Thursday, March 12, 2015

12-March-2015 Moved Again

This is and has always been part of our "MO", we were asked by President Holmes, the Mission President, to move to a small town named "Techiman" and help with training 4 missionaries being called as 2nd counselors in the 4 branches. I need to train them so they can train the Branch Presidencies how to properly run Branch Finances and hold Branch Councils. We moved here Tuesday and I start training tonight (Thursday), I'll have them sustained this Sunday in each of the Branches. That is going to be a little tricky as three of them start at the same time.
Here are some picture of our new diggs. Oh yes...and some more pics of the Pig in a Pit.

 Uncovering the beast.
 Notice all the banana leaves we used, instead of wet burlap.
Now I can say that I have used them.
 Stop drooling on the pig Elder Allen!
By the way all of that meat evaporated.
 Techiman Front Room.
Way too big for us.
 Bedroom. The house was set up for 4 bedrooms, each
with their own bathroom and a guest bathroom makes 5 bathrooms.
 Looking from the front door to the dinning room.
 The mission turned one bedroom into a kitchen.
 More kitchen.
 Bathroom off of the laundry room (bedroom) where the washer is planted.
 Looking out of the front door.
 Front security gate.
 Our Christmas tree.
 Front yard with the limo.
 Our very own Cocoa bush.
 Cocoa pods on the tree. They grow out of the trunk.
Notice all the little ones that are white.
 Every apartment has it's own poly tank to compensate for
sporadic local water supply

This is the best pic you'll see for a long time.
The gentleman with the white shirt and tie, member, is the grandson of the man in the chair.
The grandson is 76 years old. Yes I did say grandson. That puts the older gentleman at around 
116+.  The family claims that he is 135. 
It's hard to tell for sure because age means nothing to this culture.
By the way, the grandfather is being baptized next month.

The last word is from the mama. This morning Elder B and I went for our first walk in Techiman. We passed a woman carrying a stick and as we got closer noted she also had a  fruit bat in the other hand, its head a little bloody. Obviously she had been out on a morning "hunt". I asked if she was going to eat it and with a big smile she nodded and said "Yes!" 
                                 I guess she didn't get the memo that fruit bats can carry Ebola.                                                                           How much meat can be on a bat, anyway?                                           I absolutely love all of this! Never ending stories.

Monday, March 2, 2015

2-March-2015 A Quick Post

Sorry for not posting more often, I think we are in a grove and things all sort of seem the same...
For us at least. I keep forgetting that you are always seeing something new on the blog.
We have had some crazy experiences the past week. I can't remember if I've explained the power situation here or not. When we first arrived in August, we were told how to run the generator because we can occasionally lose power. In Sierra Leone we lived on the generator, there was no municipal power to speak of. Here in Kumasi we have municipal power from the "Electric Company of Ghana" (ECG). Well we have had power less and less every day. If we are lucky, like last night, we had power all night. It is nothing unusual to go for 18+ hours in the dark. So crank up the Gen to maintain the fridge/freezer.
The weekend before we went to "Mole Game Park" I went in to ECG on Saturday morning and pre-paid 500 Ghanaian cedis (dollars) to top up the power for the month of February, we use around 450 CeDis worth a month. On Saturday night the power went off and came back on, and all our credits were gone. I made a couple of phone calls and got some power credits to hold for a day or two. We were leaving town early Monday, so I asked Elder and Sister Dever if they could go over to ECG Monday morning and explain the problem...they did and two guys came and looked...."Yep there is a problem" they left and we still had no power.
So I called Brother Cooper, the apartment & property manager for the mission, and asked him to look into it. Normally I wouldn't care, but we had a freezer full of stuff that would rot after 4 days without power. A couple of hours later he sent us a text and said we have power.... this was February the 9th.
We have had power, when it's available, ever since. I kept thinking that we were getting close to running out of credits so I tried to check the balance on the meter and something was not right???
Well on the 26th I was working on the computer and the power went off around 1pm..
I looked outside and there were 5 ECG workers on the porch staring at our meter....and yelling at each other.
Someone had bypassed the meter and we were getting free power. They were not happy!
Thanks Brother Cooper....We assured him we did not do this, that we had been out of town.
The ECG employee demanded to talk to the person who did it, so I called Brother Cooper and let the two men  talk. Or shall I say "yell" at each other. Finally in frustration the ECG man yelled, "Do not make me put the white man in jail!" Oh my. It had gone from bad to worse!
I made some more phone calls and the 2nd counselor in the Mission Presidency came over. He works for ECG. He went with me over to the main office and we got the problem straightened out. ECG said they would give us a "Post Pay" meter and we will get a bill from now on....sound good right?
Well they hand me a bill for 3810.60 cedis and said we need to pay it before they will restore our power. I took the bill to the mission office and President Holmes said we are not going to pay until they give us an itemized bill.... they say its because the meters are not good and they record short on the power.
WHAT... I'm not sure how this one is going to end, but I'll keep you up to date. Oh by the way someone came and connected our meter and we do have power....go figure.

Well enjoy the pics:
 This is our meter, the little one on the left. It use to be a mirror image of the one on the right.
The one on the right is for the other half of the building, and it is a post pay.
When you go in and "Pre-Pay" they give you credits on a SIM Card and you insert it 
in a slot under the square glass area, and like magic... you have power.
 This is Comfort, a mid-wife in a small village just East of here.
  This is the steps to help the Big Bellies up onto the birthing bed.
 This is an Assistant Ward Clerk in the Mampong Branch...
Boy is he proud of his desk. He is 16.
                                          Leadership training It must be very basic!                                                          We taught the YW's President how to welcome the YW  as they enter the classroom.
                                                       Everyone loves to be welcomed
                                                                    She loves Primary
                                              So shy. I wish I could have captured her doing the
                                   actions  for WIGGLES. She was amazing!! They do have rhythm!!
                                  Can you see the spunk in this one?    Her mother told us that the previous week when we attended church elsewhere, she asked "Where is Elder Barney?  Where is Elder Barney?"
                                     Mampong YW's class. The leaders are on each end.                                                               I hope some day I will remember and can share with you all the stories about these girls.
 When the leaders don't show up, the YW just take over. This YW gave a great lesson, including,                                    scriptures, diagrams on the board, questions, etc. WOW!
 Every missionary needs to kill a pig and cook it in a pit.
 Lets see I cut here?
 Yes those are real Banana leaves.
 Get it done boys....were losing heat.
 My mouth is already watering.
 Sister missionaries have a thing about shoes.
 These are great for tracting in the hills.
 Elders are famous for stinky freezers. This was a brand new fridge, just the previous week.                     Boy did Sista Barney have a fit about this!!! But they have never had a fridge or freezer...ever. How would they know to bag the fish, until they are taught.

 This is a sausage vendor next to a Bar across the street from
Elder and Sister Dever's apartment.
 I splurge and spent way to much money for these dried apricots, only to find them way "over ripe"!!    The expiration date was fine, I think they just get too hot in transport or on the shelf. Never again.

 Retrieving a birds nest for Sista Barney
 This looks like a bench at high water....actually you stand on it
like a surfboard and paddle out to the fish nets.
 Local housing by Lake Bosamtwe.
 What do you think? Should I pass in the right lane????
Oh, by the way....this is very common.
 School marching band with white socks on their hands...
Nobody has gloves in this country.
Go figure!!!