Sunday, March 30, 2014

We flew to Johannesburg, South Africa, for some training in the Self-Reliance Program.  We were taught by some very inspirational leaders.  We were given so much information in such a little time it was difficult to assimilate all of it but our leaders were exceptional men and women.  We had accommodations at a very nice hotel there and the grounds were so beautiful we just had to have some pictures.  South Africa was a little cooler and not so humid as Zambia.

 The trees were beautiful and appeared to be very old.  It was a pleasant place to be.
 I was totally captivated by the "Bird of Paradise" flowers on the grounds at the hotel in JoBurg.

 I just wanted to update our bananas at the mission office.  As a bunch of bananas are growing and developing, another layer of the purple kind of bulb will roll up and another group of baby bananas are already starting to grow.  Many, many bananas grow like this.  Sister Erickson said these bananas really taste just so gooood!
 One Saturday Stanley just wanted to get out of the city.  We cleaned our apartment then took a drive about 1 1/2 hours out of the city.  We drove to the little village of Kafue.  Along the road we saw a little flock of goats grazing along the road.  A woman was walking along with them to watch over them.  Stanley was so excited he just had to have some pictures of goats.  We do miss herding our own goats.  There is definitely enough grass for them here.

It was a very pleasant day for a drive and we enjoyed seeing something other than city.  The grass is green and lots of it.

 We drove past this thatched roofed building and couldn't see anyone around.  We stopped to take a picture and when we rolled down the window, we could hear singing coming from this building.  Some of the missionaries told us it was probably a Seventh Day Adventist meeting.  There are quite a few thatched roof buildings.
 As we drove down the road, we saw many little houses made from sticks and thatching.  We didn't know what they were so Stanley finally stopped to ask.  They are for chickens.  It takes the men three days to make them and they sell for about 100 Kwachas which is around $16 or less, then they have to sell them.  Not much profit for three days work, is it?!  They are pretty cute little houses though.
Elders Jena and Hanson in front of the baptismal font at the Lilanda Chapel.  We had a young girl baptized on this day.
 This is the Lilanda Branch Church where we attend when we are in town.  Sunday School class is held on the patio on the far right.  The windows are always open and we can hear music and singing from radios nearby or other meetings.  The chapel is in an L shape and people are seated accordingly.  One half of the chapel can't see the other half but they sing their hearts out.  One of the elders serving here plays the keyboard by ear for accompaniment.  When someone isn't playing the keyboard, the music director just sings the first line then says, "Ok, 1,2,3 Sing, and everyone sings.

 Lots of metal work is done along the streets.  Security gates into housing and gates like the ones above.  The welders just work out of a small shop and the only use sunglasses for welding.  I'm sure their eyes aren't going to last long at that rate.
 Stanley had been looking and looking for a hat that he can wear when we are walking in the mornings and when we go out to do anything except missionary work.  He finally found one at the airport in South Africa.  I just had to take this picture of him and his hat in front of the statue of a giraffe as we came into Zambia.
Elder Humphreys snapped this picture as he met us at the airport as we returned from South Africa.
 This is a sign we see every time we go to the mall.  Stanley likes this one.  I guess it is a good motto for all of us.  We certainly have a lot of "unexpected" moments in our driving experiences here.
 We hadn't worried about putting up a mosquito net as we hadn't seen any around but a few days ago I woke up with several bites on my feet and arms.  We went to the store that day and Stanley and Elder Humphreys got the net put up.  For our family's concern, we do take malaria medicine every day.
 Just a sample of shops we see everywhere here.  The working class don't go to the malls, but shop in their areas in roadside shops.  There is everything from cardboard stands to ramshackle wooden ones, to tables, to better constructed stands.  One can see everything here. 

 Some young kids were manning this stand.  They had drinks and I don't know what else but they were just enjoying life.

 The last Saturday of each month, the Dutch Reformed Church sponsors a craft fair in the area.  It is a really big affair and the artisans are hawking their crafts.  They are very persuasive and will barter.  I picked out the little giraffes but Stanley liked this hippo.  I hope he will not anchor our suitcases down when we leave because he is one heavy little piece of wood but he really is kind of cute.  We also bought an original painting for our wall but Stanley has to figure out how to mount it.  Our walls are very plain and white so we need something to cheer our apartment up.  They also had all kinds of fruits and vegetables at the fair.  We bought huge mangoes, lettuce, zuchini, and tomatoes there.  They are much fresher and cheaper than at the grocery store.  The mangoes here are so very, very good.

 Stanley had to go back to the store and when he came home, he brought me this bouquet of roses.  He said it is the Zambian Mother's Day and wanted me to have them.  I was getting ready to tell him that he shouldn't have spent so much on flowers but he told me they only cost the equivalent of $5 American money.  That made them even sweeter!
 One of the Senior Sister Missionaries makes bread all the time.  We were getting tired of store-bought bread so I decided I would try my hand at making bread.  It has been 40 years since I have made bread without my Bosch mixer but while Stanley was at the store, I mixed up a small batch.  It turned out pretty good.  Think the next batch will be even better now I have experimented a little.  I also made refried beans and fried rice.  I bought some chile powder here and at home I can add a lot and it isn't hot, but here it is very hot.  Gave us a little heat.  I had also bought what I thought was chicken bouillon but turned out to be chicken flavored gravy mix.  Things are so different here and I feel like I am learning to cook all over again.

 I had a visitor in the bathroom early one morning.  I had never seen a cockroach before except in pictures and wasn't entirely happy to meet this one.  I woke Stanley up and told him what I thought I had seen.  He told me to "Step on it!"  Well, I really didn't want to hear the C R U N C H!! and I grabbed a big piece of toilet paper to try to catch him, as Stanley yelled at me and told me that they are fast so I better be prepared.  Well, he started to scurry away and my flip-flop just happened to meet up with him!  I didn't want him to get away!  Two days later, another one showed up in the bathtub.  I slipped off my flip-flop and got him very quickly.  They both landed in the toilet!  Our landlord told us that he had some powder to keep them away and he would treat all four apartments in our complex.  These are very healthy little critters.  Probably measured about 1 1/2 inches in length and I do not like to share my living quarters with him or any of his family members!

 We passed ladies selling chickens along the street.  Some of the missionaries told us that these chickens from the villages are pretty tough birds and didn't recommend purchasing one.  If they only knew me, there isn't even a chance I would buy a live chicken and have to kill and clean it.  I would quickly become a vegetarian!  You can also see the baby on the back of this mother.  They all just tie the babies on their backs and away they go.  Many, many miles are walked here. 
 There are tons of big trucks everywhere in the city and in residential areas even when the roads are very narrow and congested.  The driver just sticks his arm out the window to tell people he is going forward no matter who is in the way or who has the right away and they just go!  If a truck breaks down on the road, they just stop right there and do their repairs on the spot.  Near our apartment a few days ago, a semi broke down and they did brake work right there in the lane of traffic.  Traffic was tied up for a long time.  The police finally came and started directing traffic but it is really quite interesting.

 This is the roadway into the Lilanda church.  At the biggest dropoff, it is probably at least 10-12 inches deep.  The roads here are also very interesting.  Much like driving over the rocks and ruts out on the desert when we had goats out there.  Very slow going and very rough.  Even the "good" paved roads have so many ruts and holes it is a game of dodge to get through them and miss the oncoming traffic who is doing the same thing.  If someone doesn't like waiting for us to turn, they just drive around on either side, even driving on the sides of the roads.  The pedestrians (of which there are many) do not have the "Right of Way".  Sometimes a 2 lane road will have vehicles driving three lanes across just because they don't want to wait for whoever is ahead.  They will just go around.
 Another shop.  Looks like they are selling the Chitanges which most of the working class women wear.  They just layer them.  If they need a baby carrier, they just take one off and tie their baby onto their backs.  They really are quite practical.  If they are carrying something on their heads, they take one off and twist it around to make a cushion for their heads and to support the heavy loads they carry on their heads.
 I took a couple of pictures of housing in some of the areas we pass coming from church.  Very, very small and without any kind of adornment.

                                                           One of the shopping areas.
All labor is done by hand and these men were digging a ditch.  Most ditches when they are dug, are then cemented.  We see men and women building these ditches.  The women work right along the men in hauling and setting the cement.  Their tools are shovels and wheelbarrows.  It is truly backbreaking work.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

 March 7, 2014 was the Red-Letter Day when we left the Missionary Training Center and were on our way to Zambia.  We flew from Salt Lake City to Chicago where we transferred planes and got on this large British Airways Plane.  The flight from Chicago to London was about eight hours long.  When we got into Heathrow Airport it was 7:00 a.m.  We had a eleven hour layover and didn't just want to sit around in the airport all day so we bought a ticket on a fast train into London.  There we got on a tour bus to see some of the city.  I had a coat with me but had forgotten tights and it was a typical London day: gray skies and cold.  The tour buses are double decker and we would have liked to be up on top but it was too cold for me so we just sat on the bottom level.  It was fun to see some of the attractions we have heard much about but the bus went by them so fast it was hard to get pictures.  We did get a few.  This was also my first experience with driving on the left side of the road.  Those buses drove down such narrow streets with heavy traffic.  Some of the places I didn't think they would ever make it but the driver seemed to pride himself on high tight things could get and still get through.
 This is Trafalgar Square.  Must have been a field day for students as there were kids everywhere and lots of buses seeing the sights.
 I loved seeing the London Bridge.  We've sang "London Bridge's Falling Down" for a very long time.  Didn't look like it was really falling though.

 Buckingham Palace was pretty special to see.  We saw the Mounted Guards at the Gate in their uniforms but we passed so quickly I couldn't get a good picture.
 Before we left the airport I wanted to get a sandwich to take with us just in case but it was early and we had eaten on the plane.  We decided not to get a sandwich but we would have a chance to eat a nice lunch in London.  We got on a tour bus and it went for a very long time.  Hours, in fact!  It went so long that I was getting worried that we wouldn't even make it back to our flight to Johannesburg in time.  We finally changed buses and got back to the place where we had to get back on the train to the airport.  It was about 2:30 p.m. and we were starved.  Stanley wanted to eat at a nice place but I needed a bathroom and I was starved!!  As I got off the bus I saw "Burger King"!  That place looked so good!  I went in there and ordered a burger and fries and headed up three flights to find a bathroom.  I just had to have a picture of Stanley standing in front of Burger King. The next leg of the flight was really a trial.  It was a 11 hour flight to Johannesburg, then two more hours to Lusaka, Zambia.
What a wonderful sight as we cleared the airport and our Mission President and his wife, Leif and Linda Erickson, were there to greet us and scoop us up and take us to our flat.  I have to admit that when I saw them, I was so happy to finally be there that a few tears were shed.  On the way, they showed us the Mission Home and where our Perpetual Education Office was located.  Then they gave us a car and keys and turned us loose.  That was pretty scary.  The driving in Lusaka is a little hazardous.  The roads are narrow, lots of traffic, and there is so much foot traffic.  Pedestrians just take their chances and cross amid the traffic.  I think if may be a very long time before I get brave enough to drive!  President and Sister Erickson invited us to dinner in the evening and that was very much appreciated and enjoyed.  For the past thirty-six hours we have been eating meals on planes or in the airports so Sister Erickson's delicious cooking was wonderful!  Before we left Utah, someone suggested it might be a good idea to purchase a GPS.  Stanley took granddaughters Alyssa and Camille to help him find a Best Buy to find one.  When I found out how much it cost, I about had a heart attack.  Well, Zambia doesn't have street signs or street lights and it is incredibly difficult to find our way around.  One day we gave the seminary/institute director a ride which turned into a several hour adventure.  We got right in the middle of the city during rush hour and were moving very slowly.  He told us to go ahead to the round-a-bout and just keep going straight ahead.  He then opened the car door right in the middle of the street and traffic and jumped out.  Said this was where he needed to go.  Stanley and I just looked at each other and neither of us had any idea where we were or how to get back to our flat.  Stanley punched in HOME on the GPS and about 30 minutes later we were pulling into our complex.  I grabbed that GPS and nearly gave it a kiss!  Whatever he paid for it was worth it!  We have been lost more than once and that little gadget has saved us.
 Stanley is posing in front of our Flat in Lusaka.  It is a very nice place and it is surrounded by a security wall with four strands of electric wire around the top to discourage any intruders.  The gate into the complex is manned 24/7 with guards.  All the complexes around us are similar.  They all have security walls and guards.

 These two pictures are just of Stanley and myself in our back yard.  It is kept very nicely and very attractively.
This is my laundry room.  My washer and dryer are on the patio and the tank above them is the water heater.  The weather has been very nice, warm and humid, but nice.  We haven't had any wind, just a welcome breeze occasionally and if it rains, there is a roof over the patio.  I am grateful to have a washer and dryer even though they are small as the young elders and sisters use a bucket for their laundry so I am happy to have mine!
 Thought it would make my kids more comfortable if they could see our Flat and know that we do have a nice place to live.  Our flat is fully furnished.  We need to get some lamps and a bookcase but we have what we need.  There are two bedrooms and the master bedroom has a king size bed and a walk-in closet.

 Living Room--We still need to get some pictures or decorations up on the wall.
 Dining Room
 Lawn mowing takes on a whole new meaning.  It is either by scythes or some use very antique electric lawn mowers.  It is amazing those machines even work.  Nearly all work is done by hand and with crews. 

We are totally fascinated with the banana trees at the Mission Home.  Those little bananas just seem to change on a daily basis.  Sister Erickson told us that the bananas really taste good and she also likes to watch them grow.