Monday, December 5, 2016

Another Day, Another Dollar

Another Day . . . Another Dollar.  That's what my Dad said almost every day.  LeRon and I say that here too as we climb into our truck, shivering in the cold and turning up the heat.  But of course we don't even get a dollar.  Just the Lord's currency . . . "bless you my son and daughter!"

There's only been about a week so far that I haven't worn a sweater.  It can get very hot for a few hours of the day but in the morning and in the late afternoon it still is very cool.  And this is supposed to be the summer.  But the rains have been late this year and it is bringing cooler weather.

We have been very busy.  When 8 new missionaries come tomorrow, we will be up to 78.  By February, there will be 90 young missionaries (not counting us old ones).  So that is double the number that were here when we first came in early May.  So much office work to do.  Makes life interesting.  We definitely feel needed.

We helped the other senior couples celebrate American Thanksgiving by going out to dinner with them at Heminway's which is a fancy hotel near where we live.  Was nice to get together with them.  We don't see them a lot since they are centered in down town Nairobi and we are far away in the mission office in the Karen area.

Elder & Sister Ford are finished their mission as Public Affairs specialists the end of January.  We'll miss them.  Elder Ford is a wonderful dentist who has even checked out a problem LeRon was having.  Good to have him in our mission.

Elder & Sister Petersen will be finished in May.  They are the LDS Charities Directors in Kenya, overseeing work that the church does in schools and also helping to drill water boreholes. 

Elder & Sister Lyman are leaving this week and they too will be missed.  They've been serving as Self-Reliance Missionaries, teaching members and others principles of self-reliance.

Sister Msane came with us to the Thanksgiving Dinner.  She is such a fun person!  So glad we get to work with her.

Lovely "parasite" flowers growing on this tree.

Here's a close-up of the beautiful flower.

This slug was crawling on the wall by our front door.  Click on it to enlarge.  So cool!

And so huge!!  Look at it in comparison to LeRon's fingers!

I love clouds!  Beautiful formation by Galleria mall.

And this pizza oven is still used to cook pizzas at a local French bakery.

Here I am with the flowering "parasite" on the tree.  I'm sure there's another name for it but I can't remember what.

LeRon in his P-day clothes with his Santa hat by the Christmasy Nakamutt elephant.

Beautiful Christmas tree at Galleria Mall.  The stores are getting in the Christmas mood but other than that, no one has decorations like we do in the West.  Christmas here is more getting together with family and going to church.  In fact, most Kenyans go "up-country" for Christmas.  This means that they go to wherever their original village home is.  Many city people still maintain a home "up country."  They say Nairobi is very, very quiet at Christmas time.  I guess we will find out.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Miracle -- or rather, a Tender Mercy from the Lord

Just a quick note about a recent miracle.  Last Saturday when we were in Dar Es Salaam, we got a phone call from a very distraught father saying that his son had just been killed in a car accident in Utah.  This father's other son was a new missionary here in our mission.  He had just arrived about 3 weeks ago.  So we needed to contact this missionary.  He was serving in the Chyulu area which is a 4-5 hour drive from Nairobi.  The father had been unable to get hold of President Msane and at first we were unable to get hold of him too.  But miracle of miracles, President Msane happened to be right in Chyulu with plans to interview all the missionaries, including this missionary, Elder F.  We weren't aware that President Msane was going to Chyulu -- of all the places he could have gone in the two countries of Kenya and Tanzania -- last weekend.  But the Lord knew.  President Msane was right where he needed to be and within an hour was comforting this wonderful young missionary and helping him to make contact with his family.  What a tender mercy from the Lord.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hot, Hot, Hot in Dar Es Salaam

So hot in Dar Es Salaam!!  Thank goodness for air conditioning in houses, vehicles, and stores.  I can see why people die in heat waves in big cities where the power can't keep up with all the air conditioning needs.  Wow.  How do people survive?!  It's hard to breathe when it's so hot!  Made me appreciate the cold in Nairobi.  And by the way, now that we are back, it has turned cold again.  Cold and rainy in Nairobi.  So it's been basically cold for 7 months!!  And at the equator too.  Who would have guessed?  But elsewhere in Kenya and Tanzania, it is hot, hot, hot.

Sister Jones gave me this lovely picture of Elder Akpu (on left) and Elder Cotts (on right) at a baptism in Dar Es Salaam.  Elder Akpu and Elder Cotts stopped by to the Jones's when we were there and we had a great visit with them.  They even ate lunch with us (it was the feeding of the 5000 or rather the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes -- there was enough and we were filled).  But I totally forgot to take a picture of the missionaries.  They looked so cool -- so black and white with dark Elder Akpu and very blond Elder Cotts.  I was so mad at myself for not taking a photo.  So to Elder Cotts parents:  he looked great.  And not even sun burned for the amount of time he spends out in the sun.

Do you think Elder Torrie could pull a handcart loaded with huge containers of water like these people do?  Maybe in his younger years.  (His very younger years).  This handcart is much smaller than most.  Don't know how they push and pull them up hills and down and loaded with heavy stuff.

Bananas growing in the backyard of the house where we stayed.

I'm entranced with these fan palms!

They feel so interesting too.  So firm and cool and smooth.

Monday all day Elder Torrie spent training Elder Jones on all the financial ins and outs.  So fun to find out that they both served missions in Japan in the Japan Nagoya Mission in their youth.  They overlapped about two months with LeRon going home and Elder Jones coming in.  So they had the same mission president -- President Sato.  And then to make a further coincidence, both Elder Torrie's and Elder Jones's fathers served in the same mission in their youths -- the Northern Great Lakes Mission in the United States.  Probably not at the same time though.

Enoch assists Elder Jones with things to do with missionary apartments and office computers.  They sent him back to the store to get cordless mouses (do you call them mice?)  Enoch had never heard of cordless mice.  I wonder if he's heard of Three Blind Mice?  If I was the farmer's wife, I would have cut off more than their tails.
And this is John, who helps Sister Jones with Immigration in Tanzania.  And his lovely wife of course.  I told him how much I love their white smiles.  John said, "Well, we have to smile because if you can't see our white teeth, you can't see our faces at all!"  So funny.  President and Sister Hicken:  John and his wife say a big hello to you.

Sister Jones, Sister Mwingira, Sister Torrie

Now here are LeRon and me with Elder and Sister Jones.  We had a lot of fun with them.  So good to get to know them.  They are doing a great job in Dar Es Salaam.  The missionaries and the members love them, we can tell.

We drove past the Mbezi Beach LDS Church.  Notice the sign in Swahili.  Everyone speaks Swahili.  Even the church meetings are in Swahili.  But maybe because we were there, it was part Swahili and part English.  At least it was in the Kinondoni Branch that we attended on Sunday.  The chapel was beautiful and very clean and the people were friendly.  Did they ever sing enthusiastically!  They put our western wards to shame.

We visited the Mbezi Beach sisters.  Lovely young women.  Sister Njoroge on the left and Sister Bungei on the right.

Don't I look sick next to these lovely ladies?  Sister Njoroge, me, Sister Bungei, and Sister Atieno.  Good missionaries and fun, nice young women.  They are in a threesome.  Not enough sister missionaries for them to be two-by-two.
Now we're on the way to the airport to fly back to cold Nairobi.  I snapped quite a few pictures out the windows but not too many turned out.  The street markets were very similar to Kenya's.

Tried to get a picture of the cemetery.  I've never seen such unkept cemeteries (is that a word?) as I've seen in Kenya and Tanzania.  Not sure why.

More street vendors.

These are the only foraging animals I saw in Dar Es Salaam.  In Nairobi, we often see cattle as well as goats and sheep.  These goats were on the side of the road.

More street scenes.  Lots of Muslim women wrapped up.  Where we stayed we heard the Muslim Call to Prayer every day but it was a lot longer (very much longer) than we've heard it in Turkey, Jordan, Israel.  I really like the call to prayer.  Every muezzin does it a little differently.  Some can really sing; others can't but they try.  They call the faithful to prayer five times a day.
On the way to the airport we sat in a "parking lot" on the road for about 45 minutes waiting for traffic to move.  We really got hemmed in.  Big trucks in front, beside, and behind.  Glad it was daylight.  I would have worried if it had been night and we were white.  Not a good situation to be in.

Hawkers were selling their wares while we waited.  Mostly pop, water, fruit.  We didn't buy any.

So interesting to see men carrying things on their heads.  In Nairobi, we mostly see women carrying the heavy loads on their heads.  The men generally push and pull heavily loaded handcarts.  They're very strong.

The farmer in us noticed the grain bins and grain elevator. 

Here are the grain bins by the flour mill.

And now we are entering the airport.  Whew!  We just made it.  I like these white uniforms.  Police in Dar Es Salaam wear white whereas in Nairobi they wear gray (I think).  I've not particularly noticed what police in Nairobi wear.  These white uniforms really stood out.

Last look at Dar Es Salaam and the Indian Ocean.
The sun low in the sky at 5:30 p.m. was gorgeous.

I got seats on the left side of the plane so we could see Mt. Kilimanjaro.  That gray peaked thing that is poking through the clouds is Mt. Kilimanjaro.  (It looks like a dark mass of perhaps water but it is really the mountain).  Was hard to photograph in the waning light.  Click on it to enlarge and you'll be able to see it really is the mountain.  It was exciting to see it for a few seconds.  Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in all of Africa at 16,000 ft and 19,000 feet above sea level.

Monday, November 21, 2016

First Look at Tanzania

We flew into Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania Friday evening.  You pronounce Dar Es Salaam like "Jerusalem" only with a "D" instead of a "J."  I won't attempt to tell you how to pronounce Tanzania since people say it so differently.  Elder & Sister Jones, who have only been here a month, picked us up at the airport.  They are adapting very well.  And interesting thing . . . Elder Jones and Elder Torrie were in the same mission in Japan in the younger years!!  Fun to hear . . . "do you remember eating  . . ." and to hear a smattering of Japanese.  And even more interesting, their fathers also served in the same mission as young men although not at the same time.

I need to tell you about a funny sign I saw in the Nairobi airport AFTER we had cleared security.  I wanted to take a picture but didn't dare.  The sign said, "If you have fire arms, spear guns, or harpoons in your luggage, see an agent."  How funny is that?!

We are staying near the Jones's in a house -- yes, a real house not an apartment -- that the church rents.  It's not like home but nearer home than an apartment is.  Senior couples lived here when there were more of them but we are down to only 7 right now in the two countries.  Senior couples are desperately needed.

Love these fan palms!!!!

All palm trees are interesting to us.  Where we live in southern Alberta, it's very hard to get trees to grow at all.  Around our house on the farm we have planted and re-planted and re-planted.  Very hard for trees to flourish in our windy, cold climate.  I love trees.

Tractors in Tanzania!!  Fun!

The Jones's are making sure that each missionary companionship receives a microwave oven.  Elder Christensen is happy to get one! 

Elder Odhiambo and Elder Christensen stay in one of the nicer apartments in our mission.  Tanzanian building standards appear to be higher than in Kenya; housing is also cheaper.

Elder Christensen and Sister Jones sharing a laugh.  So good to have senior couples near the junior missionaries.  Gives stability and a little taste of home.  Elder & Sister Jones are doing a great job taking care of the missionaries and working in the satellite office here in Dar.

I was happy to see both missionaries but Elder Christensen is particularly my "baby" because he stayed with us on his first night here in the mission when he was new and a little culture-shocked!  We were pretty new too.  So nice to see he's doing great!

These Tanzanian men are just as strong as the Kenyan men.  In Kenya, I only saw women carrying things on their head, but here in Tanzania, men do it too.

Loading the trash on trash day.

Cute kids, eh?

More street scenes.  Pretty similar to what we see in Kenya.

Now that they got their microwave, Elder Mlambo and Elder Christensen (two on the left) are off to share the gospel.

Strong Tanzanian woman!

John helps the Jones's with missionary immigration in Tanzania.  He just got back from Johannesburg, South Africa where he attended the temple.  He flew this time but the last two times he took a bus -- four days there and four days back (without an overnight stop).  If you could see the buses, you would know it's not a pleasant trip.  But John says it was never a sacrifice.  He was so happy to have been able to attend the temple.

Elder Mlambo and Elder Mboya with Sister Jones.  It's sizzling hot today.

Sister Jones brought them several things they need for their apartment.  Elder Mboya is demonstrating how you carry things on your head.  I don't think he could carry that bucket for too long.  He needs a hat to keep the bucket on his head.

The church building here in Kinondoni, Tanzania (an area of Dar Es Salaam) is very lovely.  Well taken care of too.

Saturday afternoon, LeRon spent time training the district and branch clerks.

Here we are at the Indian Ocean for the first time!  Hot, hot hot!!!