Sunday, 23 March 2014


We are becoming more accustomed each day to living here in Ghana. Sister J. usually drives while Brother J. assumes the role of navigator. He's better at navigating and she is a great driver. For a country that loves to hassle drivers - setting speed traps and pulling people over at police stops for no apparent reason - there is an obvious lack of traffic rules and an even greater lack common sense and courtesy. Taxi's and tro tro's (vans that act like small, over-packed buses for public transportation) zoom around, cut in and out of traffic, and are very aggressive. Motorcycles, on the other hand, have absolutely no rules whatsoever. They weave in and out of traffic, run red lights, make right hand turns from the inside left lane and even go the wrong direction at times. Our mission maintenance coordinator pronounced Sister J. an "official Ghanaian driver" when he rode with her. She can be pretty aggressive herself.

We continue to discover places to buy the things we like to eat and use. We've found sellers where we purchase produce, beans, coconut oil (it took us two months to find this one), and several stores that sell "American" goods. We found Nutella, Doritos (made in Saudi Arabia), Newman's Own salad dressing and Costco brand canned chicken. Many items are not consistent, however, and may be available one day and "finished" (meaning they're out) the next, or may never be seen again. So we'd like to share some pictures of the market place where we do a lot of our shopping. It has become one of our favorite places to go and a "goldmine" for picture taking.  Ready? Here we go!

 People eat lots of peppers here. They call them pepe's because they drop the r's at the end of words. These are pretty hot, and for company
we take the seeds out before we use them. They are displayed like this and sold in plastic baggies by some measure we don't quite understand, but we're sure it's different for "obroni's" than for natives. For a sandwich sized bag, the cost is about 50 cents.

These green ones are milder, but we haven't tried them yet....just liked the way the picture turned out.


Here are some peppers graded, separated and ready to sell. The bag is full of something we don't understand. There are several things here we have no clue what it is, how to fix it, or what it tastes like. Adventure awaits!

Above is a display of fabric. There are many tailors - men and women - who sew custom-made African apparel with very bright and colorful Ghanian cloth.

There are stands and shops selling almost everything imaginable. "Market Circle", located in Takoradi has the greatest variety and the best market we've seen.

Since we are on the coast, we see lots and lots of sea food in the market, although we know some of you may take exception to the word "food" associated with some of these creatures. This is fish that has been smoked. They also sell it fresh, fried crispy, or salted & dried. We have eaten some of these things in stews. OK, Elder J. has eaten some of these things in stews.

The merchants stack and arrange their products very nicely. There are a lot of people selling fish, so they try to present them as attractively as pos-
sible. This goes for all the merchants in the market.

             These are sold in the market for food, if they can keep them from crawling away.

        The vendor of these crabs ties them up with rubber bands to keep them in place. This vendor                                             was very nice to let us take pictures of some of her "critters".

These little crabs are sold live. They were skittering around the pan trying to get out. I think they eat them shell and all.



These little shells contain a contorted little creature called a "kiss me and throw me away". They are put in stew or soup, and you pick them up, suck out the little animal inside, and throw away the shell. Thus, the name. An African missionary Sister prepared a stew for us with these in it. Sister J. ate one. Elder J ate three. The stew was really, really good.

We tried to download a video of the market, but we were unsuccessful. We need our son here to help. But it is an experience we rarely get tired of. Why don't you all come over and see for yourselves. We have plenty of room, and you would love the people here. They are so warm and friendly.

Here is a shop that sells beans (pink & black eyed peas), popcorn, flour, peanuts (groundnuts), and many other things. The jars with yellow lids are filled with groundnut paste (100% peanut butter with no salt or sugar added). The owner uses a tin can to measure a set amount of product into a bag for a price that might be higher for obroni's. (they think all whites are rich)

The market circle is lined with shops and with people selling on the sidewalk like these ladies. They put the produce in tin cans and piles for tomatoes and onions, and you buy the ones in the pile or can for a certain price. Every available space is taken by a vendor. If they put another seller on the street, they would be in the way of foot traffic. There are so many vendors there! The sidewalk is also full of vendors carrying produce on their heads who walk around selling their wares. We've also seen cars driving down the overly crowded sidewalks. Pretty crazy!

Both used and new clothing is sold. This is used clothing from Europe & the US that arrives in huge bales and is sold to  vendors sell on the streets.

How many different things for sale can you identify in this picture? Are there some that you don't recognize? Neither do we. 

This is a wheeled cart that this vendor has modified into a shop. She was rolling it down the street.

This picture was taken from our truck on the way to Market Circle. Don't ask us how we got there or how long it took. Driving here reminds us of the Bumper Cars at Lagoon, except you don't try to hit other cars, just avoid being hit. No matter how many lanes there are supposed to be, Ghanians will find a way to create one more.

Sister J. calls this guy "the Ghanaian version of "Sideshow Bob". No, he does not have two heads, although it may appear that way. These are mesh cloths that are used for scrubbing the body.

  The following are random pictures of some things happening here

 This is Sister & Elder J. eating "kiss me and throw me away" in a stew. Notice, there are no utensils. We pulled off pieces of the white stuff on the plate that looks like bread dough, but is made of casava. We dipped it into the stew and ate it with our fingers.


 These are the Sisters of Sofokrom. They are eating one of Sister J's creations, which they loved. Good missionaries!

These young men attend the Daboase Branch that is held in a school building. Most of the kids love to have their pictures taken. Then they want to see them on the camera. Notice the not so subtle sign on the wall.

                    This is a district of the Takoradi Zone. Six African Elders, a Tongan, and one American. 
                              They are quite a band of brothers. Each has a story that is amazing and humbling.

This Elder was going home in a week, but took time to open a few coconuts for Sister J. with a machete. She loves coconuts and has even been known to occasionally share with Elder J.

Sister J. loves the little goats that live everywhere. These were getting out of the
sun on the porch.

Here are Elders Hintze (from Centerville)  and Agyre (from Ghana) with a newly baptized member they have been teaching.

Here is the newest member of the Sekondi Ward with two of her friends from the ward - part of her support group.

The missionaries sometimes buy these washers so they don't have to wash in a tub by hand. We move them to their new areas when we are traveling in their direction. They are actually very light weight, because all they do is agitate. The operator has to wring out the clothes by hand and hang them to dry. They sell for around $175.00!

Even the homeless on the street will smile when they catch you taking their picture. 

Interesting Coke ad.

Here is Sister J. with some of her favorite missionaries. Of course, all of the missionaries are her favorite. We love serving with them and take such strength from their dedication. We wish we could tell all the stories and share the testimonies of these young missionaries. Maybe on a future blog we can give you a sampling.