After our trip to Takoradi and Cape Coast, this week was rather routine... busy, but routine. We did attend the temple on Friday and went out to dinner with the other senior couples. (Yes, more food pictures), but Sister Pace forgot to snap a few for our blog. We are sure you are tired of seeing us eat all the time, so it was a good thing that Nancy forgot to photograph the food.
Well, we did find one picture!! Sister Heid came in the mission office late Thursday afternoon and said she was making beef stroganoff and had plenty. Did we want to come for dinner? Sure! The Jones's joined us for an impromptu meal. The women were ready to eat and the men were talking baseball!
Had to show this picture because we complain about the traffic all the time. The taxis and Tro Tro drivers don't seem to check their mirrors and are constantly pulling out in traffic in front of other drivers, as well as darting in and out around other cars. We were returning to the mission office from lunch and saw a taxi and this small car jockeying back and forth on a two lane ramp. We all made a right turn and found traffic was stopped due to the yellow truck in the traffic lane. All of sudden the driver of the cream colored car jumped out of his vehicle and started hitting the taxi driver ahead of him. He was really pounding on him for a period of time through the open window. (Most windows are down because the taxis do not have AC.) A motorist going the opposite direction stopped his car and all the occupants got out to try to pull the gentleman off of the taxi driver. You can see many people were needed to stop the altercation. Then a motorcycle cop arrived on the scene and we drove around the incident. We did notice the cream colored car had several large scrape marks in the front, so perhaps there had been an incident with the taxi.
This weekend we did have a few interesting experiences. On Saturday morning we met several other senior couples at a place called Trashy Bags. It is a business that is committed to teach and promote recycling. One of the major environmental problems is Ghana is waste. Especially pertinent to this problem are small plastic bags that contain an individual serving of filtered water. The hawkers and vendors sell them everywhere for a few Pesewas. When you purchase one of these water sachets, you simple tear off the corner with your teeth, guzzle the contents, and throw the bag on the ground. There are very few public garbage bins around Accra. These bags end up blowing everywhere; clogging the open gutters, washing up on the beach, and collecting in the most interesting places. We have seen piles of these bags raked into a pile and then set on fire. The fumes are toxic, but there are no laws regarding open burning.
Trashy Bags, with support from groups in Europe in particular, have begun to so something about this issue. The way it is set up currently, the company will pay 1.2 cedis (about 30 cents US), for a kilo of these bags. We can hardly guess how many of these bags are in 2.2 lbs. Still, people are desperate and will do anything to earn cedis to support their families. The bags are cleaned, disinfected, and dried in the sun. A team of creative employees have been working on items that can be made from this "Trash." The pictures below will give you a little idea of this very interesting project.
Elvis has been with Trashy Bags Project since it was formed in July 2008. Being a professional Archaeologist and having worked with museums and educational programs, Elvis is committed to the idea that education and awareness is the key to finding lasting solutions to Africa’s problems. As Project Director, his role at Trashy Bags is in the area of public relations and educational initiatives with emphasis on outreach programs. (from the Trashy Bags website)
A pile of water bags or sachets.
Elvis shows us a grocery shopping bag that is made from 70 water sachets and can hold 20 kilos. A backpack uses 220 sachets and it takes 400 sachets to make a gym bag. Recently Trashy Bags received a contract to distribute backpacks to school children in northern Ghana. The backpack lasts several years and also contained pencils, crayons, stationary, rulers, and other school supplies, plus an educational pamphlet about recycling.
Some of the colorful African fabrics that are used in some of the products. The outside of a bag might be fabric and the liner could be the plastic water sachets.
Trashy Bags also uses the heavier material from billboards for design elements of bags. They try to recycle 99% of the materials for their product line.
This is the case for the grocery shopping bag and forms the bottom of that bag.
Some other items on display
The Jones's and Nancy wait for our meal to be served. We actually ate outside.
The City of Accra is in the valley.
The restaurant had some interesting signs for the decor!
The Stake President spoke with direct advice to various groups in the congregation. Church members should strive to be committed and diligent in their testimony. To those who are single, he encouraged them to be engaged in worthwhile activities and to not delay marriage. Since bride price or a dowry is a huge issue in Africa, he counseled couples to strive for a simple spiritual wedding rather than an elaborate affair that puts a financial strain on relationships. For those who are divorced, he said to not lose faith in marriage. To those who were widowed, he suggested they spend time striving for personal growth and giving service. He asked priesthood leaders to "look after" widows, the fatherless and single parents. He advised all members to be kind and considerate to others.
We always enjoy mingling with the missionaries when we are gathered together.