Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Monday, September 12, 2016

Exploring the "outer" Bush and the Kente Festival

This week we left on Thursday afternoon to travel into the Ho bush zone.  Our primary purpose was to visit the missionaries and learn as much as we could about their living circumstances.  Sister Jones also wanted to check on their medical supplies and make sure each apartment had the necessary medicines and first aid items they most commonly need.  As an aside, there was a special Kente celebration being held in the immediate area, so we thought that would be informative, and help us learn more about the Ghanaian people and their unique culture.  Hopefully the pictures we have included will tell the story of our 4-day experience in the Ho Zone.

We really love the drive to Ho. (Ho is about 3-4 hours northeast of Accra).  Everything is so green and lush.  It is in this region that you see what they call the mountains but are really just some big hills.

With the nice scenery, however, there is a price.  Most of the roads in this area are "under construction", and are merely dirt roads that turn into mud roads during the rainy season.  Any paved roads are marked by thousands of very large potholes, making travel quite rough.  But the landscape is a thing to behold, if you can focus while being jostled continuously.

 This is one of the four major highways in Ghana

The first group of missionaries we met up with were in Hohoe.  Hohoe is about two hours north of Ho. Elder Uche and Elder Miller serve in that area.

Elder Jones suggested a solution for a clothesline "repair".

We drove next to Kpando.  There are four missionaries in Kpando.  We caught up with two of them, Elder Barton and Elder Adeosun.  Sister Jones was so pleased that their medical kit had a lid and was dust free!

The total trip to Hohoe, Kpando and back to Ho actually took 7 hours, but it was worth the chance to see the missionaries in these remote places and check on them.  They seemed to appreciate our short visit.

Kpando is located very near Lake Volta, one of the largest lakes in Africa. 

Friday evening, we invited a number of the Senior Couples and young elders to the Ho House where we were staying.  They were staying in local hotels so there is not really a gathering place. These couples were also in town for the annual Kente Festival.  The conversation turned to aging and the technologies available to repair worn out body parts.  In this photo, friends and Elder Helm, showed off their scars.  It was comical. 

We have seen the title of "American House" various times throughout Ghana.  Not sure what it means.

Saturday, we joined the other Senior Couples and missionaries for the finale of the Kente Festival; the Grand Durbar of Chiefs procession.  There was dancing and bands playing, but it was difficult to get close-up pictures.  The Kente Festival is held in the Agotime Area, about thirty minutes to the east of Ho and near the Togo border.  The festival celebrates the colorful Kente cloth, which is handmade by local weavers and has various designs with symbolic values.  There is a concern that this will be a lost art as some want to employ China to weave the cloth by machine.

Some of the week's festivities included: An interdenominational prayer service, Kente Weaving Competition, Women and Children's Day, women fetching water at a river, re-enactment of a landing, firing of musketry to remember ancestors who fought in wars, and a beauty contest. 
This is a picture from the internet of the women fetching water.  We were not able to attend this event and don't yet have pictures from our friends who were there.

Elder Webster, the executive secretary to the Africa West Presidency, proudly wore his Kente scarfThere were several hawkers, so we think he bought something so he wouldn't be bothered any more!!

Elder Nash, a counselor in the Africa West Area Presidency, and his wife posed with some of the local children who were selling their Kente cloth.

Elder and Sister Nash were seated next to Mr. Kradolfer, an honorary tribal chief.  He and his wife are designated Kente Ambassadors to promote Kente tourism worldwide.  He is a former director of temporal affairs for the church here in Accra and now resides in Utah.  He has made many friends in the region and helped festival organizers with brochures, taking photographs and attracting non-Africans to the festival.

These two photos are from the internet from 2015.  Mr. Kradolfer and his wife.

 Each tribe had a separate procession.

 Many of the tribesman had staffs with characters or animals.  We didn't get a picture of a rooster on one staff, but it apparently means that particular chief "watches" over his tribe.

Another sample of Kente cloth.
Green:  vegetation, harvesting, life and growth
Yellow : Fertility, wealth and royalty
Red:  Bloodshed, political and social associations

Elder Helm displays his Kente tie.  Elder Kanon had a beaded tie of the Ghana flag.

 A Kente weaver was paraded around the field

These are some examples of Kente cloth from the internet

Playing the Kente Drums

On Sunday, we attended Ho 1 Branch with some of the other couples.  It was a full house and we got to hear Elder Nash address the congregation.  It was an inspiring meeting.

Sister Nash and I noticed this woman at church.  The fabric of her dress said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had pictures of modern-day prophets.  Quite a fashion statement and a way to be a missionary!

This sign was on a small metal vendor container along the main street of Ho.  We don't understand the city government "regulations".  Seems like there are many small shops like this around the town so not sure why this one was "marked".  (Remember the date is Sept 16, 2016 for removal.  We will have to have the Ho elders check next week and see if the Ho Municipal Assembly was successful).  

After Church, we picked up Elder Omokoh to bring him to Accra because he will finish his mission on Monday.  On the way, we stopped and checked in with eight more missionaries and 3 apartments.  It was "eye opening."  We feel part of our assignment is to encourage our missionaries to be organized, to be clean and to be safe.  

This is in Tsito, about an half hour south from Ho.  Elder Omokoh, holding the shopping bag, served here twice on his mission.  He needed to collect a beaded tie, so we stopped on our way back to Accra.  The orange truck belongs to Romeo, the counselor in the branch presidency, who owns a local farm.  Every Sunday he goes back and forth with his truck taking people to church and returning them to their homes.

 This apartment in Juapong was one we could have lived in....nice courtyard and highly polished tiled floors!  Elder Fesolai and Elder Palmer enjoy the peaceful setting.

A former Assistant to the President, nicknamed Elder Pace, "Coach".  That title has spread throughout the mission.  Elder Howard wanted a picture with Coach!

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