Monday, April 29, 2013

Week #2 - Sierra Leone Mission

Monday, April 22, 2013:

Well, 3 “grocery” stores and just under a million Leones spent and we now have groceries in our apartment! That means I now have to start preparing meals, etc. etc. Because the locally grown foods are so contaminated, there is a washing process that I must perform that take approximately 2 minutes per batch of foods; the solution is 2 tablespoons of bleach, 2 liters of water and 2 minutes of soaking. We got home around 5:00 pm and I immediately started he process and finished around 7:00 pm and we didn't start eating until around 7:30.

Our first meal in Sierra Leone together consisted of grilled cheese sandwich, canned peaches, pringles, and we shared a can of soda pop. I am so paranoid about all the germs here, that I am going to error on the side of caution and use bleach with any washing process I do including dishes, counter tops and anything else I can find.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

We drove home from the Mission Office in our very own truck tonight! I was pretty nervous thinking about Scott behind the wheel, especially after our experience with him driving in Rome. He was like a kid in a candy shop. The truck is a standard transmission, the roads are narrow, there are no street lights and lots of pedestrians and motorcycles. We made it home, but when we approached the gate to our mission home, I got out of the truck and couldn't watch as Scott drove in and parked it.

I set the alarm for 6:30 am, and when the alarm went off, I felt pretty perky, thinking I had slept through the night – it was pitch black, but I figured it would be at 6:30 in the morning around here; I got up to see the dials more clearly with some light and re-set the alarm for 7:00 am. Getting back to bed for another ½ hour, I accidentally woke Scott up and let him know I had re-set the alarm; he questioned why it was so dark because the previous 2 mornings were light at this time; so he got up and checked his watch and with a little irritation in his voice, informed me it was only 1:30 am. I had forgotten to re-set the time to Freetown time and thus awakened us at UT time - the wrong time – he was not happy with me to say the least.
So the doors to the Mission Office are too narrow, so this is the only way they can move furniture in and out. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We have 5 3,000 litre water tanks, and every morning I activate a pump for 20 minutes that forces the water from the bottom of one of the tanks to the top in order for us to have water in our apartments.

Oh, and by the way, because it is the dry season, there is a water shortage, so when we shower, we must turn off the water between soaping and rinsing, and because it takes so long for the water to heat, the water is usually luke-warm, let alone hardly any pressure.
...oh, and by the way, can't get your face wet in the shower – too risky for getting water in our mouth's and then getting sick.

We sleep under a net treated with some chemical that if a female mosquito makes her way into our home in the evening, when she flies into the net, the solution kills her (and we are sleeping under this net!).

Then I think about the missionaries – they don't even have a refrigerator, or air conditioning, though we/they do have fans.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, that when no one is in the mission home during the day, we turn off the generator for at least 6 hours and hope for the best with the food in the fridge.

Did I mention cockroaches?

And I can't forget that I don't have a disposal, so I save all my peelings, etc. in a bucket and take them out into the compound and throw them out into the dirt. Any paper products we take to a barrel further out and burn it. That reminds me of my growing up days when we had a burn barell in the back yard. I loved tending that fire.

But now, let's get this into perspective and think about the two little boys I met earlier in the week in the polio camp – do they have a mom and a dad? Maybe. Do they sleep in a bed? No, in fact from what we saw of the children's quarters who are orphans, 10 of them were sleeping on the floor in a 10 x 10 dark room (the humanitarian couple delivered a rug this week for them). They don't have running water, they have no toilets of any kind (I found that out the hard way as I tried to find some privacy by a bush or a tree (no such greenery during the dry season). Who knows what they eat every day.....

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Two confirmations, one woman and one young man of priesthood age. The confirmation of the woman took place at the appropriate time, just before the Sacrament was blessed and passed; the boy, on the other hand, came in almost halfway through the meeting and he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and was all sweaty and wet from perspiration. Of course I am asking myself, why he is late and making an assessment of his clothing. I find out afterward from Scott that this boy lives over 7 miles away from the building, and got up this morning at 6:00 am, worked for his uncle for awhile, and then ran/walked to the chapel in order to be confirmed a member of the Church! Unbelievable!

The young man in the middle is the one who ran/walked over 7 miles to be at church
First Sunday Meeting of the Waterloo Branch in their “new” chapel

Primary children in the Waterloo Branch

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

No Words Are Adequate...

.... for the love I felt for these cute little guys as they looked up into my eyes! Indescribable!  

Two little boys we met in a polio camp

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week #1 - Sierra Leone Freetown Mission (Arriving In Africa)

Okay, a little more information about our travel to the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission.
The beginning of our travels:

4 hours from SLC to JFK (after sitting in the SLC airport for 2 ½ hours) with a 4 ½ hour layover in JFK.

From JFK to Accra, Ghana 10 hours; 2 hour layover in Ghana.

From Ghana to Freetown, 2 ½ hour flight (for some strange reason we were upgraded to 1st class – we are talking about a plane with only about 20 seats and driven by two propellars!).

It was in the airport that a drug sniffing dog made a beeline for one of my pieces of luggage and his handler indicated he had sniffed drugs (probably my happy pills to get me on the plane back in SLC) and advised me I had to take the luggage to customs and have it checked for drugs. Mind you, he didn't accompany me, so I picked up the dog sniffed luggage and promptly walked it past the customs agent along with the rest of the luggage. End of that story! They say you need to be assertive in Africa.

We gathered all our luggage and made our way to the hovercraft to take a 30 minute ride across the ocean to our new home for 18 months. So much for the hovercraft as it was dry docked for major repairs. We were stuffed into a boat and I mean stuffed (I quickly took a Dramamine) with everyone’s luggage stacked in the aft (I hope aft means front) of the boat (I could see all my belongings bouncing out of the boat never to be seen again.

Upon arrival at the shore, we were greeted by the mission president and his wife along with the Lauritzen's (office couple).

Lastly another 45 minutes from the dock to our apartment.

Grand total of 28 plus hours of travel. Somehow I survived it and crashed in bed that 1st night with Scott having to wake me up on Sunday morning in order to make it to Church on time.

Imagine, me sitting in Church and not being able to hear myself sing - that is how fervent the saints of Sierra Leone sing the hymns of the Church.
Love to you from Sierra Leone!

(You can see a neat picture of us on the official Sierra Leone Mission Blog - )

Monday, April 15, 2013

MTC, Day 1

Dear Family and Friends,
After 4 fun, relaxing days in Midway/Sandy, UT, we got up this morning to snow and cold and drove down to Provo to check into the MTC along with 34 other senior couples and 3 single sister missionaries.....we/they are going all over the globe!
We picked up all our packets and meal cards and then were wisked off to a church building off the missionary campus. Because the MTC is so crowded with young missionaries (3,000) the senior missionaries are being housed in a local Marriott Hotel (yay!). With all the luggage we have with us I was afraid if we were to stay at the MTC, we would not have a place to sleep as our luggage would take up all the space....
Speaking of luggage - we are now at 1 carry-on each, 2 check-in each and had to borrow an extra piece of luggage (we are now at 7 pieces of luggage) and we are still overweight (not only in our bodies but the luggage). Fortunately the new mission president who will be out the 1st of July has been in contact with us and will take one piece of the meantime, after our orientation today, Scott and I are out in the parking lot with all but 2 suitcases, weighing them (see attached picture) and tossing stuff back and forth to equal out the weight to 50 is 40 degrees out and Scott is sweating and giving himself a hernia trying to hold the scale and the suitcase....

All is well, though with all my suggestions as to what to do with our luggage, Scott may be leaving me behind..
Love to you all!
Sister Kanzler

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's Official... we've been set apart!

Dear friends and family - it is now official as Scott and I were set apart tonight as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...the packing has been a nightmare as you can imagine and I can't even begin to wrap my arms around the two of us arriving in Sierra Leone with 2 large suitcases a piece weighing in at 100 pounds per person and an additional carry on for each of us weighing in at 40 pounds per....oh and don't forget a back pack and my laptop case!!!!

Our Grandson, Carson, took this picture!

Us with the CA kids and grandkids

A little blurry, but Carson was snapping away!
We leave in the morning and fly to Salt Lake City and will spend 4 days relaxing and maybe catching up on lost sleep. We will then go into the Missionary Training Center for 4 days in Provo; we come out on the 19th and that is when the fun begins for me as we make our way to Sierra Leone by plane. If I could only roll down a window while in the air I might like flying.
Below is information from our current mission president and what our assignments(s) will be as we begin our service.
The District temple trip (do you think I will be taking a 4 1/2 day (one way) bus trip?
Training of Priesthood and Auxiliary leaders in the branches with special emphasis in the new Waterloo branch
Providing adult supervision for the two missionary zones (20 missionaries) inspecting apartments, medical issues, etc.

I will write again next week as we enter the MTC; that should be wonderful!

Love, Robin

Saturday, April 6, 2013


....Trip to the river with the CA grandkids:

....Luncheon with my Thursday morning Temple Shift: