Sunday, February 10, 2013

Our new apartment and other things

By Debi:


We are on the top floor on the corner-the Pent House!
We have been in a new apartment and we haven’t really said much about it.  We moved out of our apartment in the building by the Temple about 4 weeks ago.  They are redoing the air conditioning and the water system.  They have been working on the building ever since we arrived here in Accra, but our floor was the last to have the repairs.


The Church has rented a nice apartment for us not far from the Temple.  As the crow flies it is only a couple of blocks but as the car drives it is much farther.  Everything here is like a one way street because they put islands in the middle of the roads.  So we have to drive down the road and around a round-about and then back up the road. 

We drive through a gate and under our apartment and park in a court yard.  It has 24 hour security guards.

The apartment itself is nice.  We have a front room with a desk and a pretty nice TV.  It also has a little half bath just off of the front room.  The toilet is up on a throne and it is very small. 
The kitchen looks pretty nice but when I am actually cooking it presents some challenges. 
The water in our apartment is not filtered at all.  So I have to boil all of the water or get water out of the water cooler that we brought over from our other apartment.  The fridge is like a small camper fridge and the oven is so small that a casserole dish or a cookie sheet does not fit in it.  So there are pros and cons.  The pro is that I don’t have to worry about cooking very much.  The con is that I can’t cook very much! Ha Ha!


The other bathroom is nice but there isn’t a door on the bathroom and it is pretty much open to the rest of the apartment.  The master bedroom is very large and the bed is a very big king size bed.  We have air conditioning and that feels good at night while we are sleeping. 

One very nice thing about our apartment is that we have large windows that we can see the city and the ocean from our apartment.  I feel a little sad because the view is obscured by the dust and sand in the air.  I can barely see that the ocean is out there.  If the air would clear, I think we would have a great view. 


Yesterday we went to a baptism in our Ofankor ward.  Four people were baptized.  I played the piano for the meeting and Greg helped in confirming them a member of the church today in Sacrament Meeting.  We have had some very wonderful experiences with watching people coming into the Church.  What a blessing to be here in Africa.    


Also, yesterday we were driving down the street and we saw several funerals.  Every weekend we see people going and coming from funerals.  We see parks or restaurants or convention halls being used for funerals.  It seems that Saturday is the funeral day.  As we were driving down the road we saw a hearse.  It was the most ornate hearse or car I have ever seen.  We couldn’t believe the elaborate work on the car.  The people here take their funerals very serious.  The funerals last several days and they cost thousands of dollars.  Sometimes people are in debt for the rest of their lives.


One of the main roads in Accra is Independence Avenue.  That is the road the Temple Square is on.  We drive on this road every day.  It is also the road that we take to the Mall on Saturdays to do our shopping.  Every time we drive towards the Mall we see what you would think was a flock of birds.  But if you look very closely, you can see that it isn’t birds but they are bats.  Big Bats!  I am not sure why they fly in the day.  I thought bats came out only at night.  They live in big trees that are right by the road.  There are thousands of them.  It kind of freaks me out but the people walking and working around the area don’t even pay any attention to them.


Some of our family members are very afraid of bats from our Lake Powell days.  I am glad that none of my children are here to see the bats.


Well, the adventure continues.  We are getting ready to travel to Cotonou, Benin.  It is a French speaking country.  It is between Ghana and Nigeria.  We are leaving next week.  We will take pictures and report our findings when we get back.


We are so thankful for this opportunity to be on this mission and we feel so blessed to have the comforts that the Church makes sure we have. Also, the members here take such good care of us.  The African people are so faithful in the Church and their testimonies burn bright.  It is a privilege to be with them.


By Greg:


We live in an area called OSU.  Our apartment is called the Maxwell Court.  It is almost half way between two chapels (one on temple square and the other is a rental).  For those who use Google Earth, the coordinates are between 5 34.047 N and 0 11.626 West (Temple Square) and 5 34.017 North and 0 11.621 West.  As you can see, we are very close to the prime meridian and the equator.  The Tema MTC is east of here at 5 39.551 North and 0.00.943 West.  South of Tema, out in the ocean is 0 00/0 00!


We are close to the Parliament, which is just south of us.  The Temple is on Independence Avenue.  The other north south road, which is east of us, is Oxford.  Both Independence and Oxford go south to the ocean.  There is a KFC on Oxford!

The big building is the parliment building.

Yesterday Debi wanted to go to the beach and walk, rather than walk around the neighborhood.  We have had a security warning from the US Embassy.  The OSU area is where a lot of “abrunies” (white people) live. Over the last couple of weeks, several have been assaulted by people on motorcycles. The common thing is they were out in the dark, they were alone, they had expensive electronics, and they were white.  We are careful. We don’t walk in the morning until it is light, and we do not take electronics with us.  No missionaries were attacked.


We walked along the beach.  Ghana is in the semi-finals of the African Nations cup.  I don’t know how the game turned out yesterday.  So there were hundreds of young men on the beach doing “Rocky Balboa” type training.  They were also playing soccer with pretty ragged balls.


The thing that is so sad is how dirty the beach is.  There were many women on the beach raking up garbage in little piles.  Most of the garbage is plastic.  The other women come with big pans and pick up the garbage.  The problem is:  What do they do with it now?  They either carry it up the hill and dump it (right where it will wash back into the sea on a high surf) or they dump it in a trash dumpster that never seems to get emptied.


We watched many men labor very hard pulling in a fish net.  They had two long ropes and men on each rope.  We walked down the beach and when we came back I went to see how many fish they brought in.  It was so sad.  Their net had three or four fish, but was loaded with garbage.  They just cleaned out the net and some men in a boat took it out for another try.


We met with the security personnel again.  We wanted to walk to this white castle. Well, that is the president’s home and the beach in front of it is off limits.  We tried to drive to it once and met a man with a machine gun.  The same man, or his brother, waved us down and forbade us to trespass.  We wondered why that beach seemed so clean and empty!

 The tall building off in the distance is the castle.

This morning we got out of the shower and looked out of our window.  We are in the “pent house” and can see a lot of the city.  Well this morning there was a huge fire.  We thought a building was on fire, or a car was on fire, but no one on the street seemed too concerned.  Soon it died down and the smoke cleared.

We are excited because this week Elder Quintin Cook, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, will be here for an Area visit.  We hope to see him at least once.  Everyone has been working so hard to get ready for him.  They had a group of members washing the fence infront of the Temple.  This is vey special for them.

We are having a bit of down time.  We are inbetween audit cycles.  We have been doing some family history.  Debi has actually found some undone work.  I am off on some far extended family cleaning up duplications.  It is rather fun, I must say.

I have also discovered Youtube.  I have been playing some of the "music of my life" in the mornings.  Sorry, I can only listen to the Tab Choir for so long.  I have found some renewed energy, which I am grateful for.  It is amazing what a little Frankie Vallalli and the 4 seasons can do!

Best wishes to all and Happy Valentine'd Day to all the girls I love!  You know who you are.


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