Sunday, July 31, 2016

This & That, on a Sunday

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Each day for the last few days Jim has been trying to fight off the cold he has been getting, probably from the kid that was coughing on him for 10 hours during our flight from LA to London, but each day he has been feeling a little worse.  Today we managed to go to Sacrament meeting, but we came home afterwards and he fell asleep as soon as we got back to the hotel.  While there we met an Elder from Pennsylvania; he has only one month left before he is heading home.

We did not go to the Branch that Cobinah’s attend now (there used to be only one Branch here) because we had hoped to run into Lucia, one of our first hygiene training team members, and one who trained a few times after that on other projects.  We sadly did not see her today.  We did find out though that she and her husband are still attending church regularly.  Amarachi said that two of our previous members that were young single adult girls had gotten married--both attend other Branches; one woman moved away to another area.  They were on our first project, or the one where we had first done the hygiene training and community development program.  It was a joy for me to remember driving them around to the sites while Jim was off with the men.  We had such a great time together—fond memories.  And to visit it yesterday was a joy I will never forget, to see that we were so successful after all these years!  Statistics like these are not typical for any NGO!

I asked Jonathan what kind of fruit this lad had on his head pan—apples—way different-looking apples!

After yesterday’s travels and getting beat up on the city roads, we realized how much better the District roads have become, except for a few spots, and how quickly we were able to travel; yesterday we jerked along, sometimes violently on the inner and outer city roads.  Often we had to stop and go back because a road had become impassable.  Once we got stuck in the mud for a short time.  It reminded me why my neck is permanently stiff—all these years of riding on bad roads in 3rd world countries!

We have often marveled that the girls going to school in their uniforms had such brilliantly white socks on—how on earth do they keep them white while walking in the mud and dirt?  Then we noticed that they often had a wad of something stuffed into the back of their socks.  Amarachi explained that if they come to school with dirty socks they get a punishment, sometimes a beating, so they bring several pairs—if one gets dirty they put on another pair so that they don’t get into trouble—harsh?  Yes.  This is Africa and it is their ‘way’ of doing things.

This is a clinic where we have a well.  This is the only building that they had in 2009.  Now they have additional buildings as shown below.  Clinics take good care of their wells; they are always clean and always working.

Before we required walls around our wells, because this was in the clinic, they not only have a wall but a gate that locks. 

When visiting the other day with the Mission President (Clawson) he told us that he was sitting in a meeting with a District President and I think some Branch Presidents.  He became alarmed when the Branch leader started talking to his leaders or Brethren that they should discuss how many times that they could be allowed to beat their wives in a week’s time, I presume meaning that they ought to ‘cut back’ on doing this.  President Clawson was immediately alarmed, but was grateful that the District leader immediately told the men that this was not right, that there should be NO time that it was okay to beat their wives!  Culture is a hard thing to overcome, but with training, time, and the next generation, perhaps things will change.  We know for certain that Jonathan does NOT beat his wife!  And the returned missionaries hopefully do not go back to their culture, but learn what it means to be in the culture of the Church. 

This is not a sight you see every day in Africa (actually I’ve never seen this)!  This tub was sitting underneath the overhang and they were collecting rain water!  I always said, why don’t they collect it off of their roofs?  Every day it rains very, very hard at times and you can fill a container quickly, especially when collecting runoff.

Love, from the Capitol Hotel in Kenema, Sierra Leone

(As the billboard sign says, it is an unforgettable experience!)

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