Monday, March 3, 2014

Week #40 - Yay!

Sunday, January 12, 2014
We are presently at The Place – a resort (hard to believe, I know) in Tokeh Beach, Freetown, Sierra Leone. Attended church in Kissy and after arriving home, left around 3:00 pm with Dave and Rachelle for an overnight get-away. Quite a rough ride to go a total of 20 miles to get here, but I think it is going to be well worth it, if I can wind down for just a day and try not to think about missionaries, apartments, and everything else going through my brain mission related. After checking into the resort and dropping off our belongings in our bungalow, the 4 of us took a leisurely walk on the beach. A very clean beach with beautiful off-white sand! It was wonderful....the locals had been out fishing all day and were returning with their nets and catch of the day; it caused me to picture in my mind Simon called Peter, and Andrew as they were doing the same so many years ago and the Savior beckoned them to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. Maybe not quite the same purpose what I saw tonight but the fishing done just the same, with hand made boats and nets. In fact I came upon some men sitting on the shore, repairing their nets.
Beautiful sunset.

Cute little girl on the shore.

Fisherman and their catch emptied and the boats are at rest for the night.

Fishing boats at rest.

Fishing net repair

Fishing net repair
Fishing net repair

Grandma and baby sitting in boat.


Returning to shore after fishing all day.


Scott is happy!

The fish that is caught is sold in Freetown, smoked and re-sold on the streets.

At the close of the day, I think the highlight for me was taking a very hot shower with unlimited time and water! And the water flow coming out of the shower head wasn't a drizzle! Add to this highlight, the air conditioning was so efficient that I actually got cold during the night (1st time in 9 months I was cold) and had to use the blanket; oh, let's not forget no generator noise and we didn't sleep under net (I would have preferred that, but the resort didn't provide them).

Life is good!

Monday, January 13, 2014
Another wonderful day, with a morning walk along the beach with Scott and after breakfast a walk to the village to check out the “mall” and all the “wonderful shops.” We visited a sum total of one shop where the proprietor had some clothing and sandals but we did not purchase anything. The real find came as we were walking back to the resort and came upon a small shed just outside the entrance whereupon the owner persuaded us to stop and look at his carvings. Rachelle and I weren't too impressed nor did we believe it was all his original work; but then outside the shed was a partially finished carving of a West African woman created from a single piece of wood weighing about 250 pounds. She had a baby on her back, juggling a basket on her head, while holding on to a fish she was taking home for a meal. It really was beautiful and I remarked to Rachelle, how wonderful “she” would look in the new mission home. That was all she needed to begin the bargaining process resulting in the purchase. It really was a find and a bargain but as we are walking through the resort gate and passed the parking lot, Scott looks over at the car and asks Rachelle how she thinks we are going to get it in the car and get it home. She didn't think about that but because we hadn't paid for it yet, if it didn't fit, we just wouldn't be taking it with us.

Scott loves the ocean!

We check out of the resort and stop to make the purchase; there is no turning back now because Rachelle is having the guy carve his name on the base of the piece, we are re-arranging the luggage and laying down Scott's seat so she can fit in the car. I am thinking which one of us is going to be left behind – Scott or me! With the locals, Scott and Dave, they get her in the car and Scott and I will be sharing a seat for the hour and a half ride home, all the while trying to keep 250 pounds of wood from rolling back and forth. We stop along the way to make some adjustments and Dave comes up with the brilliant idea to strap her in with seat belts. Due to the length of the wood, we are able to strap her in with two which helped make the ride home a little more comfortable.
We took a walk and found this artist and partially finished wood carving. Rochelle had to have it and it will have a special place in the new mission home.

We stopped along the way and put two seatbelts on her.

We topped off the night with a round of Hand and Foot.

It was a much needed rest if only for a day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
9 month anniversary! Where has the time gone?! I have 9 months of journal entries to account for almost every day.

I was in the office all day; with the Lauritzen's gone and office elders filling in, I feel like I need to be there until another senior couple takes over office duties. I ran my monthly report for CDE's and printed out the record of 204 entries for the month of December and I am still behind.

Thursday, January 16, 2014
The Campbell's did such a great job of deep cleaning the Lauritzen's apartment, I have hired them to clean the mission office every Friday. They will be coming in tomorrow. They showed up at the mission home on Tuesday dressed in their Sunday clothes to clean and for 5 + hours they received pay to the equivalent of $3.00 an hour; isn't the minimum wage in California $8.00 + something?

Friday, January 17, 2014
The Campbell's arrived at the office today around 1:30 pm and didn't leave until around 5:30 pm thoroughly cleaning the office; window ledges, fan blades, chair seats, desk tops, copy machine besides all the other regular items. They worked along side each other throughout the process and because of the deep cleaning, I was authorized to pay them more than what we originally agreed upon. I also offered them the mission office safe to secure some of their earnings and begin to build up a little nest egg; culturally, when a member of a family is earning money, he has an obligation to financially assist members of the immediate family as well as extended family members. These two have struggled for months just to survive and I secretly didn't want them to have to give their money to family members; so as I left them to discuss the offer, they came to me with money they wanted to put away. They had accounted for their tithing and transportation to get home with some extra, and then gave me the rest to put in the safe.

I dressed in my skirt that the Dock Lady (Marian Ghazzawi) gave me because we had plans to visit her today but that didn't work out. It is so long that when I sit in my chair and roll around, the material gets caught in the wheels and then I have to yank it out, besides, with so much material, it is hot. So, in the company of Rachelle, I mention this and she comes up with the brainy idea to cut away some of the material and thus shorten the length. Great idea! Then we played around a little bit with a head wrap – not a great idea.
Still have the slip to cut off.

I got in the office on Friday and kept getting my long skirt caught in the wheel of my chair so we began the alteration process.

Came home to a scrumptious dinner of Campbell's Tomato Soup and macaroni and cheese. It really was good! Maybe not so good for us, but great tasting!

Saturday, January 18, 2014
Had a meeting in Kissy today at 10:00 am to begin the implementation of a training model to assist the district in preparation to become a Stake. President Ostler presided and trained with the expectation that Scott and I continue with future branch council meetings. It is a focus on one branch at a time and Kissy 2 seems to be the most ready of the 9 branches in the East.

When we arrived at the Kissy chapel, Kissy 1 branch was cleaning the building. With the dry season in full swing, as hard as they worked, by the end of the day there would be a dusting of red dry dirt. President Dassama was leading out with the cleaning and I was intrigued with the pants he was wearing – denim capris! They looked familiar and upon closer observation, I realized they were mine! The Lauritzen's left behind a large suitcase of clothing and I contributed to the cause; Scott in turn took the suitcase to President Dassama last Sunday so he could distribute the clothing to those in need. Apparently he liked my capris not knowing they are for women. I am flattered by his taste in clothing...

 It hurt my knees just watching Francis.

My pants!

Sarah ran to Scott for protection after one of the youth picked her up and placed her in an empty water barrel.

The Jests arrived tonight from England to serve for 12 months. They volunteered and Elder Jest has taken a one-year leave of absence to serve. They actually have a nephew serving out in Bo. We are grateful to have another senior couple.

Love to all!

Week #39 - The Joys of Transfer Week!

Monday, January 6, 2014
Spent the day in the mission office and as soon as I get there, Sister Lauritzen promptly tells me they received a phone from Elder Lauritzen's family and his older brother had just passed away. This sibling is the father of the niece who passed away 2 weeks ago! So difficult for me to wrap my arms around – 3 deaths in a family in 2 weeks!

White man trying to stop traffic in the dark so the missionaries could cross the street.

Safe! Scott is having much better luck getting traffic to stop.

Not sure what I am attempting to do here but obviously it is not working as the truck zooms past!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
The Lauritzen's left for home today and we received 22 new missionaries tonight from the MTC in Accra, Ghana. It was a very busy day; so many moving parts and I am exhausted!
Now you see them!
Now you don't!

Lauritzens and Kanzlers

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Transfer day! 22 new missionaries had to be assigned to companions and other existing missionaries were transferred to new areas and or/or given new companions. Very long day and add to that, I drove two new sister missionaries out east to the Thunder Hill apartment in very congested traffic with a standard transmission truck. Thankfully Rachelle was with me and kept me company on the long drive; once we got back in Freetown it was to Crown Express to pick up pizza for Elder Aniabre's last dinner meal as a missionary. He returns to Ghana tomorrow after serving 2 years in Sierra Leone.

Elder Aniabre ready to depart to sea coach for his return trip to Ghana!

Thursday, January 9, 2014
Scott had to leave before me this morning and with the extra truck I drove home yesterday, I drove it to the Mission office this morning; my first solo trip from the apartment to the office. We live on a hill, that reminds me of San Francisco, which I would never drive there unless I had an automatic transmission; Scott was kind enough to turn the truck around so it faced forward upon launching myself out of the compound this morning. So as I start up the truck and the guard opens the gate, I gun it and start to turn to the right so I can get out of the gate and up the hill in one motion and not have to roll back and put on the emergency brake; in the process, I forgot about a cement block which I zoomed over that kind of bent something that in turn was rubbing against the back tire; the guard motioned for me to back up (big mistake) so he could straighten it out which I thought he did, but he kept on motioning me to either back up some more, or turn off the truck. I saw my opportunity with the gate completely open and just threw it in first gear, squealed the tires and zoomed up the hill onto the main road while I had the nerve to do so. Along the 30 minute ride, I actually passed a vehicle on the curvy road with no problem! I was so proud of myself. Upon my return home, I noticed a big chunk out of the cement block....

While we were recovering in the office from transfers yesterday, the Campbell's appeared out of no where! They are a sweet couple who live in Kissy, have no jobs, and we see them a lot at the Kissy Chapel (they actually do their laundry there when there is water). In our attempt to find apartments, we have engaged members to help us and if their “finds” result in a signed lease agreement a “finders fee” has been set up to reward them. Well, the Campbell's found an apartment in Upgun that we are very interested in leasing so they came into the office to inquire as to the status. I was shocked to see them and asked how they got to the office. They walked approximately 7 miles! We weren't able to give them positive information about the apartment, but we did arrange for them to come to the mission home and clean the Lauritzen's apartment to ready it for the Jests who will be arriving next week. We “advanced” the Campbell's money so they could take transport to the mission home next week and get home today without walking. It was a sweet moment to come up with a plan to help them financially by providing them some employment.

We are limping along in the office with the Lauritzen's gone. The office elders had only 3 days of training so it is a challenge to say the least figuring out all the procedures to keep a mission running smoothly. They are missed!

Friday, January 10, 2014
In the office to help out the office elders for awhile, who are sitting in for the Lauritzen's. From there, we drove out to Calaba Town to look at a building as a potential meetinghouse and then to Waterloo to do the same. The Waterloo building has great potential. It is located in Kissytown, just beyond the 5/5 area and would service a lot of saints who travel 3-5 miles to get to the Waterloo chapel. One might think 3-5 miles is no big deal, unless you have to walk it, or get two transports to get there; 2 transports are the equivalent of 2,000 leones one way, which translates into $1.00 which is 2/3's of ones total average daily income of $1.50, so that is a lot of money.

While looking at the Kissytown building, Richard Carlos and President Kamara told us of a recent convert who lived just down the road so we paid her a visit. She suffers from some sort of degenerative hip disorder and has a marked limp. Upon seeing her today, I remembered attending her baptism, and she walked to the river! We found out she was taking a motorcycle transport the other day, and just at the intersection of her home when she was dropped off, the guy lost control of the motorcycle and she fell off with the cycle on top of her and landed on her bad hip. Such a cute little young lady, sitting on a bench outside her mom's home; we took a few moments to give her a priesthood blessing, surrounded by kids, chickens and people.

Getting ready for a piggy back race.

A very nice light fixture in the Kissytown home that is for rent! I was pleasantly surprised!

Saturday, January 11, 2014
Today was laundry and food prep day; we had 6 missionaries from the Hill Station apartment for dinner – they come from Zambia, Uganda, Fiji, Tonga, and Utah. Very diverse backgrounds and families. A delightful evening and when I called upon them to leave us a message it was themed around companionship’s and avoiding/resolving conflict. I learned a lot from these wonderful elders tonight as each one shared personal experiences from their own families as well as their missionary companionship’s. What they are learning on their missions will serve them well when they are husbands and fathers.
Hill Station Apartment Missionaries
Elder Penia after dinner.

Love and Blessings to all!