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 lds.org.
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.