Monday, July 13, 2015

A Little History

Kwame Nkrumah

        I have not posted too much about the historical background of the country of Ghana. Saturday, with Elder and Sister Parke, we went to the resting place of Ghana's first President, Kwame Nkrumah. The following is a brief history of the man that laid the framework for the country known as Ghana.

        Ghana was formerly known as the Gold Coast because of its gold reserves. It took its present name from the once famous West African Empire called Ghana that flourished between the 4th and the 10th centuries. The area was about 800km northwest of Accra. The present area of Ghana has been inhabited since pre-historic times. Historians believe that the original inhabitants were among those who traveled southwards from the dry fringes of the expanding Sahara Desert.

        Late in the 15th century Europeans arrived on the coast. They were amazed at the vast amount of gold that was available in the country displayed by the chiefs and the locals. They named the area the "Gold Coast". By 1872 only the British remained. The Gold Coast became a model of prosperity and education among the British colonies. 

        The price of cocoa fell in the first half of the 20th century which led to a trade boycott of farmers which shook the colonial government. An American and U.K. educated man by the name of Kwame Nkrumah became the first Prime Minister of the Gold Coast in 1951 and led it to its independence in March of 1957 becoming Ghana's first Prime Minister and when Ghana became a Republic in 1960 he became its first President. In 1964 his party declared Ghana a one-party state which lasted until he was overthrown in a coup d'etat in 1964. He was a socialist and his philosophy was definitely in line with that of the Eastern block. After is ouster from power he was exiled to Guinea. In failing health he flew to Romania where he died in 1972 at the age of 62.

        He was buried in the village of his birth, Nkroful, Ghana. His tomb remains there but his remains have been removed to this park in Accra and this large national memorial tomb.

The above statue was vandalized at the time Nkrumah was ousted from power.
Entrance to the Museum

Elder and Sister Parke, Temple Missionaries, with some of Nkrumah memorbilia.

School children on a field trip in front of Nkrumah timeline.

Sadness at not being able to finish the work he had started.
Barry in front of the Moselieum
Inside the tomb.

Pond statuary

His symbol, the outstretched hand, "Forward".

Truly, the best kept area we have been to in Ghana.

Fun Field Day

Luckily, it's not working.

Nice day for a wedding.

Second of three brides that we saw come into the park.

Parliament Building across the street.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Joyous Day

Time to Celebrate

          Just a few short years ago Kristen came into our family. I remember that a friend said that she had never seen anyone think "so pink". I did want a girl so badly after two boys. Kristen has been a wonderful daughter. Now she is a wonderful mother. She is wife to Paul and mother to Alexis, Collin, Logan and Slade.

         Kristen was always such a happy kid. She would lay in her crib after being put in bed at night and just "talk" and make noises of happiness. I loved to just stand by her door and enjoy her sounds. I remember that when we tried to teach her to water ski when she was about seven she was smiling so much that she kept getting her mouth full of lake water. I remember Grandma Wade offering her money if she would stop laughing and get on with the skiing. She did of course finally learn to ski and now I am jealous of how she can do a 180 on the wake board and I can't figure it out.

        Kristen has wonderful hands. She just couldn't handle it if they were dirty. She loved to play in the dirt until she saw that her hands were dirty no matter what the rest of her looked like. Her hands have always done wonderful things. As a newborn she could grab anything that was put anywhere close to her. She played the piano and the violin well. In the last few years she has been using her hands to make jewelry, rhinestone hair clips and embellished headbands. Her hands have led her to open her own business called LexiKate Designs.

        Kristen, Dad and I are extremely proud of you and we love you very much. May you have a wonderful day and know that we will be thinking of you from so many miles away as if we were right next door. Take joy in all that you can do. We are blessed because you have been in our lives and are grateful that that is forever.

Love, Mom and Dad

Kristen's motto is Life Is Better with Sparkle. She adds that to all of our lives.



Sunday, July 5, 2015

4th of July

A World Away

         Yes, we are in Africa but Barry often calls this "Africa Light". At nine months here in Accra, Ghana, we have found many of the comforts that we enjoy at home or at the least some reasonable fact similes. Sometime I will post about our general shopping but today was another of our diversified cultural experiences. We started our celebrations for the 4th while shopping with a German flavor. 

        On the first Saturday of each month there is a farmers' and arts and crafts market at the Goethe Institute. There you can buy real New York style bagels, eggs that have yellow yokes and homemade pastas. There are wonderful batik fabrics, colorful baskets from the Bolantaga area that I want most every one that I see and great pumpkin seed bread made by a Swiss lady. You can look for antique African beads, and various kinds of handmade jewelry or buy expensive silver jewelry pieces from two men in their traditional Arab clothing. They look like they just stepped out of the Arabian Nights even to the point that they keep their faces covered. We made our purchases today of bagels, three yards of batik and two bottles of sobolo. Sobolo is a drink made from dried Hibiscus flowers, water and ginger. We have grown to really like this and found two new flavors. One with the addition of pineapple and one with lemon.

        We got our invitations to the American Embassy for the Embassy's 4th of July picnic celebration. We paid or 50 cedis, about $12.50, figuring we won't be at too many Embassy parties so that it was worth it.

             With passports in hand and cameras and phones left in the Sander's car we enjoyed a few hours on the lawn inside the Embassy. We live within walking distance to the Embassy so it was easy for us  to just walk over. We had a great hamburger from a restaurant here in Accra run by a Ghanaian and a Frenchman. They burned the homemade waffle cones so that was disappointing, no Italian Gelato.  There was a dunking tank and games for the young and not so young and the music was middle of the road American. There was a great mix of people, young and old, and nice weather. I'd say it was a fair slice of Americana. It is really not difficult to blend cultures when people want to.

        After the Embassy we were invited to swim at the pool at the Area Presidency's Condos with the Wildes. They are called as the secretaries to President Curtis and have served here for fourteen months. Also in the pool were President and Sister Robinson, the MTC president and his wife and their assistants the Malmroses. We had a great cool off and brownies to finish off the afternoon.

        To finish off the day we were invited to speak and bear our testimonies at a new member and investigator fireside at the Achimoto Ward. No, I don't know why there are many Japanese type words in Ghana. This was a great opportunity. We watched a movie about the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel. This movie covers actual events that took place between the years 1805 and 1845 as Joseph is born and his desires grow around the age of fourteen to know which church he should join. Reading in the Bible he reads in James chapter one, verse five, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God...." He retires to the woods to pray and has a vision in which he sees God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The movie depicts these events and the trials that Joseph and his family and church members endured as the Church was organized and through the years until the Prophet's martyrdom in 1845. It is a powerful witness of the truth and is moving as it has the power through pictures to boost ones testimony. Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration can be found on Hulu or at 

        After the movie Barry and I were asked to bear our testimonies. It is such a wonderful feeling to have a knowledge that these things are true and that we are here in Ghana to serve the people that have become the latest pioneers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The work is moving rapidly here in West Africa and we get to be a small part of that.

         What a varied day. By no means a typical July 4th but definitely a memorable one. What we have come to learn here even more is that the United States of America was founded and established for a purpose. That purpose was to establish a free land where people would be free and see the great benefits to and have the resources to help people all over the world that are not free or able to help themselves. The next great purpose for the founding of our United States was to have a free land where a religion could come forth, tested though it would be by the refiners fire, to bless all the world. We can see it all happening.