Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pre-election day in Ghana

By Greg:

Perhaps we take for granted how fragile freedom is!

Tomorrow is the general election here in Ghana.  We are repeatedly told that Ghana has the most stable government in Africa.  It was, of course, the first country to achieve independence from colonial rule.  It became independent of England in 1957.


That being said, the first elected president was overthrown in a military coup.  There were several generals in there until one of them got himself elected.  He served for a long time (he was the one who “froze” the church.  Then another coup and a free election followed by a free election and that president died earlier this year and his VP became president.  So they are really not that far from a coup.

 We have shown this picture before, but this is a popular thing to do--paint yourself as a campaign poster.

Everyone has been praying for peace.  It is the theme of the campaigns and rally’s and is talked about on the billboards and even in church.  Our Church leaders are counseling people to vote and then go home.  Do not gather in big groups.  Tomorrow is a national holiday.  The boarders with other countries are closed and we just heard that it is against the law to ride a motorcycle tomorrow.  In the past there have been ballots stolen and destroyed and most of the culprits were on motorcycles.  The campaigning ended yesterday, but oh did they campaign yesterday.


Debi and I were out and about and all the streets were cluttered with campaigners.  There were big trucks with hundreds of people on them all yelling and singing and carrying on.  The Tro-tro was full of campaigners.  Bands played, boom speakers blasted, and horns honked. At the intersection that we wanted to turn on, we noticed a commotion.  We soon realized there was an accident that just happened right in front of us.  Actually there were three Tro-tros between us and the accident.  One Tro-tro apparently collided with a campaign flat-bed semi-truck and trailer full of people.  Some were injured.  Their friends were panicking like they had been killed and then they just took them to a taxi and threw them in to go to the hospital.  There was not first-aid at all.  Then the other men began to attack the Tro-tro.  All the passengers fled but the driver was trapped.  They were beating him and trying to get him out of the vehicle.  They broke his windshield and one man tried to climb in the back door to get a better position to attack the driver.  It was wild and we were trapped.  All we could do was watch.  At length, an officer came and I wondered what one man could do to stop all this.


Anyway, this just illustrates the high emotions that are associated with this election.


Debi and I are taking a few minutes each week and locating the Church buildings in Ghana.  Now this would seem simple, and maybe a waste of time, but consider that there are no real addresses, and there are few street signs, and it seems that no one person outside the physical facilities people know how to get to the buildings, maybe our project will help.  We do have GPS coordinates.  We are taking pictures, putting the ward and stake name, the GPS coordinates, and then our directions.  On the back we are putting a section of a street map with highlights.  Then we are laminating it together so it can be a permanent guide.  Here is a sample of buildings, some church built and some rented.



This, of course, is a rented chapel.  It was a nice home and now houses the Christiansborg Ward.

This is a typical "church built"one or two ward chapel.  If it is a stake center, often there will be one more wing.

Another rental on a busy highway.


By Debi:


As we were driving around I took some pictures of some fun things.  The women here in Ghana buy material and then have their dresses made to order.  There are some really cool billboards advertising the material and styles that women can order.  They love the mermaid style here.  I think the women dress awesome.


We have talked about how anything you want can be bought on the street.  I have seen this little display several times and I just love it.  They have it set up so cute and so hopeful.  It is a little ACE Hardware here in Ghana.


We were looking for a church and we came upon this sign. Even though the Haws has an “e” in it, it is still fun to think there is someone from Ghana with the name of Hawes.


As we waited at an intersection for a bus to move that didn’t look like he had any intentions of moving I noticed this sign.  “Work in Progress” I think we all could use a sign just like that.  Ghana is a work in progress.  It will be interesting what they can accomplish in the next 20 years.  We were talking to Brother Sowah today and I asked him if the Church had any church built buildings in Ghana when he joined the Church.  He said that when he joined the church there was only one rented building that the church was meeting in here in Accra.  In the last 30 years the Church has accomplished building a Temple, many Stake centers and Ward houses. Plus they have built the Church offices and the Ancillary building and the MTC.  And while they were doing all of that they were building churches all over West Africa and for that matter all over the world.


Tonight we are having a wild storm.  There is lightning and thunder every second.  The thunder comes as fast as the lightning.  The car alarms are going off in the parking lot.  It is exciting to see the rain falling like a water fall.  I don’t know what tomorrow will be like but for now it is great to see a change in the weather.  We even opened our windows for a little while and just enjoyed the rain and wind and the clean smell.  We figured that no self-respecting mosquito would be out tonight.


Tomorrow we are going to Corte d ‘Ivoire (Ivory Coast).  We are only going for one night.  We are training the Assistant Area Auditor in that country.  We will tell you of our adventure.


We hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas Season!


No comments:

Post a Comment