On Monday, we had the opportunity to meet and then send home our first returning missionary. Elder Mthalane was a very fine missionary and will be a great blessing to the Church and his family in South Aftrica. The night before they go home, we bring the missionaries into the mission home for dinner and a testimony meeting. I also have the opportunity to have a final interview with them.
The missionaries always want fufu for dinner.
Fufu is made by boiling cassava and plantain and then pounding them together into a dough ball. It is then served with variations of soup and meat.
It is quite a process and I thought a bit dangerous (one person pounds and one person folds the dough between whacks.) It takes trust and timing.
Fufu is an acquired taste, but Sister Stevenson and I did very well and enjoyed the evening. You pinch the fufu with your fingers and let it slide down your throat. Normally, non chewed foods that are an acquired taste don't find themselves on my menu, but it was fun and all of the missionaries beg for it after being here a few months. Elder Julander has the pictures of us actually eating fufu. He will forward them to me shortly and I will include them in a future blog.
Tuesday through Friday we were back on the road meeting the missionaries. I have enjoyed interviewing the Elders and Sisters. We have now met about 100 and have about 60 to go. Here are some pictures for the moms.
Assin Foso Zone
Praso Zone (these are the cowboys of the mission, most serving in remote villages.)
While we were in Proso, we had to cross a large river to deliver propane to a missionary apartment. The only bridge is a one-lane wooden structure with old railroad tracks running across. We got over just fine, but when we were coming back, there was no one to direct the flow of traffic so we followed other cars onto the bridge.
Unfortunately, there was a group of cars on the other side with the same idea. We met in the middle for a stare down. A worker who was making repairs decided our side should be the ones to drive backwards in formation across this bridge and squeeze enough room at the end for the advancing cars to get by. It actually went more smoothly than I had expected and we finally got our turn.
We also met a couple of young boys with unusual pets. They had caught large, colorful beetles and tied yarn to their legs. When the beetles fly, its a beetle balloon!
I had the opportunity to teach a family of five this week with the missionaries. This family lives near the beach and we passed these fishermen mending their nets as we walked to the appointment.
It is nice to remember other fishermen who left their nets to follow and serve the Savior.
The meeting with the family went very well. The family is preparing for baptism, but the missionaries were not sure they were "married." In Ghana, there is a complicated marriage tradition. The custom involves a meeting of the two families (the "Knocking") in which a bride price is set (Johnny Lingo). Because the bride price is more than most people have available to them all at once, it is usually paid over time. At some point, the families agree that it is appropriate for the couple to live together while the bride price is being paid. Once all obligations have been satisfied, their is a ceremony. A legal marriage occurs when the families agree to the couple forming a household and after part of the bride price has been paid. Happily, we were able to confirm that this couple was legally and lawfully married and their baptismal plans can continue.
The most interesting story of the week happened Saturday night. At 2 a.m., we got a call that there was a "creature" in an apartment with four sister missionaries. We couldn't get any better description of what this creature was. Sister Stevenson and I got dressed and drove to the apartment, which was only about 15 minutes away. By the time they got there, the sisters had shoo'ed the creature outside and it was long gone. They did have video, however, and when we saw it, I said, "Its a frog tangled in something nasty."
Even now, they still deny that it was a frog and claim it was a hairy creature. We decided to load the sisters in the car and take them to the mission home for the night. They slept well, then Sister Stevenson fixed them some breakfast and we took them back to their areas. We will fumigate the apartment and close up some access holes for "creatures" and hopefully that will bring some peace. They are great missionaries and have great attitudes.
Sister Stevenson scores rice and stew made by Sister Lyome and Sister Babirekere. She has preferred eating with her hands since her childhood in Brazil, so she fits right in here.
Here is this week's animal identification assignment for the grandkids.
Final shot of the week.