Monday, October 1, 2012

Sister Burns's Memorable Birthday

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Today I went into the office to take care of some personal and project work.  It was a nice break from being  ‘Suzy homemaker.’  While I was enjoying the comforts of the office, the others went down a bad road to look at a well.  Elder Burns’s hearing aids are on the fritz so when Amarachi said, “Don’t go down this road because it is bad” (they were following a motorbike), he didn’t hear her.  They got a flat tire.  At that point they had only been to the polio orphanage and seen one well.  They got out the equipment only to find that the jack didn’t have a handle so they had to send the bike out to get one.  There also was no spare.  So then they sent the bike out to get a used tire that didn’t quite fit.  2 ½ hours later they resumed their looking, but by this time half the day was gone.

At the beginning of a bad day.  Amarachi said, “Don’t go down that road—it’s bad!”  His hearing aid is on the fritz and he didn’t hear her. 

That is not all.  Elder Burns was driving in a very muddy spot and had to make a slight turn.  As he did so he kept sliding towards the edge, which dropped off sharply about 10 feet to the new road below.  Jim was sure enough of the impending slide that he jumped out of the truck.  Finally some guys from below scrambled up to help push the truck in the right direction.  They were all a bit panicked but safe and the helpers were delighted to get a little money.

That is still not all.  Sometime during the day Elder Burns backed into a taxi and dented it rather quite nicely.  It is not that it didn’t already have dents, but still, it was big enough to warrant a reward.  Elder Burns did not know what to do so he said the church had insurance.  We all know that they (1) don’t want insurance to fix the car, (2) that the man driving the taxi did not own the taxi (3) he would tell his boss it was a ‘hit and run’ (4) he would keep the cash for himself. They agreed on a certain amount, which was about $12.  This all happened with a great deal of shouting and carrying on.  Jonathan kept telling Elder Burns to get out of there so they took off.  But the men, sensing a great opportunity, decided that it was not enough and surrounded the truck so that they couldn’t leave.  Then other villagers decided to come out to shout and argue (what else do they have to do anyway but create a little excitement).  Jonathan was out of the truck shoving others away, which surprised Jim, but Amarachi said that if you don’t act strong they will become more aggressive. Sister Burns even got out of the truck and started yelling that the village had nothing to do with it and to back off and that it was between her husband and the driver!  Finally Elder Burns gave them about another $15 and they were satisfied-- they all went away celebrating and laughing, having earned more money then they ever do in a week. My, what an interesting day, and this had nothing to do with the wells!

The second part of a bad day.  Elder Burns backs up into a taxi.  Below, it became a very hot issue, the entire village taking part in the shouting.  Jonathan shouted and shoved a while to get the crowd back and to get them to calm down.  Even Sister Burns got mad, got out of the truck and told everyone it had nothing to do with them and to let Elder Burns talk only to the driver!  What a birthday…

Since today is Sister Burns’s birthday, I told her if I’d been home I’d have baked her a cake, but she said that the pancakes I made this morning would have to be her ‘cake.’  We did go out to dinner and had pizza.  Happy Birthday!  A most memorable day!

But, this was not all.  The next day we woke up to a tremendous storm, all thunder & lightening, pounding away.  They all became a bit nervous about using the condemned truck we were driving (President Roggia condemned it last spring) and asked the President if they could trade for a truck with 4-wheel drive.  He agreed, and so they switched with Elder Lauritzen.  They have a nice truck.  So they took off, going the Kissy way because for the truck switch they had to make deliveries (run mission errands) during their jaunt.  Somewhere during their day on a hill a large lorry was ahead of them stopped.  As Elder Burns started to pass him the truck slid backwards into the truck!  This is (was) a very nice truck!  It was hit on the panel above the back wheel and caused a mighty dent.  From now on we are calling Elder Burns ‘crash.’  His comment was that maybe he ought to go home!  (And he meant the USA).  He lives in a small town in Utah with only 350 residents, and hardly meets another car on the road…

The next day didn’t get any better.  After borrowing another truck in better condition because of the rainstorm, a lorry slid backwards into this very nice truck!  At this point we have named Elder Burns ‘crash’ and he said maybe he ought to go home (to the USA!)

More travails, tomorrow.

Love, mom & dad, Jim & Karen, E/S Greding, grandma & grandpa

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