In the Neighborhood Today

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This is such an interesting place.  Everywhere you look, you could pause and watch things you don’t see at home.  It’s fascinating and it’s inspiring.  People here do hard things.

Strong young women sell fruit all day.  They wear flip flops.

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Mangoustan fruits

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It must be recycling day!

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The biggest load ever, with lots of add-ons hanging from the sides and top!

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High school boys at the end of the day.

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Lawn care business on a bike.

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Hot drink vendor on wheels.  Bottles of peanuts in the shop.

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Potions for whatever ails you.

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Peanuts for sale, mother and baby.

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Street vendor with fruit and a tired child.

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There go the bananas!

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Yams, firewood, eggs, and peanut paste for sale.

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Luggage and lingerie

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Sending sand to the roof, one bucket at a time.

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Ladies things like hair pieces and extensions, dresses and fabrics.

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A new umbrella

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A shoe shine man waiting for customers

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Our Delicious Local Fruits

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This is my favorite way to start the day!  Every where you look, on every street, you will find fruit stands and vendors.  If I lived in Africa, this is what I’d do.  I grew up on a fruit farm and worked in a fruit packing shed for years–from the time I was small until I eventually moved away from home.  For me, fruit is the food of the Gods.  And Africa has some of the best fruits ever.  None of these local fruits grow where I come from, so this is a special treat.   (The mandarins and limes and apples are brought in from other areas.)

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I think these girls are absolutely beautiful.

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The yellowish fruit above are cocao fruit (the seeds are used to make chocolate) and the orange ones to the right are called côcôta here in Côte d’Ivoire.  You can learn more about côcôta here:

http://www.afriquefemme.com/fr/sante/nutrition/12145-le-saba-senegalensis-madd-un-fruit-tropical-aux-mille-et-une-vertus

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Mangostan.1

These dark purple fruits are called mangoustan.  I tried one for the first time today and it was delicious!  You can learn more about them here:

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangoustanier#:~:text=Le%20mangoustanier%20ou%20mangoustan%20(Garcinia,Moluques%E2%80%A6)%2C%20de%20Tha%C3%AFlande.

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We Love the local pineapple.  This variety comes from Yamoussoukro.

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Soursop fruit

You can learn more about this soursop here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soursop

The fruit here is so colorful and there is so much variety.  What a gift.  I wish you could taste each one!

 

 

 

 

Grilled Maize and Changing Seasons

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The weather is changing here.  We are moving into the rainy season.  Food vendors change too.  This week we started seeing many women selling maize on the streets.

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It’s raining now, almost every day.  Our neighbors put their buckets out every day and night, to collect the rain water from the roof.

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Meanwhile, back at the office, it’s trash day.  The lot next to the office has been cleaning things up a bit to make way for a chicken and goat farm.

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A Wheelbarrow Cemetery

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Our neighborhood is so interesting.  Everywhere I look, I can pause and think about what I am seeing.  Today I saw this pile of expired wheelbarrows and I wondered what stories they or their owners might tell if they were able.  What loads and burdens did they carry?  What lives did they once ease?  I wish I knew the story of each one.

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By the time something here reaches the trash pile, it’s totally used up.  My friends here are masters of the saying:  “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!”  I can learn from how they make do.

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Produce Markets in our Neighborhood

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Nothing cheers me up quite like good produce.  This evening we walked through a produce market we’ve driven by a few times in Cocody.  We are trying to organize some food supplies in our apartment in case we are required to stay in while our neighborhoods try to keep COVID-19 under control.  It’s hard to imagine living without the delicious produce here.  We stock up when we can.

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We are so lucky to have so many delicious fruits and vegetables here.   I am so grateful.

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This evening we came away with pineapples, bananas, mandarins, potatoes, carrots, green beans, chives, green peppers and tomatoes.

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Mobile Money Transfer (Venmo, African Style)

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Part of our financial training included a field trip this afternoon to a money transfer shop.  These shops are on every street in every area.  They are marked with signs with in and out arrows.  Money comes in and money goes out.

Here’s how this cash exchange works here.  If you want to send money to a friend, or pay someone for a service, you can go to any one of these little shops.  You give the money to the teller and you give him the phone number of the recipient in another place at  another pre-arranged money exchange shop.  The teller here calls the teller there and confirms the transfer.  The money is handed over to your friend in the other place and receipts are written in both places showing the transfer of funds.   There is a small handling fee attached to each transaction.  That’s how the teller makes some money.

Or you can set up an app on a smart phone to send and receive money, but our missionaries are using flip phones.

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These little shops sometimes offer other services like wifi or printing, or computer work.

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Basket Making at the Artisan’s Market in Accra

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Today we watched artisans making these beautiful woven baskets.  They will be sold in craft markets all around the world.  The baskets are strong and sturdy and the patterns are unique.  They sell for anywhere from $30 to $100.  Ghanaian baskets are good for lots of things (like my quilt projects!).  Basket making is a home industry for many women in the northern parts of Ghana.  They grow the reeds, split them and dye them before weaving these masterpieces.

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Here are the artisans we saw today, making these beautiful baskets.

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These reeds are split and the inside piece is pulled out.  It’s the pliable one used for the weaving.

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This room was filled with large bags of baskets, ready for export.

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This short video showing the basket making will make you smile.  Especially the dancers!

A Wood Carving Delivery

This evening Pascal came with his next installment of wood carvings to fill more of the orders I’ve received.  He is a good and kind man and he and his carvers are so thrilled to have this work.   We will keep them busy for a good while.  This batch will travel with us to Accra, then Abidjan this next week for the missionaries.

Friday is a Day of Prayer

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Here is what we see from our apartment every Friday afternoon.  The white tent across from the mosque is put up every Friday morning, and in the afternoon the muezzin begins calling everyone to prayer.  Men in the street flock to the mosque.  Some gather under the trees and along the sides of our street.

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Some even gather on the roof of the mosque.  The muezzin chants and exhorts and teaches for quite a while and the men stand, kneel, bow and pray.

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After they finish, the men head back to work, or go home to their families.  The vendors re-appear and the stores re-open.

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We love our neighborhood and we love being surrounded by religious, prayerful people.

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