Monday, June 24, 2013

Week #10 - Yahoo!!! Double Digits!

Dear Family and Friends,
 The home of my friend Fatmata James who is the District Young Women's President. Notice the little one literally getting potty trained.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
We sat down for Sacrament meeting next to a family (and a lot of families consist of just a matriarch and many children, some of whom are not hers). A little boy came up and sat next to me, and I noticed some sores on his hands that looked like broken blisters, but his sister leaned over to me and said that he had some kind of skin disorder and the little guy proceeded to show me lesions all over his hands, arms and legs. As the meeting progresses, he sits ever closer to me and finally ends up laying somewhat on my lap; I am thinking, skin lesions of an unknown origin, ugh....and then I think of the scripture, “suffer the children to come unto me for of such is the kingdom of God....” I am almost bathing myself in hand sanitizer on a daily basis, what have I got to lose? I rubbed his back, held on to him - the same thing I would do with any of my grandsons.

I attended the Relief Society, and was promptly asked to teach the lesson. I have got to prepare some lessons to have with me so at a moments notice, I can just step up and teach these wonderful people.

We stayed for 6 hours of meetings in the Kissy building so I could be part of the District choir practice. With the new mission president coming in 2 weeks, a devotional is in the prep stages for him to speak on the 14th of July and Scott and I are in charge of the evening. I wanted special music, and got an entire district singing. 

I've got to get some material and have an African outfit made for me.

What was supposed to start at 4:00 pm didn't get started until 4:30 pm so of course, I needed to go to the bathroom. Same building as yesterday, and when I approached the door and tried it, sure enough it was locked. I thought for sure being Sunday, that they would be open for the use of the members. So, I approach a man who looks like he would know something about keys. Come to find out, there are no keys as they have been “lost” (how do you lose a bunch of keys?). So he gently leads me around the corner of the bathroom and shows me out in the far corner of the Church lot a make-shift temporary toilet enclosed in zinc (flashing), with no door and not the most sweet smelling. But being the trooper that I am and with no other choice off I go. As I came out and around the corner, I was greeted by one of the full time elders with the same need. He had quite a chuckle when he saw where I had just come from.
Same church as the day before only keys are now lost and this is the temporary facility!

The choir finally gathered, and it was so much fun to sing with them! The choir director, Sister Brown, was every bit as demanding as a good church choir from home. My friend Fatmata James was there, and we sat together. The love I feel for that woman! I tell her how cute she is, and she just blushes and looks down. I love these women and am discovering now that the tears I shed and the pleading prayers I offer now are more for these wonderful people than they are for me.

Sunday after church hanging out with the ladies while we wait for choir practice to start.

On our way home as we were driving down Kissy Road, we came to a complete stop (happens all the time on this road) and while waiting for traffic to get moving again, I see a local citizen running down the street between the cars and the curb. He makes a complete stop right in front of my window and proceeds to pull quite vigorously on my door handle to attempt to get in and take me along with my backpack (because I am not about to let it go). When he can't get that door open, he works on the door behind me! I am a little frightened and my companion (Scott) seems to be clueless as he is just trying to move the truck forward. Thankfully, I lock my side of the truck!

Thursday, June 20, 2013
Another reality check today as we went out with the missionaries of the Thunderhill Branch to plot the membership with a GPS system for future plans to split the branch. The weather is the coolest before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm and we were in the middle of the heat as we met up with the elders at 10:30 and started our walk through the neighborhoods of the branch searching out the membership. Oh my! 
We begin the process of finding the members of the branch.

 Laundry day in the neighborhood.

 We are out with the missionaries and a GPS system, plotting where members live.

This is a typical neighborhood where our members live.

They come so neatly dressed to church and when I see where they live and how they live, I am humbled by the effort they make to look so beautiful and handsome for church. How do they manage without any power? They can't manage without their plastic buckets, cups, tubs, etc. They are the most brilliant colors and they are multi-colored. Everyone has them because they put their food in them, they bathe with them, and of course they carry their wares with them on their heads. 
No stroller, no car seat - just the warmth of the mother's back.

After about 3 ½ hours of walking through dirt, polluted water, garbage and whatever else, with no shade in sight, I was exhausted and drenched with perspiration. When we are told this is a green beret mission, I believe it after a day like today. Unlike the missionaries and the members though, we come home and turn on our air conditioner, go to the refrigerator and get ice cold water and sit down on a somewhat comfortable couch (local furniture here is not the best). The missionaries and the members continue to be our heroes.

We were with Elder Seraphine with the GPS and came upon this young man he baptized 9 months ago in Bo. What a tender mercy!

Not much for the hen and her chicks to scratch. No grass, just dirt, dust and pollution. 

Friday, June 21, 2013
Today was somewhat of a preparation day even though we went into the office and didn't leave until 2:00 pm. We had the Campbell's over for dinner tonight. They are the couple we randomly met at the Freetown Market one Friday about a month ago. We were so desperate for human company back then, that we just started talking to them, introduced ourselves and it resulted in them having us over for dinner and we reciprocated tonight (they live walking distance from our apartment). They work for the US Embassy that is just behind us and up the hill. We had a delightful time, and in many ways, they need our friendship as much as we have needed theirs. Such nice people and I took the opportunity to find out how they hire and the type of jobs that are open. I am trying to network for the young people in the East who have been attending the Career Workshop. Tomorrow I find out if they completed their assignment from last week and bring a resume for me to enter on my laptop.

Saturday, June 22, 2013
This was a 12 hour day and I am exhausted! The Career Workshop was at 9:00 am this morning and low and behold my little flock came through with their resumes and before I left them, I had typed up 7 resumes. Scott dropped me off in Kissy and then drove on to Waterloo as we have two sick elders; one with a mild case of Malaria and the other with a case of intestinal bugs of some sort. By the time he came back to pick me up, he had also stopped off in Grafton and attended the baptismal service where 8 souls were baptized. Four different sets of missionaries had at least one baptism a piece. 

Once back in Kissy, Scott attended a devotional put on by the local missionaries. I was so hot, I sat outside trying to cool down with a slight breeze that was coming off the ocean. I walked away for just a moment and a man took my chair so I walked to the other side of the building and sat down on the ground with my back propped up against a pole and promptly fell asleep. 
Scott caught me sleeping on the job.

I came to in time to attend a mission preparation class where we were asked to talk about all the paperwork that is required to submit prior to a mission call. While we were waiting for the meeting to start, some of my buddies were in the class and I broke out in song and dance and taught them the hokey pokey. 
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around!

They loved it and we had a good laugh. We left the class while it was still going on around 6:30 pm as we had at least an hour's ride and we wanted to get home before dark. When I have been involved in their other-than-Sunday meetings, they seem to have no concept of time for they gather for at least 2 hours if not more.

Much love, Robin

More Snaps:
Goofy shot with the young women of the Kissy 2nd Branch

Young Women of the Kissy 2nd Branch. I heard voices and it was them. Angelic!

Modern Dress vs. Traditional Dress

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