Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Ends", We're Already "Odd"

 To show you how late we have been, these are pictures of the Branch Christmas party held on December 30th.  That was a whole year ago.  The question was asked "are our decorations nice"?
 The Relief Society cooking for the party behind the church.
 Sister Lyon sampling a pre-party snack of banku with Catherine.  The salmon in the soup was delicious.  The rest, well...
 Edna cooking yam balls for the party.  They were good, kind of like hash-browns with onion.

 Baby Jesse snug as a bug in a rug.

 I have been taking a lot of pictures of the children at the Branch, so they are turning the tables on me.  After I have taken the photo, I show it to them in the image viewer.  So when they were done with these photos, they did the same.

 Here are some dolls we made for an orphanage in Tsito with the Young Single Adults.  There will be a blog post later about this project.  Look for it soon.

 Last meeting of the Ho district just before transfers.  We lost 3 of the Elders on transfer day, but gained 3 more.

 We traveled to Koforidua to spend a day with Elder and Sister Baker.  We went on a 
Thursday, the day they have the bead market.  This is only a small sample of the amount of beads that were there.  Mandy would love it, and we did too.
 These are old trade beads that were strung into necklaces.  They were handmade and at one time were used as currency.
 People bring glass here to sell.  The glass is then melted and made into beads.

 We saw this odd looking bug when we were walking through the forest.  Had to go home and look it up on the internet to find out it was a Euchromia Moth.  Interesting.

 This is what they call a Christmas tree.  Very tall tree and around this time of year they get beautiful red foliage on them.
 In Ho, there is a tree literally growing out of a very large rock.
 More beautiful trees on a street in Ho.

 It's harmattan (pronounced hamatan, remember no "r") time.  That's when the trade winds shift and they start blowing dust off of the Sahara desert.  The sky is full of dust, it covers everything and the visibility is very poor.  The next 2 photos show what the sun, the moon and the landscape look like during this time.  It usually lasts until sometime in March.  Can't wait, everything is so Dusty (no pun intended).
 The sun.
 The moon.

 Slippers, as they are called.  Waiting for the wearers of them to return after having just stepped into the baptismal font.

The beautiful Accra Temple at night.  At least this is not an "Odd" way to "End" our blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Married At Last and Forever

We got to experience our first African wedding. Patrick and Claudia have been waiting to get married for quite some time and what has been holding them back is something called a "bride price".  When a man wants to marry a woman, he goes to her family and asks for her hand in marriage.  The family, including the extended family, all get together and make a list of what they want the man to provide for them.  This represents a repayment for doing such a good job of raising such a fine woman that he would want to marry her.  Some lists can be quite extensive and expensive to provide.  Fortunately their fathers were able to agree on a price that wouldn't be to prohibitive.  But it still took them a long time and a lot of answered prayers to finally be able to fill the list.  In Ghana the groom pays ALL wedding expenses.  And so the big day is about to begin.  It started on December 30th with the final negotiations and presentation of the bride price between the families and ended January 3rd when they were sealed for time and all eternity.  

Patrick, his father and mother doing a final check of the list.  Then off to Claudia's family village.

 Patrick's father returning with the news Claudia and her family are ready to meet with us.

 Bright (Claudia's fathers representative) checking the list.

 This show's both sides of the negotiating table. Claudia's family on the left, Patrick's on the right.

After about an hour of deliberating, negotiating and private meetings with various members of both families, they finally agree that all is in order.  Claudia's Auntie escorts her to sit in the vacant chair that has been placed next to Patrick.

A deep sigh of relief ... and all in attendance are happy.
Chief of the Clan that Claudia's family belongs to is giving his blessing on the marriage and advice to the couple.

Patrick's father Edinam explaining our strong belief in family, the sanctity of marriage and it's eternal nature in the LDS Church to the clan.  He also explained that because we do not drink alcohol we would not be participating in the after negotiation festivities.
Dustin, Bright, Edinam, Gloria, Claudia, Patrick, Eyram, and Courage.

Regal Claudia in her village surroundings.

As we are leaving Claudia's family waves goodbye to us.  Now that the bride price has been met, Patrick and Claudia can proceed with the wedding.

January 3rd, the first day the Temple was open after the bride price was final, they arrived at our home so we could take them to get married and sealed.

In Ghana the government does not recognize the temple marriage as being legal.  So a marriage must first be done civilly.  All forms are filled out by hand, are very large and official.

Our Branch President is on a trip to the US so we took them to Kpong to be married by Branch President Dugbatey.

A happy family now that this part of the process is complete.

They are now sealed for time and all eternity.

True joy!

Because of transportation difficulties we took the entire wedding party in our truck.  The groom and his father happily made the sacrifice to ride in the back so the women could sit in the air-conditioned cab. What a unique and wonderful experience for us to observe the sacrifice and love of this couple.  We were privileged and honored to be involved in a small way.