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
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.