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.