Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Impressions of Africa

Sorry, no pictures yet.


By Greg


We are here!


We entered Africa last night as we went to our gate at JFK airport.  While there were a few non-Africans waiting for the plane, we were not many.  We had to show our passports, and then we got on Delta flight 26.  We had a delay because some person checked in at the gate, and checked 5 bags, but did not get on the plane.  This caused an hour delay as they sorted through the entire luggage for his bags.  We were happy that they took this precaution, however.


It was a long flight and we tried to sleep.  We were not in the front section where the flight attendants helped the passengers get into their jammies and fluffed their pillows.  We were OK and eventually we started flying over African land.  The plane had a moving map.  We went over 1,000 more miles after we came over the continent.  Then we found Accra, Ghana.


It was a very bumpy landing.  The airport seemed to be under construction, or falling apart, or both.  We made our way close to a big building, and eventually they opened the door.  We walked down a staircase and got into a very crowded stand-up only bus that took us maybe two hundred yards to the building. 


As we flew in I thought this city doesn’t look that different.  The closer I got, the more my mind changed.  In the building we made our way past the army that checked for our shots, then to the caged man that checked our passports, then to the baggage claim circus.  The little “trolleys” (airport carts) were free.  We used two.


We wondered when we would see Elder and Sister Powell.  We had to go through customs.  TIhe only other time we have done this was in Mexico, and they searched Debi’s bag thoroughly.  Well, the official took one look at our badges (we traveled in missionary attire) and waved us through.  No checking at all.


We then met the Powell’s.  I wanted to huge Elder Powell.  We put our huge bags in his mini-van and got in.  Oh, I should say that when we weighed them at the airport, all four weighed exactly 50 pounds!  Actually, one alternated back and forth between 50 and 51, but settled on 50.


We then saw Africa.  We were on a very big and busy street.  All along the way there were people in the middle of the street selling everything from fruit and nuts to clothes and DVDs.  At every stop someone had something to sell.  We drove past a military base and saw a lot of soldiers.  It was really interesting.


Then we arrived at the Temple block.  What a beautiful place.  I am going to let Debi take it from here.


By Debi


We are here!  I can’t believe it.  Everything is so different.  We really haven’t seen much because we have only seen the airport, a very busy street with crazy drivers, and the Temple Square.  When we arrived at the Temple it was the first green grass we had seen.  There are trees here but not green grass.  The Temple is so beautiful.  It isn’t white it is more of a gray marble look. The angel Moroni is larger than usual.  They told us the government wanted a large statue.  So they got one.  There are beautiful fan palm trees and flowers and green, green grass.  We have moved into our little apartment.  It is very adequate.  We were both pleasantly surprised.  We have met several of the senior couples and some of the church employees.  The thing that really surprised me was the many offices and employees.  This is a very big operation.


The Powells are so kind and they had us over for dinner.  They just live down the hall.  They are also taking us to the bank in the morning and then shopping to get us some supplies.  I am not sure what to buy but Sister Powell said she would help me figure it all out.


We are exhausted but happy and we feel a little calmer.  We might get a little nervous again tomorrow as we try to figure our way around but right now we know we can make it.


We have so much more to tell but we really haven’t been in a bed since Sunday night.  We need to get some sleep. 


We will tell you more later,


Love, Debi and Greg


P.S.  I am wearing two watches.  One says 7:50 pm and the other 1:50 pm.  We are 6 hours different until Utah goes off daylight time, then we will be 7 hours apart.


  1. This is going to be so interesting. I am so glad you made it safe. I can only imagine but thanks for the post. We have all been wondering all day. I love you both.

  2. yay!! So glad you made it. And I laughed at the image of Greg's two watches! So sweet! I'm sure these are going to be some days to remember!

  3. We have been on pins and needles all day. Thanks for posting so quickly. I am so thankful that they picked you up and fed you. I am also glad that the sister will help you tomorrow at the store. I have been praying for you constantly.


    1. Our sweet eterna. friends and district leader, Congratulations, you made it and it sounds good, very good. Stay in touch, we love you! E/S Poulson (in Palmyra)