Saturday, May 25, 2013

Aburi Gardens and electricity (or the lack thereof)


This week we have had to deal with some minor inconveniences.  When we were first called to Africa, we thought we would be living in a hut with a dirt floor and using a bucket for a toilet, so it seems a bit shallow to complain about not having running water, electricity and air conditioning. 


The Temple compound is serviced by the government power company.  But that is not reliable.  There is also a public water system, but it is also unreliable.  The Church drilled a deep “bore hole” and has an electric pump that gets us water, thus, no electricity, no water.  We do not drink the water from the taps, we have Voltic Natural Mineral Water in big jugs that go on top of a dispenser that also cools and heats it.  This is wonderful.


The Church has two huge back-up generators to use in case of failure in the Government system.  These are just outside our window.  When the power goes off, one of the generators automatically (this is the way it was described in the General Electric brochure that they read before they bought these) take over and no one should even notice.  If the first generator fails, the second one stands ready, like the second counselor, to step in.  The office, the ancillary building, and especially the temple, should never be without power.  That is the theory.  This is what they call redundancy.


Well, the plan is not working.  Some time ago, the second counselor, the back-up to the back-up, developed a problem and needed a new part and there is only one of them on the planet and it is in England and England wrote off this colony in the 1960s.  The Government system had a major cable failure (imagine that?) and so we were totally relying on the first-back up, but we all know that when the first counselor is totally in charge he usually cannot take the pressure, and so the first-back up broke.  Call England!  Send someone fast!


After a couple of days, and of course no one can do any work, and the temple had to shut down, they moved in two smaller units from somewhere.  This often happens when the leadership all go south, the brethren are forced to import leaders from another area.  We are holding our breath.


When we lose power, we also lose the internet.  I am sure Wilford Woodruff also worried about such things.


Sister Haws sustained a non-debilitating injury recently.  Jack and Jill were going up the hill and we spilled a pale of water and Jill came tumbling after.  Actually, she was not feeling well and fainted and Jack (me) was not going up the hill at all, I was in bed asleep.  She chipped her front tooth so now when we come home some people might say, “Sister Haws, you have changed!” She is a good sport about it and is not in pain.  One of the Senior Elders is a dentist and he has looked at it and thinks she can wait to have it fixed if we ever go home.


I had another session with my boys.  This time I taught them to “line-up” before giving them a biscuit (their word for cookies and crackers).  We had a second discussion and they are coming along about as well as most investigators.


Our friend that was baptized in December, Paul, received the Priesthood last Sunday.  Now he is a Priest he can baptize his own contacts.  I gave him my (now his) line-of-authority on a card with our picture and he is using that as his Church ID card and ministerial certificate.  He is a great missionary and is directly responsible for 4 baptisms and at least 6 more contacts.


Paul’s first baptism, Sunday, was ordained last week.  He is actively bringing investigators as well.  Sunday has borne his testimony twice.  These two men are amazing and are our friends.

 This is Elder Smith who baptized Sunday because Paul was not yet a Priest.

On the way to Aburi we noticed that we had a low tire.  We pulled over to a place that had a bunch of old tires and a man came and pulled out a nail from our tire and inserted a “plug” and pumped us up and we gave him 10 GHC (about $5) and we were on our way.

 It was good to have Elder Miles along, just in case, he oversaw the repair.


Africa is an interesting place.  This Aburi Gardens, that Debi is going to talk about, was a beautiful retreat under the English.  It has not been maintained at the same level since, but they talk about restoration.  For some unknown reason, in the midst of all these beautiful trees, they have this “crashed and burned” old helicopter.  I don’t understand what the message is, but the kids like to play on it and even Senior Elders think it looks fun.


I am always thinking about my grandsons when we go on these adventures and so I took some pictures of the wildlife in the area for them.



By Debi:


We had a wonderful visit with our missionary friends from Hooper, the Miles.  They are beginning to be one of our regulars on our blog.  We posted pictures of them when they first came to Africa.  We then spent four days with them in Liberia and posted more pictures of them during our visit.



Last week they came into Accra for a training with the Kleins (the Kleins are the senior couple over Humanitarian projects).  We spent a beautiful afternoon with the Kleins and the Miles at the Aburi Botanical Gardens.  The Gardens are just northwest from Accra up in the mountains (they look like hills to us).  It is amazingly green and there are beautiful views of the City of Accra.

 This is Elder Klein.


We took some pictures of some awesome trees.  Some of them are thought to be hundreds of years old.  They are so huge that in some of the pictures we look like ants. 


This is a very interesting tree!
This tree has some vines hanging that we thought looked like Hawaiian Leis.
This tree has spikes-maybe to keep the rats from climbing?

One of the trees died and they were going to cut it down.  A wood carver in the area asked if he could carve figures into the wood instead of cutting it down.  He has been working on these beautiful carvings for several years.  He plans to be finished by the end of this year.

As we were walking around the gardens we saw several local women walking on a path.  One woman was pregnant and carrying a two year old on her back.  She told us that she was carrying a “double load”!  She was very happy to let us take her picture.  I wished we could give people a copy of the picture.  We did show her the picture on our camera.  They love that.
After we left the Aburi gardens the Kleins took us to a very beautiful country club.  Yes, there are some very nice places here in Ghana.  If you look hard enough, I guess you can find nice places where ever you are in the world.  We stopped and had lunch and spent a very pleasant time looking over the pool and out over the valley. We loved the pool.  Even though it looks like you could swim over the edge there is a barrier just below the pool.

We had a wonderful day with the Kleins and the Miles.  The Miles are now back in Liberia doing a great a work.  We feel very fortunate to have spent a few hours with them.  We really didn’t think we would see each other again until we were back in Hooper.


We had the best Open House last Wednesday evening.  We had 7 investigators come to learn about the Church.  We were in a little bit of a panic because the power was out and the building was dark.  The emergency lights were on and Greg was able to take them on a tour of the building and show them our displays in the half light.  They also walked out and looked at the Temple and talked about the blessings of the temple.  Just when we needed it the power came on.  We quickly set up the movie, “The Restoration”, and were able to show the investigators the 20 minute video of the Joseph Smith story.
After the movie was over the power went out again.  We said good bye to everyone and loaded up our open house paraphernalia and headed back to the office.  We put the supplies away in the dark and came back to a dark and very hot apartment.  We had a little miracle that night.





  1. Wow! Cool pictures. I'm so happy about your open house. You guys are doing such a great job. And those are some crazy trees. Looks fun! Mom, your tooth doesn't look bad at all so keep on smiling. Love you guys.

  2. I love your blog. Lots of people are following your mission. My lesson yesterday was in missionary work. I felt so proud of you and it made me miss you. I love you. Keep up the good work!!