Saturday, January 12, 2013

Groundbreaking for Mission Home and Freetown Stake Center

On 12 January 2013 two groundbreaking ceremonies were held in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission and the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake.  Before the actual ceremony a news conference was held, sponsored and organized by Sister Mariatu Browne who is the country director for Public Affairs for the church.  She invited Elder and Sister Burns to come and tell about many of the humanitarian projects they are involved in, which include wells in many places, supplies and furnishings for a polio orphanage, and some springboxes to capture and dispense spring water.  They are also helping with a wheelchair fitting and distribution as well as a neonatal training program.  The media was so attentive and asked some very good questions.  President Patrick Swarray, Jr. fielded questions as well as President Richard Roggia. 

President Roggia wields a shovel in the groundbreaking for the new mission home.  It will be located right next door to the mission office in a nice large compound which also includes a church building which houses four wards.  It should be completed by September, a few months after the new mission president arrives in July.  The mission home will also have two apartments for senior couples located below it.

This is the large lot on which will be built the new Freetown Sierra Leone Stake Center.  It will also house the Congo Cross ward, with the hope that more wards will follow in the future.

President Roggia and President Swarray shared the honor of digging some of the first shovels of dirt for the new stake center for the Church's 3000th stake, the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake. They have been partners in the progress of the church here for the past 2 1/2 years.  President Swarray was called as District President in August of 2011.



After the groundbreaking for the new chapel, many of the media representatives were invited to tour the new Hill Station Chapel which is under construction.  The rock you see in the foreground is a tiny representation of the rock which completely covered and filled the lot where this new chapel is built.  Some of the boulders were taller than a man.  The workers build fires on top of them so they can be broken into pieces and hauled away.  The groundbreaking for this building was held over a year ago.  It has been a painstaking process to clear the ground enough to build the building.


This is a good view of the construction and you can see our two trusty mission vans in the background.  The gray one is old and will soon be retired.  The white one was purchased for Elder Holland's visit in February 2012 and has hauled many missionaries on transfers.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day Hike

We met this little boy at the first of our hike.  He is carrying his breakfast.  The sticks in the background are used in construction to provide support for cement floors while the cement hardens.  They also build scaffolding with them
We found some beautiful gardens growing in the valley close to a small creek.  The creek will run until March so the people are growing all they can until then.
If you look closely, you will see the bananas growing on this tree.  Many of the banana trees look as "messy" as this one.  The old leaves are allowed to drop around the base to compost and provide nourishment to the tree.
There are many unusual fruits that grow in Africa.
This woman waters all of her gardens with these two watering cans.
This is St. Andrews Church in an area of Freetown called Gloucester. 
The front entrance to St. Andrews church (and a good companion)
Taking a moment to relax and enjoy the scenery.
A home dating back to the colonial period.  This house had wood siding.  The newer African construction is all done with cement blocks.
Children pause for a "snap."  They always want to see what it looks like after you take it.
We found the children playing near this slide, the only piece of playground equipment at St. Andrews School across from the church.
This is newer African construction.  They are quite skilled at building with concrete.  They love their brightly colored homes.
A beautiful cabbage patch growing alongside equally beautiful lettuce.  We are grateful for gardens such as these that provide the produce we enjoy her in Sierra Leone.
A big thank you to our good friends, the Lauritzens, who took us on our New Year's Day hike. 
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