Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saturday, August 21, Accra, Ghana

Saturday, August 20, 2011, Accra, Ghana

Dear Family and Friends,

We arrived late last night loaded with Happy Factory cars, white shirts & ties, receiving blankets, dolls, soccer uniforms, and a whole lot of pillowcase dresses. This trip we’re going to check out repairs to an older water project, evaluate the just-completed 50 wells in Makeni, and look for another area to put in wells.

Our travels were uneventful except our second flight was delayed a couple of hours and this morning someone called our room at 7 AM—wrong number. At the airport we didn’t have anyone from the Novotel to pick us up, but a man called the hotel for us and soon they arrived; it saved us haggling over cab fare.

Regardless of my efforts to get lots of sleep while flying, I watched four (that’s right, 4) movies while Jim mostly slept. I just wasn’t tired. We arrived in the uncomfortable, cold Heathrow Airport, and then my lack of sleep hit me like a brick falling on my head. It is hard to find a place to sleep there, and even if you do, it is too cold to stay dozing for long. We finally did find a spot where we didn’t feel like we were in a refrigerator and a couch that was sort of soft, and I managed to snooze for a short time. We spent about six hours at our least favorite airport. By the time we got on the second flight I couldn’t keep my eyes open and was passing out before we even taxied down the runway. Jim slept again. He is ‘magic sleeping man’, a quality to be envied.

Accra is cloudy and windy this morning so from my window it looks cold (not possible); but we’ve never been in Ghana when it wasn’t deathly hot, so this pleasant weather is a very nice surprise. It is warm but the breeze is balmy and refreshing.

Jim decided to take a nap after breakfast so I decided I would too. Wouldn’t you know it--I slept long, hard, and dreamed. Jim awoke and went to the pool—I was a dead woman. He came back and tried to wake me again. He tells me I said something slightly rude about waking me up that I don’t even remember. It took me an hour to revive enough to go to the pool. It was 2 PM. We ate lunch and swam and then I worked out in the nice, little hotel gym. I hate the vacation part of our trip to end.

Jim talking to President Roggia in the new motorboat ride across the huge bay. They now have four similar services. This one is air conditioned, enclosed, and they serve drinks.

Sunday evening: We are now in Freetown. President and Sister Roggia (Mission President) met us as soon as we picked up our luggage. They had just dropped off Elder Sitati of the 70 who was there for a whole lot of changes in the Districts in Liberia and Sierra Leone. We know him and his family from our days in Kenya. We missed him and hope he is in Accra when we return to Ghana on our way home. We rode over the huge bay on a new motorboat line that is totally enclosed (removing the possibility of getting doused by a wave, which happened to Jim once) and it is air conditioned and they serve a drink! I thought I was in an airplane again. The sea was rough so I wondered if we’d get sea sick; one could easily get queasy since the windows are plastic and scratched so you can’t really see out, but we were good sailors.

After the boat ride we were met by the Assistants to the President (AP’s), one of which is Elder Priddis, who is Gwen Jones’s brother. We brought him some Skittles, which are not available in Sierra Leone, and a couple of other goodies given to us by Gordon and Shirley Jones the day we left town.

We went to the mission office and dropped off the white shirts and ties to the AP’s. They needed shirts because they have 100 new African missionaries going out that won’t have enough. We also gave smaller white shirts to the Mission President. President Roggia said he wanted to give out the little ones to the boys and tell them that they should begin now to prepare for a mission. Things are going very well in Sierra Leone and Liberia; the church is really growing here.

Left: Skittles; Right: white shirts and ties for new African Elders. Elder Priddis with companion, now AP’s (Assistants to President).

We had made reservations at the Country Lodge before we came but the big surprise was that we were given their ‘junior suite’ for the same price. It is huge. Sometimes I feel like God gives us unexpected carrots and we’re rabbits. It has a huge room with the bed, a large living room with a big sofa and two large, soft matching chairs, and three tables or desks. Next to it is another bedroom with a single bed and tons of closets and shelves and another dresser. The bathroom is oversized and pretty too. There is a private and very large patio out the sliding doors. Wow, is all we can say. Luckily the Mission President suggested a place we could look to put in more wells, which just happen to be in this area. We’re so happy that we’re doing a jig, singing songs, giggling--you get the idea…


Mom & Dad, Elder & Sister Greding, Jim and Karen

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