I can hardly keep the days and months straight, but figured out that we have been in Ghana for 7 weeks and are feeling quite comfortable. Monday is our preparation day, then Tuesday through Saturday, we work a 7-8 hour shift at the Temple starting at 7:30 am or 1:30pm . Routine is good.
This week we had patrons from Sierra Leone. That country is almost 1000 miles away and driving is not feasible [lack of roads, and politics]. The Temple Patron Assistance Fund makes it possible for these members to fly into our airport and then be bussed to the temple. One day this week, I was asked to dress some children for their sealing to their parents. The little one year old boy just wailed when he saw me—I was obviously the wrong color and he would not let me touch him unless his older brother was holding him. I was saved by a native Ghanaian within a few minutes. Tom was a witness on that sealing and took note of his older brothers' names: William Wilberforce Collier and Wilbur Wilberforce Collier. If you do not recognize this name, William Wilberforce was the member of parliament in England who worked for years trying to stop the slave trade. The people of Sierra Leone have not forgotten him even though it was more than 170 years ago. I would highly recommend the movie “Amazing Grace” which deals with the life of this man and happens to star one of my favorite actors, Ioan Gruffudd.
On one of the temple shifts I assisted a woman with a very unique name. When asked about the name, she said it was a name from her country. Which country? Liberia. I was so impressed that she knew her part perfectly. She may live in one of the camps in Ghana set up for Liberian refugees during their civil war.
We had two great cooking experiences. I found some frozen haddock fish which I though was safe to buy and made fish tacos with mango, avocado, cabbage, and flat bread. We were almost euphoric. Thursday morning a woman from our shift came to the Ancillary building and taught Sister Carter and me how to make ground nut [peanut] soup. It is a delicious combination of chicken, broth, peanut butter, onions, tomatoes, fresh ginger, bonnet peppers, and spices. We ate it with boiled yam (a bit like cassava) and each had two bowls. It was even better the next day.
Ground nut soup, with boiled yams (above and with some in the soup)
A snack of ground nuts, baby popcorn, and millet
A new couple arrived in West Africa this week and will be living across the hall from us until their permanent apartment is ready. They have only been married 4 years [2nd marriage for each] and he is a new member of the legal team here. It is fun having neighbors to talk to.
Under the category of “Be Careful What You Wish For”, Tom was invited last Sunday to substitute today for our very good Sunday School teacher. Besides our wonderful bishopric, members of the class this week included all the temple presidency and wives and a member of the area presidency with his wife. It was mildly intimidating but the comments made it a very interesting class.
One of the highlights each week is a 5:30 PM Friday sealing session, where missionary couples have the opportunity to perform proxy sealings. We routinely have about 10-12 couples who attend at the end of their work day in the area offices, and the officiators are either members of the temple presidency or the area presidency. This past Friday Elder Curtis officiated and we as a group provided enough family file names that we couldn’t get all the work done in an hour. Elder and Sister Curtis will be leaving in July after serving in Ghana for five years. They are an exemplary couple.
Thanks for the emails and notes. It’s nice to hear what you are doing!
Beautiful little flowers near the gate...
but watch out for the spines!