Sunday, December 1, 2013
As the Sierra Leone saints say, today has been sweet! We visited all the branches but two to meet with our temple saints to find out how they enjoyed their week-long journey. If embraces and tears were any indication, I think it was a very rewarding trip. Words can't express the love and gratitude we felt from these wonderful people for providing them this likely once-in-a-lifetime experience. In a past conference, President Monson has asked if we had the means and felt so inclined, to donate to a general temple fund. The benefit of that fund was manifest in this temple trip. Each of the participants had to secure their passports, and make a “sacrifice” of money to show commitment and faith. They also had to get themselves to the ferry Monday morning to start the journey as well as pay for any food they would consume throughout the week. The rest of the travel was covered by the church temple funds and fast offerings – Kissy Ferry, transportation from ferry to airport; airline tickets; transportation from Accra airport to temple; then all the return transportation needs. The temple has a housing facility they were able to stay in that was part of the covered trip. Without this, they would have never been able to go. I am so grateful for all the wonderful saints throughout the world who contribute to this fund!
Back to the saints and their trip – their beautiful brown eyes shone so bright as they came to us and put their arms around us! Our beloved Bai Sesay told us he had no words to express his gratitude so he prayed that we would be blessed, our children would be blessed and our children's children! He went on to tell us he would never forget us.
It was a very humbling and emotional day – I told Scott if we came here just for these 50 people, it has been worth all the struggles and challenges. We take no credit for this as there were many miracles along the road to this trip; we made ourselves available for the Lord to use us to bless these wonderful people. I think they “floated” the entire time they were in Accra and bonded as a district as we would at home, when on a Stake adventure such as a trek, etc. As I have said before, they don't have much, so when I was told they decided to leave their left over dried foods they brought in the kitchen at the temple housing with a note, “please feel free to use the food in this cupboard,” I was quite touched.
A humorous experience Julius James told me about – a group of the men took off to the local market to buy some supplies while the rest stayed back; they came to a zebra (what is a zebra you ask?) which is their name for a cross walk, and they were so surprised to have cars stop and wait for them to cross. That doesn't happen in Sierra Leone! You fear for a loss of limb or life when crossing the street here.
Such a wonderful day!
Monday, December 2, 2013
We had dinner out tonight with the Burns, Schlehubers, and Ostlers. The Schlehubers go home tomorrow after a dedicated and hard working 23 month mission. They will be missed in Bo where they essentially served by themselves with minimal contact any other senior couples because of the distance a 4 hour drive. Very admirable. They head home to Sun City, Arizona tomorrow.
Schlehuber's and Kanzler's
150 red pencils I need to sharpen for Christmas gifts.
Cold inside the car coming home from dinner so when Scott stepped out into the hot and humid air, his glasses fogged up.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Uneventful day at the office until Rachelle and I drove home while Scott and David were at a District Priesthood meeting at out East.
A retainer wall is now being constructed on Pademba Road right outside the gate to the mission office which has taken a “two” lane road and narrowed it down to one lane. So I pull out and what's coming at me but a poda poda and it is not about to back up, so I have to and then must not only back up but inch my way over so he can pass and if I wanted to, as he drove along side me, I could have put my hand and part of my arm through the driver's side window he was that close.
I get beyond Pademba Road and we are winding our way up to the mission home, when I stop to let a lady cross the street because traffic slowed and the oncoming car has stopped as well. She no sooner gets beyond my car, when I see a motorcycle out of my side-view mirror, and I can see it coming and he isn't stopping and he plows right into the woman and knocks her in the air and she comes down 50' in front of us. Miraculously, after all her worldly goods that were on the top of her head went all over the road, she stood up and got to the side of the road. The guy on the motorcycle was a little ways up on the side, more worried about his bent handlebars and light! Not something I see every day (but I am in Sierra Leone) nor do I care to see it again – a shock to my system.
So, we get beyond the lady being run over and arrive home, get our stuff out of the car, and open the steel door, go to turn on a light and realize the generator needs to be turned on and neither one of us has done that before. There are 2 to choose from and of course we picked the wrong one, so Rachelle makes a phone call to the guys and gets instructions from them. Check the oil, push the green button, and then the button with the hand on it; generator starts right up, but no lights. Hmmm....we must pull up some lever, which I can't see, but fortunately the guard comes to our rescue and flips it up and we now have full generator power. P.S. to this experience – when Scott gets home he relates to me that President Ostler says to him after hanging up with his wife, “They aren't going to need us anymore. They can drive without us and now they can start the generator without us.”
Turning on the generator for the 1st time.
Checking the oil.
Three more locks, and I will be in my apartment, but once Rachelle turns on the hall light and begins to head upstairs, she stops short and tells me there is a baby bat on the stairway. I am telling her it is just a piece of black plastic bag blowing around – no she says, it is a bat. Upon closer inspection, it is in deed a baby bat! Neither one of us want to hang around for that (I am thinking where there is a baby bat, there is a mama bat close by), so we yell for the guard to come and help us get rid of it while Rachelle and I hide out around the car. Thanks to the security guard, Rachelle and I finally were able to get into our apartments. All this excitement happened in less than one hour.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Freetown East District YW activity all day – 120 + were in attendance as we traveled by ferry over to Lungi and the little village of Targin. As we exited the ferry, we had just a little walk to an area where the tribal chief allowed us to use area for our gathering as well as the school to set up the musical equipment and for the use of school benches. It was a very hot day. When we arrived, I observed local women in an argument over piles of rocks but of course I had no idea what they were upset about because they were speaking Krio. Kids were swimming in the ocean, and the shore was covered in litter. Two hours later when I looked at the beach, the tide was out, and the area where the kids had been swimming, was just covered in garbage and debris; so polluted and filthy. I had only read about such things until I came here. It was another wake-up call about living in a 3rd world country. I am glad I took along an extra pair of shoes because my beach comber shoes were placed in a plastic bag and left outside of our apartment until Monday when I can thoroughly clean them with bleach and soap.
Women arguing over piles of rocks.
The view after the tide had gone out.
The young women just love to dance and so Sister James had planned for that. With no electricity, she had to take her generator so between it running and two ginormous music speakers, it was a very noisy day. Some of the young ladies started dancing the bunny hop and looked towards me so, of course, I had to join them. (See video of Sister Kanzler dancing with the YW here - http://youtu.be/j495IW25MhE)
Freetown East District YW
Freetown East District YW
Freetown East District YW
5 in the back seat, plus a generator and two huge speakers!
Scott and I walked along the shoreline for awhile with about 11 local children in tow; Scott found a beautiful conch shell, and when the children saw my excitement with this treasure, they ran ahead and came back with more shells. I love ocean shell-seeking walks. Today's was quite challenging as I had to dodge so much garbage as I walked, but I managed to find beauty with the children and the shells.
Drying her rice in the sun.
My little shell seeking friends!
No more than 6 years old and carrying this toddler on her back.
Our 1st discovery of beauty in all the garbage.
Much love, Robin
Scott and his buddy, Sylvanus
The first batch of 50 ready for assembly and to be sent out to Bo and Kenema this week.
Without my glasses on, I thought this might be a sibling to the bat in the living room - no, just a cockroach with a wing span.