Thursday, May 20, 2010
18 MAY 2010 - ACCRA, GHANA - 3 WEEKS DOWN, 3 TO GO, THAT MEANS IT’S HALF OVER
The ship was supposed to dock at 7 AM, but there was a cargo container ship in the berth, so we didn’t get in until after 7:30. The dock was a long way from the entrance to the port, and they didn’t allow single tour guides down to the ship, so we had to wait half an hour for the shuttle to take us out. In the mean time we were entertained by dancers and drummers.
This one is for Linda and Hank!
We didn’t see our guide Chuku, but fortunately Princess had a man at the drop off to help out. He called for us, and we found Chuku on the other side of a gas station. He had been waiting for us since 5 AM!
The traffic was very heavy in the morning. Our first stop was a coffin making shop. A man got the idea in his head 40 years ago to custom make coffins for people’s likes-we saw fish, birds, a piano, a wrench, an airplane, a movie projector-it was crazy.
There was a Mormon church about 100 yards from the shop, so Chuku walked us over to it. Six missionaries were studying together. One elder and one sister were from Nigeria, one elder and one sister were from Ghana, and two were from the USA-Star Valley, WY and North Carolina.
The elder from Wyoming had only been out for three months and looked shell shocked. The humidity can be overwhelming for someone who comes from an arid place
Next Chuku drove us downtown to the market. It is a huge market, and we soon found out that people get down right angry if they think there is any chance you might take their picture. Jim had his camera around his neck, not aiming it at anybody, and people yelled at him as we walked along.
Their attitude changes if you buy something-I bought some material from one lady and she was more than happy to let Jim take her picture. One thing we saw that we’ve never seen before was dried bats and rats.
The next stop was the temple in Accra. Chuku was impressed with the atmosphere of the grounds. One of the African area headquarters building is on the temple grounds.
I went inside to use the bathroom, and when I left I asked the lady at the security desk if she knew the Sabeys (Mel and Sandy Sabey are from Denver, and two of their sons played lacrosse with Zach at BYU. I met them because of my involvement in the post game meals, and knew that Mel was the mission president of one of the Ghana missions). She told me they had just left. When I walked outside I saw a van stopped in front of the building and was sure the Sabeys were sitting inside. I walked over and asked if they remembered me-they both looked at me without saying anything-I then said BYU lacrosse, and then they remembered. We chatted for a few minutes, introduced Chuku to them, then went on our way.
After leaving the market Chuku took us to a township type neighborhood where the Fast Track Ghana office was. It was in a small hut, painted on the outside with the Fast Track Ghana logo. Here we met Issac, the vice president.
After paying for our tour, Isaac walked us to his home, where his mother, Agnes, lives.
We met several ladies and children.
Two of the ladies were making Fufu, which is a mixture of plantains and casava. They pound it in a large bowl until it becomes of a consistency of dough. While one pounds the other folds it over. I don’t know how there are no broken fingers. They let me try the pounding, but the woman who was folding kept her fingers out.
When I arranged the tour I was told we would receive a traditional blessing. Agnes would be the one to give us the blessing. Isaac took his shirt off and wrapped some African material around his waist, then looked at Jim and told him he had to take his shirt off. I was snickering to myself until they looked at me and told me the same thing. Then my eyes started bugging out of my head. One of the ladies took me inside where I was unseen to the guys, and held up some material for me to wrap around while I took my top off. Jim, Isaac, and Chuku came in, and Jim and I sat down in some chairs in front of a doorway covered with a couple of flags. There was incense burning, and Agnes went into the room and started chanting and pounding. Then she came out and offered everybody a sip of Jim in a cup-Jim and I put the cup to our lips then threw the gin onto the ground. Agnes called out to Isaac in their native language-he asked us where we were going next, and I told him Gambia. Then he asked if we had a guide arranged like we did in Ghana. I told him yes. Then when the chanting was over Agnes came out and told us we needed to be very careful in Gambia because danger lurked with our driver.
After the blessing we got dressed, then Isaac walked to a home next to the office where we were fed some of the fufu. It was served with a beef and fish stew-we were told to take a chunk of the fufu with our fingers, dip it into the stew, then swallow it without chewing. It was good.
When we were done eating Chuku took us back to the ship. It was a very nice day.