Accra Ghana Temple

Accra Ghana Temple
Accra Ghana Temple

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Elder Wheeler Arrives in Ghana

Elder Parker Wheeler arrived in Ghana on Friday May 13th.  His call is to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission.  We met him upon his arrival at the Accra, Ghana airport.  He is from our home ward, the Sterling Heights Ward, in Bountiful, Utah.  We discovered that he is the only Caucasian in his MTC group of 57 missionaries.  About half of the missionaries are from D.R.Congo and speak only French.  He will be in an English speaking District. 

For a 19 year old from Utah, arriving in West Africa can be a bit like traveling to a different planet.  It is very hot and humid this time of year and he is already noticing that he sweats all the time (we all do).  He has also noticed that the locals speak Engish with a different accent, so we all have to concentrate at first until we get used to the differences.  Gregg and I sit on the front row in church where we can read their lips.   

I am a Registered Nurse, so I help give injections at the Missionary Training Center just outside of Accra.  I went there with Gregg today to help give the first set of shots to the African missionaries.  Since Elder Wheeler has had all his shots, he became my band aid assistant.  He was just the help I needed.  I love being at the MTC.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Abuja, Nigeria

Easter found us in Abuja, Nigeria this year.  We were invited to attend the Mission President's Seminar for the Africa West Area.  Gregg had been to Abuja and told me it was unlike any other city in West Africa.  He was right!  Downtown Abuja has wide roads, tall new buildings, freeways, and big green directional signs.  I could hardly believe I was in Nigeria.  It is clean, beautiful, and organized.  It is literally a planned community.   

The seminar was held at the Hilton hotel; easily the nicest hotel in West Africa that I've seen. It has 3 restaurants, a giant clean swimming pool, excellent workout facility, and a spacious room with a great bed and soft pillows.  I also saw roses for the first time in Africa.  There were roses at the front desk and on every table at the restaurant; beautiful longstem roses (I'm sure they are imported).  They just made me happy.  

Abuja is the capital of Nigeria and is a relatively new city by African standards. Abuja is a planned city and was built mainly in the 1980s. It officially became Nigeria's capital in 1991, replacing Lagos. As a result of religious and ethnic tensions, Abuja was chosen because it is centrally located and in "neutral territory." As the capital city of a Christian/Muslim country, the government contructed a beautiful National Mosque and a beautiful National Christian Church (nondenominational) near each other. They are both stunning and massive.

The country is about 60/40 or 50/50 Christian/Muslim depending on who you ask.  Nigeria recently held elections and Goodluck Jonathan won the Presidency.  Is that a great name or what?  He is a Christian from the Niger Delta Region in south Nigeria.  Not all the Muslims were happy about it and there were some riots in the north, but all was peaceful in Abuja during our visit. 

When we landed in Abuja, the scenery reminded us of Southern Utah.  It was hot and dry and the city was surrounded by rolling hills, dry grasses, and red rocks; truly picturesque.  

We also saw some amazing little birds named masked weavers. They are a yellow bird with a black mask across their eyes. They weave a round ball-shaped nest which they suspend from a tree where they raise their family.

One adventure led us to the Owessa Muslim Market in search of shawls for some of the women at the seminar (who were cold from the air conditioning at the hotel).  It was probably the most organized market we've been to.  There was parking.  All the vendors were in a stall.  Find what you want and let the bartering begin! 

And the Easter Bunny visited me.  I got a Lindt chocolate Easter Bunny; I never dreamed I'd see one of those in West Africa!