Sunday, September 30, 2012

When we walk along the beach we can see ships in the distance, waiting to go into the port of Pointe Noire.

 Little sister is fast asleep on big sister's back.

A brother who is a taylor, sewing with his foot operated machine, in the open area by his home.  If you look closely, you can see the wheel under the machine, and the string attached to his foot, that operates it!

This dear sister is showing the elders her garden produce.  They have terraced the hill they live on and have all kinds of things growing there - provident living at its best!
OK, parents of our elders - here are 7 of the 8 (the 8th elder is taking pictures), participating in a branche talent activity - notice the borrowed suit coats that are a few sizes too big or small......they sounded wonderful!-

Sights around Pointe Noire

This is the Pointe Noire Train Station, on a day that is not busy.  The train goes to and from Brazzaville, the capitol city, through a lot of villages.  We have never talked to anyone who has ridden it.

This friendly little lizard lives across the road from us and we see him on the side of our neighbor's house or on this pile of bricks, on sunny days.

This is a bakery that we often buy bread and sometimes a croissant from.  It has excellent French bread, according to our mission president, who just happens to be seen in the lower right of this picture.  He said it is as good as nay they buy when they visit. France. The man in the lower left  is like many men who ride motorbikes and carry at least one bag on each side and one in front of them, full of loaves of French bread, to sell to vendors.

More Sights around Pointe Noire

This is a table of charcoal - what most people cook with, in little metal pots, on metal tripods.  Many vendors sell it - it is always in 'stacks' and you buy it by the stack.
 This truck carries water - it is backing into an alley at the top of our little hill.  The last truck that did that, ran into a wall and did quite a bit of damage.  This one just might fit!  Sometimes we can't get home in our truck because of big trucks like this, or with sand/gravel or cement, just block the road and we have to wait until they move.

Some cute little girls with their mom, on the way up the alley to the main road.

These two great elders helped the woman across the lane from us, by hauling many, many wheel-barrow loads of sand, in the rain, from the road into her yard.  They were hot and sweaty despite the rain, and pretty exhausted by the time they were through!  I have to add that Elder Wheatley was right in there, also helping, and he kept up with them and hardly broke a sweat!  Not bad for an old guy.....but he didn't think I needed to show the picture with him in it!

Helping Hands

These branche members are prepared for the morning of "Helping Hands" service.  We started with this many and a few more joined after we got to the project.  This is in the side yard at the church.  The project site was around the corner.

Everyone really wanted to work, but sometimes there weren't enough rakes, shovels and brooms for everyone.  The goal was to clean up the yard of the Mvou Vou Commune, which is the community government building where one of the branche buildings is.

I think we got a smile out of this little guy later! He wasn't happy because he didn't have a broom or shovel to help with - but he got a turn eventually.

Two great Young Men and a missionary - what a great combination!
I think one blessing from doing this project (and a well project across the street), is that lately, when the police on that corner wave us over to check our papers, when they recognize us as missionaries for the Church who helped, they have been telling us to go on - what a blessing!  I do hope that continues.

This elder, bless his big heart, wore my backpack all morning, because I didn't want to put it down.  It was heavy and he worked with it anyway.  This very small pile of leaves and garbage became huge by the time we were through - then we lit it on fire, because that is the way most garbage is managed here.

Here are 2 wonderful Young Women and a dear sister, with a grand-baby on her back (you can see her little feet poking out by the sister's elbows).  Babies are wrapped in a piece of fabric, which is folded and tied up in front, across women's chests.  They often ride around all day that way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Shopping in Pointe Noire

These ladies are on the edge of the 2nd largest marché.  It was late afternoon and I think they are saying to each other, "Hey, what a day we've had, let's call a taxi and head for home."  The following pictures are just some of the common places to shop here in Pointe Noire.  I will add more in the future.  We have some of our favorite places to buy things, and if the people say it's OK, we will take pictures of them with the produce, meat, etc., we buy and post them.

On the left is a barber and coiffure shop, which are so numerous  it is amazing that any stay in business!  Many men get their hair cut at least weekly, and it is usually only 500 cfa, about 1 US dollar.  On the right is a quincaillerie, a hardware store, which you also see about every 4th or 5th store front. 

This is a dry cleaning/laundry business - they are also everywhere.  When you see a man with a nicely pressed shirt, you can pretty well count on it having been cleaned at one of these 'pressing' shops.  Their white shirts are a lot whiter than the ones we do in our washing machines and I wish I knew the secret!

If there is ever anything you can't find in a shop, one of the marchés, or along the road - someone will probably walk by with it on their head!  It is really quite convenient!  However, we are told that you can find everything you could ever dream of at least at the grande marché, which is so huge and so full of people and things of all sorts, that I don't really ever want to go there again because I am afraid I will get lost and never find my way out......years from now, my family would be saying they knew I went in, but I never came out and no one could find me!

This little shop is along one of the 'fingers' of the biggest marché  in Pointe Noire.  We usually park close to this shop and walk to the places we need to buy things from.  Inside the shop is full of all varieties and sizes of light bulbs.  We buy the light bulbs we need for the elders' apartments and us, here.  The woman and her daughter, who run the shop are very friendly and we enjoy visiting with them.

This is the type of vendor people buy their containers for water from.  Almost everyone uses these, because even if you have running water - you don't always have it and when you don't, you don't know when you will again!

This is a vendor of DVDs, and usually there is a TV going with one of the DVDs in it and lots of people standing around watching.  Sometimes they have the sound turned up so loud it hurts our ears.  If you have electricity, you usually have a TV and DVD player, no matter what little else you have.  Just having electricity is a luxury, and of course if you have it, you don't have it all the time, and when you don't have it, you don't know how long it will be until you get it again, hence the need for generators, for those who can afford them.

More Shopping...

This is a plant nursery that we pass almost every day.  It doesn't look like anyone is there, but if you stop and walk up to it a person miraculously appears.

I have posted another picture of furniture, but this is some really pretty furniture that I wanted to show.

It seemed appropriate to show at least one pharmacy because they are everywhere and you don't have to have a prescription for most medications.  This one is along our road and seems to have something familiar about it!

It's back to school time here and everyone needs a backpack.  A lot of people besides students use backpacks - it's a great way to carry things.  Pink is a very popular color  regardless of gender or age.

This is how most clothing is sold, either like this along the roads, or in one of the marchés like this, or in piles on the ground.

Here are a few shots of how you shop for auto supplies,
gasoline and seat covers.  Vendors are very creative in the ways  they advertise their wares.  Another way is to stand on the side of the road and hold what they are selling up to your car window, especially things like windshield wipers, and they shake them to get your attention

This gas station is American owned, we have been told.  We buy gas for our truck and our generator at stations like this.

We pass this vendor all the time - it is a young man who sits on his chair and watches the traffic and waits patiently for an interested customer.