Sunday, October 14, 2012

The hardest thing we have done so far!

By Greg:

The beach is lovely this time of year.

We have done some hard things on this mission, but the hardest thing we have done so far is what we are going to do next week.  We are going home.  No, we are not quitting or sick or dying.  We are going to Salt Lake to meet with all of the other Area Auditors from around the world for an annual training.  This is not the hard part.  THE HARD PART WILL BE GETTING ON THE PLANE AND LEAVING HOME AGAIN  AND COMING BACK HERE.  We are not sure who is responsible for this inflicted pain, but I am sure someday we will thank them for putting this obstacle in our path so we can grow by overcoming it.
The Buzzards are always waiting

 I still have buzzards circling above me most of the time. These were in a dead tree outside our window.  They are just waiting for me to slip and fall. I can almost hear them say to each other, “What do you want to do?”


We went to Cape Coast on Friday for a training session Saturday morning.  When the Europeans first came to this area, they set up shop in Cape Coast.  This was before Columbus sailed to America.  In fact, Chris was on one of the ships that came here, as a younger man.  They called this the Gold Coast because there was lots of gold.  Eventually they decided to deal in salves.  They build castles all along the coast and the biggest castle build just for selling slaves is in Cape Coast.  We did not go there, but they give tours.

This was not one of the main castles, but is high on a hill and is old
When the English finally took over in 1877, they moved the headquarters to Accra where it was considered not as hot and humid and subject to so many diseases.  Before then, the Dutch, Portuguese and Danes were also here.  They were all doing business in the “Triangle of Trade”.  They brought goods to Africa, Slaves to America, raw material (sugar, molasses, tobacco etc.) from America to Europe and then loading up with stuff to trade with in Africa and doing it again.  The Africans were the enslavers of their fellow and the sellers, the Dutch, English and Portuguese were the wholesale buyers and the plantations in the New World were the retail buyers.  Just a small fraction of the total slaves actually went to the United States.  This is a very sad tale.


We traveled to Cape Coast with three men, Arnold, Folly and William. They are all Africans of course and have other names.  They let us play one thousand questions with them all the way there and back.  Here is a sample of our questions:

Q. Are those leather chairs and couches for sale? A. Yes, would you like to stop and look at them?

Q. Do many African men have more than one wife? A. No, one is enough, not many but some do.  There is a saying, you can tell a man who has more than one wife because his clothes are never clean and he smells.

 Q. Why is there tension between African Americans and Africans?  A. We do not understand them; they have a good life in America, why are they always complaining.

Q. What is that lady doing.  A. Making gravel with a hammer.

Q. Why is she doing that? A. That is the business they are in.  They get big rocks and make smaller ones.

Q.  Do you eat rats and dogs? A. Dogs, sometimes, rats no.  We do eat grass-cutters; they are kind of like rats.

Q.  What is that? A. It is sugar cane.

Q.  What is that? A. It is fried plantains.

Q.  What is that? A. It is like a little fried cake.

Q.  What is that? A. It an ant hill.
(Okay, these really are ant hills.  They are all over the place.  In fact, Accra means ant hill.  These are about six feet high and sometimes they are hollowed out and used as cooking ovens after the ants are driven off)

Q. Who is going to win the election here? A. Over the last 20 years all of our presidents have been named John.

Q. Is there a John running? A. Yes, he will probably win.

Q. How many men are running for president? A. 36.

Q. Are there wild animals in Ghana? A. In the reserves.

Q. How much money do these people make (shop workers)? A. $1,500 US a year.

Q. Can educated people get jobs? A. Not easy right now.  Unemployment is high.

Q. Is traffic always this bad? A. No. sometimes it is worse.
This is a typicaL intersection.  There may or may not be lights or stop signs.  These folks do not understand the concept of taking turns, you go, then I go, the he goes.  No, it is if there is a slight opening I am going.  They honk their horn and go.  It is really like the bumper cars at Lagoon, except we are driving the Church's car and we don't want to bump anyone.
Q. Does everyone in Ghana have a cell phone?
A. It is estimated that 24 of the 25 million people in Ghana have cell phones.

Q. Do people get mortgages to buy homes? A. Some.

Q. What is the interest rate? A. 30%.

Q. Can a person own land? A. It is very hard.  Most of the land is owned by the old village chiefs.  You pay once for a 99 year lease.  Don’t worry what will happen in 99 years. Then you build your own house.

Q. Does the church own land? No. They also lease.

Q. How about the Temple. A. It is a lease.

Q. How old are you? A. William, 45; Arnold, 44 : Folly, 34.

Q. Did you have to pay your father-in-law to marry his daughter? A. No, it is not like that.  It is more like everyone in her family, including “Aunties” gave a list of things they wanted, and then you had to either get those presents or negotiate down the requests.  Have you seen the movie about the 10 cow wife?  You don’t want your wife to be just a horn and a tail.

Q. Are we there yet? A. No, not yet.


By Debi:


Our trip to Cape Coast took us 3 ½ hours to get there and it took us 4 ½ hours to get back.  Now that might not seem too long until you realize that it is 160 kilometers to Cape Coast which is about 100 miles and then you realize how bad the traffic is.  It is strange because not very many people can afford cars here but there are so many taxis and tro-tros that it really plugs up the roads.

 We tried to take some pictures on our way because this was the first time we have left the Accra area.  We met Pres. and Sister Shulz  Friday evening and we had dinner at a nice outdoor restaurant that was part of a hotel.  The food was excellent but it took a very long time to get it because they really only cook to order, so everything is freshly made.

 We slept at the mission home.  They have a very nice spare bedroom that they call the apostle room because Elder Holland has stayed there.  It was so nice to see the nice mission home. 

President and Sister Shulz are such good friends and were great hosts.  President Shulz is a fantastic mission president and is loved by all.

This is the mission president's home.

On the property is also a small building for their office and another small building that houses the AP’s apartment. We met the AP missionaries.  They were so great.  One is from Salt Lake.  His family is from Tonga and he wants to play football when he gets home.  He has made himself a homemade set of weights to work out with. The other missionary is from Kenya.  He is going home this Tuesday.  He is very excited but he feels very scared at the same time.  We asked him to meet and say hello to Pres. and Sister Broadbent when he gets home. 


This is the missionary apartment for the APs.  The other building is the office.

I think this is how Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble would also have gotten in shape for football.  This young Tongan pumped this cement like it was paper. 


We took a picture of a lizard in the mission home yard. (Sorry kids, we tried to see something wild but this was the best we could do)  There is lots of security for the property.  The gate and fence protect the outside and they have bars on all of the windows.  There is also a guard that is there on the property.



We went to a very nice church for the training in Cape Coast.  When we arrived we thought we were the only ones there because we had the only car in the parking lot.  When we came into the high council room there were already about 20 men there ready for the meeting.   They all came in taxis or tro-tros.  These good brethren spent about 6 hours of their Saturday for the training.
That is our car in the parking lot. 


After the meeting we went outside and we saw some young men playing basketball in the parking lot of the church.  Of course, Greg had to go and give them some pointers. (They were stepping on the wrong foot to make a lay-up)  After a few suggestions they started a little pick-up game.  They had a great time and Greg still can hold his own on the court.


In the back of the church there were some sisters preparing for a ward couples dinner that night.  They were pealing kasova (it is a root that they peel, pound and then make what they call foo-foo). They were also preparing fish to grill out in the open and to make soup that they dip the foo-foo in.  Greg told the sisters that they are all beautiful and that brought a lot of laughter.


We tried to catch a few scenes on the way home because there was still some daylight.  Ghana is a land of contrast, especially in the living conditions of the people.  We saw shanties along the shore of the ocean and we saw mansions on top of the hills.  We see very large stores in a three story building and then we see a little grass shack selling tomatoes or pineapple along the side of the road. We saw beautiful tropical trees and grass and whole towns with only cement buildings and dirt roads.  But the one thing that the people here in Ghana seem to possess is happiness and peace.  Almost all of Ghana is in church on Sunday.  They take care of their families and they have a strong desire for peace.


Even though we still feel like we are in a very strange land, it is becoming more and more comfortable and more beautiful.


  1. My comment here may be long. There were a lot of Africans in Casey's mission (not African Americans) and he still has a fondness for foo-foo. Especially with peanut butter soup.
    Also, Casey came home from his mission for surgery for a few weeks and then went back. It was later in his mission, and he said that it was hard for him to be home, and not be released, but he was very happy to leave and go back to his mission. He almost felt like that was his home, and he felt like that is where he should be, so going back to his mission was good for him.
    It seems like you are both doing well. I love reading your blog and getting a little taste of Africa. There are flyers around our chapels asking for white shirts for Africa, and we are proud to know who will be delivering those white shirts! Keep up the good work! Hurrah for Israel!

  2. Dad and Mom, you guys are doing some wonderful things. I am so happy that we all get to read about them. It is so interesting. Dad that is so fun that you played basket ball. I can feel you really care about the people. It is going to be great to see you and I think you will be happy to go back. There is so much for you guys to do. I miss you and love you.