Thursday, June 27, 2013

Another Woman's Activity

We started the activity at Sœur Lodi's house, and then the sisters wanted to go to see the lake about 1/2 mile away.  They wanted to ride in the truck and had such fun squishing in - most of them here in the back.  They laughed and laughed and had so much fun with it. 

Here we are at the lake, which they said has a mermaid......and a pastor who tried to walk on water and was never seen again!

These next 2 pictures show one of the cutest little girls I have ever seen......

I'm not sure what she is telling him, but it seems to be important!

Some of the sisters gathered on the porch out of the sun for a drink of water.

Saying Goodbye

Two faithful elders, Elder Nash and Elder LaFleur, packed and ready to hop into the truck and head to the airport and back to their families and lives in the U.S.
They have been great missionaries and worked diligently right up through the last day. The people here love them, and they love the people.  We will miss them and wish for them the best of everything in their future lives.

Elder Nash with a couple of his treasures, which he actually got in Cameroon.  I'm sorry I don't have another picture of Elder LaFleur!

Glimpses into life in Pointe Noire

Elder Wheatley is showing a young man how to make banana bread - everyone seems to love it, here.  We often take it to people we visit.  This young man is learning how to make it so he can show his mother and make it for his family.  He speaks English well, which helps ......he came back again today to find out what 'soda' is and to translate measurements of cups and teaspoons into milileters.  He says his mother will show us how to make beignets (fried donuts).

Our flowers are thriving!  Both guards think they need watered daily and so we have been surprised they haven't drowned!

This is a field of cucumbers, which are eaten a lot here.  They are sold all over the city from little booths along the roads and streets.  They are sold for about 1,000cfa for 3 good sized ones in the market - about $2.00.  It's good to buy what we can locally, because a cabbage costs the equivalent of about $2.00 U.S. dollars along the street, and about $7.00 U.S. dollars in the French super market.

Here's a close up of the cucumbers.  We are seeing more and more gardens around the city - mostly on the outskirts, where there is more room.

Typical scene in the road in front of our house.  The young man got sent to get water from the well across the street and he has to wait his turn - might as well be comfortable!

This woman is making manioc(cassava) flour and water into a paste that is wrapped in leaves and steamed for about 3 hours and becomes one of the staple foods here.  Right up with bananas and papaya.  It is sold everywhere.  She is a member of one of the branches, has a lovely little family and is a very quiet, beautiful person. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Société de Secours (Relief Society) Activity

On some Saturday mornings, sisters from this branche gather at each others' homes.  They do all the family laundry, clean the house and then cook food and eat it.  They laugh and talk and have a wonderful time together.  They are hard workers and must look forward to having some fun together.  This is at one of the nicest homes in the branche.  The woman on the right in the front row, whose name is Wholove, lives here.  She and her husband, who is a physician at one of the best clinics in town, have 3 young children.  She is also a seamstress and makes beautiful curtains and furniture covers - which is amazing,  because they have no running water and electricity only when they run their small generator!

 Here are 3 of the nicest young women I have ever known - the one on the left is engaged (hoping that some day her returned-missionary fiancé willearn enough for her dote so they can marry), the middle one was baptized about a year ago and is special to us, and the one on the right is in the Primary Presidency.  I helped them rinse and hang clothes - this is how everyone we know (except maybe one person) does their laundry, or has it done by someone.

Here, the women are de-boning fish, to put into the saka saka.  I helped clean the fish prior to it being cooked, by washing it and rubbing off some of the fins and skin.  They eat a lot of fish because it is plentiful and inexpensive.   Some is from rivers and some from the ocean.  We see fishermen every morning in their canoes in the ocean when we go for our walks.
Elder Wheatley brought reading material, but we hadn't been there long before suddenly little boys from all over the cartier were lining up with their water containers.....asking for a ride to the well.  He didn't know how far away it was, but away he went, and was back soon with lots of water and people happy to see him!


I tried to get a side view - so it wouldn't seem in poor taste, but this was as good as I could get - hope it's OK!  These mothers do everything with their children on their backs.  She is doing laundry here.  Sometimes when the kids get bigger, it makes me wonder if they should be carrying their mothers!  Once in a while you see a little guy walking around so bow-legged, that you wonder if they will every have legs that are straight, but then it seems to happen.  I mostly wonder, if a child sleeps on the mother's back most of the day, does the child sleep at night........................?
The sisters gave me a 'wrap', which is to protect my clothing.  When a woman is in traditional clothing, she almost always also has a wrap - or even if in western clothing many times, even the young women.  I have grown to love these sisters and will remember them always.

Farewell Visit with President & Sœur Jameson

We had dinner in our home with the Branche Presidents and their wives.  From left, starting with Elder Wheatley, then President Sambo, President Calliet, President Deckhous, President and Sœur Jameson, Sœur Calliet and Sœur Sambo (President Deckhous' wife is deceased).

Front row:  Elder Kende, President & Sœur Jameson & Elder LeFleur, Back row:  Elders Porter, Lavering, Stephensen, Baker, Nash and Christensen.

President & Sœur Jameson and Sœur & Elder Wheatley

REAL Italian lasagna!  The owner, Juiseppe, has his ingredients shipped in from Italy - YUM!

Elders enjoying the feast - notice the Fanta orange replaces the bottles of wine originally on the tables!
President & Sœur Jameson treated us to this special meal at the end of our last Zone Conference with them.
Weekly Letter:

9 June 2013
Dear family,
We have just finished a very busy week.  We think we were only pulled over by the police three times.  The President of the Ivory Coast is meeting with the President of the Republic of the Congo here in Pointe Noire.  Maybe that has them all on edge.  After a string of about ten days with no power outage our luck ran out.  It went down about 7:00 P.M. on Friday evening and returned about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Actually some very important things happened this week.  On Friday, President and Sister Jameson arrived at about 4:00 P.M.  This is their last trip through the mission.  They will return home at the end of the month.  President and Sister Cook of Providence, Utah will be their replacement.  President and Sister Jameson have been in Africa for the past four years.  They had a three month break between a mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then, returning to two years serving  as Mission President.  They have been so supportive of us.  This mission probably covers land equal in size to the continental United States. Six different nations are included in this mission.  Sister Jameson said they have logged 100,000 miles in the air. After their arrival on Friday, I took the President to interview a young man who needed what we call a special case interview.  Elder Wheatley assumes this responsibility when President  Jameson is not in town (he is rarely in town) but is happy to let him do them when he is here.  We then had supper with the three branch presidents and their wives at our home.  Sister Wheatley put a lot of effort into this meal and is was a delightful occasion.  This was an opportunity for the President to express his appreciation for the efforts of these valiant leaders and their wives.
Saturday morning President Jameson held exit interviews for two Elders who will depart the mission on the 28th of June.  Not like other missions where the Elders usually depart from the mission home and have their exit interview the day they leave.  These Elders will get their goodbyes from Elder and Sister Wheatley  and depart from Pointe Noire.  After the interviews we held a zone conference.  The Elders received good instruction about the importance of keeping the recent converts involved in the Church. We also talked a lot about repentance.  A few thoughts:  Repentance has a “feel bad part.” And a “feel good part.”  We have to experience both for it to be repentance.   Repentance isn’t  an event.  It’s a process.
At the end of the meeting Elder and Sister Wheatley were asked to bear their testimonies.  This was a blessing to both of us.  After the meeting the President took us all out to dinner.  We went to an Italian restaurant.  We met the owner one day a few months ago, when President and Sister Jameson and us were eating some pizza in a little shop.  He is a member of the church who has not been active for some years.  He approached us and introduced himself.  He hasn’t been to church yet, because he says he has been too busy getting his restaurant started.  He came here from Italy because he thought he could make a go of it and he says there isn’t work there.  He is actually from Sicily.  He is having to learn French and also speaks a little English.  He has excellent food – the elders were in heaven and it was wonderful to be all together and enjoying the moments.
Following the dinner we had a baptismal service.  President  Jameson conducted several temple recommend interviews and we taught our English class.  We were tired when we arrived back home and headed to bed.
Sunday morning it was off to the Pointe Noire Branch for Priesthood Meeting and Relief Society and more interviews for President Jameson.  We then crossed town to catch Sacrament meeting in the Mpaka Branch.  President and Sister Jameson both spoke.  After Sacrament Meeting,  President Jameson interviewed seven men for worthiness to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. 
Next President and Sister Jameson spoke in the Sacrament Meeting of the Aeroport Branch.  Then more interviews.  It was a very busy day for the President.
We had a little excitement during the day.  The President of the country arrived on Saturday.  You could tell the path he would follow since the people were sweeping and painting along the route.  Garbage disappeared, fences were mended etc.  On Sunday the president of the Ivory Coast came to visit him. After going to the Pointe Noire Branche, and the Mpaka Sacrament Meeting, Sister Wheatley and Sister Jameson wanted a little rest from Church, so Elder Wheatley took them home for a little while.  When we left to return to the Areoport Sacrament Meeting the road was blocked because it would be the path of the motorcade coming from the airport with the Ivory Coast President .  We backtracked and were stopped again.  We would just have to sit it out.  First the soldier guarding the road made us back our vehicle up.  Then he made us get out of the vehicle.  Three cars went flying by.  He got very nervous, released the safety on his rifle and started pointing it at anyone that moved.  We could see his hands quivering.  The motorcade finally passed, about thirty cars and he let us move on to Church.  We would have been the first to fall if he had let loose!
We so appreciate the support of such dedicated leaders like President and Sister Jameson.  Originally their first mission call was to Geneva Switzerland, then then they received a phone call asking them if they would consider going to Africa instead?   A year and a half in Switzerland was replaced by four years in Africa.
When we think of them we are reminded of the story of Rebekah in the Old Testament.  When Isaac sent his servant to find him a wife and he found her( you remember the story of Rebekah fetching water for his camels), he was in hurry to return.  Her family wanted her to tarry for at least ten days.  When the question was put to her, she said, “I will go.”  She didn’t let friends and family deter her.  She became the mother of a posterity that is as numerous as the sands on the seashore.   Like Rebekah is remembered for her willingness to go and serve, many here in this part of Africa will remember the Jameson’s for their years of dedicated service.  The influence they have had will be felt and will increase with time.
We are happy and well.  We love you and miss you.  We are so grateful that Josh Johnson is back with his family again – home from Afghanistan.  We pray for you all every morning and night and thank you for your prayers for us.
Love,  Mom and Dad/Elder and Sœur Wheatley

Around Pointe Noire

This is one of the larger cemetaries in the city.  The cemetaries get overgrown and then the grass and vegetation is burned off once or twice a year.

This is the typical way to take care of garbage and what can't be burned is just left in piles, in cartiers or on the sides of the roads.  There are a few garbage collection bins, as I have shown on previous postings.

A unique way to market shoes!

Below is a truck starting to fill up with passengers.
 This greenery is probably on its way to market.  It looks like the vegetation used to make saka saka, a staple food here.

.......not sure what's in the bags, but everyone is being put to work!