Sunday, September 29, 2013

What do we eat here?

One of our friends wrote us and asked what we ate everyday on a daily basis. So I thought I would let all of you know. The main food here in Ghana is rice, and big yams (cassavo  sp?) and things made with dough flour and they have that as the basis of most of their dishes. I think a lot our missionaries mostly eat rice with about 1 ounce of chicken in all different ways  from little stands on any street here. We try and convince them to cook more at their apartments and with more variety and that all those stands are not clean etc. etc. but you know how invincible they are at that age.

When the Senior Missionaries get together one of the things we talk about food, where we discover certain foods. i.e. I found some powder baking chocolate in the coffee/tea section of a store. Something that is hard to find here.( By the way did you know that Ghana is the #1 exporter of Cocoa in the world.) One of our missionaries served lasagna, with lasagna noodles tonight no one has been able to find them before. There are about 6 or 7 stores to go to in Accra, that have some western type food, and many of the Senior Missionaries go to 3-4 grocery stores every Saturday to find food. Terry and I usually only go to 1 or 2, but maybe a different one every week. Even if we have gotten something we like from a certain store, there is no guarantee that they would have it the next time.

On Sunday night, we usually have dinner with 3 other couple missionaries that live in our apartment complex.
We usually have a very good meal that night. We do not eat a lot of  meat it is very expensive and not very good. The Chicken is very tough - they have a tough life here, they are all living on the street, look very skinny.  The beef is even worse, most of the time, you might not be getting beef, but goat. A couple to the stores here have goat heads in meat display cases. Also the meat aisle at one of the stores we go to smells so bad, we can hardly walk down that aisle, we have never bought meat there. The Nielsen's the missionary couple that live in Asamankese (the bush) they bought some chicken from a market where they have a freezer, a rarity in area. When she picked some out, the man asked her if she would like it cut, she said yes. and he took it to this old wooden table that looked like it had not been washed between the cutting and he cut it there. As he was wrapping the chicken up she was relieved to see that it did get washed between cuttings, two cats jumped right up there and licked it all off.

I do buy either a lb of ground beef  or a lb of chicken once a week and make beef& beans or chicken casserole once a week and we usually have it for 2 dinners and maybe a lunch also. On another night we might just have a baked potato with cheese grated on it or with some beans. we usually have beans someway a couple of nights. Once a week we usually have pasta - I have a place where I can buy a can of Hunts pasta sauce (costs about 1.00 - 1.30 in USA) for about $7.00 here . For lunch, since we live one door from our office - I usually make a salad for us sometimes with canned Kirkland Chicken , or with some tuna, when we are going someplace for lunch, we have our basic peanut butter (ground nut) sandwich.

On Saturday, we had a Relief Society meeting.they asked me to teach them to make Pizza, which I  did even though there is not any cheese to buy in the little town that our Branch is in.I also showed them how to make tortillas, and beans and rice - they do not eat a lot of beans, even though they are expensive.

Terry is too tired to write tonight he will write tomorrow

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Great Missionaries here in Africa!!!!

22 Sept 2013  4:35pm

Heidi tells me it is my turn to start.  We have just returned from our branch about 1 hour away in Nsawam, said Nsaw wam.  The past 5 weeks I have attended the English class during Sunday School.  There are 5 sisters, ages ranging from about 20-what appears to be 75, they trying to learn English,  for the past 4 weeks the teacher has had them write the ABC's.  Today myself and a substitute young returned missionary team taught and they wrote their names.  We taught from a book "Ye Shall Hear My word", the Church created for teaching English using the scriptures. On the 2nd page was a picture of Joseph Smith at a young age, none recognized the prophet, so I ask Stephen, my co teacher, if he would relate Joseph's story in Twii, said Tree.  I believe today was the first time they have written their names.  Ama, the oldest was so proud of herself and worked so hard to do it, it took about 45 minutes for them to write their names.  I copied the material from the Hear My Word, and each sister was pleased to take a paper home with them for some homework. These sisters for one reason or another have not had the opportunity to attend school, where English is taught.  The youngest, Mary, quite a shy girl but wants to learn so badly, had to take care of her siblings and still does, she helps the others.  If allowed next week we will try and teach them the primary song, I am a child of God.  In that way they can share it with their children and grandchildren.

Yesterday during the Open House at the stake center on the Temple grounds I street contacted inviting passerby's to come into the entertainment, native dancing and drumming and learn more of Jesus Christ in the Open House part of the program.  We had about 9 yesterday, 16 on Thursday and 26 on Friday afternoon.  The dancing reminded me of the Islands.  One young man I met yesterday and was finally able to get him to come in and have a cookie and drink, probably 10 or 11 had a small box of his worldly belongings on his head and two toys he never let go of. One a toy truck and one a transformer.  It was obvious he lived on the street, tattered and dirty clothing. Mentally not all there, when I first spoke to him he was very scared, we only determined later that is was his mental challenge that made him cautious.  When he left he still had in his box the cookies we gave him and the orange drink he carefully placed in his box earlier. He was ever so grateful although could not express himself well for as I walked him to the gate, showing him how to get out, he said thank you, not in any way one could understand, but in his expressions. We could only pray God will watch over him and protect him.  I know most people of Ghana will be kind to him. There are a lot of challenges here in Ghana, and we know only the Gospel of Jesus Christ, its ordinances and covenants, has the ability to raise up the people to be equal to that which must be done.  Listen to conference this October, two of our area Presidency will be speaking, Elder Dubey, and Vinson.  

     These are the 8 missionaries that are serving together in Nsawam . Three of them are greenies and they look happy because they just had a baptism with 11 converts.( Plus Elder Wall just gave them their subsistence, so they will be able to eat this month.)

We were going into the area office and saw 3 men wearing suits coming out. No one around here wears a suit it is too hot, so we instantly knew they were from Salt Lake. When they came out we realized that one of them was a neighbor that lived next to the rental house we lived in while we built our house. He was also our older children s seminary teacher, Jon Monson - small word sometimes.

On Saturday when we went out for a walk, we ran into this big fit for life walking group going the other way, they wanted us to come and join them. We did and they were so excited to have us walk with them, they had the BBC photographer come and take a picture of us. We don't know if it was because we were the only white people or were the oldest people walking, maybe it was a combination.

Terry usually gets 4-5 plumbing problems a week, this week on Saturday night the Elders from Kade called and said they did not have enough water to have a baptism, because their neighbor had stolen all the water out of their Poly /tank. Terry told them that we could not do anything to help them. They called tonight and they had bucketed the water in. You gotta love those missionaries.Our injured missionary is doing good and working again, and everyone of them better be wearing their helmets.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Driving, it's on the Wild side here in Africa!!!

I have posted several times about how busy and uncontrolled the traffic is here in Accra. This is a sample of one week. Wednesday- we had to be at the area office (distance of about 3 miles) by 5 P.M. so we left the office about 4:30 we drive onto the 2 lane road that is about 1/4 mile until the main road.  Our 2 lane street with no shoulder and 2 ft deep sewer gutters on each side is now has 3 lanes of cars with walkers, and street hawkers also on it. We are moving slow and then we are at a stop. Right up ahead of us are 3 lanes of cars turning right onto the road we are one. They are stopped because the a truck decided he would turn left where all these cars are coming out. We were stopped for a long time until the truck driver got out and threatened to beat up the drivers of the cars that were coming out of the side road. It was very entertaining.
Thursday- It took us 1 1/2 hours of dodging traffic to drive the 3 miles between our house and the Temple.
Friday - bikes also drive wild, one of our missionaries flew off his bike after he hit a pot hold, and put up his arm to protect his head ( he was not wearing his helmet) and really hurt his arm badly. Sat- some missionaries on a bike accidentally hit a pedestrian (not hurt too bad).
 Sunday is the best day for traffic, but this was a good picture of how they overload all their trucks
Monday- the office Elders were t-boned by a taxi cab, they were not hurt, but their van has a big dent ( it now looks like most of the other Tro- tros, van here, and the taxi cab did not do very well.

On Saturday we went up to our Branch, where we went with 4 of the missionaries,and the Branch Presidency and Elders Quorum Presidency to this village about 4 miles out of town. It is a whole village of little shacks, and they all speak a different dialect then the one normally spoken around this area. But there were more than 200 members of the church that are not active that live there. The President told us that several years earlier a white missionary couple had wanted to help this village and had arranged with the Government for some land where they could farm. The couple had paid for expenses of planting and they were helping these people buy food while the crops were growing. And more and more people were joining the church to be part of this project. After a couple of years with no success in getting any crops, the white couple had gone home and there was no more free food, they all quit coming to church. I do not know if they were on bad land or they were not very good farmers, but it sounds like they were committed to the free food and not to the church. All the children, if they are not scared, really like us.

This is a picture of some of the kids in my class, I wanted to take a group picture, but they did not understand what I was trying to do. I will try again next week, then I would like someone from our west Bountiful Ward Primary to take a picture of their 3/4 year olds and I will show them their friends across the world. We do play  Duck Duck Chicken they have never played that before and really liked that. We also do the Hokie Pokie, I don't know if the kids like it so much, but the grown up ladies really like it,they just laugh and giggle and next week I will probably have more ladies in class so they can do the Hokie Pokie.

Monday, September 9, 2013


This is Mayzee who was so accommodating, and waited to be born on her Grandmothers Birthday. So far her Mom and Dad said that she is a very good baby, but it is only the first week, they change fast from good sleepers to not so good sleepers.

Terry and are going to small town about an hour from where we live. The name of the town is Naswam and it is in a nice area, out of Accra. We are there to help and support this branch that is almost a ward. We have gone 3 weeks and asked what we can do to help. The trouble is many of the members speak Twi which is the main language here, except the government has said that English is the official language. In the small towns, many older people, women and small children only speak Twi. We are coming to love the people although it is still very hard for us to understand them. In this Branch that is the case.
Last week I was with the youngest class in Primary about 2-4 year olds'. It was like herding cats, since I could not understand them and and they could not understand me. This week I decided to some different things, we played duck duck chicken (I could not explain Goose, they have never seen a goose) Ring around the Rosy and of course the Hoky Poky - They loved it - they don't play games and they really liked it. Then I got out a coloring page that I had printed out and crayons and we colored on the floor as there are no chairs nor table, they had never done that before and they just loved it. We are trying to learn 5-10 new English words every week. It was just amazing how exited they are about small things.  Sometimes it is hard in the Branch because the babies cry when we get close, they have never seen white people before and are scared.

Last week we saw a group of young man standing outside of a store that has groceries on the first floor and other household things on the 2nd floor. They were standing in line and every couple of minutes the front would move to the back and everyone would move up, it was very orderly compared to the traffic. This is the way they could see their national soccer team playing on a TV by viewing through the door window at the screen in the store.

Saturdays are usually an adventure,as one must go to two or three stores to find some basic Obruni food. We thought we'd loose weight here and did at first but we eat so much carbohydrates that we seem to be staying the same, peanut butter and jelly is our common lunch fare. This Saturday we will be going out to the Branch so we can transport the Branch President and his counselor out to visit some inactive members. They are very serious into the Rescue effort.  As far as we can tell we have the only vehicle in the Branch. Transportation by Tro-tro is not what we would call expensive in our world but in these good people's it can be much of a days wages, if they have a job.That is probably one of the biggest problems in Ghana, there is very little employment.  As far as we can see China is pouring a lot of money into the country, and receiving the benefit of much of their resources.  Several of the engineers we have met are from China, one we know has joined the Church since being here.        

Monday, September 2, 2013

Birthday Gift

Thank you all that are on Facebook and wished me a Happy Birthday. We had a granddaughter due last Monday. On Wed she had not made her arrival and our daughter -in-law, Nichole and her Mom and our grandson were out doing errands that morning and a truck ran a red light and T-boned their car. The car was totaled and all 3 and the baby were fine. They did take Nicole to the hospital and put monitors on and checked out she and the baby out for a few hours. Nicole did not go into labor and they sent her home. To me it was such a miracle that no one was hurt. The baby decided she wanted to wait and be born on Grandma's birthday so she was born on Sunday, an exciting birthday gift! This is number 12 for us, 13 and 14 are waiting for a little later this year. So we were on Skype a long time yesterday. That is why I am writing this before I go  into the office at 8:00.

Every day it seems like there is a plumbing problem at the missionaries apartments. Last night some called and said the water that they shower in and their drinking water smelled like sewer water. So Terry left early about 6:30 with our Maintenance man to go check it out. Our maintenance man is a young (just off his mission)man who is from Ghana who does not really have any maintenance experience, he also finds our new apartments for this mission that is growing from 100-150 missionaries in 6 months. Terry is trying to teach him some basic plumbing and handy man skills. The problem is most of the plumbers we hire have very little plumbing training. We thought we should put out an SOS for someone who would come and train a small class of  future plumbers for about  3-4 months, and they could take business course on the Pathway Internet Course, and that could improve the future of Ghana and a group of young men.

I could write a whole dissertation on the sanitation and the trash problems of Ghana that no one is addressing. From Elder an Sister Nielson  telling us that  they saw a new bore hole (well) being dug about 2 yards from an open sewage ditch,... to all the open ditches that people use as their personal , tooth brushing , car washing, and all other personal and private use. When we go for a walk in the morning between 5:30 and 6:30 ( remember we live in an nicer area with embassy residences and embassies) I see about 5- 10 people using the open ditches for their bathroom. We do not have a pleasant smell when we walk. Most of these people do not have a bathroom in their home, nor are there public bathrooms. There are no trash cans around so all the trash ends up in the street or also in these cement open sewers, that goes into the river etc.They want to be a modern country so badly, but they really need to address some of these basic problems. The Gov. has very oppressive taxes for the middle and upper classes and businesses, but you don't see that any of this money is going to help the people. There are a lot of new government workers and fancy new buildings being put up.

On the other hand we have gotten a new Director of Temporal Affairs, and he is shaking the church employees up a little. When things don't happen around here, every one always says " well this is Africa". The new Director is very forward thinking in planning and efficiency. He is a Swiss man and he has done this for many years all over the world, he has a very pleasing and friendly personality. So far they have cleaned the area office which was great according to African standards, and is now up to church standards. I am sure that this change is coming to the church buildings, budgeting, offices and every thing else that he is in charge of in West Africa. The Gov. of Ghana should hire him he would get things done. President Hill always refers to him as my  cousin since we are both Swiss, I will have to get my brother Peter on this, maybe we have some family history that crosses.(he is short so his family is probably from the Berner Oberland)

This week we had one of our missionaries go home to Nigeria, so we had a brunch for him after we all went to the Temple. Elder Onyo is standing right next to Sister Hill. the others are our favorite missionaries (because we know them the best) our AP's and Office Elders Elder Christensen  (yes he is from Shelly where some of our other favorite Christensens are from) Elder Asay and Elder Keremateng and Elder Thornhill.

Terry has had a loaner truck for the last month or so. The van is driven by the office elders who have put a little dent on the side. Now Terry has a new truck and there is no way the Office Elders are going to drive it.

After church we went to see a couple that had not come to church for a long time and we invited them to come to church next week, the husband said he would be there. When we took a picture of the husband, the wife wanted us to take a picture of her. She is making  palm oil and then she uses it to fry fish and she sells the fish. She also sells the palm oil to other food vendors. The palm oil is made by boil the nuts of the Palm tree and then the nuts use the oil. Everything here is fried in Palm Oil. I asked why they did not use Coconut oil as they use a lot of coconuts,I guess this oil is easier to extract and there is more of it.