is not a easy place to be on a mission but I must say that these young men roll up their sleeves, stay the course and do a wonderful job.   
This was at the President's home in Accra when we said goodby.   We will miss him and want him to know that we will always remember him.   So Long.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Different stuff

 This picture is the chapel in Oda.   It is the nicest church in our zone and the grounds are very well kept.  We thought this picture was good because of the rain clouds. 
 Sister Nielson gave the baby on the back thing a try.    Everyone here carries their babies this way.   She said that it felt very normal and the baby seems to enjoy the ride.  This baby belongs to our neighbors. 
 Christmas in Africa.  In Shoprite which is like Walmart.  Kinda.   This store is in Accra,  it is nice but we only get to visit it about every 3 weeks or so.   
Sister Wall and Sister Nielson giving a cooking lesson to the Missionaries at a zone meeting.    They got to eat what they cooked so they all liked the demonstration.  Here they made tacos, some kind of cake and omelets. 
 Elder Nielson bored the missionaries on the care and feeding of the bicycle.  They acted interested but I think they were just waiting for their turn to cook.   
These people are our neighbors and the small boy on Sister Nielson's back was their grandson.   They have since moved from us but we still see them from time to time.   This is the day that they named the baby and they ask us to go to their church, which was a Pentecost church.   We went and enjoyed the service but found it very different from what we were used to.  In case you were wondering that is my after church around the house shirt.   

Friday, November 22, 2013

Put you shoulder to the wheel

Today on "p" day I talked the missionaries into a service project.   Little did they know what they were in for.    If they look a little confused there is good reason for it.   "what do you mean, dig up the road?" 
We have a water drainage problem when it rains so we had to put a big pipe across the road.  Under the road, of course.   The lessons begin, how to use a pick.   We got expert help from our neighbor and he is also a member of the church. 
Where did these blisters come from?  There was a little pipe which was installed a while ago but it was too small and plugged up with sand.   That is what they are digging up.   
Everyone got a chance at the pick.   I didn't want just a couple of them to have blisters.   The man in the background has a 90 lb bag of cement on his head.   Try it if you think it looks easy.  But just remember if you move your head the wrong way the weight of the cement will break your neck.  

2 feet deep and 2 feet wide.   It only took about 2 hours to dig it.    We started in the morning but it got really hot very quick.    We could not quit or rest because we had the road closed so we just kept working.  
 They posed more for the camera than they worked but I cracked the whip until the job was done.   I could not have done this with out the help of the Elders.    I think that a couple of them even learned a new skill. "shoveling".
The water for the cement was fetched out of the well.    The drinking water was fetched out of Sister Nielson's fridge.  
 We didn't have a cement mixer so we just mixed the sand and cement on the ground with the shovel and then added the water.   Makes clean up a lot easier.   We put about 6 inches of cement on top of the 8 inch pipe so the traffic would not break the pipe.  
Job well done.  We covered it all up the next day and when it rained the water came out of the end of the pipe.   Surprise, surprise.     

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another interesting baptism in Asamankese

 On Sunday morning when we went to church there was a baptism scheduled right after Sunday meeting.   When they went to fill the font all the water in the storage tank was finished.   The fire truck cost too much so we decided to fill it from our storage tanks at our apartment.  The only thing is there is no hose or tap so we had to dip it out with buckets and carry it to the truck and put it in these large barrels.    
 We used every bucket we could find.   We had three barrels so all we could haul was about 100 gallons.   By the time we got to the church over the bad roads here all we had was about 75 gallons.    We made 3 trips to get enough water to baptize one young man.  
 At the church we had more help to lift the water out of the truck and carry it into the font. It looks like Elder Nielson is really helping here but if the truth be known it was only for show. 
 Forty gallons of water is very heavy.   It is good missionaries are young and strong.  
The water is a lot cleaner than the fire truck water but still a bit dirty.    This is the water that we shower in and use in our apartments.   We drink it only after it is run thru the water filter.   Then it is very clean and has no bad taste.   Hard to keep a white towel clean.
Elder Nelson said that he spilled water on his pants while moving the barrels but that might not be the case. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A day out of the house

 We took these 4 missionaries to the market and they found this guy down there who was white, not many of them around, so they thought that they would teach him about the church.   He listened very well but had absolutely nothing to say.   After about an hour they gave up.
 Just us at the market.    Not our favorite place to go.  But sometimes it's necessary.
One of the members who we have become acquainted with has this coconut tree in his front yard.   He wanted to have us try a fresh coconut so his friend climbed up the tree, which was about 25 feet tall and cut a bunch of coconuts out.  
    He makes a point on one end of the nut with his cutlass and cuts a little lid in the top to expose the inside.   There were about 2 cups of water inside.   He made us drink all of it but it tasted good and was quite cool.    The white coconut on the inside was different from what we have had in the states.   It was only about 1/8 inch thick and was very slimy and not much flavor.   
"Here", he said, "take this and drink it all".   And he was serious.  We had to do what he said because he was the one with the cutlass. 
Bottoms up
Chug a lug
 I think mine has a lizard in it.  
These kids were out on the play ground equipment.  
The lady with the stick is pounding it in a pile of rocks in-order to make the end flare out like a mushroom and then they use it to make the fufu that they eat.  There is also a large wooded bowl that goes along with it.   Kind of like a mortar and pestle.   Needless to say sometimes you get small wood particles to add flavor to the fufu. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A day in the garden

 The other day we went with Elder and Sister Wall to a botanical garden in the mountains above Accra.   This tree is a strangler tree,  it starts growing around an existing tree and covers the whole tree from top to bottom.  Then it strangles the host tree and it dies and rots away
and leaves the strangler tree hallow all the way to the top.  Note the white monkey looking out from inside the tree.    
 This photo is taken from inside the tree looking up.   It was about 100 feet high.     The strangler tree was alive and well in Africa. 
 Elder Wall and Elder Nielson talking to a man about the Church.  
 Here is an ant hill.   We didn't see any of the ants, but I think they were off chasing a goat.  
 We saw this helicopter from a distance and thought we had finally found a way out of here but when we got closer  we discovered it was finished.   As the saying here goes.  
 Sister Wall and Sister Nielson get their chance to teach. 
 They were having a big festival honoring this King.   Here he is on his way to the seating area.  The other guy is keeping the sun off of him.  
After they were seated we sent over and ask if we could take their picture and they were very happy to oblige.  Note all the gold that he is wearing.   I ask him to share but he said "NO".