Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sunday in Accra & more travels

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This morning we went to church in Accra.  We were surprised that it was a typical African style building.  Perhaps we thought it would be more ‘American’ because it is in the same complex as the church offices, apartments and temple; but it has tile floors throughout, wood benches (they are molded, so are more comfortable), and they had the windows open and overhead fans running.  Some of the people here speak great English, but some we can hardly understand.  The Sunday school teacher was the most difficult so when he asked us a question we had to keep asking what he wanted—it was kind of embarrassing.  We thought that there would be more people in attendance.  It probably looked like less people than we expected because the chapel is so large.  The chapel was upstairs, with many rooms downstairs--a very spacious building because it is the Stake Center.  After church we spent the day doing our reports, or at least Jim began to write them up so he wouldn’t forget (we find it difficult to remember and easy to forget).

While there we met a parcel of missionary couples. There were also others connected with the church offices, such as wives of those who work there.  Some of the couples were African, but most were not.  We met the Findley’s who have been on many humanitarian missions in 3rd world countries but now are learning how to be wheelchair specialists.  The couple that is training them is very young, perhaps about 40 (Dan & Kathy Mills).  They are specialists because they both work in the medical field—he is a physical therapist but I can’t remember exactly what Kathy does.  Since they know Sharon Eubank (head of all humanitarian for the church), she has them taking short trips for wheelchair training, building in-country, and distribution all over the world. 

We met the Panter’s who are taking us to other areas in Ghana where they want more water projects.  Along with us will be Clarence again, and Joseph who is learning to be a site monitor like Clarence.  Panter’s just got back from Nigeria where they are also working (gee, we like to not go to Nigeria…).  But she told me that their drivers keep them close and watch them like hawks. 

Last night after being a little sick all day, we got checked into our hotel in Accra and asked for an ironing board (why not do it ourselves and save some money, just like we always wash our clothes in our room).  As I ironed I began to feel extremely tired but wanted to finish what I was doing.  Because I was worried about my stomach, my diet that day after breakfast consisted of purchased Oaties cookies and very little water.  I began to feel very sick again and thought I was about to throw up, so I had to lay down for awhile and couldn’t go down for dinner.  After I began to feel a bit better we ordered food in our room and had them bring me toast and a Coke.  I found out later, since lots of people here are doctors and know these things, that I had become dehydrated and that is why I got so sick again and that Coke was the perfect cure.  Anyone traveling in these hot and humid 3rd world countries knows the value of this particular soft drink.  It is so interesting to me that when I am home I do not like the taste of it, but when I am traveling in other countries it actually tastes good to me.  I guess if we always listened to what our bodies were saying to us, we’d be better off…

Monday: E/S Panter picked us up at about 10 AM with Joseph the trainee and then we picked up Clarence.  It was to be a shorter trip, but we somehow managed to make it a long one.  After a couple of hours we stopped at a friend of Clarence’s to use their bathroom.  It was a beautiful home surrounded by a high fence and heavy locks on the gates. 

We continued on to see a wonderful dam that had been built in 1965.  The beginning of the idea began years before but in the end engineers from the U.S. and the Kaiser Aluminum company, and many other concerns developed the Volta River and built one of the largest dams (Akosombo) in the entire world.  Thousands of people were displaced that they had to relocate.  I asked how many died building the dam—27.  I knew some must have because I remember hearing that years ago when we went to the Hoover Dam that people had died during construction.  Ghana has two other dams, one completed in the 70’s and one just recently.  Whenever we are in Sierra Leone and see all that wasted water coming out of the sky it makes me sick.  Here in Ghana they use hydro, wind and solar to create electricity, which is why so much of Ghana is lit up at night.

Afterwards we stopped to eat lunch at this most incredible hotel right on the same river.  It was quite beautiful.  We kidded (or maybe not) that we ought to come back to this place to stay a few nights after working.  Panter’s thought it was a good idea too.  I was surprised that there were mostly Africans staying at this hotel, not Europeans, although there were some.  There must be more and more Ghanaians that are becoming well off, because this was an expensive place.

 At the massive Akosombo Dan on the Volta River                
An incredible hotel on the Volta River shown in the background.

At the massive Akosombo Dam on the Volta River

Eventually we got to our hotel, which hangs a bit above the city of Ho.  We are still below the mountain range nearby, but we have a lighted view of the city below at night and from here it looks like California because of all the lights we see.  Of course, if you get down to the city it doesn’t look quite like CA.  We can see where they have tried to keep the hotel updated so there is new tile in the bathroom with all new fixtures, even though the room slants a bit so you almost cannot put anything on the sink or it slides off.  The shower, a hand-held faucet, has very weak water pressure but it has hot water.  The shower is also just across from the sink, but at least the toilet is next to it on its own.  The water pressure was so bad we could see why we had buckets—to fill them up and then really rinse off.  Our stand alone cupboard rocks because the floor is so uneven and nothing we did could fix that.  There isn’t much room to put anything, but it will do.  And it has an air conditioner, but when we ever leave all power turns off and they only give us one key.  Jim is mostly annoyed that they don’t have Internet so we had to get a modem and pay for time on it to use that.  He gets upset if he can’t hear the Dodger game, which he’s been keeping up with on his phone—not for the next three days…  They have a pool—I wonder if we’ll ever use it.  We will be here 3 nights.  The bed is hard, so I use two pillows, one to wedge up against; nevertheless, I wake up in pain, have to take Tylenol to get back to sleep.  Also we asked for 3 towels but they wouldn’t give us more than just two, and none to wipe our hands with.  We asked for two glasses and we finally talked them into giving us them--one for each of us.   

Grounds of our Sky Plus Hotel for the next 3 nights.
By the time we ordered dinner and ate it, it became quite late.  It seems no matter what, we can’t get a good night’s rest after working on things when we return.  Oh, well, only a few days more of tortuous rumblings on dirt roads in the heat.

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