Saturday, July 19, 2014


     Sorry it has been a while. Our internet has been down. We would like to give you insight into what our lives are like here, since many of you will never get to visit us. We will try to write a few posts on different topics to allow you a little glimpse. For any of you who know us, you know that we enjoy food. I have found that food is not only a necessity, but in many countries is a time to commune with family and friends. While in Ghana, we have enjoyed a few meals with others (mostly at the guest house in Nalerigu). We have enjoyed going to the markets and eating some of the different foods from Ghana. We have seen many differences between Accra, the capital of Ghana, and Nalerigu, the rural town in the northeast where we live. While in Accra, we sampled chicken and rice (very common here), Red Red (black-eyed peas with a tomato-based stew) and a spicy hot dog pasta dish. While in Nalerigu, we have had ground nut (peanut) soup with fufu (balls of mashed cassava) as well as a different version of Red Red served with fried plantains. We have seen rice balls, banku, tezet .... I have even managed to make Red Red and ground nut soup that was similar to the one we had made by a Ghanaian.

    The markets in Accra are very similar to a small grocery store in the US. In contrast, Nalerigu has market days every third day. People come from neighboring villages to sell what they have, many of them selling food. Each time we go, it is a new experience. There is a large area in the middle of town filled with small stalls, which are made up of four large sticks plunged into the ground and supporting a roof made of cloth, tarp or tin. Each small stall will have someone selling anything from small plastic bags filled with spices or fresh vegetables from their farm to colorful plastic bowls to ornately designed cloth to garden tools to objects used in common animistic rituals. It is filled with all sorts of smells: bread, oranges, sweat, fish, livestock .... Around 3-4 in the afternoon on weekends, there are crowds of people that you have to push your way through. In the early afternoons, there are few enough people, due to the sweltering heat, that you can have an entourage of children following you shouting suminga (Mampruli for "white person"). As you walk along, you must greet all that you pass with a "dasuba" (good morning) or "neewoontonga"(good afternoon) or you might face a chastisement from those that you missed. Most of the time, you are met by friendly smiles.
We came to the market in the morning on a rainy day. No one was there, due to the rain.

Tim buying fruit with Rebekah

   In general, there is not a lot of variety of foods in Nalerigu in comparison to what I am used to. I find that we have almost anything we could want within reach in the US, and I love having the variety. I think that I will have to get used to a smaller selection of core foods here. The vegetables currently are onions, tomatoes, cabbage, okra, bell peppers, and a small egg plant. For fruits, there are mangoes, coconuts, bananas, limes, oranges, and occasionally apples. There are other 'berries' that we do not have in the US that we have tried as well. They have plenty of spaghetti noodles, peanuts/ground nuts, shea nuts, black eyed peas, and a few grains (millet, whole wheat and rice). During season, they have cashews. I have recently learned that I can buy dried corn in the market and have someone grind it to make corn meal. They have fish (fried or dried fish and canned tuna) and 'the cold store' has chicken legs (with bone and skin- and a few feathers).  There is a butcher in the market, but we have been told that the meat may be old (so try at your own risk). We have found a few spices: salt, curry and ginger. There is a kind missionary who has given me several spices that she acquired in a neighboring country. We have been told that we can get fresh/raw cow's milk from a nomadic people group, the Fulani, but many people use powdered milk. Some day soon we hope to pasteurize and try some of the fresh milk. Baking needs are easily attained, such as flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and eggs.
one of our grocery stores in Nalerigu
   I will give you an idea of what we eat each day. For breakfast, we typically eat Corn Flakes or quick oats and a banana. On Saturdays, we enjoy making waffles and eggs for breakfast. For lunch, we eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruit (mango or apples), and possibly some yogurt (I make from powdered milk). For dinner, I will cook a meal, which frequently takes most of the day to prepare. On Sunday, we typically eat pizza. The cheese comes from the city and we are creative with our toppings- veggies or mangoes and pineapple or chicken. The rest of the week is a mystery;) It depends on what I have and what sounds good at the time. Our first meal that I made was tuna fish salad, which is humorous to those who know me well. I have also made spaghetti with a marinara sauce, chicken and dumplings, potato soup, chicken korma, chicken tacos/fajitas, baba ganoush, salsa, and hummus. In order to learn new dishes, I made Ghanaian foods like Red Red and ground nut soup. We have enjoyed several quarts of ice cream- vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, mango and banana, and most recently peanut butter. I do like to be adventurous with food, but it has become my small touch of home most days. It is nice to have something that seems calming and familiar amongst so much that isn't.  Maybe soon, we will even have our own garden that will provide a few more options. In relationship to food, please be praying for the people of Ghana, especially in the area where we live. We live in a farming area and are in great need of rain. We are in the rainy season, and yesterday was the first rain we have had for over 2 weeks. Many of the farmer's crops are dying. This is not only praying for their livelihood, but also this area produces a great amount of food for people in this country. Thank you for your prayers!

Red Red with some okra


  1. Rebekah is growing so! I love the pictures. Your children will have great stories to tell one day. Much love and prayers. Mom/Grandma

  2. ok for those reading this prior to comment - you must login below before making comments otherwise you loose your comment - good ole logic of 2 done before 1 is typical software engineering culture

    great to see all is well and have adjusted to water, food, and climate - oh I remember the girls with kitchens as Rebekah is enjoying and too in bare feet - your food sounds like a health market except for your fish and omega source - the grocery store is much like the ones I remember when going down to visit granny in Kentucky and the lake in Tennessee way back in the day the kids played in playpen in back seat of car during travel - interesting the size indicates very small population or most do not use can food in their diet - I would think the family would want to go to big city once in while - well here the summer is 2/3 gone with little to show for it in way of excitement but kids growing up have all their camps and activities not leaving much time for the old time 2 weeks at the beech - John, Amy, and Josh are going to mountains of NY for some fishing with another family leaving Jacob home by himself for first time - Luke as been at 1 week boy scout and science camps and camping with friends over weekends, Clair band camp for parade and starts 1/2 day practices in couple of weeks - the boys just finished their baseball - of course throw in overnights here and there and you have their summer - granddad is doing fine as he spent noon to 10 pm without a nod with everyone making over him all during the Hopper reunion last Saturday - summer weather has not been that good for swimmers but cool and rain helps the crops and grass - speaking of which there is a shower now which is the last for some days to come so must now go to get some weed killer-fertilizer for lawn of course little late now since had to rewrite my comments because I normally think in logical order of doing things 1 followed by 2 - give your 3 girls a hug for uncle bud