West Africa Ghana MissionI have received another West Africa Ghana Mission update after the jump including email and photos.  For all previous updates on West Africa Ghana Mission, please click here:

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a delightful visit with Grant, Paula, and Travis, our son-in-law, who braved all of the shots travel to Africa requires, to be with us for four days. It was a whirlwind visit, and will be cherished forever. Having experienced Ghana first hand, they can now comprehend what is impossible to describe in letters and emails, and have an idea of what their parents have been doing for the past 15 months.

The branch had been anticipating this visit for months, and received them with much excitement and enthusiasm. The 1st counselor, Augustine Amankaw, insisted that they eat fufu at his home, saying it wouldn’t be correct unless they did. They did, and liked it.

Later he told our children that their parents couldn’t come home because they were needed too much here. Grant, in a kidding manner, said they had had us for 18 months, and now it was their turn to have us back home for 18 months, and after that they could have us back for 18 months. Without hesitation Amankaw replied “I accept!!!” as if a deal had been struck, and he had outsmarted Grant. You can’t help but love these people.

There’s a trust and concern for each other in the village that is unique. When we first arrived, the frequent sight of men walking hand in hand on the street seemed unusual, until we realized how dangerous the streets were.

Since there are no real sidewalks in the village, and no one has cars, people walk in the street—lots of them—and it’s highly dangerous. Earlier in my mission I likened the main street of Nkawkaw, to the main street of Disneyland on a crowded day, with the addition of huge trucks, dozens and dozens of miniature taxies and over-loaded tro tros, jockeying to get through the crowd, to get passed each other, and around huge trucks broken down and left standing in the middle of the road.

I see near misses all the time, and sometimes see people brushed aside by slow moving vehicles, that after contact, just keep on going. On a number of occasions I’ve had to move quickly out of the way of a rapidly backing taxi, or a tro tro coming at me that has no intention of stopping. Worse than that we hear about pedestrian fatalities all the time.

Walking two abreast on the street increases the danger, but people do it all the time. A hand here and a hand there, is often extended to help one another survive the excursion, thus hand holding is protective in and part of the custom. Believe me it is almost a full time job to steer mom out of harm’s way while we are walking the crowded streets of Nkawkaw.

As previously reported most of our mission has been beset with road construction and mind boggling congestion. When we moved to Nkawkaw, it eliminated our daily drive through major road projects, which was a big, but short lived relief. Last Saturday we came home from Accra, only to find that the paved road to our house was completely torn up to make way for more road construction and is now a slippery stretch of dirt, mud, and small lakes when it rains, which it now does daily. Our driveway was completely blocked by a large mound of dirt and asphalt, blocking access to our property. Road construction–we just can’t get away from it!

Speaking of driving challenges, while driving to Abomosu on Saturday, we saw ample evidence of the heavy rainfall we have experienced lately. Large areas along the side of the road were flooded. At one point we saw the underbelly of a large truck, the bulk of which was completely submerged in the murky water. We wondered if the driver had escaped as the cab was not visible above the water.

On our return trip we came upon a 500 foot stretch of the road that was completely submerged under moving water from a river that had overflowed its banks. There were about 100 people milling about, I guess curious to see if any cars that attempted passage would be washed away.

Some men approached us and said they would lead our truck through the water by the safest route. With considerable hesitancy, I drove into the water following a man who walked directly in front of the truck. I’ve sent a picture of this. It was a bit tense, but we soon made it through and were on our way again after paying the man a small fee for his services.

We continue to divide our time between missionary work, and environmental problems; in the village, it seems you can’t have one without the other. Power is off every other day now, and even when it’s on, half the house is unpowered due to some mystery in the lines (has been corrected now). Remedies are difficult to come by so we’ve learned to live with that which we can’t control.

Our water situation has improved. We now use rain water from the roof exclusively, thus eliminating the expense and the inconvenience of having it trucked in. It smells like the roof but you get used to it. No, we don’t drink it, we only drink bottled water.

My main food source in the village continues to be canned tuna, which I like well enough, but I think I’ve eaten enough of it to nudge this fish a bit closer to the endangered species list. Daily popcorn provides additional nutrition. I prefer canned tuna over the fish they sell at the market, which sits unsold in the sun for days, and is covered with flies. It’s not as bad as I’ve made it sound; we do eat other things, and Accra has some pretty good restaurants that we visit when we’re there.

We are currently working with four young Ghanians to prepare them for their missions, with a fifth in the wings. I find it incredible that our small village branch can produce five missionaries at the same time.

That Ghanians are religious is reflected by the mini-sermons painted on the rear window of every other taxi, or front of every other truck. Some are quite profound, such as, “Sorry is Peace,” and “With God the impossible is nothing.” Often times the lack of a simple “Sorry,” is what starts a war, both between nations and in relationships.

With only 94 days left, it seems like our mission is ratcheting down. Not that we’re any less busy, but as the seconds tick off, we’re starting to see the end approaching. I can honestly say we are not “Trunkys,” (missionary term for those who can only think of packing and going home) but we are beginning to have pleasant thoughts about returning home, rejoining family and friends, eating American food, drinking out of the tap, and adjusting to non-missionary life.

That’s it for now. Thanks for your continued prayers and support. You can never know how much they help us, and how they are appreciated.

Elder Moncur

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Little boy fanning the coals inside an iron to make it hot.

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Mom and Paula in the village

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Mission Pres. & Sister Gay, Bibi, Paul, Paula, Travis, Grant at the mission home in Accra.

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Paula with our primary. She brought lots of stuff for them from the U.S.

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Standing in front of our new branch building. Mom, me, district president , Travis, Paula, Grant–all wearing our Kente ties for the occasion.

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Our kids in our front yard.

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Paula and Travis on the suspension bridge over the rain forest canopy. It’s a long ways down.

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Visit to the slave castle.

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Grant & Paula standing in front of the slave castle in the background.

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Walking through the village at night, this little girl latched onto Paula.