Thursday, December 29, 2011

Not Zebras or Giraffes, But They are Wildlife!

These friends were perched out on the wall near the mission office. Can you see how many there are in this picture? Elder Randall says that the colored ones are the "watchmen on the tower" for the others.

Think Pink!

When we moved into our apartment in Freetown and began to settle in, I discovered that were only about six little containers to hold leftovers, most of them little Ziploc disposable ones that had seen better days. I was pining away for my Rubbermaid containers at home until I found the box you see below at the Freetown Market today. I bought them for myself as a late Christmas present, assuming that they had white lids like the picture on the box. Imagine my surprise to find these pretty pink lids on every container, all 25 of them. I love my pink containers--they make me happy. I think they will make Kate and Brynnley happy, too!
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Afternoon in Freetown

On Wednesday 14 December, we drove "downtown" in Freetown with our valuable mission employee, Markus, to get our drivers licenses. He had paved the way for us by turning in all the needed paperwork including copies of our passports, copies of our resident cards and copies of our U.S. drivers license. The actual time we spent at the drivers license bureau was only about 15 minutes, which amazed us, but it was because Markus took us directly to the woman who takes the pictures and processes the license. He has all of the right connections to get things done quickly. Unfortunately, there's nothing he can do about the traffic. We left the mission office at 1:30 and did not return until 4:30. We probably drove a distance of 4 miles total and it took us three hours to do that. There was a lot of time spent sitting in traffic, so I "snapped some snaps" as they say it here. Unfortunately, a "snap" cannot possibly capture how crowded it was, how close people were to our truck and how slowly things moved. We've not experienced this on either of our two previous missions.

Remember Who You Are

Lest we forget who we are, and forget who we represent, it is painted on the front of our truck. It is a constant reminder to watch what we say and do, especially when we are driving. (A challenge with motorcycles darting in and out and all sides of us!) We have had people see us pull up in our truck and say to us as we get out, "Oh, missionary."

Today was also my first day driving in Sierra Leone. I only took the opportunity to drive once while we were in Kenya and I regretted that decision, so I promised myself I would drive on the next mission. Sunday is a relatively quiet day, so I took my hand at the wheel. I had some of the same butterflies that I did the first time I drove by myself when I learned to drive (I am also driving a stick shift--the same basic procedure I used when I learned to drive in our family station wagon with the shift on the column), but no one died and no one ran into the mirrors on the side of the truck (a common occurrence here). I think there were a few heads that turned to see a "Sister" driving a mission truck, but that's all part of the fun.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

TIA - This is Africa

We left the Salt Lake City Airport on Monday, 28 November, 2011 bound for Freetown, Sierra Leone. We landed in Freetown about 6:30 pm on Tuesday 29 November. We had a layover in New York and changed planes in Ghana. President Roggia and Elder Patterson met us at the airport, but we discovered that Scott's carry-on bag was missing. We had been given an opportunity to check our carry-on suitcases in Salt Lake City because the flight to New York was completely full. We jumped at the chance because our carry-on suitcases were very heavy, completely forgetting that we had put some of our valuables in them. (We discovered later that his bag never came off the plane in Ghana. It flew to Nigeria, then back to New York, to Atlanta, back to Ghana and finally to Freetown again. We received it eight days later, minus a camera, a Leatherman multi-tool and a DVD case with 25 of our favorite DVD's in it. Sad . . . )

But we were happy to finally be in our mission area beginning our work. We took a 25-minute water taxi ride across the bay wearing some interesting life jackets with only one working strap. When we arrived at the wharf, we loaded our suitcases in the back of the truck, and headed to our apartment under the mission home. Our apartment is comfortable and the rooms are quite large. It is a one-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a nice-sized kitchen and washer and dryer. Our water is trucked in to fill four tanks outside. There is a pump system to pump the water from a tank on the ground to a tank on the roof. During the rainy season we use collected rain water. Our power comes from a generator. As we've said before on our mission in Kenya: "TIA--This is Africa."

Office Elders -- Elder Ditsi and Elder Afadi

With our "trainers," Elder and Sister Patterson.

A large baptism was held the Saturday after we arrived. Zion is growing in Sierra Leone

A "welcome" dinner for us and a "farewell" dinner for our new friends, the Pattersons.

Scott has four generators to worry about: two at the mission home (and our apartment) and two at the mission office.

He is also concerned about four water tanks at the mission home and six tanks at the mission office/chapel. Whew!

One of our new "friends" at our apartment. The door to our home away from home.

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