Saturday, 31 January 2015

Welcome to the final chapter of our "Kids Visit to Ghana" (finally!)

These pictures were taken at Monkey Hill, right in Takoradi, after several attempts over the past two weeks to see and photograph the monkeys. It was raining and Sis. J. stayed home. After JD, Kate & Elder J. arrived, Kate felt ill and Elder J. brought her home. JD stalked these elusive creatures and ended up in the middle of a troupe of them, capturing them on film, and getting screamed at and scolded by them.                    
No, this is not a "spider monkey." It's just a very large and cool spider we found on Monkey Hill.
Another cool spider waiting.....waiting.....waiting.....
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JD had a great time photographing in Market Circle. The colors, the people, the culture were all subjects of his pictures. Kate also had a camera and was responsible for some really good shots.

JD and Kate posing on the street after some shopping
Shop keepers and vendors line the streets. If you are looking for something specific that they don't have, they are so willing to direct you, and will even send someone to show you where to find what you're looking for.

Beautiful bead display - all manufactured in Ghana. They are world famous for their beads

Beans, lentils, rice and popcorn are measured out and sold by the "tin can" full.

      Palm fruit nuts which they use to make oil....filled with trans-fat, but used by the locals, and exported around the world.

Young girl selling a local home-made drink.

                                                                         Love this display of hot peppers.

Kate in front of a coconut vendor. They sell them, chop off the top and drink the water inside.
                                    There are two stories of shops all the way around the outside of Market Circle.
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There is supposed to be just one lane of traffic around the circle, but that never seems to stop people from creating as many lanes as possible.

Another day brought us downtown to eat.                                 

Kate, JD and Sis. J. eating "Fufu" and light soup at a "chop bar" the missionaries like to refer to as McDonald's because the front is painted red & yellow. Notice the soap and water to wash in the green basin. The fufu & other food is typically eaten with the fingers out of a communally shared bowl. They kindly provided us with our very own spoons.
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As we left, the rain continued. JD & Kate had a little different experience since it rained quite a bit while they were here.


We took one final trip to Kakum Rain Forest to show our last two kids this incredible place. It is another rainy day.......but hey, it's a rain forest.

Kate getting ready for the hike.
JD, ready as always, for another adventure.
                                      We encountered some critters on our trip. Either this is an extremely long
                                                   millipede or Kate has extremely small feet....maybe both.

The forest canopy is well over 100 feet below the walkways. The trees are much larger than they appear.


          This is not a place to be if you are afraid of heights.
This pic, taken next to an isolated (and amazingly huge) anchor tree looks straight down. The treetops below are about the height of our tallest trees in Utah.
                                              I suppose, for some, it may be a matter of survival, but we loved it.

On our way home from Kakum, we stopped off at Han Palace Resort.....complete with crocodiles and birds.

JD captured this little Weaver bird in the act of weaving himself a home. 
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                     We spent yet another rainy day walking around Sekondi (where we live) and Kweikuma.
Some of the poorer people living here use just about anything they can find to build a home.
                                                                        Train track very close to our house.

Very cool set of stairs leading up from a lower to a higher road. They are all over in the cities here.

Love the little guy on the right!

When Elder J. takes pictures of kids, they usually get pretty serious, but JD has a talent for getting more natural poses. To the right and below are some pictures of the locals on a rainy day (when people just may be a bit cranky).

Many of the younger people can't find jobs. They are very friendly and happy to pose.
This little girl has such a beautiful smile...and great eyes.

Most of the kids were happy to pose for JD and Kate. Here are a few young boys wanting to get their picture taken.
                                                 Just a few of the "cool" guys we see when we walk to Kweikuma.
                             This desperate little chick got separated from his mom and siblings, who escaped
                            the rain by jumping into the culvert beside him. Guess he somehow missed the cue.
Typical muddy rain....creating a waterfall of the stairs.
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    All too soon our week with JD and Kate was over ..... and we found ourselves on the long road to  Accra, once again, to say goodbye at the airport.
We stopped just outside of Cape Coast at this vendors booth, taking a pic of another Kate.
We passed this huge Muslim mosque under construction in Accra on the way to the airport.  About 15% of the population here is Muslim. They are quite a peaceful, laid back sect who do not like to have their pictures taken.
The long road back to an empty and lonely apartment ... after saying goodbye to the kids we won't see for another 9 months. We have so much gratitude in our hearts for their visits and the sacrifice they made to come. What great memories!!!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Third and final week (part A) of our kids visit to Ghana........

You may be tired of seeing pictures of our kids in Ghana, but, hey, they took thousands of pictures, and many of them were really great, so here is the first part of the last week of "Kids In Ghana". As with the two previous arrivals, after picking Kate (JD's wife) up at the airport, we went to Temple Square in Accra.

The Accra Temple is so beautiful. The African theme appears in all of the glass, and the wood inside is so beautiful. Elder J. wants to buy some like it and take it home to have a guitar made. So far, no luck. Rats!

There are beautiful palm trees that look like giant fans around the temple. Coincidentally, they are called Fan Palms.

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We had a few rainy days while JD and Kate were here, but we also had beautiful days with world-class clouds. We did a repeat at Vienna Beach, taking more great pics.

Reported sightings of mermaids after these pictures were taken are purely coincidental.
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Shama Island lies between a river and the ocean. The only way to get there is by boat, or swimming... which is discouraged, due to the distance. We began the adventure in a fishing village just outside of the town of Shama.

First, we took a canoe trip across the river in a hand-made, hollowed-out  hardwood tree with sides attached. Our boatman, in the pic above, shoved off and the journey began...

        The area along the river is really beautiful. We clicked many a picture of the trees and clouds,  
        trying not to get too much of the brown river in the pictures.

Once we reached the island, it was just a short walk to the other side to play in the Gulf of Guinea.

The ever-present and curious obruni gawkers. The kids sat on a fishing net right next to us, and proceeded to interact (not speaking any English). This is a very poor fishing village, as you can see by the clothing. Sadly, most of the children do not attend school.
JD and Kate were the most popular attraction on the beach. The kids flocked around, and laughed and watched them play in the surf. The children did not get in the water, as they are taught to fear it for their own safety.
After each day of fishing, the men coil up the ropes and mend their nets.

This is a typical home in the village. The thatched roofs are common, as is the block construction.

Typical wall, and  wall climbers, hoping for a better view . Sister J. loves the goats, especially the little ones the size of a cat.
Finally, we crossed the river back to the 1st fishing village, ending a wonderful adventure.

Walking through the village garbage dump on the way to our car we met
these kids, and the pigs below. We loved the goats against the pink wall.

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Next, we took JD and Kate to the Cape Coast Slave Castle. It's such a heavy, dark
place, but so much a part of Ghana's history, that no trip is complete without it.

This musician outside the castle, sang to us and played his stringed, calabash gourd instrument.
View of the coast and fishing village over the wall of the castle.
Two of our wonderful, good looking and intelligent children.
The sea air is not kind to these ancient cannon.
It's very difficult to keep clothes on some kids..... We had this problem
as parents with several of our own (names omitted).

Courtyard of the castle.
Notice the name on the boat...ZION PRAYERS 10 and under it, GOD IS KING.

Notice the name on the missionary: Sister Julander
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From the castle, we went to the Cape Coast Fort/Lighthouse, the highest point overlooking the coast.
The main part of the city is very colorful and picturesque.

The cannons at the fort were used to protect the Cape Coast Castle ..... which you can see in the background.
Another view of the Castle from the fort/lighthouse.

This is one of the older churches in Cape Coast.

A "Marilyn Monroe" moment

Kate loves pigs, so we took a picture whenever we saw one.
This young girl took our hands and walked us to the car.

Waiting at the car to greet us.

This is a picture from our kitchen window at night. The lights of Takoradi light up the sky
and silhouette St. John's school on the hill across the valley from us.

Stay tuned for the final chapter.........