Friday, March 24, 2017

Can't resist these photos

I know I just did two posts but I can't resist posting these pictures.  They are of our Cecilia, our wonderful mission office cleaning girl.  She's such a great cleaner that she even scrubs the fireplace which we NEVER use.  We've told her not to but it doesn't matter, she cleans it anyway.  She came today with her hair done in braids like I've never seen before.  I asked her if it hurt when she got it braided and she said, "Aye-aw.  It pains."  She's a lovely young woman and we love her a lot.

Back to Dar Es Salaam

In the previous post I showed pictures of our Saturday trip to Kilungu Hills.  Sunday was busy as usual with Primary duties and teaching piano lessons.  Then we are made a flying trip (literally) to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.  Monday we flew down and Tuesday we flew back.  Sadly, one of the senior couples, Elder & Sister Jones, needed to return to the US due to health problems.  So we went down to bid them farewell and to help train Elder & Sister Munson to take their places in the Dar office.

Peggy is enjoying her piano lessons.  You can tell that she practises at home.  LeRon used to think his piano teacher couldn't tell when he hadn't practised.  But now that he's been teaching for several months, he says that the teacher can definitely tell!

Sister Okila and Sister Auma serve as missionaries in the Langata Branch that we live in.  We took them home from church and saw their nice flat.
And in the bathroom was . . . Sister Auma's hair drying on the tub.  African girls braid fake hair into their naturally wiry hair.  It's not always black.  Sometimes it's blond, sometimes it's red and sometimes its who knows what other color.

And out Sister Okila and Sister Auma's window is the largest slum in Africa -- the Kibera Slums.  They told us that it houses 800,000 people at last count.  The sister missionaries go into the slums a couple of times a week but only with a priesthood-holder man to accompany them otherwise it's not safe.  They have to be out of the slums by 5 p.m.

They said that the shacks are tiny and very close together, usually with an open sewer running between the shacks.

The sisters told us that not everyone who lives in the Kibera Slums are poor.  Some even have cars and plenty of food.  Why do they live there?  Because it's cheap.  Not for me!

The Kibera slum covers a huge area of Nairobi.  Most parts of it don't have electricity or water.  An outhouse (really just a pit) is used by up to 20 families.  Trash is thrown into pits also.  I can't imagine living this way.  No wonder some people smell really strong, especially if they don't have water to bathe with.

Monday we drove to the Jomo Kenyatta Airport, which is 40 minutes to 2 hours drive away from our flat depending on the traffic.  This is the entrance to the airport.  All passengers have to get out and walk through a little building with a metal detector, just like inside the airport.  Then the passengers wait on the other side for the drivers to get their vehicles checked and to drive through.

This is the funniest sign ever (read the boxed instruction bottom right) and it's just after you go through security and enter the gate area.  Who would bring firearms or a harpoon in their luggage?!  And how would you get this far with things like that in your luggage?!

Now here we are in Dar Es Salaam.  (Dar Es Salaam still sounds like Jerusalem to me when you say it really fast).  Elder Torrie (right) is helping train Elder Munson in his new office duties.

Agnes is a huge help to Sister Jones.  She's a returned missionary whose Swahili really helps Sister Jones.  She also gets the best prices at the market.  L-R: Agnes, Sister Jones, Sister Munson (who will take Sister Jones' place in the Dar office, which is in their home).

Elder Jones and Elder Torrie both served in the same mission in Japan over 40 years ago.  Their brothers both served missions in South Korea, and their fathers both served in the Great Lakes Mission over 60 years ago.  What a coincidence.  So here we are saying farewell: Elder & Sister Jones and Elder & Sister Torrie.

As always, I like to snap photos out the window.  Didn't turn out too well but I was intrigued by the huge bundle on that man's head.  In Nairobi, only women carry things on their heads but here in Dar, lots of men do too.

Always fun to see people on the streets.  So colorful too.

And the tuk-tuks are interesting.  LeRon and I rode tuk-tuks in Cambodia, or was it Thailand but they are against our mission rules here.  So we just drive ourselves.

More street scenes in Dar.

Lots of people wanting to do good send clothes from the west to Kenya.  Most of the clothing ends up being sold on the street!

Colorful things sold on the street.

There's a huge Muslim population in Dar Es Salaam and actually all over Kenya and Tanzania.  This part of Dar has lots of goats and food processors for the Muslim diet.

Taking a goat to market.  Muslims eat a lot of goat meat.

And here is the market.  Lots of meat slaughtered here and sold out in the open.

More street scenes in the Muslim area.

School uniforms for sale here.

And school children in their school uniforms.

I wish I had the courage to take pictures of the faces of the people.  So interesting but I don't want to offend.

Ah . . . at last . . . some faces!

Last street scene in Dar Es Salaam.  Cleaning supplies for sale.  Or maybe he's a worker going to work.

Off to "The Hills"

The Kilungu Hills District Clerk asked Elder Torrie to come and give training to all the branch clerks.  We've never been to Kilungu Hills so we asked Elder Ellis and Elder Hales to go with us.  So glad Elder Hales was driving.  Up narrow little dirt roads and down narrower, washboardy, rocky roads, with drop-offs on both sides at times.  The "hills" were definitely hilly.  It reminded us of Peru in the area around Macchu Picchu.  Gorgeous countryside.

The Kilungu Hills District (of the church) is in the Kilungu district of Kenya.  It includes 5 branches:  Kalongo, Kyambeke, Mitini, Ilima, and Kilili.  All of the branch presidents and clerks met us at the Kyambeke meetinghouse.  A 125-km drive took 3 1/2 hours going and 2 1/2 hours coming back since we went on a less scenic route.  So glad we took the scenic route going.  It was something else!

We met up with some more missionaries in Kilungu Hills so you missionary moms and dads need to watch for pictures of your sons.  Be sure to click through the pictures to enlarge.

It had rained a bit in the night (thankfully, as it's been so very dry) so the road was muddy.

Oh-oh.  A bus is coming.  Where do we go?  The road is narrow with soft mud on the sides.  The bus is bigger; I think we'd better pull over.

It's a cloudy, misty morning.  If you click on the picture, you can see the terraces up the side of the steep hill.

Here's a close-up of the terracing -- through a dirty window, I grant you, and clipping along at 30 km/hour over bumpy roads.

You can see how dry it is here.  Love these terraces!

And I love the red soil.  Here's a view of the terraces right from the road.  It doesn't look like anything is growing here.

I wish a camera could do the scenery justice.

I took so many pictures, trying to get a picture to show what it really looks like.  So gorgeous!
People here walk a LOT -- up hill and down.  No wonder they aren't over-weight.

The road switch-backed up and down hills for more than an hour.  If I were one to get car-sick, I would have.  Thankfully, I've only felt car-sick one time in my life and that was in California near Placerville.  We were driving with a friend, Bruce Wadsworth, and he was driving crazy fast on switch backs and I was in the back seat and I nearly lost it.

Green and red.  So lovely.

People live out their lives here and probably don't appreciate the beauty they're surrounded with.  They're too busy putting food on the table.

We've arrived at the Kyambeke (pronounced Cham-beck-y) meetinghouse.  It's very well maintained and was clean and cool.  Cement floors.  Big chapel.  Lots of classrooms.  Here's Elder Hales and Elder Ellis with someone from Kilungu Hills District.  He was happy to greet us.

While I eat and sleep and read and while Elder Torrie does the training, Elder Ellis and Elder Hales are off to see what the Kyambeke Elders are up to.

Gate and bridge leading from the meetinghouse.  Elder Ellis and Elder Hales will be hot and tired when they get back from several hours of hiking up and down hills in the heat.
LeRon had a great training time with the District president and clerk and with the branch presidents and clerks.  A great turn-out and they all learned a lot.  Training is an on-going process.  These men are trying their best to follow church procedures especially as it pertains to church finances.

The chapel was large and bright and clean.

I loved the posters on the walls.

It would be nice if everyone had a strong family but families are struggling here just as they are struggling in the west.  They all need the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they need to keep their covenants and follow Jesus Christ.  Whole nations will then be stronger.

After the training at Kyambeke, some of the branch presidents walked over the steep hill to the Mitini Branch.  We drove, thankfully.  The missionaries and others were waiting for us in front of the Mitini Branch building.
Elder Wood from the US and Elder Akpu from Nigeria stay in this area and do missionary work here.

Smiling Elder Wood and smiling Elder Akpu.  They both looked great!

Elder Ellis, Elder Hales, Elder Akpu, and Elder Wood are off to find something cold to drink.  People here don't drink a lot of water but they definitely drink a lot of pop.  You Americans call it soda but we Canadians call it pop.  It's never been my favorite drink.  Pop is cheaper than water here but give me water any day.

This is the village (?) where the Elders are going for pop.  It's called Mitini.  I don't know if it's a village or not.  Just a wide spot in the road.

We found the Mitini church compound very interesting.  Clean.  And they didn't even know we were coming.  Very impressive.  Behind LeRon, over his right shoulder, is the blue baptismal font.  We baptize the way Jesus was baptized -- by immersion.  Jesus went down into the water and came back up and that is the way baptisms are performed in our church too.

The Primary room was also impressive and again, very clean.  Love those colored chairs.

LeRon's entertaining the Kalongo and Mitini branch leaders.

I wanted in a picture so here are LeRon and me with Elder Wood, Elder Akpu, Elder Ellis, Elder Hales.

Now we're all looking at the camera.

LeRon and Colleen with lovely hills in the back and a pole growing out of our shoulders.

Four handsome hardworking missionaries.  Don't they look nice in their white shirts and ties?

Most work is done by hand -- by hoes and shovels such as the one this boy is carrying.

Another look at the terraces.
Road work done by hand.  Look at the picks these men are using.  (Click to enlarge).
And click to enlarge this picture.  The flag men at both ends of the construction were actually flag women.  They carried flags -- green for go and red for stop.