Hi Family and Friends!!!
I just wanted to take this first opportunity to give you the low down on everything. I'm in Kasoa, Ghana. I'm not sure what region that is, because the system here doesn't make sense to me yet. It's seems like a bigger town, but it's not particularly organized. All I see is rundown everything everywhere, so it is hard for me to distinguish where we are. Magically, we end up at the apartment every night, so that's nice. I haven't seen any mosquitoes, and I've had only one bite out in the field. I thank heavens for my net. My companion is Elder M. He's been training for a while, and in Kasoa for almost 7 months.
As I walk down the street, little kids always yell "Obruni (sic?) Ko-ko!" (this will ALL be phonetically, here) which literally means something like "White man, red-red", which I find hilariously ironic, but really means "White man you are too light!" to which I respond "Obibini tum-tum!" "Black man, you are too dark!". The parents usually get a kick out of that, and it makes contacting easy. "I'm fine" and "I'm not fine" is like, a super subtle dip-thong apart, so I got chewed out by my companion when he thought I told someone I was not fine.
We teach quite a bit, and even now we have a few baptisms coming up. Under President Smith, we've stopped teaching in the bush and in other languages, because it's very hard to gain a testimony/stay active if you can't read or understand in church.We do not proselyte more then 30 minutes from the chapel, under the same policy. We aren't allowed to baptize until the person comes to church 4 times, can read, and can speak "small-small" English.
First split with the zone leaders is on Thursday. Both are Obrunis. In our apartment, all the senior companions are Obibinis, and all the juniors are Americans. Elder Fischer is a Mission Training Center mate of mine, which is nice. I have to talk so slow, it hurts.
Food-wise, I do all right, but the African Elders don't eat anything....small breakfast and then dinner. I've only seen my companion drink about 1.5L a day. We drink from 500 liter plastic bags called sachets. The apartment is in the bottom 3rd in the field, so I can really only move up :P Elder Fisher has peanut butter and jelly, which is nice. There is little to no milk, and only cream and soft cheeses... hint hint. *Cough* powdered milk and cereal and cheese *Cough* ;)
In Africa, saints means someone who calls bad spirits, so we are having a problem with that. That, and we call everyone mommy and daddy. If they are within 8 years of our age, we call them sister or brother.
We get snail mail every three weeks, because we alternate transfers, zone conferences, and mission president interviews.
We deal entirely in cedis and pesuaes. Unfortunately, everyone still deals in the old currency. 5000 means 50 pesuaes, and there are 100 pesuaes in a cedi. I went to the store, and the lady said this bag of rice was 11000. I was given 80 cedis to last 3 weeks... I thought I was going to die of starvation. Rice is about a cedi a pound, eggs are 5 cedis for a crate of 30, and a loaf of bread is a cedi. Eba and banqu and kenke are all doughy masses they eat with their hands, and are dirt cheap. Eba is cassava powder and water. Banqu is like fermented corn dough, and kenke is old banqu. The Americans hate banqu at first, but to me, it's like sour-dough bread. I will be eating lots of Eba, though. No fu-fu yet, but everyone like, reverences it. There is no ice cream per-se. It's called Fan Ice, after the brand, and it's like a creamy popsicle. They do have real potatoes here too, but they are more expensive then cassava. I see plenty of cows running around, but no beef... Roosters wake me up in the morning, and crow throughout the day. I will never miss that, I swear.
It does smell super bad. Open gutters everywhere. I never feel like I really get clean. Traffic is crazy, and everyone leans on the horn. The bike is killing my rear thus far, and the sun goes down at about 7, which scares the heck out of me on the bad roads. I haven't seen a cockroach yet, but those are in the Nungua apartment, which I have heard is the WORST.
Anyone who has read the bible marginally well and can string a few nouns together can start a Church down here. "Jesus Power Pentecostal Ministry" or "Christ Fire Prayer Circle" are a few good examples. People go to church almost 5 days a week here.
The phone calls... everyone phone in Ghana is pay as you go, so each missionary is given a card at Christmas and Mothers day with about 45 minutes worth of credit on it. That's how we call.
I look forward to telling you more, but I only a few minutes left on this computer.
I love you all very very much. I miss you, too. As for now, though, I've work to do.
PS From Elder Farnbach's mom.... Elder Farnbach only receives his mail every three weeks. When mail time comes, it is HUGE to receive a letter. We have heard that the first four months are a hard transition time. Consider using www.dealelder.com to send him a letter without even having to use paper or any postage. He is serving in the Ghana, Accra mission.