Monday, April 25, 2016

April 23, 2016

What a wonderful day. We went to the Tokeh Beach (The Place) Resort for a couple's retreat with President and Sister Clawson, our Mission President. It is only about an hour and 10 minutes away and it is a beautiful beach. They have chalets there you can rent overnight for $180 - $260 per night. President Clawson and his wife and the Miners stayed overnight. The rest of us, 4 couples, went down this morning. We went with the Miles and arrived at 10:45. We had about an hour to walk on the beach and wade in the "other side" of the Atlantic. The water was cool, the beach was clean, and our group was the only one there. It was so awesome. At Noon, we gathered at the veranda and had a very nice meal. I had shrimp in some kind of red sauce that was quite good and Spanish rice. Don had "The Place Burger" and fries and Cole slaw. It was also very good. The fish of the day was Baracuda. While we waited for our food, Sister Lauritzen gave us a short class on what we need to do when going into Wards and Branches when it comes to music. Sister Clawson ordered 50 keyboards and training materials for conducting the music and teaching the keyboard. I will be teaching people to conduct and play. Oh Boy! The Lord will be expanding my talents. The 50 keyboards will be given to people who earn them. There is a whole program for people to earn them. Right now most units have no keyboard of any kind. The people sing and they sing very loud. Most of them are converts from the Holy Rollers and they love to sing loud and everything that goes with it. After we ate our meal, we adjourned to a chalet and had the rest of our meeting. Oh my goodness! What an awesome meeting. We are rubbing shoulders with the cream of the Lord's Kingdom. Very spiritual, down-to-earth, humble, dedicated people with powerful testimonies.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Not sure what beach, dad just said - at the beach

Dad said "he has more questions than google has answers" 

April 18, 2016

We had a meeting with the PVA (Polio Victims' Association) at our apartment today. It went very well. There were 8 members of the political committee. They all wanted paper and pens to take notes with and I gave them all a pen to use and a piece of paper. When they left, I went to the table to get a pen to write with and they were all gone. WHAT? Don said, "I knew what would happen when you handed out those pens." When an African has something in their hand, they consider it theirs. Unfortunately, I gave them my good pens that were suppose to last us until the end of our mission. Oops! From here we went down to the Leprosy camp - which consisted of 2 homes that 42 people live in. The homes are made of mud bricks. These are made from mud mixed with straw/hay/grass. When a home is made of these kinds of bricks, it is customary to put a thin layer of cement over the mud bricks and then plaster over that. These two home were made of mud bricks. 3 years ago but was never finished. With 6 to 8 months of rain a year, a lot of the bricks have been washed many times weakening the foundation and dissolving the bricks. In order to repair the damage, the foundation will need to be re-established/strengthened and what is left of the mud bricks will need to be cemented and then plastered. The people are not so much concerned about the structure of their homes as they are with getting a well. Don looked at the proposed well site and it will go on our list for the well-man and the hydrogeologist to take a look at. There is a man with no legs below his knees and no hands that I see every day begging at a bridge. I learned today that he is a leper and comes from the two homes mentioned above. He wheels himself 1 1/2 miles to get to the bridge and sits there all day long. I see him at 8:00 in the morning and he is still there at 6:00 at night.

April 17, 2016

We went to the Waterloo branch today. They had 6 people baptized yesterday and confirmed today. Other than that, it was a normal Sacrament meeting. Sunday School was also normal. I went to Relief Society and half way through a Sister came and whispered in my ear "they need you in Primary". I jumped up looking forward to teaching a class in Primary. I could not find the Primary. I looked in every room and they weren't anywhere. Finally, the sister that told me they needed me in Primary found me and lead me to a different building. I entered the room and all the primary children were sitting quietly waiting for me. I stepped in and a boy that was sitting in a chair next to the door was asked to move so I could sit there. So, I sat down. I looked at the children, they looked at me. I looked at the two leaders, and they looked at me. I looked from the children to the leaders and they looked at me. I said "am I suppose to do something?" "Yes, you teach". I said, "who is the teacher?" "We are". "Did you prepare a lesson?' "Yes." "What do you want me to do?" "This is singing and sharing time. You teach." Yikes! I haven't been in Primary for several years. OK! I grabbed the children's song book and looked for songs. They didn't know very many. I hacked my way through this and it was not well done. I will prepare a singing & sharing time lesson/activity and carry it in my bag so I am not caught off guard again. After Church was over, I was waiting for Don, who was giving a lesson on baptism and the Sacrament to an investigator. 6 Primary children came over and gathered around me. I visited with them, asked them questions and we laughed. They really wanted to touch me. I told them they could. They ran their little fingers though my hair and was amazed how soft it is (compared to their course hair). They tried braiding it but it would not stay in one place the way their hair does. While three of them were messing with my hair, one was tugging at a skin tag on my neck. Another was picking at something on the back of my neck and another was trying to scratch off of sun spot off my right cheek. They asked me for my phone number and I wrote it down. I gave it to the girl that asked for it and she tore up some paper and wrote my number down for everyone to have their own copy. It will be interesting to see if any of them call me. When Don was finished, District President Sesay invited Don and me into the Branch President's office. Don needed an accountability report on a food project that the humanitarian department of the church helped establish in 2014 before the Ebola hit. This project is doing extremely well. We went out to one of the garden plots (at least an acre in size) which again is down a long mountain side. The garden was beautiful. No weeds, the ground was nicely tilled and a couple of men were working the ground. They did not know we were coming so this was not a staged sight. When the Ebola hit, everyone was ordered to stay home and food was taken from this garden plus some other plots managed by this same group to the people. This Branch was able to supply potatoes (yams), tomatoes, rice, casava, and other root vegetables along with leave of some plants they consider a delicacy to its members and some of their neighbors.

April 16, 2016

P-Day! Swept all the floors and cleaned 2 bathrooms. Don suggested we go for a ride and get ice cream. We invited the Miles to go with us. We went to the Wellington grocery store where they have ice cream on- a-stick in a freezer. Oh! It was so good. Ice cream is not plentiful here. On the way home we passed a restaurant that everyone says is so good. Restaurants are few and far between. So we stop. Brother Miles went in to see how busy they were and if they were serving. He came back out saying there is a national football game (soccer) on TV and no one is paying attention to anyone. Don went back in with him and they got someone's attention and they told them they have an outdoor eating area out back. They came and got Sister Miles and me and we went back behind the restaurant. There was a nice place to sit. A waitress came to our table and asked us what we wanted. Brother Miles said, "you have a menu?" "NO". We have chicken and chips one day and fish and chips the next day. Today is chicken & chips." So we all ordered chicken and chips. The kitchen was a typical African kitchen and when Don asked if he could see the kitchen(which was just over our shoulder) he was told no. They cook the chips (fries) in oil over some charcoal. They were very hot and quite tasty. The chicken was grilled earlier (hopefully that day) and was served room temperature. Mighty scrawny chicken. But it tasted good. No one got sick from it. When the waitress came back to see if we were ready to pay she asked if we wanted a receipt. Sister Miles said yes. She brought us a piece of cardboard torn off a box with 120,000 Le written on it. ($10.00 per person).

April 14, 2016

Another hike 2 miles down a steep mountainside and 10 miles back up. We went to Treeplanting to meet with the village counselor. We met with him two weeks ago and he was suppose to meet with the villagers and see what they all wanted most help with. He did meet with them and they determined they need a well as a first priority because they have people fetching water from a long way away plus the two existing wells are running dry. The second priority is a latrine to keep running raw sewage from polluting the stream everyone is now getting water from. We walked a long way down a long sloping path that they called a "road" to two locations they are proposing for a well. We chose a spot and Don is going to get a well man to come out and walk the "road" to see if we can get a rig down to the spot. He is also going to find a water-man to determine if there is water in this spot. We then went with Saidu to a different part of the mountain and walked down a very long way down a very steep incline to an existing well. People have to hike this trail several times a day to get water. I saw a 6 year old boy carrying a gallon-size bottle of water on his head and was toting another one in his hand. I saw an 8 year old girl with a 40# container full of water on her head and they were going up and down this mountain to supply water for their families. Even children as young as 3 and 4 fetch water - using containers much too big and heavy for their small bodies. I saw a woman with a big dishpan full to the brim with water on her head and she was carrying a 40# container full of water in one hand. All of them were walking up this very steep trail. The reason Saidu wanted us to see this well is so we would know what the people have to do to get water. This will be our first project if SLC approves. Yes, Carol, we took water with us this time and I wore my big Florida hat. Don wouldn't wear a hat so his head got sunburned. Not bad - just enough to continue his tan!

April 13, 2016

We went for a 2nd visit to the PVA (Polio Victims Association) and learned a great deal more. Brother Conteh learned that there are 30 members with wheelchairs in this branch of the Church. Brother Conteh would like to begin a business to repair the wheelchairs. This would be great because it would give him a job. Plus, he knows how to repair the chairs. He will need the tools and the Humanitarian department may be able to help him with that. Also we were going to meet with the tailor who was suppose to have a business plan prepared for us. He was not there. He got called to an emergency meeting for the children with disabilities. And we learned later that that was the truth. He did not stand us up. But some good things came out of our being there. District President Sesay met us there and he is very knowledgeable about many things. We asked him to meet us there because Don was unsure of the genuineness of the people. President Sesay told us after meeting "these people they are good people." President knew this community was there but he did not know about the orphanage. We toured all the buildings and learned that there is also a "Black Smithery Shop". It was a simple building with nothing in it except an anvil and a hot fire for cooking steel and men pounding on hot metal. They have the capability to make things but need a generator and welder and materials. The things they make during the day are stolen at night because they have no way of locking up their facility. It is a cement building with a door and two windows openings that have not door or Windows. The man running the Smithery is Steven Sambura Phone Number 099244954. President Sesay sees great potential from this community and ways we can help them to develop skills. Water and Sanitation (latrines) are needed. Wheelchairs repaired. Smithery turned into a viable business. Tailor shop expanded and more employees hired. The building is not handicapped accessible so will have to be altered. It will be a big project and we can request this to be a major initiative . Which means Salt Lake pays the bills. Any project we do under $25,000 US Dollars comes from the budget we are given each year. Anything over $25,000 USD is paid by SLC. Every project has to be approved by SLC.

We then visited the orphanage. It reeked of urine. The children were dirty and it was 11:00 a.m. And they had not had breakfast yet. While the men walked through the house to determine what needed to be done, I entertained the children with primary songs. They got so happy. Smiled, laughed, clapped their hands. Then Melrose, the woman who cares for these children asked them to sing to me their school song - They burst out in song - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Very appropriate for their mentality. President Sesay wanted to see what is needed. He will ask some of the Branches in his district to help with repairs, cleanliness, overall help from the Relief Societies. The humanitarian department (our humanitarian contributions) will help get materials for the Smithery to make beds for the children. We will get mattresses for the beds, wheelchairs either repaired or new, and anything else which we learn they need. Of course they would also benefit from having a well near by and they need help with a bathroom facility. Right now they have a hole in the floor and bucket of water.

Because this community is a "Home Unit" of the church meaning they have no support from the district/stake they are authorized only to have sacrament meeting on Sunday and Sunday School. While we were there members of the Facility Management (FM) team showed up to take measurements of the buildings and discussed the layout o of the buildings and which buildings could be salvageable and where a chapel could be built. This community is going to get some desperately needed help.

After we left here President Sesay asked Don if he would go with him on a home visit to do some ecclesiastical ministering. They were busy for and hour and a half. President asked us to come to the Waterloo Branch on Sunday so Don can help him with something else. Three weeks ago we had two sets of missionaries over for dinner. I had made Don's favorite sugar cookie and served those for dessert. Most Africans will not eat sweets. But there was one there that night that loved sweets. He loved those cookies. A few days later he was transferred to Waterloo and we had not seen him until today. When he saw me, he swooned all over me telling me how much he missed me. WHAT? Oh! Cookies! Yes, cookies. When he heard we were going to be in his branch on Sunday he smiled sheepishly and I melted and said, "yes, I will make you some cookies". He practically did cartwheels across the yard. When we were getting ready to leave, President Sesay stuck his head in the car window and said "Sister, Carley, I am a very greedy man" Don slapped him on the back and said, "she will make you some cookies too". He laughed so hard because that is exactly what he was getting at.

We came home. Don had a meeting with the Branch President of the Grafton Ward to help a non-member young man. The three of them were suppose to meet. The young man did not show up. Don came home but the Branch President went to the young man's home and scheduled another meeting. They are meeting tomorrow and Don is out of it now. This young man had written "Mr. And Mrs. Don" a letter telling us all about his life and being left on his own by his mother who could no longer take care of him when he was at a young age. The letter was very nicely written and heartwrenching. He is living with a friend who he calls his brother. He feels hopeless. In Africa there are no jobs and school is expensive. He asked us to adopt him and to take him to America. The Branch President is going to work with this man. This young man's name is Hassan. We met him on one of our many evening walks through our neighborhood. We have met a lot of wonderful people.

April 12, 2016

A Tender mercy happened again today. We came home from the mission Home in Freetown and came down the only way we know to get to our apartment only to have the market road at the end where we need to turn with a huge ditch across it. They started rebuilding a very badly needed road and totally cut us off from the road we live on. For the first time since we have been here we had rain. Torrential rain. That on top of not being able to get home was a bit frustrating. Just then a head appeared at don's window telling us to let him in. This is a very common occurrence since most people walk because they have no transportation. We have a mission rule we cannot put anyone in our mission vehicle except missionaries. Don yelled thru the window to the man standing in the torrential rain we have rules we cannot let you in. He yelled "I am Sahr Doe's driver, I will show you how to get home". Sahr Doe was all we needed to hear. Brother Doe is our landlord as well as a counselor in the district presidency. We let him in and we had to go a way only a person who lives here would know. Very out of the way with gigantic potholes, a thing they call a bridge that was only a pad over a ditch with no side rails and only as wide as the tires on the car. Like Don said "I feel like I am driving through everyone's living room" plus we had to drive through the school play ground. But we so very grateful for the young man. He told us he was waiting for us so he could show us the way. Later when Don saw Brother Doe he thanked him for having his driver there. Brother Doe said he did not ask him to do that. He just did it on his own. What a blessing to us and what a very kind thing to do. God bless him.

April 11, 2016

We went with Sister Barney to the Hastings Maternity Hospital. Sister Barney gave 18 nurses a lesson on how to be nice to the patient. It was really interesting. Many women are beaten with a "cane" (a long hard stick) when the nurse thinks she is not pushing hard enough or she is not doing something the nurse thinks she should. They use the cane in schools to keep the kids in line. This afternoon we met with a councilman and the ward secretary (ward is an area within a section) of Dworzack who wants us to do a trash/sanitation project. The project they are asking is huge. This country is a waste basket. Everything is thrown on the ground. We have to do some research. Maybe we can find another NGO (nongovernment organization )or two to partner with. There has to be severe training before we will do a lot with the trash. However, we offered to build 4 trash collection points and two latrines (in America they would be equal to the rest stop bathrooms on the interstate except they will have toilets but no water. Water will have to be fetched in buckets and used to flush.)

April 10, 2016

Square from the grandkids: Gabby sent a quote "Life is Good, God is Great". Gavin asked "How long was the plane ride? Don Answered: We left the MTC at 7:30 Mountain Standard time which was 12:30 Noon in Accra Ghana. We arrived in Accra the next day at 9:30 at night - 33 hours of total travel time. Don was awake the whole time. It was an exhausting trip.

April 9, 2016

Don went out on a long run and had several interesting encounters. The one he is the most happy about is meeting the Sierra Leone National running team, coach and trainer. He got to shakes hands with the fastest 400 meter runner in Sierra Leone (Pastor Bowen). Don shared with them that he is 70 years old and has run over 60 marathons in 40 years. Their coach used that as a teaching moment to his runners the importance of building a base. The runners were amazed that a 70 year old could run a marathon. They had seen Don run up their training hill. Don says his run up the hill was as if he were standing still compared to their run up the hill. The life expectancy here is 45. A Tender mercy (an unexpected blessing from the Lord): While Don was running a little child about 6 yrs old (reminded him of Isabelle) came up beside him and ran with him for a few minutes. She had a sucker in one hand and looked up at him with beautiful happy eyes. Her beautiful eyes is what he concentrates on to get the picture of the dead eyes out of his head. He is quite emotional still over the whole experience. He says "I was obedient". The still small voice instructed him to get the truck and take the injured little girl to the hospital. (See entry April 7) A

April 7, 2016

Two weeks ago we hired William East-man Vandy to gather some of the local leaders of Lungi, a 3-hour road trip for us,to meet with us so we could discuss some of the local needs. Brother Vandy did an awesome job. There are 111 villages, 8 sections, and 5 wards in this area. We met with the Chief of all the tribes, 3 sub Chiefs, 4 councilmen, a representative of 3 doctors from the government hospital, the representative called "the Speaker" for the chief judge of all the villages and tribes, plus some community people. The Paramount chief called the meeting to order and said everyone should offer a prayer to themselves according to their religion. Everyone bowed their heads for about 1 minute and then business started. They wanted to know if the humanitarian aid depended upon people joining the church. We assured them that was not the case. Brother Vandy explained clearly we are all sons and daughters of God and our desire is to help our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone. They were happy with that explanation. They asked if the church had been around before this and if so, what was done to help others. We explained that the humanitarian efforts of the church had been here in the past and was pulled out due to the Ebola and was previously focused on helping those in Freetown, Bo and the Kenema areas. We shared with them of the well/sanitation, education, and medical help given to those areas. They said they wanted to have a meeting of just those in the room without us to discuss the needs of all the people in these 111 villages. We agreed to come back in June to discuss their ideas. It was an excellent meeting with lots of questions and input. The meeting was closed with the same request for everyone to offer a prayer to themselves according to their religion. Then we were dismissed.

Now the rest of the story - a Tragic story: When we got there, there were a dozen or so motorcycles parked under a big shade tree along with a couple of benches. Brother Vandy told Don to just park under the shade tree. There was a 2nd shade tree not too far away and Don elected to park under that tree since nothing else was under it. We went up to the open Gazebo and a nice breeze was going through it. The men we were going to meet with were all there. We introduced ourselves and shook hands with everyone. There was a big long table on a raised platform and Behind it sat the Paramount Chief and a sub-chief. They brought out chairs for Don and I to sit to the left of the Chief facing him. Don told them we had to have a chair for Brother Vandy and they brought one and the 3 of us sat down. The other men were all sitting on benches at the edge of the gazebo. A long bench was brought in and placed in front of the table, but not on the platform, facing the Chief. The chief called the meeting to order and invited the 4 counselors to sit on the bench. Oops! Were we suppose to wait to be invited to sit? No. Brother Vandy said we did the right thing. Before anything else could be done a dozen women all dressed in the prettiest African dresses with white hats and white sashes around their waists appeared and were singing and dancing. They heard the Paramount Chief was going to be there and they prepared themselves to greet him. One woman entered the gazebo, bowed to the chief and stayed bent over. She came up behind him and said something in his ear, he reached back and stroked her face. Just then there was an explosion in the yard. I looked that way just in time to see a white SUV-type vehicle come to a halt under the shade tree. It sounded like gun shots and stuff was flying everywhere and the door to the vehicle flew open. I envisioned men getting out with guns and shooting randomly. Don yelled at me to get down at the same time pushing me to the floor. He yelled "get out of here". I began crawling as fast as I could to the small hallway behind the chief. Brother Vandy was behind me trying to pick me up off the floor (all 130 lbs. of him) He had his arms wrapped around me and was trying to lift me as I was moving. His hands were all over my breasts. I don't know how I got stood up but Brother Vandy grabbed me by my shoulders and said 3 times with his face in mine "just an accident" before I realized what he was saying. At the end of the hall where I was crawling was an open exit to a back yard. There was a man out there wailing and twirling and out of control. Brother Vandy went to him and grabbed him in a bear hug and comforted the man. The man had witnessed what had happened and could not deal with it. Once he was calmed, Brother Vandy and I went out thru the open gazebo. Don was out in the yard where many people were all talking, crying, and hands were just flying. Don ran up and told me to stay where I was at and told Brother Vandy to come with him. They flew to the truck and I saw two men jump into the back seat. Don sped off. I watched the scene out front as masses of people gathered. I had no idea what had happened. A woman came up to the stand where I was and sat down heavily in a chair next to me. I asked her if someone was hurt. She held up 2 fingers and said "two". I asked if anyone was dead. She held up one finger and said "one". I had no other information until Don got back. What had happened was a man had put his car in reverse instead of in gear to go forward and smashed on the gas pedal and flew backward and hit all those motorcycles. That is what was popping and making the gunshot sounds and what was flying through the air. There were two children under the tree and the vehicle ran over one of the children. Don saw a man running towards the road carrying a little girl. Obviously, he was taking her to the hospital. There was no transportation left except don's truck. When Don saw the man he yelled at one of the counselors to tell the man he would take him in the truck. The counselor ran after the man. Don Called Brother Vandy to go with him and for me to stay where I was. They jumped into the truck and two men also jumped in. I did not see the child. He sped off to the hospital, which was quite a ways off. Unfortunately, when they got to the hospital the guards at the gate would not let them enter. Don got them to let them in. When they got to the ER everyone was standing around doing nothing and Don ordered them to get a gurney to put the child on. Someone produced one and they laid the child on it. Still no one was doing anything to help this child. Don yelled at them and told them they needed to be doing something to help. Don looked at the child's eyes and knew she was dead (we have seen many livestock die and the look that comes over the eyes when they die and this was the look in her eyes) he then felt for a pulse in her ankle and there was none. Then a nurse appeared and asked "is there a pulse"? "NO". A doctor came sauntering in. They took the child to a back room. After a couple of minutes, Don went back and said to the doctor. "I just need to know one thing, is she dead or alive?" The dr. said "she has passed". Don went out and told the two men she had passed. One of the men was her uncle. Don and Brother Vandy came back and we had our meeting. I was sure that the meeting would be postponed due to what had just happened but no one seemed to be shaken except Don, Brother Vandy and me. Don told me that when he informed the 3 men the child had died, Brother Vandy did an African cultural thing that made Don uncomfortable. He came to Don and grabbed his hand with interlacing fingers and wept bitterly. When he got control of himself, Don sent him to the truck to grieve alone. He continued to weep and once he got control, they came back to the gazebo. Side note: Men and women do not hold hands because it means they are having sex. I wonder why people don't think these two are having sex when they have children playing at their feet. Men hold hands with interlacing fingers and it only means they are friends. It does not mean they are gay. Don cannot get the look of that little girl's dead eyes out of his mind. He is emotional when he thinks of her. The driver of the vehicle got out of the van, saw what he had done and jumped back into his vehicle and locked himself in. It is Africa's culture in situations like this that the person who did the damage is beaten by the assembled crowd until he is dead or is "damaged". The police arrive very soon after the accident happened and carted the man off to safety. At 7:00 p.m. District President Bai Sesay came to our apartment to discuss two food projects that were started before the Ebola. He personally did not know anything about it. He was one of the people who was suppose to receive seeds and animals but he was never contacted. He is going to go with us on Wednesday, April 13th, two meet with two Branch Presidents, who were not Branch Presidents at the time but , who did receive seeds and/or animals and garden tools. President Sesay also wants to do a very large chicken project and has the land to build a chicken building. We also discussed with President Sesay the PVA and the orphanage. See notes on 4/5/16 Y April 7, 2016 - Thursday

April 5, 2016

Saw the PVA (Polio Victims Association) and the orphanage today. The PVA is comprised of polio victims and amputees mostly members of the church with a few non-members that join them on Sunday. They are not a branch but a "home unit". They have no church support. They are authorized to do sacrament and then they have Sunday School and do not have Priesthood, R.S., or primary. The work we want to do for them is wheelchair repair. They received a number of wheelchairs from the church before the Ebola and the chairs are well-used and are in need of help. We have another meeting on Wednesday, April 13th, to revisit the facility with the District President, President Sesay. The orphanage is a very sad situation. There is a woman by the name of Melrose who is a polio victim herself and in a wheelchair. She has taken in 18 abandoned children that are mentally and physically handicapped. Some severe. The children are very thin and enough food is an issue. They knew we were coming and had the children cleaned and all sitting in the living room posed. We toured the house and found that there are 2 bedrooms for the children. They have 5 boys sleeping in a twin size bed and 6 girls sleeping in the same size bed. They had a pile of mattress on top of one broken down bed. They put them on the floor for additional children to sleep. The boys room had one twin size bed and the girls' room had two bunk beds. 3 of the beds are broken and unusable. There was no mosquito netting. There were at least 6 wheelchairs in storage all broken and not usable. Melrose told us she has one adult helper. She showed up before we left and she is also a polio victim. Melrose said she does the cooking. They have recently had two children die from malaria due to no medication. We are working with President Sesay on maybe organizing an elders quorum service project to help with the repairs of the beds and also to give some fast-offering recipients an opportunity to work for what they have received. We will look into possibly having the humanitarian department provide some new mattresses and repair materials for the beds. We will also look into finding an NGO that deals with situations like this. Perhaps they can get some help with food , etc. April 24 - A man came into the office today and asked to speak to Elder Carley. We met with him and he was wanting a wheelchair for his father who has had a stroke. While speaking with him, we learned he has and NGO (non-government Organization or what we call a non-profit organization) called "Peanut Butter Project". He deals with malnutrition children thru bringing them back to health thru eating peanut butter. I asked him if he would check on the above mentioned orphanage and he was very interested in doing that. Don also proposed to him working for us on a project that is very very big and one that we cannot manage alone. He was very interested. This man is a tender mercy. April 5, 2016 - Tuesday S

April 4, 2016

Our 27th Anniversary ! Today we went out to look at well sites with Brother Saidu Conteh. We walked a long ways and neither Don nor I knew how much, how far, or how steep the trek would be and we did not put on our hats or take water. A tender mercy happened. After looking at 5 wells and having gone down a very steep mountain trail we were hiking back up the mountain and about a fourth of the way I needed to stop and rest. Both Don and I were pooped! Hot, thirsty and out of energy. We were huffing and puffing and trying to stand in the shade of a house. A man appeared with a nice solid long bench and stepped across a trench and placed it under a big shade tree in the unusual breeze. We were so grateful. We sat on that bench and started to recuperate when the man showed up with a bottle of partially frozen Apple cedar still sealed. Oh was that so refreshing. Don and I were sharing this and the man appeared with a 2nd bottle and Saidu drank it. The the man showed up with a Mega Cola and it was very cold and Don and I shared it. We did not have any money to pay for these and the woman said she did not want any money, she just wanted to give it to us. We thanked her and then we gave Saidu 12,000 Leon's ($2.00) when we got back to the car to give to her the next day. Saidu lives a few houses from her. It just occurred to me, she didn't have electricity. How did we get such cold drinks? I will have to ask Saidu. I wrote her a letter thanking her for being so gracious when we were in need. I included the scripture Matthew 25:40. Saidu gave it to her with the money. Also a funny thing happened on this trek: We were finished checking out a well and walking up a long hill. Don was walking in front of us and came upon a 5 year old girl carrying a jug of water on her head and carrying one in her hand. Don asked the child if he could carry one. She handed him the jug that was in her hand. He obediently followed her and they got a ways ahead of Saidu and me. As Saidu and I were walking through the village, I noticed a barber shop. I have been asking everyone to cut my hair but no one dares to. So I asked Saidu if he thought the barber would cut my hair. He assured me he would because that was his barber. Saidu walked into this dark run down hut and the barber had a customer in his chair. Saidu explained I wanted my hair cut and asked if he would cut it. He agreed, but we had lost Don so Saidu told the barber we would be back. Saidu knew who the little girl was and where she lived so we went toward her house. We met Don coming back and we decided since we were half way down the mountain we would continue down to the wells. When we got back to town Saidu and I went to the barber shop and Don ran an errand. We went into the shop and there were 6 men there and a man was sitting in the barber chair backwards. Saidu spoke to him in creole and the man looked at me and raised an eyebrow so I lifted a tuff and hair and asked "have you ever cut a white woman's hair before?" He said "no". I asked if he would like to. His face lit up and he jumped out of his chair and said "yes". I started to move forward when Saidu whispered in my ear, "he's not the barber. He's a customer" . The barber was not there so I did not get my hair cut.

March 30 & 31 2016

Worked in the office today and yesterday. Last night we went for a walk and ran into two very nice young men who wanted to walk with us. As we walked, they told us there was a hospital behind the doors of the compound which is just down the street from our compound. We walked in and met the caretaker and asked for an appointment for today. He set one up at 2:00. We arrived at 2:00 and the dr. Had just left. There were about 8 nurses all standing around on the porch of the maternity building so we asked if we could see the facility. They had a lot of really good expensive equipment and privacy for the patients. There was a woman there with her new born baby. The place was absolutely filthy, the building had no generator so no electricity and no water. So the equipment (incubators, warming tables, oxygen containers ect.) are not usable. Don says some of this equipment was broken and just sitting there. We left a note for the doctor to call us. When we talk to him, maybe we will get some clarification. (22 Apr - The dr. Never called)

March 28, 2016

We worked all day in the office doing final reports on 2 projects so they can be closed. We worked for 1 1/2 hours crafting the report only to have it disappear because it wasn't saved. I know I saved it twice. Frustrating! We re-did it but it wasn't as good as the first report. Stopped at St. Mary's and bought groceries and a small ice cooler. The cooler was $30.00 and we spent $70 on food. It is so weird buying groceries for a few days at a time. Thank goodness I have all my recipes plus a bunch of substitutes and homemade recipes to make things from scratch. Thank you Karen Jones for all the handouts on how to make substitutes when you run out of an ingredient and all the how 'tos' of using things like rice, beans etc. Very handy

March 27, 2016 Easter

We spent the greater part of the week reading in Jesus The Christ in preparation for celebrating Easter. We went to church but it wasn't very satisfying. The people are so hard to understand and they don't have a sound system and they speak so softly you just can't hear. Sunday School and Relief Society is the same problem. We came home and took a nap and ate lunch and then continued reading in Jesus The Christ. We decided to go for a walk about 6:00 and the weather was beautiful. The sun was just beginning to go down and there was a breeze. It felt wonderful. We walked down to the Faith, Healing Church who was having a crusade and walked among the people. Of course everyone was staring at us because we were the only white people among thousands. We smiled, waved, asked people how they are, answered them when they asked how we are etc. At one point we came upon a pavilion full of children and some children were on a stage singing and dancing. Then the adults got all the children singing and dancing. Don and I were standing a ways away but some of the children saw us and a couple of them came to us and was talking to us. A few more children appeared and some more until we were surrounded , and more children were leaving the pavilion and coming to us. The adults were wanting them to return to the pavilion and they did not want to go. We were telling them they had to go back but they just wanted to touch us. The adults were coming for the children and they had switches in their hands so I told don if we can't get the children to go we should walk that way and they would follow us. And they did. We got them to the gate opening and Don walked in and I stood at the gate and tried to shoo the children in. Once one went in the others seemed to follow. A woman wanted Don to come in and say a few words. He turned down the invitation. We truly were intruding on their "crusade" - what we would call a revival. We walked back to our apartment and sat on the porch. I got to talk to Jennifer tonight.

March 26, 2016

We went for a walk and ran into Abdul, who the 2nd counselor in the Elders Quorum in our branch, and he walked with us. We walked down thru the market and at one point he pointed and said the food market is down here. WHAT? A food market? Between two of the street vendors was a small opening and lo and behold! Down this very narrow rocky path was many vendors selling food items. Everything from chicken feet to dried fish , to garlic, to bullion, to many kinds of rice, flours, cassava, and stuff I did not recognize. It was an awesome experience.

March 24, 2016

We checked out a Food initiative that included gardens, chickens, goats and ducks. We climbed up a mountain and then down a mountain and back. It had to be 2 miles down and 10 miles back up. Actually it wasn't so bad. But it was in the heat of the day so it was hot. We had a very nice day. Africa is beautiful when you get out of the city. We walked thru a real outdoor food market. I wish I had taken some money.

March 23, 2016

We were out checking out an open standpipe project and 2 wells. We had to do a lot of walking. Sierra Leone is full of dogs. They prowl all night and sleep all day (because of the heat). We passed a sleeping dog and he looked awful. I told Don to stay away from that dog because he did not look healthy. Don looked at the dog and said "that's because he is 3 days dead". I said "no wonder he doesn't look healthy". We had a very full day. When we got back to the mission office the Clawson's were ready to leave and wanted us to go down to the bank and sign the signature card for the checking account. What an ordeal. I am so very tired tonight. March 23, 2016

March 22, 2016

SISTER CLAWSON called this morning and asked me to give the spiritual thought in our weekly prayer meeting. I chose to talk about my experience in the Temple when I was assigned a post where there was no activity and I was standing there thinking and wondering if I was truly ready mentally to do this mission. Because I had nothing to do, I picked up the scriptures and flipped open the book and it opened to D&C 64 and my eyes were drawn to verse 29 & 33 "Wherefore, as ye are agents, ye are on the Lord's errand: and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord is the Lord's business. Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceed that which is great". 3 Nephi 19 :29 This is Jesus Christ speaking: "Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou has given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them." Then the miracle happened. I was not sure how I was going to close my remarks, and the scripture that says open your mouth and I will put words in it happened. I was almost to the very end before I realized I was saying some pretty awesome things but the thoughts were not coming from my head but the words were coming out of my mouth. It was good! I spent the morning with Sister Barney. I really like her. She gave me the medical run down we are suppose to get. She shared a couple of stories with me. 1. She was showing me some of the pictures she has taken as she has gone out and visited the people of Ghana. She and a team of nurses and doctors were invited to go into the bush country and do breast exams and anything else that might come up. The village was actually spotless. The rest of Africa is a garbage pail. I commented on the cleanliness and she told me it was a witches village. There are 5 witches villages in northern Ghana. The women are claimed to be witches because someone close to them has died. The way they determine if a woman is a witch is they take one of her chickens and slice its neck. If the chicken dies with his feet in the air the woman is a witch. If the chicken dies sitting on its feet, the woman is not a witch. There are two women per hut and the huts are thatched roofs. 2. One time she and her husband went to visit a village and when they got there the whole town was in celebration. All the people had their faces and bodies painted, the men were wearing women's clothing, and the women were wearing men's clothing, and everyone was singing and dancing. When they were noticed by the people,the people surrounded their car and began banging on their car and demanding money. Brother Barney gave them money and they were allowed to leave. Sister Barney called the missionaries and told them to go home, stay in their homes and not to leave until the celebration was over. 3. Sister Barney was asked to come to a school and teach some women about resuscitating babies. Sierra Leone has the highest rate of infant and mother fatalities in all the world. She told them she only wanted 10 women. When she got there she met the headmaster and he took her to her classroom and told her her students were ready for her to teach them about nutrition. She was not prepared to teach on nutrition. She entered the room and walked over to the desk and turned around to face her 10 students and there were 140 men and women. She looked at the headmaster and said "just a minute" she turned to the blackboard and said a prayer and was impressed to teach the people how to wash their hands and when to wash their hands and how germs and illnesses spread. After this class, she was led into a room of 10 women and she got out all her baby equipment and was just beginning to teach when someone came into the room and announced there was a woman in the bathroom having a baby. Sister Barney ran into the bathroom and got the woman and led her to the labor room. She was pregnant with twins and was only 34 weeks along. The first baby was born and was not breathing. Being very premature Sister Barney did not think the babies would live. She took the first baby and did all the things nurses do to get a baby to breathe and nothing was working. She got her resuscitator, which was already out and ready to use and showed the nurses how to resuscitate a baby. The baby lived and so did her sibling - two girls. Scripture for the grandkids: Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

March 20, 2016

Went to church across the road and oh how the African people love to sing at the top of their lungs. Church was very good. The theme was Seminary and Institute. They called Seminary and Institute students out of the audience to share an experience and their testimony. Then they asked the Branch President to speak and he deferred to someone else. They all did an awesome job. Then in Sunday School the teacher talked on the same subject and was passionate. Very good lesson and excellent teaching skills. Relief Society was a joy. This young woman sat next to me and was curious about me. I felt the slightest touch on the back of my neck, then on my right shin and then on one of my fingers. At that point, I place my hand on her knee and that was all she needed to feel my fingers and my hands and my finger nails. She learned I am just like her. I feel no different I am just a different color. After church was over I could not get her to talk to me. I think maybe she is slow or maybe doesn't speak English. I don't know. I asked her her name and she said "Mariamba". I met several nice women and one was holding a baby and she introduced me to the baby as "grandma carley". I learned from one of the other ladies that if you are an older woman, you are addressed as "grandma" or "auntie". We invited the 4 missionaries and the Miles over for dinner tonight. The elders were not around so at 6:00 the Miles came over and we had dinner. I made Hawaiian Haystacks for supper using homemade cream of chicken soup (which was quite good). The Missionaries showed up about 8:15 and they ate. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable day.

Block from the grandkids: From Elizabeth: "Today you're you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you're than you!" Dr. Suese. Cholena wanted to know "what has been the biggest challenge since arriving in Africa?" The answer "understanding the language". March 20, 2016 - Sunday M

March 21, 2016

We had an excellent day at work. Right away at 9:30 John Blackie came in and we hired him to counsel us on projects and to help us find places we need to go. Right after that President Clawson visited with us and told us he needs our house for the next people coming in so we need to find a place in Makeni, Bo, or Kenema. We are going to Makeni at the end of the week with Brother Doe. Brother Doe thinks he knows of a place we can rent. The church does have some options for us. From there a group of us went downtown to see the war museum. The civil war in Sierra Leone was from 1991 - 2001. It was horrific. The rebels amputated hands, arms, feet, legs and heads to send messages to everyone in their village what would happen to them if they fought against them. Unfortunately, the y were evil beyond measure and did awful things to the people. We were just leaving the museum when Bishop John O'Neal called and said he made a 2:00 appointment with the bank to set up an account. We went there but they need several pieces of ID and a letter from Sandra in Accra giving permission to set the account up. We have everything we need except our resident permit but Sister Lauritzen is working on that. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon at the office and left about 5:00. We came home and ate leftovers from last night and then went for a walk. We took in a couple of different roads. One road lead down to the river where there were children swimming and playing in the water, people were bathing, some were doing laundry, and others were hauling water for home. We ran into an orphanage and visited with the woman who runs it. Don asked her if they have enough food and she said "not all the time". We talked about many things and met some children: Princess, Cynthia and Simon. Cynthia was mentally retarded and Simon was Down syndrome. After we left there Don mentioned to me that some things didn't add up. The woman had pedicured toenails. We then walked to the other side of town and met Pastor Anna who is the Pastor of The Divine Church of Christ. She took an interest in me and asked if I would be her friend. Of course, I said I would. We explained we were going to move to Makeni and she said she has a congregation their as well. I would like to be her friend. Maybe I have found my African Jennifer. Sister Barney took my blood pressure about 3:00 and it was 172/94 but I had just climbed a bunch of steps and was hot and sweaty. She had me sit for a while and drink some cold water and retook it. It was the 140/82. Plus I had not taken my blood pressure Pill this morning. She told me not to take it so she could get a reading without it. Scripture from the grandkids: Hebrews 2:11 "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren".

March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's day!. That doesn't mean anything in Africa. We got up at 5:00 a.m. To get ready to meet Brother Sahr Doe at 6:00 a.m. Brother Doe is the contractor building the couple's apartment in Makeni. We went with him and showed him where the light switches and plug ins should go. They are building a duplex and it will be very nice. The bank we want to use is actually right beside where our apartment will be. There are very few cars but a whole lot of motorcycles. It is a much better fit for us. Brother Doe says the majority of the NGO (non-government organizations ) are in Makeni. So that is great. We met a man there that just opened a school and is looking for some help. Don put him off until June. He needs to check him out. He feels there is an anterior motive. On the way back to Grafton, we stopped for gas. Don got out with a handful of money and we were swarmed by people begging for food. He turned around and handed me the money (I was in the car) and the people came around the car and had their faces plastered on the Windows and everywhere I looked people were pointing to their mouths. I had a sandwich in my bag I was going to give to someone but who Would that be? But I couldn't find the sandwich and just held my hands up to show I didn't have anything. But of course, they all saw that wad of money Don handed me. At the pump Don was just about taken for 6 liters of gas. He asked for $100,000 worth. Brother Doe stepped in and told the attendant "NO". In the car Brother Doe explained that the attendant did not clear the gas pump from the last person who put gas in their vehicle. They had put in 6 liters. He was going to start the pump at 6 liters instead at zero. Don said from now on he will get out of the vehicle first and make sure the gas pump is on zero before unlocking the gas cap. On the way back we also stopped at a road-side stand for Brother Doe to purchase some charcoal. They sell it in large bags with the tops covered with palm leaves and tied together. Brother Doe felt each bag which were about 4' tall by 2' around. He was feeling to make sure the bag was completely full of charcoal and not laced with palm leaves to give it a full figure. He turned some bags down. We are home early and for some reason we are hungry tonight. Brother Doe says there is a nice bakery close by and we are going to go check it out.

March 16, 2016

Spent all day trying to get the 2 computers for humanitarian service going. What a
mess. Brand new computers and they put a password on it that no one knew. Good
grief - we wasted 2 days on this dumb thing. We stopped at 2 grocery stores tonight on
the way home. One was a Chinese store and the little African native girl was just as
cute as can be. She followed me around with a hand basket and kept a tight hold on it
as I shopped & Placed items in the basket. Once in a while she would say we have
noodles right here, and I was looking for noodles. She would say we have eggs and I
was looking for eggs. I was so surprised I asked her how she knew what I was looking
for. She giggled and said "I look at your list". There are so many people here that
cannot read, I assumed she couldn't read. My mistake. I told her I I liked her. She
giggled and her boss overheard me and said she was her best staff. We got a new
washer today. The one that was here when we got here didn't work. I was going to do
some hand washing tonight and take the rest in to Sister Barney's apartment on Friday.
Now I don't have to . Yeah!
March 16, 2016 - Wednesday

March 14, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016 5:56 PM
Banana Island! What a fun day. We went to Banana Island with the Miles and the Barneys. Banana Island was an island where slaves were taken to serve the Portuguese and British soldiers. It has quite a history. We had to take a fishing boat from the coast of Africa to the island which was a 25 minute ride. We rode in a old fishing canoe that was handmade. The ribs of the canoe were curved logs. The canoe was well used and seeped water. Don bailed water all the way over to the island. They did put a motor othe boat so it was not rowed. We had just left the shore when the anchor slipped off the boat and lodged itself between two rocks. The only way to get it dislodged was for someone to go down and pull it out. One of the crew men took off his pants so he was only in his bright pink underwear and dove into the water. He got the anchor loose after coming up for air several times. Good thing we are all married women because when he got out of the water, his pink underwear left nothing to the imagination. When we got to the island, we were greeted by a tour guide and we walked all over the island and ended with a fish and rice dinner at a nice table with real chairs and an African tablecloth under a huge "cotton" tree (which was contradictory to everything else we saw on the island). Dinner was very good. They charged us $10 a plate. When we got ready to leave, the "captain" of the boat told us he would not take us back to Africa unless we paid him an additional $100,000 Leon's. The agreement when we left Africa was $300,000 Leon's ($55.00) and now he wanted $400.000 ($72.00). With some argument about the agreement we ended up paying the extra $100,000 Leon's ($17.00). When we got back to the African shore the "captain" had trouble getting the boat into the desired slot. He got us on top of some rocks that sounded like it was doing damage to his boat. No one felt bad about it. Then he tried to back up and gunned the engine and was doing damage to his motor. Everyone in the boat was not sympathetic. He took us for $100,000 Leon's and now he had a damaged boat & Motor. Elder Barney told Thomas, the man who arranged the outing, about the captain of the boat and he was angry. He apologized and as soon as we started pulling out of the parking space he headed down to the pier. However, it really was a fun day. Quite an adventure.

MONDAY MARCH 14 UPdated on May 2 2016
Banana Island! What a fun day. We went to Banana Island with the Miles and the Barneys. Banana Island was an island where slaves were taken to serve the Portuguese and British soldiers. It has quite a sad history. The British and Portuguese held the black people as slaves on this island and was quite cruel to them. Today there are only 500 natives on the island. It use to have 40,000 people on it. To get to the island, we had to take a fishing boat from the coast of Africa to the island which was a 25 minute ride. We rode in a old fishing canoe that was handmade. The ribs of the canoe were curved logs. The canoe was well used with dead fish, fishing nets and seeped water. Don bailed water all the way over to the island. They did put a motor on the boat so it was not rowed. We had just left the shore when the anchor slipped off the boat and lodged itself between two rocks. The only way to get it dislodged was for someone to go down and pull it out. One of the crew men took off his pants so he was only in his bright pink underwear and dove into the water. He got the anchor loose after coming up for air several times. Good thing we are all married women because when he got out of the water, his pink underwear left nothing to the imagination. When we got to the island, we were greeted by a tour guide and we walked all over the island and while there we found a school in session. There were 12 children from first to fourth grade. They stared at us and were frightened because we are white people and they have never seen a white person. They wanted to know if we were ghosts. We said "no" and I held my hand out with my palm down & let them touch me. They all did except one girl who was about 7 years old. She stared hard but would not come near me. When the rest of the children realized I feel just like them, they got more aggressive and squeezed my arm and hand. It was so interesting and fun. The lifestyle on this island is somewhat better than in Sierra Leone. The people live in huts - some are thatched - some are not. They go over to Africa to buy their necessities but Papaya, star fruit, coconuts, avocados and something called palm nuts grow in abundance on the island. They have a midwife who runs a hospital of sorts, a school that is one-room divided in half - one side for K-2 and the other side for 3rd & 4th grades. The children have benches to sit on and each side has a blackboard. This school is rich compared to the ones in Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone the children sit on the ground and there are no blackboards. One wall is painted black and they use something akin to chalk to write on it. There are no pencils, paper or books. There are some private schools in the bigger towns in Sierra Leone that wealthier families send their children to, but there are 5,000,000 people in Sierra Leone and most of them live in what is known as "bush country." We found on the back of Banana island a resort - of all things -there were 8 nice tents with queen size beds all decked out with linens and pillows and rugs, fancy lighting and modern-day bathrooms - which is unheard of for the natives. The resort is not up and running yet, but it is all ready. They say they are on social media but have not done any advertising. When we got ready to leave the island the 2 crew members of our canoe had caught some mackerel while we toured the island and they cooked the fish and made an African rice dish for us. I have no idea where they got a nice table with chairs, and African tablecloth, and real dishes all set up under a huge "cotton" tree on the beach. But they did (which was contradictory to everything else we saw on the island). Dinner was very good. They charged us $10 a plate. When we got ready to leave, the "captain" of the boat told us he would not take us back to Africa unless we paid him an additional $100,000 Leon's. The agreement when we left Africa was $300,000 Leon's ($55.00) and now he wanted $400.000 ($72.00). With some argument about the agreement we ended up paying the extra $100,000 Leon's ($17.00) - which was not the point. He was gouging us. When we got back to the African shore the "captain" had trouble getting the boat into the desired slot. He got us on top of some rocks that sounded like it was doing damage to his boat. No one felt bad about it. Then he tried to back up and gunned the engine and was doing damage to his motor. Everyone in the boat was not sympathetic. He took us for $100,000 Leon's and now he had a damaged boat & Motor. Elder Barney told Thomas, the man who arranged the outing, about the captain of the boat and he was angry. He apologized and as soon as we started pulling out of the parking space he headed down to the pier. However, it really was a fun day. Quite an adventure. M


we are attempting to get you access to Don and Jeanne Carley's Sierra Leon Mission experience. I am going to post the PDFs they sent me from Jeanne's Journal. I know nothing of blogging so we will see how this goes.  - Cholena