Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Busy Week

This past week has been busy.  I had to apply for Special Pass permits for five American and two Zimbabwean missionaries who are coming to Kenya in about three weeks.  It's pretty critical to get the special passes since right now all they have are tourist visas.  And with tourist visas, they can only be tourists, not missionaries.  We applied a long time ago for work permits but they haven't come through yet.  So I had to apply for the Special Passes to allow them to do missionary work before their Work Permits come.  Bureaucracy!!

The immigration site was down for two days.  I kept trying to get on but no luck.  Then finally by Thursday it was up again but it still took me all of Thursday and most of Friday to prepare all the documents.  Now we will just pray that they will come through quickly.  It's quite a process even after we've applied.

The Church wants us to be legal in every way so missionaries simply cannot do missionary work until they have either the Special Pass or the Work Permit.  Also, the Church does not pay bribes.  If it did, we'd probably have had the work permits already.  But we want to be legal in every way.

Besides working on passes, there was a myriad of other things to do.  Young missionaries kept coming in needing things and it's important to stop and visit with them.  They are so young -- some only 18 -- and they need that grandmotherly visit.  By the way, the young missionaries are also called "Elder" just like the Senior Missionary men are called "Elder."  It has nothing to do with age.  It's an office in the priesthood.  I always put that in the cover letters I write to Immigration because it can be confusing to those unfamiliar with our terminology.

On Friday our drive to the mission office only took 22 minutes!  That was an absolute record.  Of course on the way home it took an hour.  You just never know with the traffic.

After work on Tuesday, Elder Torrie spent a lot of time trying to get my washer going.  It's out my back door in this little alley bordered with a wood fence.  If you click on the picture you can see trees just above his head.  The pipe taking water in and out of the machine is a brittle plastic pipe that kept breaking.  Even as he duct taped one spot, another would break.  He finally got it working but it still took four hours to do two small loads of wash.  I'll be glad for my nice big washer and dryer when I get home in a year and a half!

These are some of the wonderful young Elders and Sisters who come into the office once in awhile.  So fun to visit with them.  They are amazing.  Don't the African Elders look nice with their white shirts?  The American Elders look nice too.  And so do the sweet Sisters.  L-R: Elder Akpu, Elder Mwaja, Elder _____, Elder Hales, Elder Musonda, Elder Lotulelei with Sisters Kiio and Alinyo in front.

You'd never know that I am Canadian by the way I am freezing in our apartment.  The walls are cement and the floor is ceramic tile and in the evenings it gets SO cold.  So I bought this nice warm wool sweater.  I wear it every evening.  I'd like to know what temperature it is.  Probably 20 C.  That's my favorite temperature at home but here it's more humid (but not as humid as I expected) so it feels very cold.  People here wear toques and heavy coats in the mornings and at night.  They tell me that it's winter but that July and August will be even colder.  I bought a wall thermometer so I could see the temperature but when LeRon slammed on the brakes on our drive home, the package fell on the floor and the thermometer broke.  Darn!
The day I took this picture out the car window, it was a sunny warm day.  Lots of street vendors.  This young man was cooking corn on the cob.  I'm sure it's not as tasty as Taber corn!  (Corn here is not the super sweet corn we grow in southern Alberta; I have not been able to eat it.)
Stopped in traffic.  Hawkers hawking their wares.  I thought this one was funny.  A bunch of stuffed animals, including a yellow Tweety-bird. 
This hawker is doing his best to make a sale to the person in this black vehicle.  And . . . he succeeded.  He sold everything except the yellow Tweety-Bird.  And all to the black vehicle.  The next hawker was selling slippers.  How cool is that?
And this one is selling plastic containers.  We've also seen ties, belts, passport covers (I thought they were fake Kenyan passports at first but was assured they're just passport covers), pencils, pens, balloons, balls, hats, Scrabble games, Monopoly games, of course all kinds of fruit.  I talked with a Kenyan and he said that those selling fruit probably grow it on their plots of land.  The other hawkers buy their wares and then try to make a profit.  The only thing I've bought thus far is bananas.  (Note from later:  I also bought a badminton racket-looking thing that is actually an electric mosquito swatter.  Works really well.  You plug it in to the wall to charge it and it zaps the mosquitoes or moths.)
Still trying to get a good picture of the crazy traffic.  This is three lanes of traffic all needing to merge into one lane.  The biggest vehicles usually win out.
We're walking in our neighborhood.  So fun to see goats and cattle.  And NO WALLS!!!  I'm glad I brought my walking sticks.  Helps to exercise my arms.  I get funny looks from Kenyans.  They probably think I'm crippled and need two canes!  I tell them they're my exercise sticks but I don't think they believe me.
LeRon's glad he brought his Tilley Hat.  Since he's lacking hair on top, it's helped prevent more sunburns.  He was out in the sun for one hour one day and got a little burn on the top of his head.  This is more of our neighborhood.  So nice and quiet and pastoral.  (Note from later:  LeRon gave his Tilley Hat to Elder Barnard who needed it worse than Elder Torrie did.  Elder Barnard's head was very sensitive to the hot Dar Es Salaam sun).
We had a nice visit with a university student who lives nearby.  Moses is a Masai (from the Masai tribe).  You can google for Masai to see pictures of them in their native clothing.  He said that polygamy has been very common in Masai culture but not any more.  When he marries, he wants to have just one wife.  He knows of one man who had 19 wives and 200 children!!  Our name tags give us a nice opportunity to explain about our church and our mission.  Most Kenyans also love Jesus Christ and are happy to talk about him. Even those who adhere to their tribal religions also claim they are Christians and love to hear about Jesus.
Lovely yellow blossoms on this tree.
Colleen and Craig Smith (LeRon's sister and husband) will be happy to see this cute little goat since they raise goats too.
A lovely herd of goats.  They are in a fenced area with a gate that is wide open.  Sometimes they do get out but there's usually (but not always) a shepherd near by.  We enjoy the bucolic scenery as we walk each day.

So happy to have this nice big stove with two electric burners and four gas burners.  LeRon's been helping a lot with the cooking, which is wonderful.  I've cooked for more than 45 years and I'm getting tired of it.  Last night I made an oatmeal cake.  I call it leftover porridge cake.  It's really good.  But in the middle of the making, I realized I had no baking powder or baking soda.  But I thought the flour I was using was self-rising.  But . . . it was not!  Very heavy cake!  I need to go shopping.

1 comment:

  1. It's crazy how people can sell so much stuff in the street. Different type of economy, eh. Although in Chicago, I often saw hawkers selling wares and sometimes giant bags full of soccer balls. Weird. Who would buy a soccer ball out of their car window? Anyway, fun!