We wanted to include a few more pictures and information about our Safari Adventure from last week.
On our way to Mole National Park we crossed the White Volta River.
This was a village on the way to Mole.
This was a piece of artwork in the Lodge lobby.
These pieces were hanging in the wall in Zaina Lodge.
Shea Butter soap in the bathroom.
This is Jacob, pointing to the bark of the Shea tree.
George on the left and Jacob, with the rifle, on the right.
What we learned from our guides about their life in Ghana:
1. Both of our guides had at least one tribal marking on their face. For Jacob, our “protector”, his mark was made as a baby to help prevent convulsions. Shea butter was applied to the “cut” to help the healing process.
2. George talked about dating and marriage relationships among the tribes. He and his wife are from different tribes. He went to his wife’s family several times trying to obtain permission to marry her. He even took a guinea fowl as an offering!! It sounded to us like she became pregnant, so then the family could not refuse his proposal.
He has been married to his wife for 19 years and they have four children. (He would like his wife to have one more child.) However, it was a tribal wedding and not recognized by the Catholic Church, of which he is a member. So, he does not take communion when he attends church and has not yet decided whether to have a religious wedding ceremony. He also may take additional wives in Ghana. His current wife has no “say” in the matter, but he must be able to provide for her and the children.
On our walking safari we learned the following:
Elephants like to eat the bark of a tree for its juice. Then they discard the cud. They also destroy trees in the jungle. You will find huge trees that they have knocked over to get at the leaves. Essentially, elephants eat anything! The baboons do not like the elephants because they will strip the fruit from an entire plant very quickly, whereas that same amount would feed a baboon for a week.
This plant has thorns and the branches that are arranged in a zigzag fashion. The thorns face up and down on the branches. Our guide said that it reminds us that life has its ups and downs. Also, the thorns pointing down remind us to not forget the past, as you look forward (thorns pointing up) in life.
These colorful little bugs are critical to the "circle of life" in Africa. They quickly breakdown the huge deposits of elephant dung in the forest. Thus, they are called "DUNG" beetles. Once the elephant "unloads," our guides say that the beetles arrive almost immediately to begin their work. They actually haul away big chunks of dung to other locations. These two are transporting a significant piece of the stuff to some other place. Fascinating!
This week 12 elders departed for their homes in Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, other parts of Ghana, and one went to California. President Heid called them his “All Star Team;" the leaders of the mission. At some point during their mission, the vast majority of these missionaries had been Zone Leaders and three had been Assistants to the President.
Back to the Lord of the Wings restaurant for a departure luncheon. Elder Falk, office elder in the middle, is always happy to be included. He loves the steak sandwiches!
Elder Kofutua, on the right, was the lone American going home this transfer. (The one with his tongue hanging out is one of our current Assistants.) Elder Kofutua was an Assistant to the President when we arrived in the mission. He is a Tongan but from the San Jose area. At our departure devotional he talked about how much the mission had changed his attitude about service and life in general.
Elder Quarshie played the ivories at our departure devotional!
President Heid's All Star Team of Leaders
Saying goodbye to Elder Quarshie
Since Elder Quarshie was an Assistant, we learned to joke with him in the office. He was very responsible, has his college degree, and will be doing his Ghana National Service assignment for a year. In his last weekly letter to President Heid, he indicated that his step brother belonged to another religion and supported the family, so when Elder Quarshie wanted to serve a mission after high school, his brother said no. Elder Quarshie honored that request and went to college. After completed his degree, he was able to pursue him dream and came on his mission with two shirts and two pair of pants . He felt like the time he waited to serve a mission prepared him to be a better missionary.
Our new neighbors commented about how expensive food is here in Ghana. Well, it is because we don’t eat from the street vendors. This amount of celery cost $6 (US)!!!!. We are just happy it is available!!
The Executive Secretary to the Area Presidency told us that there are only jobs to employ 30% of the people in Ghana. That is why so many street hawkers and taxi drivers are very aggressive. Literally, if they don't hustle, they don't eat.
Once a month we have a pool part at Alema Court. This apartment complex is where eight missionary couples reside who have responsibilities connected with the Africa West Area Office. It rained a little and it was actually cool. (we don’t complain). Only one brave soul took the plunge in the pool. We also enjoyed oven-fired pizza delivered by scooter!