Friday, June 18, 2010

Daily Life in Ghana

Elder Saunders is helping an investigator prepare for the evening meal by pounding casava root to make fufu. Most families have fufu five or six times a week because it is an inexpensive but filling meal. Ama Kwakuma (lady standing behind Elder Saunders) is getting baptized on the 19th of June. This will be the second attempt to perform the baptism. She was hesitant to be baptized the last time we had it scheduled on April 3rd. Now she assures us that she wants to be baptized and will follow through with it. She is from the village of New-Ebu which is about 2 kilometers from Abakrampa.

Late in the evening several villagers come to the well to draw water. This well has underground flowing water that is about 20 feet down. They drop small buckets with ropes attached and then pour the water into larger buckets. As we sat and watched, we saw the same villagers come up to six times to draw water.

Sister Saunders and I have been asked to assist three of the ten mission branches (Abakrampa, Kissi and Mankessim). These are special branches which are not assigned to any stake or district, but are assigned to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. President Sabey called a special branch conference for the three branches on the 30th of May 2010. The branch service missionaries assigned to these three branches are the Myers (Kissi), the Boamahs (Abakrampa) and the Imbrahs (Mankessim). President Amonkwa (2nd Counselor in Mission Presidency), also attended the meeting which was held in the Yamaronsa ward building. The meeting house was packed with people. It was a very memorable day filled with the blessings of the spirit.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ghana Recycling

Since the people of Ghana have very little in material goods they are very efficient at using their resources effectively. What we throw away without a second thought they save and find a way to make it into something useful and even beautiful. We were able to visit a bead factory outside of Accra and watched a demonstration on how to make beads using discarded glass bottles.

It starts with the dirt from the many termite hills that are found along the road side. These mounds are everywhere and are very large and durable. We happen to be standing in a rainstorm. We are melting but the dirt hill is not! The clay dirt is strong due to the spit the termites use to hold the dirt together. The dirt can not only withstand storms but extremely high temperatures. This dirt is used to make kilns for creating beautiful African beads.

It looks like trash but it is not! These bottles will eventually be made into glass beads. They make the beads a few different ways. The bottles can simply be broken into small pieces, melted and then poured into molds and fired. The beads will be the color of the bottles that were used. The bottles can also be crushed (by using hand tools) into a fine sand. They dye the sand different colors and carefully layer it in the molds to create designs on the beads.

On the ground are empty molds that are also made out of the termite dirt to withstand the heat. The man uses the long pole sitting at his feet to put the molds in and out of the kiln. Once the glass gets very hot it is pulled out and the worker carefully turns the beads in the mold to make them completely round. He also puts the hole in the middle at this time for the string. The kiln has a hole in the back where the workers are constantly pushing more wood into the fire to keep the kiln at a constant high temperature.

After the beads cool they are taken over to be washed and shined. They are pored onto this rock where the worker uses sand, water, and his hands to rub them until they are clean and shiny.

The final product! Sister Saunders trying on the beautiful African bracelets made out of recycled bottles. These bracelets sell for 1 GHc which is .70 cents in US currancy. So whenever you go to throw a glass bottle or jar away just think what you could do with a little time, heat, and talent!