The apartment renovations were completed enough this week for us to move in Tuesday evening. You wouldn’t think that hauling 2 suitcases and two carryon bags would take any effort. But, it is more tiring to move in the heat. Plus we didn’t have much food. We also learned that there was minimal bedding, towels, and kitchen supplies. Nancy and Sister Heid spent nearly an entire afternoon this week just shopping for the “basics.” Even then, we felt confident we could feed ourselves for only a few days. We needed to return to the grocery stores at least two or three times to get ourselves “adequate” provisions.
Saturday morning we made our way to a local grocery store and "stocked up". Imagine our surprise seeing canned Oregon fruit on the shelves! The small can of mandarin oranges, next to the Dole pineapple was $3 (US) per can!
We feel very blessed to have an apartment that feels comfortable. There are still a few things that need to be done including fixing our water filtration system in the kitchen and a leak in the main bathroom. But overall, we think we can call this home.
As part of our blog this week, we are giving you a tour.
This is our favorite picture in the apartment.
The kitchen is quite adequate. The brand new stove/oven is something Nancy is looking forward to using a lot, except that it is so large that it really heats up the kitchen. Fortunately we have a fan plus AC if needed.
This is the main bathroom.
Office with a treadmill
(Yes, that is a keyboard at the end of the dining room table. We don't yet have a table to put it on!)
This was our FIRST meal at the apartment. It was Chicken and Rice.
We were also invited to our neighbors across the hall, the Sanders' apartment, to have
A & W Root Beer floats with a few of the missionaries one evening.
This week we helped send three missionaries home at the end of their mission and welcomed 8 new missionaries from the MTC. By necessity, it became a large transfer requiring companions and trainers to come in from other locations, some staying at the Mission home bunkhouse. Even though it was still very hot, the missionaries met their companions and had lunch outside under a canopy. They seemed to be very happy and enjoyed their traditional “chicken and rice, rice and chicken” meal. The office assistants also included us, but we chose to eat our Chicken and Rice in the air-conditioned Mission Home since we were still “residents” there. Believe us, that was a good choice.
Elder and Sister Bodine from Lindon, UT who are in the same Ward as our friends, the Morses, who used to live in Hillsboro. The Bodines are serving as support missionaries in the Ho District to the NORTH, about 4 hours from Accra.
Enjoying their "Chicken and Rice" and "Rice and Chicken.
For those returning home, we try to make the transition a happy and relaxed one. We make sure they have their necessary documents, travel tickets and travel money. Most everything went well until the airport employees would not allow a Samoan missionary to board his flight because he did not have a transit visa for New Zealand. No one, not even the “travel experts” from the area office could convince them that such a visa is not necessary. (He had only 3-hour layover and would never leave the international portion of the airport.) Only 20 minutes before the plane was supposed to leave, they allowed him to check in and took his luggage. He departed for home only because of mighty prayer and a miracle. Such it is with the missionaries.
Transfers also bring the Senior couples into town.
The Wades serve as Self Reliance missionaries, including helping some missionaries and other residents become more proficient in English. They are from Arizona.
We took President and Sister Heid out to dinner at a "swanky" restaurant not far from the Mission home. It was very nice and the food was great!!! It was the least we could do for them hosting us the past two weeks. Stan really enjoyed the steak from South Africa.
Meet two of our new friends.... Julianna
...and Gilbert. Julianna does housekeeping work for the Mission home. Gilbert is supervisor over Mission apartments.
Stan is standing next to our truck; a Nissan Navara. It is a little big for squeezing into small spaces but great for "bullying" our way in traffic. Driving is truly a "harrowing" experience. But, we are getting better at it every day.
Nancy isn't that excited about driving in Accra. This week challenged her resolve to feel more comfortable behind the wheel. On Friday morning, as she was driving from our apartment to the Mission Home, the car alarm went off. Every 10 seconds it would go off with horns blaring and the lights flashing. This happened all the way to the office and she ended up passing a policeman on the way. (Fortunately she was not stopped!!) Stan was off on an errand with our neighbor, Elder Sanders, so when she arrived at the mission office, all the office elders came running out to try to help. They read the manual, etc., but thankfully the alarm stopped on its own after 15 minutes. We determined that the spare key may power the truck but creates problems, so we are only going to use one key from now on!
On Thursday, Stan drove with President Heid to visit a missionary companionship in Ashalley Botwe District in the Adenta Zone in Greater Accra. Stan went with Elder Kohler to see a family while the President met with his companion. They visited "mama" Grace who the elders were teaching. The title of "mama" is a term of endearment and respect. They taught a short lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and prayed with her. Stan was impressed with her loving and kind spirit. These are truly humble people.
Every morning but Sunday, we try to get some exercise. We have several routes we take. The pictures below are what we saw on Saturday.
It is still about 80-82 degrees when we start walking at 6 am. Notice the hole very close to the roadway? The cement "gutter cover" has collapsed. Think of the problem you might have should you drive onto the shoulder.
These murals are on the wall of a very nice hotel just down from our apartment.
These deep drainage ditches are everywhere on both sides of the roadway. Imagine the damage to your car if a wheel goes off into one of these? Apparently, it is a common occurrence.
These people can carry most anything on their heads.
This Sunday we went with our neighbors, the Sanders across the hall, to church in Senchi. It is about 1 ½-2 hours north of Accra. The Sander’s assignment is to support and visit five church groups on an alternative basis. President Heid wants us to know our way around the mission so we went with them to get an idea of where buildings are located. Along the way we saw baboons (sorry no picture), smaller villages, a “mountain” and people dressed in their Sunday “Best” walking to their church. The traffic on Sunday morning is less hectic since many businesses and small vendor shops are closed.
On our way to Senchi, we stopped at the last church-owned chapel to the north of Accra. All other building in this part of the mission are leased.
Also, on the way, we saw the Ensign College of Public Health campus. It is the creation of a former Ghana Accra Mission President who established this school as a branch campus of the University of Utah. (This is at least the plan). The school is operating with it's first class. This project looks to benefit young Latter-day Saints immensely in helping them gain quality education and good jobs in a field that will benefit the country as a whole. It is very exciting.
We also were introduced to the Senchi Resort which is located not far from the church and was recommended as a nice weekend "get-a-way." It was absolutely beautiful and was in stark contrast to more primitive conditions only a block or two away.
We attended church at the Senchi Branch. They meet in a leased building. The "young" missionaries live on the second floor. We are standing out front. The structure to the left is actually a baptismal font.
There is actually a partial wall separating the meeting area. There are more participants on the other side!
Stan and Elder Sanders were trying to find a flat screen tv to use for a short computer presentation after church. After we arrived, we found out the Senchi building only had a tube tv. During Sunday School time they decided to drove to a building about 10 minutes away to secure a tv, only to find out that building only had a tube tv also! Elder Sanders said that first thing Monday he was making arrangements for flat screen tvs for those buildings. Nancy volunteered to accompany us on this errand. Even with ceiling fans the building was very hot and stifling and she wanted the opportunity to be in an AC vehicle and recuperate!!
This is the look of the terrain travelling North of Accra. We were expecting to see more rainforest, but we think it is more like a savanna. We did see several baboons along the side of the road on our way up to Senchi.
This was a market scene in Ashaiman on the way back to Accra. Notice those that they are balancing goods on their heads. They do have a "support" on the top of their heads to help, but it is still amazing what we see people carrying ....a flat of sunglasses, drinks, towels, containers of food, etc.
This is a Muslim mosque a few miles from our apartment. It is still under construction.