My husband and I are 'retired' but travel all over the third world developing clean water projects funded by our church. We get paid only in blessings. Life is a joy when it has meaning, and life is truly interesting for us! We have been to Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Peru, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nepal, Haiti, Mongolia, the Pacific Islands and Ghana. We come home to hugs from our children and many grandchildren.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
A tragic day in Ghana
Friday, September 19, 2014
Our day began as it usually does.
We met in the lobby at 8 except for Clarence who showed up a little late. We left at , us with Dever’s and Bullock’s & Clarence
in the other car. We headed for the
District Office. The plan was to see the
last two sites, then return to their offices so that we could interview the
engineer (or person who sites in the exact location of a borehole or hand dug
well), those who would be doing hygiene training, and some contractors.
We arrived at at the offices and soon we were all in our cars ready for the day, our
two cars and their two cars. In front of
the offices we had to make a left hand turn.
The white truck full of council people was first to leave so crossed the
road and waited at the side for the rest of us to follow. Clarence was at the wheel again and next in
line so he began to edge forward a bit so as to see if anyone was coming. Also on the left was a small van or local
transport bus, temporarily stopped to let passengers off and on, which sort of
blocked his vision around the curve.
Those in the white truck saw a motorcyclist roaring down the road at a
high rate of speed and so gave him a hand signal to slow down. At the same time, Clarence began to inch
forward out onto the road. Before E/S
Bullock could even get out the word for him to stop, the biker ran into the SUV.
He hit the left front fender just in
front of the wheel, flew over the hood, landing on the road. I saw him land on the road and his helmet
rolling down the street. Someone said he
did not have it on, but it was just attached to his bike. We all knew that he was dead. Sister Bullock came out of the truck quickly,
visibly upset, but at the time I didn’t even know it was their car that was
involved. Elder Bullock’s previous job
was as a policeman in Canada, so he stayed with the car and with
In Africa, people are very happy to get involved and
many times will kill someone that has an accident, especially if someone accidentally
runs over a child, even if it wasn’t his fault.
The only good thing was that there were so many witnesses, and even the
Honorable District Councilman was there, that the driver was probably somewhat
at fault. Even so, can you imagine how
we all felt? But, one man from the
council office told us that the man was ‘responding to treatment’—really?!! We couldn’t believe that but think that they,
who are so used to people dying (we see vehicles on the side of the road every
day that have obviously been in violent accidents) that they don’t seem to
react about things in the same way that we do.
They have a ‘it’s God’s will’ attitude.
The police came and took away the bike, and people carried the body off
of the road. Sadly, the people seemed
less concerned about the victim than the accident itself—no one immediately ran
over to this young man to see if there was anything that could be done for him. The police impounded the car to find out if
there was any default in the car, but someone had to remove the fender, pulling
it away from the wheel, so that it could be moved.
So, with the encouragement of the Council, our downhearted group ended
up going out to see the last two areas that want water projects, and then came
back to the office; Clarence & E/S Bullock went to the police station to
fill out reports. As we waited for them
at the offices we learned for sure that the man had died, by the same man that
told us he was being treated. Shortly
thereafter the father of the young man came by so Jim and Elder Dever went over
to him to give their condolences. He was
probably a man in his 40’s. Right after
that, the group returned from the police station and we started for the hotel,
with the driver from the district taking Clarence & Bullock’s back, so we
paid for their gas. We arranged to rent
a van for Saturday morning so that we could get back to Accra.
Dever’s went home and we had dinner at the hotel. I was concerned about Clarence because at
dinner he first learned for sure that the man had died. He said that he had a date later this month
to come back to Kumasi to fill in more reports, but that it would be okay. Nevertheless, he was not his usual happy
self, wolfing down food, but eating very slowly. What a sad day for all of us; what a sad day
for this young man’s parents.
Saturday: We left the hotel in the rented van that we
got from a local Bishop and he hired a man to drive us to Accra so that he could bring the van back to Kumasi afterwards.
We left just after but didn’t arrive till about . The road varied from double
divided highway to areas of body-jerking dirt ones. We also hit areas of stop and go traffic. We also had a typical breakdown—we heard a
clunking noise, so he stopped. We got
out of the van while he looked at wheel bearings and changed a brake pad. Somehow, the clanking stopped and we were
able to proceed. Most African cars are
leftovers from other countries that used them up and don’t want them anymore…
Fixing the van
on the way to Accra.
We had to create our own shade while we waited.
We dropped off E/S Bullock’s things at their apartment, picked up our
extra suitcase, were driven to the church office where Bullock’s picked up
their truck, and delivered us to the Novotel.
Also there we met the wheelchair couple and a couple that was to train
them. They have been on lots of missions
but this is a new area of work for them.
Well, I know I said that the Golden Tulip was a 5-star hotel, except
that the salad I ate last night gave me a bad stomach in the morning—I took our
famous Lomotil pills, making it tolerable for me to get back to Accra. We
were to meet the wheelchair couples for dinner, but couldn’t because I became
very ill again, had to take a nap, and had bland food delivered to the
room. I feel better. I am relieved!
Love, Mom & Dad, E/S Greding,
Jim & Karen
PS: Tip of the day: never eat the salad…
PSS: Neils & Marti Ludlow—Bullock’s are from Canada and said that they met you when you were there
organizing the clean up after flooding.
Everyone in Ghana is concerned
about what diamond and gold mining does to the land, how is scars the land, how
it pollutes the water. Everywhere we
went this week we saw many areas where groups of men were working. The workers receive little for their labors
but those who own those mining rights make all the money, and at what price to
Cocoa grows on the trunk and large branches of the trees--interesting!