Saturday, August 27, 2011

Accra, Ghana

Day 1 - August 10th
After about 15 hours in flying, I arrived in Ghana at 11am.  I anxiously got off the plane and made my way through passport security where they took my picture and finger prints of all 10 of my fingers.  Precautionary measures in case I lose a finger, I guess.  Next I grabbed my backpack, walked through customs and made my way toward the exit signs.  As I turned around the corner I saw the familiar faces of my husband and mother-in-law.  I started running and with tears in my eyes ran right into Jonathan's arms.  Finally we were reunited!!

The ride home from the airport was quite adventurous.  We were waved down by law enforcement for inconveniently changing lanes.  During his time in Ghana Jonathan developed a bit of a Ghanaian accent.  His accent certainly came in handy as he talked the officer through the situation, and after a small donation of 10 cedi (the equivalent of about $6) we were on our way home.

After cleaning up and putting some things away at home, we met up with Lee at the West Africa Area Church Office Building where he was assisting with a missionary training meeting.  Because I was never a missionary, it was fun to sit in, learn more about missionary work and watch Lee and Jane in action.

Day 2 - August 11th
We woke up the next morning to attend a session at the Accra Temple.  It is such a beautiful building and is easily the most beautiful building in the entire city.

After leaving the Temple, Jonathan hailed a taxi, and we made our way to the market.  Taxis in Ghana are not equipped with meters, so instead you negotiate the price to your destination.  Thankfully Jonathan had a lot of experience with this during his prior two and a half months in Ghana.  I would have had no clue what to do or what was a fair price!

As soon as we walked in to the market, we were greeted by a couple of men.  They quickly learned that Jane and I were new to Ghana and wanted to take us to their shop to perform a welcome song for us on their drums.  We were very impressed!

The market was just an amazing experience altogether.  As we walked through the streets of dirt lined with shops built from what to us would be shacks, my heart was overwhelmed.  We are blessed with so much. 

Jonathan was quite the celebrity at this market.  Everyone knew him and had nicknamed him Mr. Ghana. 

Day 3 - August 12th
The next day we took a five hour drive west to Kakum National Park where we did a canopy walk through the rainforest and visited the Cape Coast Slave Castle.  Once again, the driving is adventuresome in Ghana!

On the way we passed a couple hair salons.  Since I work in the industry I was fascinated to see what their salons look like!

We also saw a lot of signs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It's amazing how quickly the church is growing in this part of the world!  The Ghana - Accra mission alone baptizes over 200 people a month.  It's amazing!!

I am amazed by the women in Ghana.  They are tough.  If they don't have a baby strapped around their back with cloth, they are carrying something atop their head.  This was by far the most impressive object I saw carried: a sewing machine!

The people in Ghana absolutely love Obama.  We saw President Obama's face on billboards and even carved into bowls at the market.  

The canopy walk consisted of a hike across 7 different rope bridges that were elevated about 150 feet in the air.  It was a litte nerve-racking, but it helped that you could hardly see the ground through the lush rainforest.

 Our last stop of the day was the Slave Castle.  During our tour we learned of the history of the slave trade and saw their poor living conditions.

On the drive home we did some grocery shopping at a stand on the side of the road.  The mangoes and pineapple in Ghana are delicious!

It was an amazing three days in Ghana!  I loved being able to see firsthand and have a better context of the world that Jonathan had been living in and the amazing adventure that Lee and Jane are just beginning.  I left with a greater perspective on life, a greater appreciation for the many blessings that I have and a greater desire to share my blessings with those around me.


Kelsi said...

Jamie!! What an amazing experience. I LOVED reading this and seeing all of the pictures. I can't wait to see the rest of your trip. The pictures are gorgeous and you are so cute! I can't believe that lady was carrying a sewing machine on her head!!

Shell said...

Jamie, looks like an amazing time! I'm so happy you were reunited with Jon. What an adventure to see how other people live. So fun that you got to see your in laws too. I'm glad your back just in time for Irene;-)

The Wright Fam said...

WOW!!!! I am speechless!! What an amazing adventure!! This is such a once in a lifetime experience, and I am sooooo HAPPY that you guys are together again!! :)

Jill said...

I'm so happy you guys are back together, and had such a great adventure in Ghana. I loved looking through all of your pictures and reading about the experience. We really are so blessed. Those people are beautiful aren't they? I *love* the picture on Day 2 of the two young girls carrying things on their head. So happy.

Lizzie said...

What an amazing experience. These pictures are really amazing. I'm speechless!