Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Arrival in Accra

After a long “restless” night on the plane, we arrived in Ghana at 8am on Monday morning.  It is a sparse airport with just the basics.  We were immediately asked about our immunization cards which were fortunately in Stan’s information packet.  The foreign couple ahead of us had to pay $50 as a ‘bribe” to be let into the country!!  They had been to Ghana three times and knew it was required, but they just forgot their documentation.

Here we are at the Salt Lake airport anticipating our long flight to Ghana!

On the plane for our flight from Salt Lake City to JFK.  We thought we would have to find the international terminal for our flight to Ghana but it was only two gates away!

As we exited the Accra airport, we noted it was cooler than we anticipated, but the sky was quite hazy.  It is the season of the Harmattan, a dry trade wind that carries dust from the Sahara Desert across West Africa into the Gulf of Guinea.
President David and Sister Delynn Heid of the Ghana Accra Mission greeted us with a big smiles and hugs as we loaded our luggage into the Nissan crew cab they drive.  They kept saying that they were so glad that we were here.   It has been seven months since the time  they first proposed the idea.  We went for a quick tour of the immediate area, including a stop at an ATM in a small but nice mall and checked out a few items at a local grocery store, which was a small version of a Walmart.  Delynn was so excited that this store now carries imported beef which is expensive but tastes great.  Many products on the shelves were products we recognized and the store layout reminded us of China.  We are confident that we won’t starve here as there are many US products if you want to pay the price.  We are not sure who really shops in the grocery stores as the prices for everything seem quite high… (Ex.  $3 US for a kg (about 2.2 lb), of brown rice;  apples are about 50 cents each and cottage cheese was $10!  However, a loaf of bread is $1.) Wish there was a Winco here!  We are sure that as we get more familiar with the shopping we will find what we need.  There are at least four major grocery stores within a few miles, if you don’t go at peak traffic times.

This the mission home complex.  The office is on the left, the main house in the center, the office elders and assistant to the president's apartment and storage are on the right.  The picture was taken with our back to the gate and guard house.   You can see the hazy sky from the Harmattan.

The front door of the mission office.  We had just arrived from the Ghana airport so we had been up for 24 hours.
We also stopped at the church complex which is near the mission home and has area church offices, a temple, apartment housing and a Stake Center (larger church meeting place). 
Accra Ghana LDS temple

We arrived at the mission home where we will stay with Dave and Delynn for a couple of weeks.  The current office mission couple left for the USA on Saturday and we will occupy their apartment after it is cleaned and remodeled.  We have our own private bedroom and bathroom and are eating with the Heids.  Delynn is counting on Nancy to help with meal planning and preparation!  (It is like we are college roommates again, but the husbands are here!!)
After settling in and grabbing a quick lunch we spent about three hours starting to learn our office duties.  We obtained our government issued non-citizen card.  That office was a very small room with two computers that looked like they came out of the 1970’s!

It wasn't long before “jet lag” overcame us and we decided to call it a day!  However, Heids insisted that we have a mission welcome dinner at a local restaurant.  It was good food, at reasonable price and comfortable surroundings.  We know there are more hidden gems to explore and are grateful that there are many missionary couples here to share their “finds”!
Our welcome dinner with Dave and Delynn Heid
We had a wonderful night’s sleep and then Delynn and Nancy walked 3 miles in the morning before we resumed office training.  (The mission office and mission home are connected which is convenient right now.)  We are trying to take a lot of notes to remember all the procedures.  Stan will handle the mission finances and Nancy is the mission secretary.  While we had office training at the MTC, every mission does adapt to the area and what is needed, so some of what we learned is not used here.  Everyone has been patient and kind, but we are meeting so many new people it is hard to put names and faces together.  The two office elders are fun and are tech savvy so that helps.
Elder Morris provides some comic relief in the office. 
Most of the missionaries speak English, but this week there were three new missionaries who arrived.  They are from the Congo and Ivory Coast, so they speak French and have only had six weeks of English at the Ghana Missionary Training Center.  They looked nervous as they tried to understand the President’s welcome talk and reviewed the paperwork that was necessary.  Fortunately, President Heid had three missionaries available who also speak French, so they will translate and “train” them in the next few weeks.
Sister Nazziwa is from Uganda and left for home this week after serving 18 months in Ghana. We had a farewell devotional for her and picture with the mission president and his wife.  Sister Nazziwa was given the traditional scarf that has her name and mission dates.
We have not had much time to take photos this week as we wanted to concentrate on learning office responsibilities.  We have found there is a stark contrast here in Accra.  One street will be well-paved streets with modern buildings, (some built by China), and the next  will have large potholes, vendor “shacks” and dilapidated housing.  There are modern hotels and restaurants, but the one large park in the area is secured by fencing and only available for ‘rent” by corporations!! 

This lady was on the street braiding a client's hair.

 This was the building across the street from the hair salon.  The restaurant is the cream colored building next to this building.

David and Stan had a church meeting Friday night so Delynn and Nancy had an evening out.  The tropical salad was delicious as well as the pasta and gelato.  We did bring home dinner to the "guys"....hamburgers and fries from the same restaurant.

This picture is representative of an area called Tema.  There are no paved streets.  Can you imagine what this might look like during the rainy season?  No wonder we drive 4-wheel drive trucks.

Most housing areas have guards.  The Heids generally feel safe walking and driving around the city, although you have to be aggressive and cautious during busy traffic periods.  Nancy won’t be jogging since the streets have a lot of hazards and you would have to have your eyes focused on the ground all the time.  Delynn Heid has introduced Nancy to kick boxing and they also took a yoga class together at a local international hotel.  When we get into our own apartment we will have to see what works in that area and what our schedule permits.
Today we attended church in La, a community about 15 minutes away from the mission home and a few blocks from the ocean.  The church recently constructed a building there and it certainly is very nice compared to the surroundings; narrow roads, vendor stands and homes that barely have walls.   It was their annual ward conference, so the Bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency shared a message about sharing the gospel, helping others, doing family history and attending the temple.  The congregation numbered about 150 people and we are sure that we were the oldest in attendance!! The women were wearing bright colorful clothing and the men were all in white shirts and ties.   We were so impressed with the teachers, their communication skills and dedication to the Savior.  One young adult is attending the University of Utah and working on her Master’s degree! The biggest challenge for us was that sometimes the teachers lapse into tribal languages since not everyone speaks English as their first language.    Plus, we are still getting used to the muggy climate and the power went on and off during our meeting so the ceiling fans would not work.  Still, we enjoyed our first African church meeting.

This brother was teaching priesthood lesson, a separate meeting for the men after our general worship service.

1 comment:

  1. It's so exciting to see all your pictures. That fruit salad looks amazing. We miss you!