Thursday, February 26, 2009

Good Humor Vendor

This guy walks along Opebi Road selling little goodies to pedestrians, motorists or anyone else who want something. In his right hand is a old-style bike horn that he honks to notify people he is there. It reminds me a little of the old "Ice cream truck" that used to come around selling popsicles when I was little.

Watch Out For Your Tail Feathers

These three doves are on the compound wall below our apartment. That is razor wire that the top dove is perched on. I watched them hop in and around that sharp stuff and wondered how they managed to not lose a wing or tail feather.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Custom-made African Clothes

Most of the African clothes are custom made. There are many fabric shops and also many small seamstress shops. Some of the seamstresses also sell fabric. The seamstress takes measurements, discusses styles, price, etc. You have to pay for most of it before having the garment sewn. Christy's dress is an African print, but a western style dress. Extra fabric is given for a head tie.

Eki's outfit is a more traditional style. The top and skirt are quite fitted, and the skirt flares out at the bottom. This is a pretty conservative style, and I think she looks very pretty in it.
Patience's top has narrow bias trim around the sections of the collar, the sleeves and the lower edge of the top. This fabric is very subdued compared to most of the bright colors worn.

Sister Neuder had a few things made by Francesca Ogege. She is in our Stake Relief Society Presidency. She designs clothing and has several ladies that work for her and help with the sewing. I haven't been to her shop yet, but she has invited us. Sister Lynch also had her sew some things for her. I had her make me a black skirt and a brown skirt. My black skirt that I brought from home to go with my black suit jacket got ruined in the wash somehow. The skirts turned out fairly OK - they are sort of the mermaid look that curves around the hip area and then flairs out near the knees. It's not the best style if your are hip conscious. Of course here in Nigeria, Hips and Rears were meant to be shown off!

Then I also decided to have a new dress made up. I told her I wanted something in red, navy blue or burgundy, and that I like small prints. You know, something that will make me look tall and thin and not call attention to myself. This is what she made for me . . . . . . . . .

Designer Original

One of a Kind

Not likely to be seen in Idaho Falls

or anywhere else in the U.S.A.

OK, so it's not exactly what I had in mind, but all my African friends love my new gown - that is what they call a dress. So I like it - sort of. Then she also made me another outfit - a skirt and top. It's a suiting fabric and not exactly cool and breathable, but wrinkle free. The dress wrinkles, but with the wild fabric who notices!
So this is my African fashion show for now. I have a skirt being made from some fabric I bought in Ghana. It's wild and I don't know what I was thinking when I bought it. Hopefully I'll have the courage to post a picture of it when I get it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bailing Water

This was pretty funny to watch. I guess they were trying to get the boat farther down the beach. The guy inside bailing water wasn't able to keep up with what was coming in each time a wave washed over them. This view is looking South and they were moving West. This is the Atlantic Ocean directly South of Ghana. We watched them for quite a while and saw the "pushers" attempt to align the front of the boat against the waves at times. Most of the time the waves just crashed sideways into the boat making the bailer's job all the harder.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Other Reasons to Love Ghana

Sister Woodward, Daniel Yirenya-Tawiah, Kurt, Linda & Tom Rueckert at the beach in Accra. Elder Woodward took the picture for me. We ate dinner at a restaurant called Tribes. It was very nice and I had lasagna, Kurt had a nice salad and Daniel had African food.
This had been a government building at one time. It was illegal to photograph it at one time.
Tropical Paradise
Elder Woodward took us to a market (tourist trap) that had wood carvings, Ghanian fabrics, bags, jewelry, etc. You have to bargain with these guys and they are very persistent. I was looking for some fabric to have a skirt made and chose a batik in aqua, navy and avocado green. The vendor wanted $65 for 6 yards, which doesn't sound outrageous - but is way too high. I told him I only wanted to spend $30 and held firm. The trick is to walk away. He acted somewhat disgusted to have to give it to me for such a low price, but I knew I could live without it. It worked! The next day I was able to go to a small fabric store (Esther's) that had better lighting, no high pressure or bargaining. Her fabrics were $3.5- to $5.00 per yard, and I didn't get stuck with the whole piece of 6 yards. Just to show that I know a good deal, I bought 3 more pieces of fabric!
Kurt is getting hustled to buy some natural scented cream. Looks like they were both having fun.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why We Went to Ghana

Kurt and I are helping get the Perpetual Education Fund going in Nigeria. We will be the Coordinators and will work with the students who are granted these student loans, as well as the Church employees and volunteers that help the students with the training and application process. Here we are at Sister Woodward's desk trying to learn something. She and her husband are the PEF coordinators for Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Togo.
These are 3 PEF students who came in to be interviewed by Tom Rueckert. Tom is a PEF boss in Salt Lake City who came to W. Africa to do some training in Ghana and help with the PEF kickoff in Nigeria.
Connie Woodward loves working with the PEF students. Both of these students are mothers that work, attend school and serve in the church. I asked Pearl, a returned missionary, (left) what her church calling is and she said that she is the Stake YW President. Talk about busy!
Pearl's younger daughter didn't want much to do with me, but she was curious about the camera.
She wanted to play with my cool toy after I showed her the picture I took of her in the display. What a darling little girl.

Different Birds in Ghana

I was outside one afternoon taking some pictures of the Temple when I could see some really big birds sitting on the roof of the office building. As I got closer, I thought they looked like vultures. I asked one of the missionaries about them and was told that they are turkey vultures.
I don't know anything about turkey vultures. I'm not sure if they got the name because they are dumb like turkeys or because they are about the same size as turkeys.
I heard the nice chirping before I saw the pretty colored birds. This one stands out so nicely against the light color of the Temple walls.
More pretty birds. I saw a gorgeous hummingbird Monday morning after we arrived in Ghana, but I didn't have my camera handy. It was a dark blue-green, and I have never seen one like that in Idaho.

Temple and Africa West Area Office Compound

The Temple sits in the center of a large (5 or 6 acres) compound. The Accra Stake Center sits to the left of the Temple. The city planners required the chapel to be 3 stories high, so it is larger than it probably needs to be.
The Ancillary Building sits behind the Africa West Area Office Building (right). The Ancillary building has hotel type rooms and 3 large common kitchens with a big dining area that temple patrons can use when they travel to Accra to attend the Temple. We stayed in one of these rooms on the 2nd floor. This building also has apartments for the Temple presidency and some senior missionary couples.
The front of the office building has this large map of Africa made out of tiles brown marble or stone.
I always think "Hawaii" when I see a hibiscus flower. They are quite common in West Africa. This one has a variegated leaf, so I liked it because it was different.
I think this is such a neat looking evergreen tree. If you enlarge the photo you can see the Bird of Paradise & other flowers.

Accra, Ghana Temple

The Accra Temple is one of the smaller temples. Members come from Togo, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Republic of Benin and Ghana.
The temple was closed the week we were there for our meetings, so we weren't able to attend any sessions.
I like the way the big fan palms create an arch over the sidewalk.
The grounds were beautifully landscaped, and it was so nice to be able to take a walk every morning around the temple grounds.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Gone to Ghana

This mural welcomed us at the airport. It was a preview to even nicer scenery. That's a computer bag, a scripture bag and a carry-on bag. I was pretty loaded down. (Elder K.)
They have lots of stoplights, and they even work! They have electricity, too. Ghana is way more progressive than Nigeria in that respect. The tree is full of fruit bats. They had thousands of these bats on trees that were quite near to the airport.
More fruit bats. They keep the insect population under control. They have mosquitoes here and also have problems with malaria. It seemed more humid that Nigeria. My hair didn't want to stay curled. (Sister K.)
This is a nice-looking monument. We weren't sure what it was for, but it was lovely. The impressive thing to us was the cleanliness of the city and orderliness of the traffic. There were lines on the roads and drivers stayed within those lines. What a concept! We loved the week in Ghana.
The former British government High Court building. This was really an entire complex of buildings built in the style of British Arrogance. It is on a street called Independence Avenue. When the British were in power, Ghanaians (blacks), were not allowed on the street or in the buildings and homes on the street unless they were employed in one of the buildings or homes. They were to be as "unseen" as possible on this "British" street. Our relatives in England were so filled up with themselves! We happen to love these good people and feel privileged to work alongside them during this mission.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

LDS Charities Outing to Ibadan

We passed by this doorway on our way up the stairs to the restaurant on the U. of Ibadan campus. Even though the sign says "Close the Door Always", it was always open. The restaurant was not a fancy place and had a limited menu. After eating African rice and spicy, tough, gristly beef for dinner Sunday night and lunch on Monday, we wanted something different for dinner that night. We finally settled on scrambled eggs, which we also ate Tuesday morning, Tuesday evening, and Wednesday morning before returning to Lagos. Lunch for Tuesday was more African rice, hard chicken in a red spicy sauce and mystery meat in a red spicy sauce. I didn't eat either meat, but the sauce was on the rice, so I know it was hot stuff. There were no salads, cooked veggies or fruit available. After returning to Lagos, I made us all tuna sandwiches, sliced cucumbers, carrot sticks and cut up a pineapple. It was so wonderful!
More than 24 people rode up to Ibadan on this nice bus. M.J., the smiling white face, is a neo-natal nurse who runs the N.I.C.U. for an Intermountain Hospital. She is a wonderful teacher, and all the nurses and doctors here love her. Ike Ferguson looks like he's thinking about all that needs to be done when we get to Ibadan. His wife, Gloria, is resting because she knows how much work is waiting for her when she gets there.
Dr. Mark (left) is a neo-natal specialist who works for the Univ. of Calif. Davis hospital that is in Sacramento. He works with all the preemies and critically ill babies. He also enjoys research and spends time at a lab on the UC Davis campus. He volunteers several weeks a year to help with LDS Charities. M.J. has also been donating her vacation time for the past several years and has helped in many different countries.
Loading up the bus to go home on Wednesday - you can tell from M.J.'s yawn that she has had enough fun. We got a slow start and had to wait for many people on Sunday when we left Lagos. However, everyone was anxious to return on Wednesday, and we actually left ahead of schedule. Amazing!

Neo-natal Resuscitation Clinic

LDS Charities sponsors many Humanitarian Aid Projects worldwide every year. We were asked to help with a Neo-Natal Resuscitation Clinic in Ibadan, Nigeria. Ibadan is 140 Kilometers North of Lagos. The request for our help came in October of 2008 so it always seemed far, far in the future. The future came very fast, and away we went. We worked Sunday, January 18 through Wednesday, January 21, 2009. The lady above is one of our Trainer\Facilitators. She is holding one of the new-born baby mannequins that every group had to practice the training on. There were 48 Nurse\Midwives and 60 Doctors trained and certified at this clinic. Linda and I had the support responsibility with the Nurse\Midwives. This is one of our 6 Nurse\Midwife training groups. The Physicians were broken out into 8 groups.
One of the Nurses is checking for heart rate in this picture. The man behind her is a Doctor who was trained in a previous LDS Charities sponsored Neo-Natal Training Clinic. He works as a Trainer\Facilitator now. Nurses and Doctors came from all over Nigeria for the Training.
The Nurses kept the "babies" wrapped and cared for as if they were a real new-born. This one is suctioning the mouth of this baby. Each participant went through several scenarios they might encounter during a delivery. They were required to demonstrate that they could respond appropriately to whatever the Facilitator\Trainer said was happening with the "baby".
This lady Physician is the head of the Nigerian Pediatric Assocition. Dr. Isaac "Ike" Ferguson has just presented her with this plaque of a new-born being held in a hand. It was very touching. You can see from Dr. Ike's tie that we had worked a very long, very hot day. This is at about 6:30 PM on the last day. We worked from 6 AM Monday until 8 PM on Tuesday, the day this was taken .
This shows Dr. Ike Ferguson with some of our 20 Facilitator\Trainers. All of them have been trained and Certified in previous LDS Charity Training sessions by Dr. Ferguson, Gloria, his wife, and medical professionals from the U. S. Ike worked for the LDS Church as Welfare Director for West Africa for four years, 2003-2007. He and his wife had served as Mission President and wife in Phoenix, 1999-2002. He currently organizes Humanitarian Aid Training Projects all over West Africa as a retired Church Service Volunteer. We know of 4 projects he and Gloria are managing in 2009.

Monday, February 2, 2009

University of Ibadan

They had some nice landscaping at the University of Ibadan. It is a very large campus. The large white building in the background is a chapel.
This tower is a large example of how they make water work all over Nigeria. There will be a well (bore hole) somewhere and a pump or pumps that push the water up to the tanks. Gravity and the height create the pressure in the system. Gravity fed water from these tanks filled our toilet tank and provided the pressure for our "sort of shower" and sink in our room at the University of Ibadan Guest House. It was a minus two stars hotel.
Baby coconuts are growing on this small tree.
I love these big tall spiky fuchsia colored flowers. The bush was at least 7 feet tall, so the big blooms were over 12 inches high. It was very striking. I don't see any pretty landscaped areas like this around where we live. With our tropical climate here in Nigeria, they could have such beautiful flowers everywhere year round, but not many people have any kind of a yard.
These gardeners were happy to get their picture taken. I think they said this is a monkey tail bush. I'm not sure, but it was interesting with it's long furry flowers.