Monday, December 29, 2014

E-mail dated 12/29/14

Mom and Family,

Afehya Pa! Merry Christmas! I was so happy that I was able to Skype on Thursday! Thank you for your patience with my stupid African internet, it was a miracle that it was able to work. It was so amazing to see everyone's faces though, I miss you all so much. I hope that everyone enjoyed their Christmas as much as I did, and I hope that everyone was safe. From what I heard, it was an eventful day for the family and there was a lot of work to be done the day after Christmas! I'm glad that everything works now though! Santa always comes through for the Degen family, even in Ghana :)

My week was full of visits to members and lots of food!! I have had fufu every single day this past week, sometimes multiple in one day. In case anyone was wondering, the most popular Free Meal that we receive is fufu because nobody thinks that an Obroni can eat it like a Ghanaian, so it's fun to prove them wrong! The types of meats we got with the fufu ranged from goat, to chicken, to fish, and they were all delicious. The members spoiled us here this holiday season and I have a feeling the the FM's aren't done yet! I love this ward so much, the members are going to be hard to say goodbye to, that's for sure.

To answer your questions though, here it is!

1.  Did the packages arrive to you unopened or could you tell that the post office or someone else had opened them before you received them?  

If they were opened, they were packaged back up pretty well. I can't tell if they were or not, but my guess is that someone at the Cape Coast post office opens them up to check if they have anything illegal (or valuable) in them and then they send them to their various destinations. That's just what I heard though and I'm not 100% sure!

2.  Do you still have a washing machine in your apartment?  If I remember right, the washing machine you told me about belonged to Elder Mocke.  

Oh yeah, I never told you! When Elder Mocke left, he left with me his washing machine(!!) It's a nice big one, and it even has a spinner to dry my clothes. It was a gift from his father (Elder Moore) (your father is your trainer on your mission, so Mocke is my father) and he passed it on to me. I'll admit, it's really nice being able to do my wash once a week without having to do much! I really hope that I can make it last my whole mission, or at least until I can give it to my son.

3.  Do you ever have meetings/events where all the missionaries in the whole mission get together?  Are you too spread out for that to happen?  I would think that you would enjoy seeing Elder Mocke again.  

Our mission is too spread out to do that sadly, but mainly the two different regions meet up together at certain times. There are about 58 missionaries in Western Region (where I am) and 142 in Central Region. The rumor is that when the Takoradi Stake splits, the mission may split as well, but that is just a rumor. I definitely would enjoy seeing Elder Mocke again, and I bet that I will be able to!

4.  Was your companion able to Skype with his family on Christmas after we talked?  I noticed that you called him "companion" instead of Elder Ntlhaakgosi.  Is that because "Companion" is easier to say than calling him by name?

No, he wasn't able to Skype sadly. But he was able to call them! And the trend in our mission is to call your companion "Companion", not so much because I can't pronounce his name! Some call them Comp, or by their last names, but rarely is it both Elder and their name together! Which is probably how we should say it...

5.  We all noticed your African accent.  It's totally awesome!!  Eric said that he had to learn to talk like that so that the people could understand him easier.  you probably don't even notice that you are doing it.  Eric said that if you don't talk like them then they will tell you that they don't speak English and can't understand you.  Do you have to consciously do it or did the accent just come naturally because you are around it all the time?  I love it, FYI.

Yup, Eric knows exactly what's up. When I first got here, nobody could understand me. They all told me that my English was too fast and that I need to slow down. It wasn't until a few weeks in that I realized they just need you to really enunciate your words and then they can understand! I had to consciously develop it, but then it became second nature as I spoke like that all day. It certainly was frustrating when I first showed up, but I'm glad that it's getting better! I can hear myself get back to an American accent at night though when I start to talk with the other Elders about football and things. It's interesting, but that made me laugh that you all thought I sound different! 

Well, I'm out of time for this week!! But thank you all again for making my Christmas an amazing one. I love you all and I wish you a happy new year! God be with you all.

Elder Degen

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