This trip actually occurred a few weekends ago. Remember the American friend I met at the Accra mall? Well the day after we met she called me up and invited me to go to Cape Coast with her that weekend. She was in touch with the missionary couple that lives down there and they invited to her stay with them.
Background: Cape Coast is a city about 3-4 hours west of Accra. It was the first capital of Britain’s Gold Coast colony, and is now the capital of Ghana’s central region.
Lindsie, that’s my American friend, had to work Saturday morning, so mid-afternoon I took the hour tro-tro ride to Achimota, the area of Accra that she works in. From Achimota we were going to catch a bus to Cape Coast. Our ticket said that the bus left at 3:30 pm. Note that time.
We were driven to the bus station by a guy Lindsie works with (his name is Emmanuel, yes that is also the name of my host brother and a ton of other guys here in Ghana), and arrived at exactly 3:30…only to realize we were at the WRONG station. We jumped back into the car, along with some random guy at the station that was going to tell us where to go, and sped off to the correct station. When we got there, no one could give us a straight answer as to where our bus was, if it even was there. Finally, we find out it left at 2:30 pm. Cool guys, thanks for putting 3:30 on our tickets…
But have no fear! Cape Coast was to be gone to that weekend! Emmanuel drove us somewhere to pick up a tro-tro. Luckily, this tro-tro we ended up getting was much nicer that the typical tro-tros that commute within the city. We actually were not jam-packed against the people sitting around us, and the seats were big enough for us to sit [somewhat] comfortably on!
We met a couple friends in the tro-tro that taught us some common phrases in a few different Ghanaian languages. (There are 78 languages in Ghana).
After about 3 hours in the tro-tro, Lindsie and I were dropped off in Cape Coast. We were the only two alighting there, the rest were going another hour. It seemed that we were dropped off in the middle of nowhere, but apparently it was the taxi station.
Elder and Sister Saunders, the missionary couple we were staying with, was soon there to pick us up. They took us back to their apartment, which was like a dream come true to me. Air conditioning. Filtered water. Hot water. American food. What more could I want?
Sister Saunders made us a delicious American [Mexican] meal of chicken enchiladas. I don’t think I can describe to you how incredibly happy I was. I’ve never understood how hard it is to eat foreign food, until now. No McDonalds even exists here. So to see and smell and taste American food for the first time in two weeks was absolutely heavenly. Lindsie also made pudding. aka CHOCOLATE. At this point I was pretty sure my life was complete.
We arrived late on Saturday, so we didn’t do anything else that night. Sunday we went to church with the Saunders in a village called Abucrumpa (the first few times they said this town name I could have sworn they were saying Abercrombie). We first stopped at the mission home to exchange their car into basically a tro-tro so that we could pick up about 10 people.
So Ghana’s national language is English, right? Right. Does that mean everyone here speaks English? Absolutely not. The Abucrumpa branch was entirely in Fanti, one of the four main Ghanaian languages. Ok I lied. It was fast Sunday, so the children that bore their testimonies bore them in English. Think about how the children in the states normally bear their testimonies. Its completely different here. These Ghanaian children instead recite verses. “I take my testimony from Matthew 12:25…” And then they would say the verse from memorization. It was really adorable and amazing.
After church we piled back into the tro-tro mission van, dropped everyone off at various stops, then went back to the Saunders. They had invited over a recent convert family for lunch. The man’s story is pretty neat. Here is the summary:
Paul was a minister of another faith in his small village. But he always knew that the actual true church of Christ would have a prophet and 12 apostles. He searched, came in contact with the church through a friend, but never though much of it. One night as he was praying, the phrase “Latter-Day Saint” came into his mind. He immediately sought out the church. He was baptized in March. Ordained in April. And baptized the rest of his family in May.
Paul and his family were very sweet and kind. Paul was hilarious too. We had an American meal and kept saying that if they didn’t like it then they didn’t have to eat it and Paul over and over said, “I go to America. I need to learn.”
The sister missionaries came over after lunch and I was able to participate in a lesson about Temples to this convert family. It was a neat experience. The family was so very humble and eager to learn.
Lindsie and I then accompanied Elder Saunders to take Paul and his family back to their village. The drive was an hour down an extremely hilly and bumpy dirt road in the middle of what seemed like a forest. It was quite the drive. The village was incredible. It was the type of village you think of when you think “Africa.” The people lived basically in mud houses with aluminum roofs. The houses were the size of my living room in my apartment at BYU. It amazes me that people actually live that way. They must be a very special people the Lord knew could not only handle it, but be happy as well. I respect them very much.
That was basically the extent of my weekend in Cape Coast. I did meet another sister missionary companionship later that night. I also enjoyed an ice cream cone, popcorn, and more pudding.
P.S. I know that I have not described what a tro-tro is yet. But I will. I just really want to show pictures, and my inability to put pictures on my comp right now is making that impossible. Just be patient. :)