Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Learning much about life in Ghana

This week we had some meaningful interactions with people who live in Ghana.  It helped us appreciate that while they have little in material possessions, they always have hope that life will be better in the future.  We will share a few thoughts with the pictures.

This was on a truck we passed on our way to a missionary district meeting in Kpone, an hour east of the mission office.  We enlarged this so you could see the message, an Eagle and the Ghana flag with the motto "In God We Trust".

District missionary meeting.  Elder Cook, closest in the picture, and Nybo are from the US.  Elder Ndala (DRC) is conducting and his companion is Elder Ebinum.  The two gentleman in the back are returned missionaries and brothers who are members of the Kpone Ward.  Ralph is in the Bishopric and his brother, Solomon, is in the Young Men.  


This is the church building in Kpone. 

After District meeting, we met with the two brothers.  President Heid wanted us to be on a fact finding mission.  These brothers are trying to start a daycare center/private elementary school as a business to benefit their family financially and by offering a needed service for the community.  This is the property they are renting for the school.  They have a business plan to provide actual education (teaching, not just rote bookwork) and daycare for less cost than other private schools.  (Parents go to work when their children are 3 months old.  Usually both parents need to work to provide for their families.)  They had money saved for the entire venture, but another brother became ill with cancer and they needed to help with funds for his treatment.  Both brothers are enrolled in the BYU-I Pathway college program.  They are going to start the foundation work  for the building this week and hope to open for the school year in September.  They feel like they can make a profit, and retain more money individually, than when they were employed by others.  Their older brother has been successful running a school in Ghana.  They have contacted people in the community and have about 50 parents who are willing to have their children attend this school.

 Brother Solomon is looking at his cell phone.  He worked for a company, but it is no longer operating.  Brother Ralph is holding his youngest child.  He has been a school teacher for 10+years and was recently laid off.  His employer felt he could hire younger teachers for less pay.  His wife is a nurse and has worked for a government hospital for 10 years, essentially only receiving tips from patients and transportation money, but no wages.  She works with only hope that she will be on the payroll someday.  When we asked about other possible medical jobs, there are apparently not many options.   We have heard of this scenario of working for no pay from others in Ghana.  It is not uncommon.  The politicians talk about this issue often during campaigns, but nothing changes.  It is a serious frustration for the Ghanaians.
This is the beginnings of a building across from the school property.  Many buildings remain unfinished because the owner runs out of money.

In contrast, this is a home right next to the unfinished building.

After meeting with this family, we had a discussion with our Elder Quarshie, our AP, who is from Ghana and has an chemical engineering degree.  He begins his National Service obligation in August, so will be released from his mission early.   He will work for a private power company and be paid 350 ghs ($90) per month as he his considered a "volunteer".  Fortunately, the position is in his home town of Takoradi where he can stay with his mom which will help with his expenses.  He is hopeful that following his year of service, he can be hired on permanently.  A good entry level position for a college grad would be 1000 ghs ($250).  We are trying to figure out who owns all the cars on the road, because it would seem difficult to have such transportation on that salary.  We can see how one can live inexpensively by eating local food and using the Tro Tros for transportation.  But, purchasing a car, we just don't see how they can do it.  Yet there are so many cars on the road, it is a challenge to get around.

Workman began installing this tile in our old kitchen apartment this week.  Sister Heid and Nancy 'diplomatically" requested a change.  The contractor looked in an American décor magazine and thought this is what US couples would want.  Obviously, cabinets would hide some of this tile, but the room is quite small and would give us, or anyone else, a headache!


 Now only the white tile will show.

The tile contractor wanted his picture taken.  The workers actually stay in the apartment overnight as they work dawn until about 9pm each evening.

The hallway flooring is looking very nice.

This is the flooring in the kitchen.  It had been selected earlier by the contractor.  We think with the neutral cabinets, neutral countertop and white tile "backsplash" it will be ok.  We can't imagine this flooring with the original tile!

Zone leaders on the left, Elder Howard and Elder Kofotua, arrive in the evening from the "bush" prior to our Thursday Missionary Leadership Council.  They are joined by our office elders, Elder Falk and Elder Fuller.  Some put on napkin bibs to protect their ties while eating Indomie, a form of Top Ramen with veggies.

We forgot to take pictures of our MLC meeting.  Stan did a presentation about the process of financial reimbursement in the mission.  Due to the lack of senior couples and our inability to visit the bush frequently, the mission is making Zone Leaders handle reimbursement for certain expenses.  We had some role plays about different situations and how Zone Leaders should respond.  The missionaries had fun asking each other questions to clarify issues.  Ex.  reimbursement for lost phones.... is something that has to be cleared by the office staff  Ex. missionary lost his money out of the hole in his pocket - this had just happened!!
Ex.  payment for a water bill and has the receipt...Yes, reimburse them!!

Sorry no pictures.....but Saturday we took a few hours and went with Heids to the Accra Mall.  We had Philly steak sandwich...different place than we went a few weeks ago...and enjoyed some mango and blueberry frozen yogurt.  Then we went to a movie together.  It was a nice relaxing time.  Sister Heid has been struggling with an infected bug bite the last week and was doing better, so we wanted to "get her out of the house"!

President Heid asked us to attend the Adjorman Branch for Sunday meetings today.  This area is about 30 minutes east of the mission office and along the coastline.  The Christiansborg Stake President was in attendance to organize this branch into a ward, which means they have sufficient members to implement the full program of the church.  He also announced that in the near future they will be a part of their own Stake, and land has been purchased for a Stake building.

It is unbelievable the church growth we have witnessed in the six months we have been in Ghana.  We are grateful that church leadership is emphasizing "strength over numbers".  In other words, make sure those being baptized are truly converted and ready to contribute their time and talents to the church in the area where they live.

Nancy took this picture of the women in Relief Society meeting.  The lady in the bright blue dress is the Stake Relief Society President.  She is seated with her counselors who visited today for this special occasion.  Julianna, who helps clean at the mission home, is one of those counselors.  She is seated on the extreme right, next to the sister with the green and yellow print outfit.

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