Monday, February 27, 2012

An Elementary School, A Neighbor and Beautiful Children

This school is out of town quite a ways, in a quiet quartier (neighborhood) where there is no electricity and families have to walk quite a distance to get water from a public well.

This woman is a seamstress and has a little shop right next door to us.  She has sewn some things for me and we always greet each other as we leave our home.  She came over to get some water one afternoon for her children.  We aren't sure if they are both hers or not, but we are pretty sure the little boy is because he is in the shop with her all the time and every once in awhile he gets into big trouble and we can hear him being unhappy! 

 When we opened our gate one afternoon, these two little girls were playing on the wall across from us.  Notice the French bread in the little girl's hand - a staple of everyone's diet here, and mostly air.  A loaf like that costs 100 cfas, which is not very much - about 20 cents in US money.

These boys are selling this dog.  When we smiled at them as we were waiting in traffic, they thought we wanted to buy him.  We were sorry to disappoint them!  There aren't a lot of dogs here, and they are mostly very skinny and don't seem to have owners.  We have only seen 2 cats and one of them jumped out of our yard when we came home last night!  I don't mind - maybe he was catching a mouse, even though I haven't seen any.  There are lots of other 'things' I have seen that I don't like to think about (BIG roaches, geckos, lots of mosquitoes.....)

People at Work in P. N.

This young man painted this picture for me, which has mothers with babies on their backs.  He said he and his father are artists.  They display their work on the steps of the post office.

Notice the AMERICAIN on the store.  A 'Boucherie' is a butcher shop where you can buy chicken and other meat and usually canned food, kind of like a 7 Eleven, but where most people shop because they are in the quartiers where they live.  The display of apples is typical and each apple usually costs about 250 cfas, which is about 50 cents.

More Action Shots of the Best Basketball Game in Pointe Noire (since they are small, two balls were needed!)

 Elders Larsen and McGrath
 Elders Lamb, Larsen, Andriamamonjy and Garner

Below right, Elder Tshibindi
Below left, Elder Andriamamonjy 

P Day Basketball at the only BB Court in Pointe Noire (that we know of)

Elders Larsen andTshibindi

Elders Garner (behind Elder Lamb), Lamb, McGrath, Andriamamonjy and Tshibindi

Oh my gosh!  HeMan  made it to the Congo....

Elders Andriamamonjy, Tshibindi, Lamb, Garner (hiding again), Larsen and McGrath

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Our Home and truck

 This is where we live.  It looks fancy, and we are very glad to have a nice place to live.  There are always ups and downs, though - we have birds living in our attic, electric power that goes on and off and isn't powerful enough to run our washing machine (we finally gave it to the elders when theirs broke and we do our laundry in the tub!) and a small generator (it is called 'the group' here and we couldn't understand what people were talking about when they said that!) that keeps the fridge going and a few lights on when the power is off.

This is our truck.  It is essential to have 4 wheel drive, which we have never had in a vehicle before.  Elder Wheatley is amazing as he maneuvers us through incredible traffic - he is getting as good as the taxi drivers who go places and do things I would never have imagined possible - sometimes I just have to close my eyes and hold on tight!  Today we got so close to a large stalled truck that it pushed our side mirror in - I usually just put it in as a caution in heavy traffic. 

Travels and Activities from the week of 2/11/2012

 This young man is enjoying a drink of water on a hot afternoon in Pointe Noire traffic.  If you look closely, in his left hand he has live birds that he walks out into traffic to sell.  They are green and look like parakeets.  We are told they trap the birds to sell for food.  Young men (mostly, a few are women) walk through traffic at the busy intersections selling snacks, water, pens, gum, clocks, watches, sunglasses - all kinds of things, because it can take a long time to get through an intersection and so the opportunity for a sale is great. 

This is a cosmetics store that is quite nice, and shows the very common process of the 2nd story being built (it may take years to complete) while using the main floor and the wood posts(little tree trucks and branches) that hold everything up while it is being built.

This is a lumber shop - at night, the wooden doors are closed and locked.  It is next to other businesses and is only the 4 shelf areas showing and a little area on the left.  The Congolese people are very entrepreneurial and do amazing things with very few resources.  This is the kind of shop where the people earlier in our blog bought the wood to make their home.
These are two amazing women in our home branch.  They asked me to show them how to make cookies and cakes.  We made a chocolate cake, white/vanilla cupcakes, and sugar cookies that we could do lots of things with, like roll in cinnamon sugar, white sugar, or put a piece of chocolate into the middle.  We had a great time.  There was one more sister who had left when I took this picture.  It took us 4 hours because I have only the little oven on the right, with only one shelf in it. We made whipped cream, which they had never had, to show it could be used on top of the cake instead of frosting - powdered sugar isn't available here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Best Elders in the Whole World with Wonderful Elder and Sister Hartman

They lost the first round, and won the 2nd!

These elders had a great time even though they lost at first, how can you tell?  Elder Nash, Elder Hoiland, Elder McGrath and Elder Garner. Notice the Snickers in Elder McGrath's hand in the preceding picture (they did all get one).  Even Elder Wheatley and I got one, which we savored later that evening after everyone was gone and we put our feet up on the couch and made it last as long as possible............

Zone Conference with Elder & Sister Hartman (Dr. Hartman, author of The Color Code books)

These elders, Elder Tshinbini, Elder Mathui, Elder Lamb and Elder Hansen won the competition to build the highest tower with 3X5 note cards.  Their prize was very special - a Snickers bar for each of them, which cannot be found in Pointe Noire - the Hartmans brought them from South Africa. 

Elder & Sister Hartman's mission covers all of Africa!  They gave a wonderful presentation to help us learn how to understand, communicate, and work  effectively with each other and everyone else - and it will help us in sharing the gospel message with others.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Looking from close to the museum to the old coastal port used for slave trade

A thorn tree outside the museum

The original tree was dead and on the ground and it started this new tree branch which grew straight up.  The whole tree is covered in these treacherous thorns.  At this point in time there are no leaves.  I don't know if it will have leaves later.
 When we went outside to look at one of the houses the wives lived in, below,  we were standing by an outside wall of the museum.  The guide said, oh, by the way, that is a very poisonous spider behind you, so be careful not to back up into it!  If it bites you, you die quickly..........
The wives were not allowed into the main entrance of the home and were only allowed into the chief's home if he called for them.  They were then only allowed into one room.

Museum Displays

Masks, s statue about fertility, and a painting of one of the chiefs.

 This is the road we drove on to get to the Diosso Museum.  Diosso is the ancient capital of the kingdom of Loango, 25 km north of Pointe-Noire.  We had to travel a ways out of the city and pay a toll to get onto the paved road that leads to this road.  The museum has an historical display (posters, pottery, masks, objects, sculptures and statutes ) of the area, including much information about the slave traffic which occurred in this area, which borders the Atlantic Ocean. 
This is the museum, which used to be a royal palace.  As far as anyone we have talked to knows, it is the only museum in Pointe Noire.  It was built in 1952, by Moe Poaty III, who was the king of the Loango Kingdom.  According to the museum information, it was in 1946 that Congo Brazzaville (the capitol city) took the form it is now.  There is still a chief living in the area of the museum, and he has cultural influence, but not any political power.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Elder Lamb and Cleve

Elder Hansen and Elder Tshibindi with Victor's Family

Elder Mathui and Elder Tshimbini with Cleve and Victor's Family

Elder McGrath, Brave, Elder Wheatley, Florida and Elder Garner

Elder Wheatley with Brave and Florida (he baptized Florida); All the people baptized February 4th

Piano Lesson in Pointe Noire Branch & Birds in La Base Church Yard

Here are the rest of our missionaries - honest, we don't get in the water!

We don't get in the water, but we enjoy the beach - here are some of our missionaries

Helping a wonderful family haul wood to build their home on this hillside

First Picnic at the Beach - 'sausages' are hotdogs!

View from the beach back to land - cement homes being built