Tuesday, December 30, 2008
As you can see above, the weather was rather wet. When it rains in Congo, it pours -- with no apologies to Mortons' Salt and their slogan. We started off going to the west end of Kinshasa and then working south and east.
This is the road to Kinsuka and Malueka (just pronounce these like Hawaiian -- sound every syllable and you'll do great!!). There's no pavement here -- just dirt roads with 12 - 18 inch undulations in them that turn pretty muddy and yucky quite quickly.
Most of the older chapels were homes that were purchased, converted and added onto. Here is the Kinsuka chapel -- typical of those older chapels. You can squeeze about 130 people into the large room used as the chapel, and it has 6 classrooms. The rain was pelting down, but we opened the doors, opened our umbrellas, shouted "Geronimo" and dashed into and around the building. Elder Koelliker was pleased to see the care that the Saints take into their facilities.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Elder Hunter comes to us from north of Salt Lake.
He is excited to be in Africa with
his trainer, Elder Archibald, who will help him
adapt to Africa and all of it's exciting
new things.Welcome to Elder and Sister Baker from Bountiful. They had been home for a year from a mission to Romania (where they didn't know the language) and have just come to Cameroon where they are not fluent in the French language--she has had some french in school when she was a young woman. They are enjoying working in the two branches in Yaounde and with the young missionaries there. She is a gifted music teacher and is helping many in the branches to play the piano/keyboard.
Mycadeau is a wonderful seamstress and she made us matching dresses! !
They are wonderful and fun and we are the three muskateers! !
We love each other and giggled a lot as we were planning this day! !
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Ok, lame blogger that I am, my friend told me that when you load the photos you load what you want last to be first, etc. but it didn't work that way, so this is backwards, but you don't care, do you?? This beautiful bride is our recently released missionary, Sister Nancy Mpemba. She was an incredible missionary (do you remember I posted about her with her release photo?) and this is her handsome husband, Willy. Just weeks after she was released, they were married at the Ngaliema Stake center. This is what I wrote about the wedding in my journal.
We met in the chapel and waited. There was a choir of young people who were singing hymns while we waited. The girls all had red shirts and black skirts on and the boys had white shirts, black pants and ties. They looked really great (a bit better than they sounded, but what they lacked in harmony, they more than made up with enthusiasm and joy! ! !) Then the back curtains opened and on one side Willy came up in a black suit with a lavender shirt—very stylish looking. On the other side was Soeur Mpemba in a beautiful white wedding gown with her face fully veiled. It was rather low in the back, but she had her garments on and so it was great! ! They walked slowly and sedately up the two aisles—there were several “attendants” for both of them—four girls in matching dresses---two were long and the other two shorter skirts—a man with Willy and a lady with Soeur Mpemba—I’m not sure what their relationship was. They came up the aisle, and at the front they met and the attendants took their seats on the front row and Willy and Soeur Mpemba went to the front and turned and sat facing the audience. Oh, yeah---Soeur Mpemba’s veil was very long or the dress had a train, I’m not sure which, that was carried by this darling little sister of Willy. She was also dressed all in white and she also had a veil over her face. I’m not sure when her veil was changed, but after the ceremony her veil was also pushed back over the back of her hair.
This is the photo of the attendants leading them into the cultural hall after the ceremony! ! This is when it got really fun! ! !
This is the quote from my journal about this adorable couple--he is the Patriarch of the Ngaliema Stake:
Several of the priesthood in their wards and stakes spoke about marriage and family—all wonderful talks and very sweet. The final speaker was the patriarch from the Ngaliema stake. Just a side light about him—several months ago Don asked him how he was getting along with giving some of our missionaries their patriarchal blessings. He said that he had given all the blessings, but the stake didn’t have sufficient money for batteries for his recorder, nor paper for him to print the blessings out on. Don immediately got some batteries and paper for him and he was extremely grateful! ! ! So back to his talk. He is this darling man—greying hair with huge glasses! ! He told the story of how he and his wife were first “culturally” married---50 years ago this December. Then he told us how many months, weeks and days that they had been married. Then he told that they had been “civilly” married several years after that—then told us how many years, months, weeks and days they had been married civilly. Then he said that they joined the Catholic church and were married again! ! and repeated how many years, months, weeks and days they had been married. Finally he told of their marriage in the temple! ! ! and repeated the same about length of marriage. Then he called his wife up to stand before everyone and expressed his love and admiration for her. (something very unusual for Africans to do in public! ! ). She has born him 14 children—2 have died, but 12 are living---6 of them are married and they have a goodly number of grandchildren. They were so darling and cute together.
And here is the wonderful photo of the beautiful couple! ! They are saving their money so that they can go to the temple soon. We hope that it is very soon. He is a counselor in the Bishopric in his ward and she will be an asset wherever she serves. This is why the church is growing so magnificently here in Congo--dedicated and wonderful young people like this who love the Lord and want to serve Him all of their days! !
Just 5 days after we arrived last year, we received 12 new missionaries! ! We were thrilled and overwhelmed! ! That brought our numbers up to 66. We had 5 sisters at the time and 5 couples. We have had a little "problem" lately because the country of DRC does not have any passport books--you know those little books with your picture and you get a stamp every time you come or go somewhere. They have been without passport books since last February. We have MANY prospective missionaries who have been waiting and waiting to come, but if they can't get a passport, they can't go to Ghana for their MTC experience and go through the temple. So last week we had 10 of these missionaries who have been waiting patiently for the opportunity to serve come here to Kinshasa and we had our own MTC for them and they have started to serve as full time missionaries. Two in the photo had passports and were able to go to Ghana. When the country finally gets some passport books and begins issueing passports again, we hope to be able to send these missionaries to Ghana for a real MTC and especially for the opportunity to be endowed in the temple! ! They were well taught by our experienced missionaries and had a really wonderful experience. They will be awesome missionaries! !
And by the way, that brings our numbers up to 90 young missionaries--14 are sisters.
We have also received permission from Salt Lake to send senior African couples into some of our areas where we can't yet send American couples, and the first couple have received their call and will begin their service later this month in Likasi. As soon as they are established, we will add young missionaries there to help with the teaching in Liksasi. Likasi has a beautiful new building and we believe that this will help the church to really grow there in that beautiful little city.
This is Elder Kayumba. He was released last Friday. He returns to Lubumbashi where he is a carpenter and cabinetmaker. He will take over the care of his elderly mother so that his younger brother, who has been caring for her, will be able to serve a mission.
We welcome Elder Kashama. He was teaching institute in Munama (in Lubumbashi) before he came. His parents are not members of the church. He was in the Young Men's Presidency of the Stake. And now he is serving as a full time missionary! !
We buy a bread called "Pain au Cereal" -- a reasonable translation would be 9 Grain Bread at one market and often take it on extended trips. It stays fresh and moist even for 5 days.
But a favorite, if you want to lather it with butter, (and who doesn't??), is Pain Victoire. It's just a white bagette, baked at a huge bakery, with 8 or 9 bakings a day. It's very reasonable -- about 18 cents a bagette, and since you can always buy it fresh, it's great when loaded with saturated fat (a.k.a. butter). The missionaries can down several of these every meal -- in the morning, they dunk them into hot chocolate.
How is Pain Victoire distributed throughout the vast city? Well, for faroff places, they have a very efficient truck distribution system. But in the main part of Kinshasa, it is distributed by mammas, who come to the bakery with huge baskets on their head that they load up and then walk back to their neighborhood. The picture above is one of the smaller baskets, that a mamma will carry on her head.
You see them gracefully striding along the street, basket on top of their head. Some mammas buy a homemade peanut butter -- fresh ground on the street right outside of the entrance of the bakery, and you can have protein with your carbohydrates. I've tried to estimate how many bagettes they might have in a big basket. With the pieces of cardboard to create a taller sidewall, this mamma has two rows of bagettes around the circumference, with lots more stuffed in the middle.
Bon appetite! And now you know how Kinshasa gets its daily bread.
Love - Don and Marsha
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
No space goes unwasted -- even the engine is a place for riding, or standing. Note the people standing on the front of the engine.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
This is Elder Freddy Mol. Elder Mol came to serve in Cameroon from Vanuatu--a series of very small islands in the South Pacific. Elder Mol's father died just shortly before he came on his mission, and after he had been serving for about 8 months, his mother passed away, also. What faith for him to continue his mission and serve with honor. His voyage home took about 48 hours with 4 -5 plane changes. I'm sure he was one tired guy when he got home.
We welcome Elder Wigginton. He just arrived from Southern California. Elder Wigginton has greaduated from UC Irvine and worked and was accepted to law school, but felt the tug of the Lord that he should serve a mission. When he arrived, his French was incredible! ! We are sure he will be a fabulous missionary.
We had some relay races, did the human knot, played fruit salad mix and the animal game.
This missionary is doing the noise and action for the monkey! !
They thought the play day was a huge success ! !
making the noise and action for, but they sure had fun! !
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Wanna buy a used car? There aren't more than 4 or 5 car dealerships in Kinshasa, and not one of these has a used car department of any consequence. Most used cars are sold off of "used car lots" along the side of the road. Here's a used car dealership alongside Mulumba Blvd. -- each morning about 50 or 60 cars appear alongside the road -- there are occasional lookers and buyers, and then at night all the cars get driven somewhere to be stored overnight. Almost all the used cars here come from Europe, and still have their identifying European country sticker on them -- "B" for Belgium; "F" for France; "CH" for Switzerland; "D" for Denmark, etc. Someone buys them in Europe and ships them down here. The process of licensing, registering, reporting sales to the government, sales tax -- no clue what happens. But the inventory always changes and cars are being sold from under the trees.
There are gas stations, although probably not more than 100 for the 8 plus million people in Kinshasa. All the petroleum products are distributed by a government entity called "SEP" -- you see their big tank trucks. I guess the major oil companies have their additives blended in at the SEP tank farms. Diesel is by far the prevelent fuel -- at about $ 6.50 - 7.00 a gallon, government price controlled. Our SUV takes about 200 litres, or about $ 250 a fill-up.
Far more interesting are the street-side vendors who sell diesel by far smaller quantities, as people can't afford a $ 250 fillup. They fill containers and put them on these racks by the side of the road. Here you see everything from 4 litre containers -- the large blue containers in the top right, to litre sized plastic containers, to used Coke bottles, which hold about .3 litres. A guy with a moto may wheel in for a Coke bottle (about 50 cents) or a plastic one litre bottle (about $ 1.30). The bigger 4 litre fillup ($ 5) would be took big for his tank -- those are reserved for cars or combies that need to go another 20 miles. There are similar sized containers of oil -- very handy since most vehicles here belch enormous quantities of blue smoke. For some of them, I think the consumption of oil equals or exceeds the consumption of diesel fuel.
Here's your "one stop" shop for athletic equipment -- soccer balls, an exercise bike, etc. But if you injure yourself by exercising too vigorously, we have crutches, canes, etc. If you really overdo it, we can sell you a wheelchair. All out in the open, under a tree. Each night the inventory disappears to somewhere, to be carefully restocked in the morning when the store opens for business.
They run along the street next to the combies, shouting "O-P, O-P". A hand thrusts a 50 franc note out the window and the transaction is consummated. Unfortunately about 1 minute later, the empty bag will fly out of the window to settle on the roadside somewhere. Trash is a major problem here, particularly the millions of O-P bags that will never decompose. So they get burned, leaving an oily black plume of smoke boiling up into the air.
A very large bakery called "Pain Victoire" sells bagettes to mamas, who carry these large plastic basins of bread on the their head as they walk down the side of the road to where they will set up and vend them. Right next to Pain Victoire, the vendors sell plastic sacks of 5 or 10 bagettes at a price of 100 francs per bagette (about 18 cents for a bagette about 18 inches long). They are baked continuously during the day so they are fresh and warm, and very tasty (particularly if you slather them with butter). These ladies are selling bread (in the two large plastic basins) and hard boiled eggs -- sitting on the black plastic milk milk crate.
I'm not sure which furniture store "by the side of the road" sold this gorgeous sofa and chair set, but you can see the "pouse-pouse" delivery truck that is delivering it. Off to the side of the road, you can see some bunk beds which are being sold.
Here's something else that sadly is being sold. In the interior of the Congo, there are huge trees being harvested for their gorgeous mahogany and other hardwoods, and sent to places like China where it will be made into furniture. The logs are floated down the Congo River to Kinshasa, and loaded onto these big trucks for the 110 mile truck to the coast. Unfortunately the rapids in the river just downstream from Kinshasa prohibit floating them the rest of the way to the coast. Each log is about 50 feet long, and three of them make a truckload.
And that's how things are sold -- with the exception that we will add some more in a couple of days.
Love to all - Don and Marsha