Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Making Memories

Our invitation for Sunday dinner was the Aikins family from Pra-Ewusi. We brought them to our home to experience an American meal. We taught them how to use a fork when eating their dinner. It was a very memorable afternoon. Sister Aikins came in contact with the church while having her hair done at a hair salon in 2002. She had just finished burying 6 of her 8 children within the previous 4 months. Something rang true in her ears that day and she went home and told her husband to investigate this new religion. He went and found the missionaries and listened to their message trying to understand what it was that caught his wife's attention. He ended up joining the church before she did. They are so loving to us and are always providing fu fu for us to eat. They are raising these two grandchildren, Ishmael and Shadrack.
Sister Saunders visiting with two of the 60 students at this small school. It is about 125 kilometers from us, but a member wanted us to see how a good school is run. The parents pay .30 pesiwas per day or about .21 cents for the meals at the school and everything else is free. Most of the school supplies are donated. Many of the desks were donated by the LDS church. The children start school at age 18 months of age. This school includes students up until the first grade.

The gentleman sitting on the desk is Patrick, our Fante instructor. Notice the desks have an inscription on them. The woman is the teacher, and the gentlemen holding the child is one of the members here in Cape Coast that went with us to the school.

Part of the Abura zone wanted to go to KaKum national forest and walk the canopy walkway. The assistants asked if we would go and help transport some of the missionaries. It was a very hot day. All of us who decided to go on the nature hike underneath the forest canopy are standing inside the roots of a tree. It was very sunny and hot this day, but underneath the growth it gets rather dark. It feels like being in a sauna. Working with the people and the missionaries is a life changing experience. We cherish the lasting memories being made.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Weekend in Kumasi

We had a surprise birthday party for President Sabey on his 59th birthday. Sister Kiffer made him a chocolate cake which was to die for. The couples gave president and sister Sabey aprons with African art work and had a seamstress stitch onto the aprons a portion of a statement that we often here the President say, "We are here to serve, not be served". From the Left is Elder and Sister Turner from Thousand Oaks, California, President and Sister Sabey, Sister Saunders and Elder Saunders (standing), Elder and Sister Kiffer from Ketchichan Alaska, and Elder and Sister Lamb from Bountiful. We love serving with these wonderful couples.
Here we are standing next to a tree stump which someone had carved some african wildlife onto. As you take a closer look, you will find a giraffe, an elephant, a warrior's mask and a woman with a child on her back. The carvings went all around the stump. The village this was found in, is where the kente cloth is woven.

From the left is Sister Sabey , Elder Kiffer , Sister Lamb and Sister Saunders. The four are standing in front of a Calabash tree. The large woody fruit, may grow to 25 centimeters. It takes up to seven months for the fruit to ripen. The gourd-like fruit is used to make bowels and also often becomes part of various musical instruments. The fruit is used for medical purposes and the natives use it to heal asthma and other aliments.

Sister Saunders is pointing to cocoa fruit attached to the trunk of this cocoa tree. One of the natives picked the fruit and we were able to eat some of the fruit inside. The fruit is very sweet and has a pleasant taste. The hard bean like center is used to make cocoa. The center has several individual beans surrounded with the fruit. This was in the Kente village when we visited Kumasi. Kumasi is a much further advanced city than most cities and villages in Ghana. The city lies in the center of the Ashanti Empire, which controls most of the gold mined in Ghana. It is much more developed than any other city or village we have visited.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

People and Places

Ghana has beautiful cotton fabrics. Two sisters that are members of the church own their own shop on the beach next to the Cape Coast Castle. Here they create colorful printed cloth from white cotton fabric. They use wax and stamps to create the designs and dye it in pots over hot coals to set the dye. They also have a little shop on the beach where I purchased the finished product. Sister Saunders took her cloth to a seamstress that works on a little dirt road in Cape Coast. Linda is an amazing seamstress and sews on a manuel sewing machine. Whenever we visit her these two women are either sitting or sleeping in front of her shop. Linda's husband works for the mission and is the Branch President of the Nkanfoa Branch. Linda works with her 18 month daughter either asleep on her back or playing on the floor of her shop.
Francesca makes beautiful jewerly. Here she is in front of her shop. I went to find a gift for my grand daughters 4th birthday. She didn't have any children's jewerly so she offered to make it especially for her. I also found a few treasures for myself and for another special February birthday.
Sister Saunders at the post office in her new skirt and bracelet. We love the friendly and hard working people of Cape Coast. They are quickly becoming some of our dearest friends.

All the packages and some of the letters for the Ghana Cape Coast Mission pass through this little post office in Cape Coast. The post office has a customs office in it and thus the packages are sent here. All of the packages are opened that clear customs, thus Sister Saunders and I get to see what is inside every package from family and or girlfriends. It is amazing what is sent to the missionaries. The gentleman in this picture is a customs clerk who helps us on a daily basis clear the packages through customs. He works on the weekends as a pentacostal minister in his own church in Moree. We pay all the custom duties for the missionaries and then bill them. Their duty fees are deducted from their subsistance which they receive every four weeks. You will notice that Sister Saunders has a big smile on her face this day. Two of the packages were from our family and thus it was a very good day. It is always a very good day, when letters and packages are received here in Ghana.