Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 6,2010 A Bit more of Africa

Here are a couple of pictures of what we see in the streets as we travel to and from the stores, church, etc. The vendors, or hawkers as they are called, are in and amongst the lanes of cars...standing along the white stripes between lanes, crossing between slowing cars. - all selling anything and everything you can imagine. Sometimes we are totally amazed at some of the things we could purchase!
This is a typical ditch found along most roads and streets. Although this one has a curb, most are on the shoulder of the road and often we see a car whose right tires have fallen down into the ditch as the driver was forced to swerve to the right to avoid a collision with an oncoming, illegally passing car. When that happens, a crowd of guys will suddenly come to the aid and lift the car out of the ditch. We have managed to avoid that happening to us!
A statue of a fufu pouder. Fufu is a staple food here. It is made from a potato like plant and pounded into a pulpy substance by the big pounding stick. They eat it with their hands, dipping a handful into different sauces. We have not tried fufu - and probably won't!
Another statue at the same "round about" which we pass a couple of times a week on our way to one of the grocery stores - Koala Market. This of course is a typical African drummer. They have "talking drums" here. There are certain drum beats that stand for letters so I gather and you can send messages that way. I guess in the villages, if you want to summon everyone into the village center, it is an effective way to get the word out.
A casket maker. Interestingly, some of the caskets we have seen are made to represent the occupation of the deceased. We saw a big chicken (fully painted) for a chicken farmer. I'll try to get pictures of others before we leave. Funerals are at least as big as weddings here. The church is trying to get the members to leave that tradition behind. It is expected that everyone in the immediate family will purchase a particular fabric (there are colors for immediate family, another for close friends, etc) and have clothing made. There is usually a billboard put up as an announcement and fliers all over. There is a huge meal prepared for all attendees....so, it may cost several thousand dollars to do it all and so....the body stays in the morgue for anywhere from a couple of months to a year while the family gets enough money to do the funeral up right. Then, they hire performers, ministers and it is a big deal. Those who attend are expected to donate to the family to help with expenses. Wow!
Tro-tros....the mode of transport for most along with taxis....hundreds of each on the roads. The tro tro has a "mate" who rides in the middle seat on the right hand side and he makes different hand signals to let those along the side of the road awaiting a ride which direction the tro tro is going. Watch out for the sudden stops - and the pulling in and out and around you as you drive. They are always in a hurry and often create a lane where there is none, just to get past slowing traffic that is hindering their progress. Often they have mounds of goods atop them and the back doors are often tied as shut as they can get whilst (a term used here) the bundles and goods are bulging out of the back doors.
At many corners there are beggars. Some asking for food, others money. It is amazing how many deformities we see. Missing or abnormal limbs, blindness. Many who have no use of their legs and ride around down on a skateboard type aparatus, moving along with flip-flops on their hands to avoid damage to hands. There is no government program to help these people. We always carry small packets of nutritional biscuits to dispense along with coins.
This is my favorite banana stand....across the busy street from Koalas. They are so yummy. About 6 bananas for a Cedi ( about 70cents).
We see these kinds of wagons all over, carrying bundles of food, dry goods, old auto parts, you name it-they carry it. Normally there are two young men along side....we call it two men and a truck.
A recent trip two hours away at Cape Coast for a Mission Presidents seminar. Here we are at the Coconut Grove Hotel grounds where we all (32 of us) went to have dinner outside under a thatched gazebo next to the ocean.
Another photo taken in April at the front door of the Temple.
A normal street scene - shop after shop. The yellow umbrella is sponsored by MTN - a Ghanaian mobile phone company. There are three prominent ones and each has a distinctive color.. MTN is bright yellow, Vodaphone is bright red and Zain fucshia and teal. Interestingly, they do a very unique thing here. They offer to provide the paint for peoples' homes or businesses - in their color - and in exchange, their logo or name is also found in big letters on the home or business building. Driving through little villages we might see 5-10 buildings in a cluster which are MTN sponsored, then a few bright red ones, and Zain here and there. I guess that's one way to afford the upkeep.
Driving between towns and villages, we come upon many fruit stands. They sell bananas, pineapple, mango, melon, papaya, tomatoes, avocados, plantains, onions among other things. They also offer snails and grasscutters (BBQ'd of course) A grasscutter is a huge ratlike animal. Sometimes they hold the dead grasscutter by the tail and offer it as you drive by. Don't think so!!! Other times, they have gutted it and flayed it out onto a device that looks like a small hinged two sided tennis racket which they have laid over an outdoor fire and BBQ'd the animal. Dinner anyone?
Arlon's birthday celebration. We got together at the Temple President's apartment. It was President Breillatt's birthday the next day as well. I made peach/raspberry cobbler served with ice cream. Here are President and sister Andam, counselor in the temple presidency.
See the yellow MTN building in the rear? This is a typical streetside shopping experience.
On a trip 6 hours north in Kumasi, we went to a museum which was the former palace of the Ashante King. It was an interesting experience. They have a unique system of picking new kings. The Queen mother picks the new king when one dies. It may be her son, nephew, brother. Whoever she feels has what it takes to be a king. Sometime you may want to look up more information on the king/tribe system in Ghana. Once a king, your life is very restricted and bound by many traditions. You may never be in the sun, so anytime outdoors, the king is sheltered by a huge umbrella. When he is seated, his feet do not touch the floor-there is a special wooden platform his feet rest upon. Even though there is a democratic government here in Ghana, each tribe still has a supreme chief and several lesser chiefs in villages. They have a strong influence over the lives of their tribe and even on government matters. The picture below is with wax figures.
One day, following a big dinner at the Cardon home, all of the other area couples had gone home and the 4 men were meeting. So....we wives settled in for a few games of "Take two". I kept winning, so I'm sure they were glad when the husbands appeared and said it was time to go. (took a picture of us first)

2 comments:

Brae Brae said...

Hi Grandma and Grandpa! I love seeing pictures of the places and things that you guys get to see every day! I miss you and love you so much! Keep posting!
Love,
Brae

Don and Amy Bennion said...

What a different life. It's so fun to see the pictures and hear the stories at the same time, it really gives a good idea of what you are experiencing. Amazing!

Amy