Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week Of June 20

This weekend was Amazing! We had Katie Pendleton (one of my friends from back home) who is volunteering in the Eastern Region at a Deaf School come to visit with 2 friends that she volunteers with named Britteny and Shayla. It was So wonderful to have them, and it made me feel like I was a lot closer to home! On Friday we went to the School for the Deaf in Hohoe and the kids there were so excited to sign with them, and Paul and I loved watching it, it is So amazing that people truly can communicate in that way. Saturday, we took them to Wli Waterfalls, my orphanage so they could play with the kids for a bit, and then the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and the monkeys were more hungry for the bananas then I have ever seen going there and were jumping all over them, it was great! That night we made banana bread and it was a delicious success and then they taught me a new card game which was So fun. Sunday we were able to make it to church in Ho (they are all LDS) and it felt so great to be at church, the topic in every lesson was Exactly what I needed to hear. Then we said goodbye to them at the trotro station :( And I really will Miss them, I hate saying goodbye to Everyone but I've just learned that's kind of just life here with the situation we are in.
Paul's brother went to the immigration office and they said that Monday (June 27) they will be giving him my resident permit, which would be Fabulous if it really happened! Also, we had more bad luck with the car this week (seems endless) but Paul was driving the car to pick up tape to put up the For Sale sign and a taxi ran into him so the rest of the week he was hassling with the police, the mechanics, and the sprayer but finally on Friday it was restored to it's right condition. We seriously just need to be rid of it! Oh and big news :) My ring is Finally finished and all the right diamonds are on it and there is no gold missing. The design is way is different than my original ring but honestly Paul and I are just grateful to have it all back! Also, I visited CCS this last week and was able to spend a while talking with Christine, Atsu, George and of course Alfa, it is so crazy to go back there to where it all started, Good Memories! Other than that though, the week was pretty routine just going to the orphanage at 2 everyday with my adorable friend Beth and having a blast with the kids. I love my life and I'm So grateful for all my blessings I've been given, and all the support I feel from home. I know that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week of June 13

Since last week’s blog was FOREVER long, and we are now more limited on internet, I will just make this Super brief! I still have one friend left here from the UK named Beth and this week we made some Delicious banana bread, which no one has ever tried anything like it here and Paul’s family Loved it. She and I have also been having a Blast with the kids at the orphanage this last week, bless their little hearts. We didn’t hear any news on the resident permit, but we are hoping to have it by this coming week. The jeweler said he would bring the ring by on Friday night (he of course didn’t) but Saturday when we visited, he assured us that it “I Beg” it will be done by Monday night and he would bring it over, we shall see. The Honda is finally sprayed, the starter is fixed and we now have it up for sale. We want to get rid of it so that Paul can just get an ordinary job and stop hassling everyday with it, and we can get back (hopefully) most of the money that we have spent. Paul’s dad said too that I could get a job once I get my resident permit which will be So nice for me to be busy working in the mornings and then still being able to volunteer in the afternoons. Paul and I also lately have really been getting into playing "Kings In the Corner," our favorite card game which we play for the stakes of loser buys the other juice (for Paul) or soymilk. (for me)  Everyday, we just do the best we can and as we used to have on our quote board at CCS “T.I.A. Expect the Unexpected.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Week of June 6

This week, the phrase “This is Africa” truly was reiterated over and over again. The first couple days were spent with my friends and I with 4 of the orphans at the hospital trying to get them seen by an Actual doctor to treat two herniated Belly buttons, and a heart murmur. After a total of 11 hours spent there, getting yelled at by other waiting Ghanaians, and having a medical officer have No idea what we were talking about, we admitted the utter failure and realized that next time, we will be taking them to Accra, the big city to hopefully get help there.
Paul and I then spent the next 3 days fussing with this whole visa mess. We got up early and took the 4 hour tro tro ride on Wednesday to the Ghanaian Immigration Service in Accra, only to find out that the documents weren’t prepared for us yet so we would need to come back the next day. Well we didn’t have money to stay the night in Accra, so we had to trotro ride back to Hohoe that same night. Then Thursday morning we got up and took the most wretched trotro I’ve ever rode in, but made it safely to Accra. We filled out the forms, and Paul’s older brother Richard came to bring us the money to pay. For me to obtain a resident permit, they require my spouse (Paul) to own land? and have tax slips? haha which is So crazy because NO ONE would have that. So we ended up having to pay for not having those so the total fee was 800 cedis. (including the bribes for the missing information) Paul’s dad had sent Richard a check but the bank couldn’t cash checks that day (typical) so Richard paid for us from his pocket (so generous) and is also the Guarantor for us. Then the officers told us we would have to be coming back the next day for the final signing…. So we slept at Paul’s brothers house that night and then went (unshowered) back to the office Friday. The officers we had paid had forged like a whole file of land that Paul supposedly owned with like signatures, and stamped seals and even a blueprint of the house that was on the land haha I had Never seen anything like it. Paul just said, “It’s how things are done here.” We went up to the main office, and after being drilled with questions by the Head Commander, we were able to have the final signing and officially were accepted for our application of the resident permit. They said it would be finished in 2 weeks, and then from there we will be able to take that and file for the spousal visa with the USCIS office. After going through all that, we just marveled at the fact that the Colonel could really have fooled us that he could be “processing” anything for us… Like there is No way!
 I haven’t really mentioned this in earlier posts, but Paul gave me the most beautiful ring on the day that we were married. Both of our rings were melted from the same gold, and mine had 3 beautiful diamonds on it, the one in the center was from Paul’s mom and it was the biggest and it was square. There was a slight discoloration on one of the holders for the diamond though, so the jeweler that made it said that he could take it and remold the holder so that it fit well. Seems simple, right? Well, all the way back in February, he took the ring and removed the holder needed to be fixed, which would have been great except that he didn’t have enough gold at the time to remold it. So for 4 months, I have been wearing a ring with a missing diamond and going to this guy every week asking if he is ready to fix it. Finally, 2 weeks ago he said that he would start it and have it done by last Monday well long story short finally on Saturday he told us to come for it. He handed me the ring with this like sneaky look on his face (and he’s illiterate by the way so his English is very broken) and it was like Not even the same ring AT ALL. The middle diamond that used to be square was now this teeny circle one and the diamonds were now set straight instead of diagonal, and the gold which before had been thick and high quality, was now this thin unevenness. Needless to say, I had like a meltdown/freakout at the man and just kept yelling, “This is not honest!” Paul also (although much more calmly) told the man that we are Not stupid and that we had trusted him and that this was totally unacceptable. He gave So many excuses but finally after like 30 minutes of negotiations, he admitted he’d taken out the middle diamond and that he’d lost some of the gold when he’d remolded it, (which he was never supposed to remold it in the first place) and said by next Friday, he would remake it again, add the gold back into it and put the right diamonds on it. Such an ordeal and if Friday, it is not done, I seriously am calling the police on him but then haha there’s always the problem that Ridiculously corrupt and will end up making us pay for their help.
     Okay, other than those lovely experiences, my friends Adrienne, Rachel, Julie and Amanda also left on Saturday L And I miss them So much already. They like left us So much stuff though like I’m now stocked up on bug spray, shampoo, wipes, and even some granola bars, Gatorade powder, some tuna fish, and I feel like I’m living in luxury sleeping on the American pillows that they gave me. Adrienne gave me her running shoes which was like the Nicest thing EVER because I’ve been dying to get out and run again and have already started putting them to use. Plus she had a seamstress make us Beautiful matching Batik dresses and I am like in love with mine. I will really miss having them around and us having our “Girls Girls” talks. I just realized that this blog is already too long but I Really was amazed at the difference that they made...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Week of May 30

Well, can't say that this week has been my easiest week in Ghana....This week was the week that we thought we were going to get our visa and get to the states and really start our lives haha and I should have known that it sounded way too good to be true. Paul's dad had a man in Accra (the main city) supposedly working tirelessly on it for the past 4 months. Paul and I went to Accra on Wednesday to meet this man at the embassy for what we thought was our interview for our visa then to be handed to us. Long story short, this man was a complete fraud and had been taking Paul's dad's money and lying to us this whole time. So basically, we have spent 4 months patiently waiting for NOTHING. The shock of it all was quite overwhelming but atleast now we know and can do something about it and after two days of driving around Accra, meeting with the US embassy, calling USCIS, going to banks, going to the immigration office, meeting with Paul's dad, having all 4 of Paul's brother's sitting down with us to make a game plan, emailing my extremely helpful U.S. contact who is in the government, doing massive research on the internet and also getting help/counsel from my sweet dad.... We have now made a plan of what we can do to really get this process started. First step is getting my resident permit which must be done through Ghanaian immigration services (which we pray won't be like everything else in Ghana and just not work) but we are going back to Accra on Tuesday to pay the Outrageous fee and hopefully have it processed within a week. Once we obtain the resident permit, we then will be able to begin the process of filing for the actual visa. It's going to be a long road, but atleast now we're heading somewhere. And as Paul sweetly reminded me amidst my ocean of tears after finding out, "As long as we're together, that's all that matters." I know that God will provide for us and that obviously we are meant to be in Ghana for a while longer...