Sunday, April 29, 2012

This way to our house...

We made the move on Saturday - and moving is just stressful. We had to bring furniture and kitchen things from the other apartment, and make them fit into a made-for-one-man-bachelor apt. However, it is homey, cute - it will be fine.
The complex is on a nice street - quiet, with beautiful flowering trees. We've met Joseph, Moto, and here is Jennifer of the security guard team. Usually people honk to have security guards open the gates, but you can imagine how disruptive that would be with many people going in and, "No hooting."
After parking, you would come down this walkway...
Turn to the right...
Go down this hall..
And come right in to the living room. The "dining room" is immediate, and the "study" is to the left!
We brought a couch, chair, desk, and bedroom drawers - and they are all fitting nicely.
This part is a little hard. The windows are at the top of the wall. and they are frosted for privacy; hence, no one can see in - and NO ONE can see out, just a little claustrophobic.
Kitchen. I have a crockpot, blender, stove, and now bookshelves that have become the walk by pantry. Thank goodness for those. The cupboards that are built-in would allow dishes.. OR food, but not both. The clothes washer is right below the stove. Of course. Who wouldn't put a washer right below the stove?
We brought some small shelves, and there is a wardrobe (no closet space) set against the wall. I can hang things behind the door, and have a chair for my "vanity" items :) It's working.
The "upside"is Very Good. Tennis court. Yesss. And, a wall to hit on. This makes for such good practice, and I'm so excited about it.
Most places do NOT have dryers; however,...right next to our room is a large garage-type area that has a clothesline, and several people utilize this. Actually, hanging out our clothes will probably make them last longer. The old units are being stored down here - and they were washers...then you flip a switch and they became dryers; but apparently, that plan didn't work out too well. Here they are...
There are maybe 4 buildings like this in the complex, and 80 units are being added - WITH a spa and shops. This is our building right here, and we are at. the. very. bottom. I would have more claustrophobia, but everything is made out of center blocks, so the buildings are very sturdy.
The pool is gorgeous. The plants surrounding the pool are tropical and provide much privacy. This situation is adding to our good attitudes.
I loved this. When we were being shown the area, this was pointed out as the outdoor barbecue, which consists of a brand new little Costco-looking cooker. YOU provide the charcoal and lighter fluid - and we were assured that there is "no charge" to use it. There ya go. Can't get better than that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This last week...

I have a couple of purposes in blogging: 1)To share with family and friends what in the world we are doing here,(not an odd question at all); and, 2)Memories. I don't want to forget the people we've met and the places we've seen. It is so easy to have days start to blur together, and if I don't record unique moments, they surely won't stick in my head.
A couple of nights ago, Jemima and her friend, Adeola, came up and visited with us for two hours. Jemima was a PEF student who has paid off her loan in full, and hopes to, one day, become a Clinical Psychologist. She is lovely. She has finished her four years of school, is a returned missionary, and is currently working. We think the world of her, and we have given our permission for Adeola to be interested in her. He is just as kind and genuine as she is. We enjoyed our conversation with them so much and learned more about Adeola's unique upbringing: his mother's Christian (LDS) influence with his father's Muslim traditions. Fascinating...we learned so much.
Daniel and the not-a-body-bag. Our training this week took us up the western coast to Takoradi, which is a large coastal city. We taught the PEF organization to 50+ people and had such a great experience meeting some very kind and knowledgeable people. Our stay was at a lovely hotel, which had the typical Ghanaian rock-hard beds. Our choice was to either be horribly embarrassed and carry in a foam bed-topper and have a good night's sleep; OR, not draw attention to ourselves and have a sleepless night. We opted to pay Daniel to carry in the bed topper and not care what anyone thought. However, the bed situation was now remedied, but the room did NOT have a/c -- just a fan. hmp
Here is an attempt at capitalizing on a name:
Breakfast the next morning was a small buffet on the upstairs patio. We so appreciated how hard the young staff was working to make it a delightful experience, which it was. We asked for some butter for the toast, to be told, "It is finished." (The standard reply when there is none). One must return to the buffet table for the one salt and pepper shaker - not a bad thing, as long as we know where to look. When David's toast was ready, the server let him know it was "completed." Too cute. They were just darling.
I really have to be fast with my camera. These two little brothers were walking along the roadside looking so cute, holding onto each other's hands. By the time I had my camera on and focused, the tender moment turned into a tussle. One moment was just as cute as the other, however, and at least I got one of the poses.
Sunday was a huge gathering of 6,000 LDS people at the International Conference Center in Accra. The building was gorgeous. The purpose of the conference was to make 6 stakes (geographical units) out of 4, so there was mass re-organization..and so well done. The best part was listening to the choir, which was sitting on the upper balcony. Inspiring. Just a moment to cherish.
People started arriving 2 hours early, because of limited parking and seating. We thought, "Nahh..., we don't need to do that." And, we were right. For some reason, people didn't really check the first several rows, so we were invited to sit on the vacant first row. Worked for us :) This is my friend, Helen Houssein (Ho-Zion), me, David. Helen, me, David

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Everybody's got a story...

Everyone is a walking novel, and every page could have some lesson he/she has experienced and an insight to share. We feel like we could write our own book about the people we have met so far and have a chapter for each person, but for now a picture and a line or two will provide a memory for us.

NOBODY lights up a room quite like Jefferson Agamah. He is a volunteer one day a week at our Call Center, where he helps call over 800 PEF students every month. He is kind, enthusiastic, and has a laugh that makes you feel like whatever you said was truly hilarious. He knows how to make people feel loved, and he is genuine. There is absolutely no guile in Jefferson.

Fred Aboagye. Fred was another volunteer, but has just secured a great job working at the airport with parcel posts. He is an extremely good worker, and if he tells you he is going to do something, it is as good as done. We are honored to be on his list of friends.

Paulina is Fred's wife, who is holding their as-yet unnamed baby boy. They invited us to their very tidy, clean home to welcome the baby, and we noticed that before entering the linoleumed floor, Fred respectfully removed his shoes. We did the same, and we felt honored to be there.

The Andersons were in Accra for 3 days only, and they were staying in our building, so I had a chance to get to know them. 10 years ago they adopted 20-month old twin boys from Ghana, and this time they were here to adopt 2 more brothers. The taller boy is thought to be around 6, and the shorter one is around 4. In some areas it is not important to keep track of one's age. Their adventure is just beginning, and I'm sure several years from now they will be able to write an incredible story.

James Ewudzie comes to visit us every Tuesday night. He is one of the pioneers of Ghana and was the 4th person to be baptized into the LDS Church 20 something years ago. He drives 2 1/2 hours from Cape Coast to work in the Accra Temple for 2 days, then drives the 2 1/2 hours back. He is quite well known here and is written about in the book Walking in the Sand.
He has been to the U.S. twice, and loves to talk about his travels there.."America...oh, America." In the Costco envelope, he brought the pictures of his 2 trips to the U.S. that he wanted to share with us, and he has become our very dear and precious friend.

Abigail Boisson is one of our PEF studets, and had traveled 2 hours to come pick up her check with her 10 month-old daughter, Jasmine. She came in with Jasmine tied to her back, and although it was hot and humid, this little girl just quietly watched our goings-on, never fussing or whining or causing Mom a bit of trouble. We got to drive Abigail and Jasmine to the "tro-tro" station, saving them part of a hot, crowded experience with strangers, but we felt like protective parents as they wandered into the crowd to find the public transportation that would take them the rest of the way to their home.

Timeless Africa. So much of the area is changing and becoming modern, but within a few hours drive, the countryside looks like it must have done for decades. The people we see are also changing and adapting to modern ways, in a large part because of the internet; and then there are those who are within reach of the city, but their circumstances keep them bound to the primitive and traditional ways their parents knew. The dichotomy is distinctive, but exciting to watch the benefits of progress.