Monday, May 30, 2016

 I love these flowers.  They just started blooming on Saturday 28 May.  We have been getting some rain and a lot of plants are blooming and growing.  It has the most unusual flower and it is beautiful. 

This is Shaka, he takes care of the grounds in our compound.  Brent gave him some money last week and he bought some coconut palms to plant around the office.  We won't be here to see any coconuts on them, but someone will.  Shaka speaks very little English, just Krio so Ali does the translating for Brent.  Shaka knows a lot about plants and is a very hard worker.  He is even saving some of his money, which is very unusual in this country.  He is the happiest young man, always smiling. 
Brent and I went to this Baptism on Saturday May 28th at the church by the mission home.  Elder Kochevar is the American Elder on the left and Elder Nyembwe his companion is third from the right.  He did the baptizing.  The little boy in front of him reminded me of Damien and I got to see him baptized.  That was really sweet for me because I could visualize Damien being baptized.  Elder Kochevar and Elder Nyembwe are the AP's and they are amazing missionaries and remarkable young men.  We feel blessed to be able to serve with them.  They are teaching us alot. 
 Special Mission Calls.  The young man in the blue shirt holding his mission call has been waiting patiently for about 3 months for his call.  He was so excited.  Left to right are Elder Kochevar, one of the AP;s, Ishmael Ibrahim,(going on a mission June 23), Joseph Nicholason (with his call) Ali Karbo, his Branch President of the  Kossoh Town branch and Ali helps us in the mission.  We could not function without Ali.   He comes everyday to help and sometimes on Saturday too. 
Another sweet girl who has become a close friend.  She also has a mission call to leave in August.  Her name is Josephine Ndanemah and she is very educated.  There aren't many young women here that have much of an education.  She and I enjoy visiting and the last time she came to the office we visited about an hour and she asked all about my family.  I really love her.  She will be a great missionary.  She is also from the Kossoh Town branch. 
 Sunday the 22nd we went to the Messima Branch in Bo.  It was a wonderful Branch.  The people love to have their pictures taken and especially with white people.  These kids have posed before.  They are so cute. 

 This little girls name is Margaret and she took to me and we are friends now.  She is 10 years old and will be 11 in September.  I told her about my Grand daughter Mindee and how they are the same age.  She followed me around and we talked.  She looked so pretty. 
Brent and one of the brothers at the Branch.  This is outside in the compound where the church was.  The spiral staircase you can see behind them went up to a high tower like a little gazebo on top.  Pretty cool.  We parked inside the compound.  We were the only people who drove, everybody else just walked. 
 A river on our way back to Bo from Kenema.  They were diving for diamonds on one side and washing their clothes and bathing on the other side. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

 This is a Calabash Tree.  The fruit on them look like watermelons.  It is a really cool tree we saw in    Bo.  They don't eat the fruit in these, but hallow them out let it dry and use them for bowls. 

                                                  A market we passed while driving in Bo. 
 Saturday 21 May 2016
While we were waiting for some Elders in Kenema to give them some doxy, we saw this man weaving cloth.  He let us take his picture.  It is a heavy fabric and he makes hammocks out of it. 

This man was sewing outside his shop on the street.  It was a pedal sewing machine.  Most people here do not have electricity.  I talked to him and he was making a dress that you can see there.  I asked if I could take his picture and then he asked me for money.  I told him I didn't have any, and I didn't.  They often ask for money.  It is hard not to give it to them, but if you give it to one then you have to give it to all and we can't do that. 
 Auxiliary Training with our faithful sisters in the Kenema District.  Primary, Young Womens's and Relief Society sisters.  They are striving just like us to fulfill their callings. 

Brent, Elder and Sister Sherwood, Sister Clawson and faithful sisters.  This is the vehicle we took to Bo and Kenema.  Brent drove.  We filled the back with supplies to give to them.  They have a hard time getting the distribution things they need.  It takes 4 hours to get to Bo and Kenema from Freetown where the distribution office is for them.  It is in the Mission Office.
 Brent and I with some boys who were at the church.  They love to have their picture taken.
This is the Baptismal fount at the chapel.  It is out back under some trees.  At the top of the stairs you can see a door.  They open that door.  Put just enough water to baptize someone, it is only about to their knees, and they are all afraid of water because they don't swim.  It is frightening for them. 
 These pictures were taken on our way to Bo on Friday 20 May 2016.  This looks more like the Africa I was expecting.  Bo and Kenema are more rural than Freetown.  It is really beautiful. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

 My favorite exercise is hiking to Timp Cave.  This is my version for the next 2 summers.  We hiked up this mountain and it is a dirt trail with lots of rocks.  It was pretty much straight up.  We just walk past all the little huts on the hill and the people all wave and say Hi, How are you?  They know that much English.  The little ones smile and like to touch us if they can.  We are the first white people some of them have seen.  Where ever we walk people always call to us and say Hi.  It is different being the minority. 
 This is a picture of a roof they are fixing to get ready for the rain.  There was a cat asleep near the satellite dish and I took a picture.  You don't see many cats here. 
This is the view from the top.  We hiked up for about 40 minutes.  President Clawson said it was about a mile uphill.  We found a road and walked down the road.  We were covered in red dust and sweat at the end.  When Brent took off his socks he looked like he had a tan on his legs. 
 My first batch of rolls that I made here in Sierra Leone.  They turned out really good.  I haven't kneaded rolls by hand for years, but I will be doing that for the next 2 years.  I
My African apron that Sister Curtis gave me.  She and Elder Curtis came for a mission tour.  He is the President of the Africa West Area.  I love the colors. 
 I thought I would show you Sierra Leone's version of Walmart that we saw driving from Kissy back to Freetown after a Zone Conference held in Kissy on Thursday May 5th.  Top picture is charcoal.  They use charcoal to cook all their food and they do it all outside.  They wrap the charcoal in leaves and bundle in these packages.  You can see people walking down the street with them on their heads also.  The next picture is the mattress department.    They have mattress stacked all around this building. 
 I loved this picture of the family walking around the market.  They carry their babies on their backs like this one.  They little ones are so content and I have never seen one crying that is on their mothers back like this.
 Below you can see the stands that have lotion, soap, cookies, crackers, small containers of a lot of things.  Further down the street is the food stands, mostly mangos, cucumbers, avocados, bananas, pineapples, watermelons, plantains.  We buy all our fruit and vegetables from these street vendors.  We have started buying our bread from a bread vendor just down from our apartment.  We go every few days to buy produce because it is very ripe and needs to be eaten within a couple of days.  The mango's, pineapple and avocado's are in season right now and are delicious. 

 These pictures are for Greg.  They are the Polaris Sling Shot vehicles we saw on our way to Freetown from Kissy.  There were several of them and later we saw them all driving down the road.  They were advertising Air-Tel, which is the African cell phone service. 
I like this picture also because it shows one of the 2 stop lights they have in Freetown that we have seen.  The light was blinking yellow our way, but of course nobody obeys the traffic light because most of the time the power is out and it doesn't work.  They don't even obey stop signs.  "OIA" (Only in Africa)
 After our walk one evening there was a parade along the road in front of the mission office.  They were playing some music from a local composer.  The top picture was the sign advertising the launching date.  Sister Clawson and I started dancing to the music and suddenly the people playing the music came right up the driveway we were standing in, and everyone started dancing with us.  It was a little suggestive and there were some people from the church that told the people in the parade to keep going down the street.  Before they left this man asked to have his picture taken with me.  He is the composer of the music and they said he is the Michael Jackson of Sierra Leone, so I have stood by a famous composer.  Wow "OIA"  My new saying, "Only in Africa" 
 This shirt is advertising his music.  I will need to see about getting some of it.  I really liked it. 

 We have a little Gecko that lives behind the sign outside the mission office.  The bars to the right of Brent he unlocks each day and locks at night.  He has a leaf and is trying to get the Gecko to come out.  Below is a close up picture of him.  Sometimes there are two of them. 
 They are pretty tiny.  In the bottom picture you can see how little he is.  He is on the wall just below 
the brown beam near the ceiling.  Maybe one of the grandchildren can come up with a couple of names for our new friends.  

 This is a wedding held outside our church on Saturday April 30, 2016.  The bride and groom said I could take a picture of them.  Below is the bridal party.  They got all the people together just for me to take their picture.  They were so beautiful and several of the older sisters were in their traditional dress.  I love the bright colors. 

 They decorate the cars like this for the couple to leave the place where they are married.  The cars we have seen so far are either white or black that the bridal couple uses.  Below is the back ground for the reception.  They draped big pieces of fabric.  They set up tables around and chairs and served a meal.  They covered the chairs with a light fabric and tied them with a silver fabric, like they do at home sometimes.  You can see the chairs in the lower right had corner.  Off to the right was a big set of speakers that they played music into the night.  We could hear it really well in our apartment.