Wednesday, April 27, 2016

 Family home evening Monday night 25 Apr 2016 with Brother and Sister Doe.  Sahr Doe is a counselor to President Clawson and they are the nicest people.  They had a dinner for all the Senior Couples to thank the two senior couples going home.  On the table just to the right of Sahr Doe is a huge fish that Sister Doe cooked.  It was delicious.  The whole meal was delicious.  It was the best food we have had since coming here.  She said she would e-mail me her recipes. 
 Elder and Sister Lauritzen back, Four Elders of our Elders who live in the Doe compound.  The Carly's and the Myles live in this compound also. 
 Back left Elder and Sister Barney, Sahr Doe standing in the red, Sister Clawson taking a picture of the fish, Sister and Elder Carly on the right and of course my favorite companion Brent on the left. 
                      Brent, Sister and Elder Carly, left and Elder and Sister Myles Right.
Elder and Sister Barney back left, President Clawson back right, Sister Doe standing and the sister on the left is an investigator and tends the Doe's little boy sometimes. 
 We walk past this Banana tree every day when we walk over to the office.  We also dump all our wet garbage in this little banana stand of trees here in the compound.  Our wet garbage is like cucumber peelings, banana peels, pineapple parts we don't eat.  Anything that would be compost matter we dump there. 

Brent's garden spot, behind our apartment.  His vegetables are coming up nicely in the apartment in little containers.  James, one of our guards got this ground ready for planting.  He dug it all by hand with a little hoe type instrument.  James also brought chicken manure and mixed it in.  When Brent told him what he wanted to do, James said he wanted to help.  James is quite educated on plants, he went to school and studied it.  I think he is as excited about the garden as Brent is.  Also Sister Clawson is excited.  She said she wanted to plant a garden, but has not had time.  They can look right out their window and see the garden so she can watch things grow and then they can help us eat it when it is ready. 

 This is the view looking our our office windows.  We see this every day.  I wanted to take a picture now during the dry season and they I will take another one after the rainy season.  We have had a few rain storms, mostly at night.  The first one woke us up, the rain was so noisy and came down in sheets.  We hear that it will start raining a lot in May, but July August and September are really wet. 

 "The Place"  We spent last Friday night here at "The Place"  That is the name of this resort.  Brent is standing in front of the Chalet we stayed in and he is looking at the Atlantic Ocean.  It was really fun.  We had a Senior Couple's training here on Saturday.  The Clawson's and Brent and I were the only ones who stayed overnight.  The rest of them came on Saturday. 
 We walked on the Beach Friday afternoon with President and Sister Clawson.  We also all played and swam in the ocean.  The water was almost to warm.  I would have liked it colder because the outside air temperature was so hot.  I know I usually like it warm, but this was down right hot.  We were still sweating in the ocean.  
 Brent and I went for a walk down the beach on Saturday morning and these cute little boys started following us and talking to us.  They walked with us about an hour so we took a picture of them.  I picked up a shell so they all started gathering shells for me.  The little boy on the right has a plastic wheel that he rolled along the sand with a thin piece of metal about like a hanger, that was stretched out long.  It was a lot like the pioneer children used only with wood.  (Like at Cove Fort)  Had to get that in.  We gave them each a jolly rancher at the end of our walk and they were thrilled.  Cute boys!
 All the couples bought some crap and lobster.  We brought the Lobster's home live in these baskets covered with leaves. 
 The two taller boys are who we bought the crab and lobster from but everyone on the beach wanted to be in the picture.  (They call pictures "Snaps".  They love to have their picture taken. 
We came back home and all the couples went to the Presidents apartment and washed and cooked our crabs and lobster.  Brent cleaned ours.  It was a great experience.  We have a saying here that fits,  it is TIA, which stands for This Is Africa. 
 The Chapel in Kossoh Town.  The  Kossoh Town branch goes to church here and it is by far the nicest building we have attended Church in.  They even had a generator and turned it on and we had lights and a microphone and fans.  It was still open air, but a little cooler with the fans.  There is a really sweet feeling in this branch and they are doing well.  Their branch President is Ali Kargbo and he does a lot of work for the mission too.  He is a really humble kind man. 
 This picture was standing with my back to the Kossoh Town chapel and looking into the street.

The "Truck" story as this picture has become know here in the Sierra Leone mission office.  I wrote it in my journal so you will have to read about it, or ask me sometime.  Exciting!!!  The man in the white shirt on the right is pointing at me.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

               This is a map of Sierra Leone.  Freetown is on the far left right near the coast.
                       We have missionaries in Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni. 
 Our first P-Day in Sierra Leone.  We are up on the top of a mountain at a place called Leicester Peak.  You can see the valley below us.  It was a pretty clear day and we could see to the ocean. 
 Of course there is Coke here.  The Coca Cola plant is not far from the mission home.  We walked along this street.  It is kind of a side street so there wasn't much traffic.  Some kids were playing a game like tennis on the road with a tennis ball and just their hands.  
 We went for a "walka walka"  That is Krio for Walk.  We walked along the mountain and it goes right past peoples homes and it is just dirt.  Most roads are dirt here.  There are a few main roads that are paved. 

 Our second P-Day we also went for a "walka, walka"  We drove up a pretty steep hill, 4 wheel drive road with ruts, rocks and dirt.  We came to this church which is called the St Andrews Church.  The Vicar lives across the road and saw us come. He came over and unlocked the church and took us for a tour inside.  It was a beautiful old church.   It was like a lot of churches we saw in England, but it was really small.  It had 3 beautiful stained glass windows depicting the Baptism, Crucifixion,and the resurrection of the Savior.  The Vicor said they had come from Italy.  We went with President and Sister Clawson, Elder and Sister Barney, Elder and Sister Lauritzen and Brent and I.  After our tour all of us but the Barney's walked back to the Mission Home.  It took about an hour. 
                          President Clawson coming down the last part of our walka walka. 

When we got back to town Brent had to stop at Freetown's version of Home Depot.  On the left you can see the plywood stacked towards the ceiling.  Brent is by the white post in a white t-shirt, he is kind of hard to see. 
 Brent brought seeds from home with us to plant and he needed some good rich soil.  We drove out to the country side and stopped and asked this lady, her family called her "Aunty" if he could buy some soil.  She was so cute and agreed to sell him some of her soil.  She charged him 10,000 Leones which is about $1.70. 
 Here is Brent digging the dirt.  He filled the red buckey you can see about half full.  That bucket is actually our garbage can for the kitchen.

 This is a great market we stopped at on the way back from getting the dirt.  It is actually the best one we have been to.  She had wonderful potatoes you can see in the middle.  We bought some and baked them and they were delicious. This cute girl let me have a picture with her.  She is holding lettuce and we bought some.  We can eat lettuce, we just have to wash it really good. 
 Our first Sunday to attend Church in Sierra Leone. This is after church and  Brother Barney is driving and is trying to turn around.  He got high centered here and you can see the car in front of him. We didn't know who it belonged to. 
 This is looking up the hill from where the car is.  We had to walk from where the car is parked up this hill to church.  A little different that walking to our Stake Center from our home in Utah.  Sister Barney is the lady with her back to us, she is trying to ask some members of the Branch coming down the hill if they know who the car in front of us belongs to.  Love the chicken by her.  There are chickens everywhere here. 

                                        This is just off to the left of where the car was parked. 

Brent and the young Elders and a brother from the branch trying to decide what to do.  See how close our car is to the other one.  How many Elders does it take to move a car? What an adventure!  Eventually the owner came and moved his car and Brother Barney was able to turn around and we made it back home. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Another picture out our front window.  They young man you see on the left is James.  He is our guard for the compound during the day.  You can see the white fence about the middle of the picture.  That goes all the way around the mission home, the office and our apartments.  It is fun to look out in the mornings and see the people going their different ways and see them carrying everything on their heads.  The kids that go past to school all have uniforms on. 

This is the view from our front room window.

This whispy thing is actually what the locals us for a broom.  Sister Barney who set up our apartment thought is looked cute as a table decoration.  I think so too.  They use these to sweep the street out front of our apartment. 

Brent is standing in front of an avocado tree to the side of the mission office.  The building you can see in the background is the church we will go to.  It is really old and by US standards not very good, but it is the best  church building in our mission.  

I am standing in front of a Cotton tree.  This is just the bottom of it.  This tree is located just behind our church building.  Pretty neat. 

So this is our bedroom  We sleep with a net over us.  We haven't seen any mosquitoes yet, but just as a precaution.  The rainy season will start in another month or so and they say we will see a lot of mosquitoes. 

This is our kitchen and dinning room.  This is my first time fixing a meal in our apartment.  The last two meals the Lauritzen's our trainers made for us.  We appreciate them so much.  Sister Clawson the Mission President's wife took us grocery shopping today and that was as stressful as anything I have done so far.  They use Leone's and it is a cash economy.  We spent over a million Leone's for groceries, which comes out to be about $230.00 US dollars.  They have most things, but it is really expensive.  It was an adventure.  Thanks to Sister Clawson we were able to pay and get what we needed.  The fresh fruit and vegetables in the street markets are pretty good price.  We bought 2 ripe avocado's and if you shake them you can hear the pit rattle. They grow them here.  I'm excited to but it and try it out. 

Our first meal that I cooked here in Freetown.  Chicken, rice and frozen vegetables.  We did have fresh cucumbers and tomatoes and they were very good.  All our fresh fruits and vegetables we have to clean with a 2 - 2- 2 formula.  We soak them in a solution of 2 liters water, 2 tsp. bleach, for 2 minutes.  Then we rinse them in our filtered water and let them air dry.  It took me about an hour to get them all disinfected and ready to eat.  What a process.  We do have filtered water to drink and brush our teeth.  To wash dishes we put soap and about 2 tsp. bleach in a tub of hot water in the sink, wash the dishes and rinse them in another tub with our filtered water.  No dishwasher, but Brent and I.  We are learning a lot and we can tell we will be super busy with the office and being a support to the branches.  Tomorrow Sister Lauritzen, who is training me in the office,and I are meeting with the district Primary President in this area.  They were going to have me be in charge of their Primary leadership meeting, but decided to have Sister Lauritzen do it since I have never been to Primary here.  They want me to at least see a Primary here before I try to train them.  No Kidding!  We are stretching and growing. 

Paris out of our plane window.  It took us 10 1/2 hours to fly there. 

It is 3:30 AM Saturday morning Utah time.  Paris time it is 10:00 AM Paris time.  Are we there yet?

We came home at night while we were at the MTC and we got to be home on the weekend which was Easter.  Our family spent the afternoon with us and we had our traditional Easter Egg hunt and just enjoyed being together. 

Brent with his Apricot Tree,  The popcorn is popping

Thursday night before we flew out we had dinner with our children and grandchildren who live near us. It was a fun evening

Friday April 1, 2016, leaving Utah for 2 years.  This is out the window of our plane.  Freetown Sierra Leone here we come!

The famous Map at the MTC.  Sierra Leone Freetown Mission

Brother Nielson in the center was our trainer for Preach My Gospel in the afternoon.  He was wonderful.  This is the people in our district.  L. to R.  Elder and Sister Crittenden, Elder and Sister Curtis, Brother Nielson, Brent and I, Sister and Elder Faugergrin.  It is amazing how close you can get to people in just one week. 
This is our Trainer in the morning for Preach My Gospel, Sister Smith, she was amazing.