Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 10, 2016

We worked in the office today and tried getting caught up on many of the things we let slide last week. We got a good start on it. I took our laundry into the mission home to do today because our well is low on water. We have run out several times and we just have to wait for it to recharge. Until the rains begin, we will be doing laundry at the mission home And we do buy our drinking water. We got an update on Brother Doe today. When he arrived in Ghana he was in very bad shape - he had a high fever, an infection and his proteins and "blood levels" were off. The doctor does not want to do surgery until Brother Doe regains his health. That was one wicked trip from Sierra Leone to Ghana. Plus the treatment he received in Sierra Leone did not help

May 9,2016

We went to Makeni today to visit with the Lebanese owner of the the material store which is the African equivalent of an old hardward store in the US with a little bit of this and little bit of that. Brother Doe's men need to be able to get supplies to finish their duplex they are building and are almost done with. When the owner heard of Brother Doe's accident, he cut off selling to them for fear of not getting paid. Don and Mr. Davis assured the owner he would get paid so he agreed to sell what he has on hand but will not special order anything. Which is OK. The project is very close to being done. They are doing mostly finishing work. We had a treat tonight. Elder Samchee, a young Elder who lives next door to us, made the Miles and us a Ghanian meal (Elder Samchee is from Ghana). It was a lot of rice with a sauce. Here a sauce is a stew. This is eaten most every night. They make sauces in many different flavors. The one we had tonight was quite good. It was made with black-eyed peas (beans), fish, spices and Pepe (which is an extremely hot pepper that looks like a small red bell pepper but it isn't a bell pepper). He did not use too much, it had a nice bite. We got home from Makeni around 4:00 and Elder Samchee was home. Last week was his birthday and I made him a chocolate cake. He loved it and asked me to teach him how to make a chocolate cake from scratch. So I went over to see how his dinner was progressing - he had it all ready. So I asked him if he wanted to make a cake for dessert. He practically ran over me trying to get out the door to come over here. He wasn't familiar with measuring cups or measuring spoons so that was the first lesson. We then made the cake. OH Good Grief! We put it in the oven and my stove is not level and the cake ran out of the pan, all over the oven and even ran out under the oven door and down the front of the stove. The back half of the cake was burned batter and the front half of the cake cooked beautifully but was very thick. It tasted wonderful. Oh I just had a good laugh! I just re-read the above and immediately thought of Duane Jones. He hates stew so he would be cringing at that and then to have it made from black-eyed peas and fish! His face is scrunched and (if he sitting down) his hands are between his knees and he is quivering all over. What a fun memory of a good friend!

May 7, 2016

Gabrielle's 17th Birthday. We called her and she was at the NASCAR races in Kansas City with her dad and Gavin. We miss her. Today was a day of recuperation.

May 5, 2016

Happy Anniversay Karen & Duane!

Alie was sent to the Kenya Airline ticket office to purchase the reserved tickets. He had to go to one clerk to get the receipt, which he received, and was for the quoted amount. He then had to take it over to the cashier to pay for it. The cashier re-worked the figures and came up with a higher price. The cashier told him he did not have enough money that he was $300 USD short . Alie tried having a conversation about the discrepancy between the clerk's figures and the cashiers figures but the cashier was "holier than thou" and refused to help discern the problem. Being highly frustrated and under a time limit, Alie left without the tickets. Today was zone conference and we had a General Authority, President LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., here to tour the mission and speak at zone conference. Alie was very much involved with this activity and did not have time to disagree with a cashier. At noon Sister Doe received a phone call from Kenya Airline telling her that the tickets had not been paid for because Alie was $300 USD short and they had to be paid for by 2:00 p.m our time because Nairobi closes at 5:00 and you cannot buy tickets after 5:00 Nairobi time and there is a 3 hour time-zone difference. Don had $300 USD in his pocket so he and two other men took off to Kenya Airline to assure them they had the money. On the way, Don Called Alie and learned what had happened. When Don got to the airline office the clerk was threatening to release the tickets for sale to others because they had not paid for them yet. To get her to not do that, Don called Alie and put the phone up to her ear so Alie could tell her he had the money. When Alie arrived, they went to the clerk and got another receipt showing how much was owed. It was the same as the quoted price and the amount Alie was going to pay earlier in the day. Alie was so frustrated and angry with this whole process. Don and Alie went over to a bench and physically counted the money to make sure it was the same as the quoted amount. They had the exact amount. Don took the money and the receipt over to the cashier and this time as she totaled it up she came up with the exact amount that they were quoted all along. Don made her count every $100 bill and every smaller denomination down to the last dollar. But before they received the tickets, Alie yelled from outside her cubical something about that is what he told her this morning and she refused to listen to him. That started a verbal fight between the cashier and the clerk. They got the tickets and left. Good Grief! Nothing has been simple. From here Don had to arrange for the ambulance shuttle. Mustapha met Don at the hospital and together they went to the logistic office and handed the man 6 uncirculated one-hundred dollar bills. He counted them 3 times in front of Don and drooled over them (he is from India). Don asked him to make sure the a/c would work and that the ambulance driver would be ready to leave the compound at 6:00 a.m. The airport is across the bay and you either have to take the ferry or take a 3-hour ride by vehicle around. The trip around the bay would have been extremely hard on Brother Doe. They elected to take the ferry. Mustapha informed Don that the President of the country had reserved the entire ferry for his entourage for the next morning. . Mustapha assured Don that he knew the head of security for the President and he thought they could get on the ferry. They were going to try it. Brother Doe's flight was at 5:20 p.m but he had to check in at 1:30.

May 4, 2016

An amazing Day! Brother Doe began to have feeling in his legs and feet and in the small of his back that he had not had since the accident. He had gone to sleep and Don was sitting by his bedside watching him. Brother Doe entered into a dream state and had a look of pure joy on his face with a smile. His right arm lifted up and moved around. This is the only limb he has that functions but without control. After 2 to 3 minutes he woke up and said to Don "squeeze my toes". Don squeezed his toes on his right foot - left foot , he could feel it. He gave a big smile that he could feel his toes being squeezed. Then he asked Don to go get a doctor to poke his feet with something sharp. He had that test performed on Tuesday morning by a doctor and he could not feel anything. Don went out to the nurses' station and a doctor and nurse were there. Don asked the Doctor to do a pinprick test and he just stared at Don and then said something in Kreo to the nurse who in turn told Don "the doctor knows what he is doing, and brother Doe does not need this test". Don invaded her personal space and told her he had a gut full of her lack of care, compassion and understanding. He was so frustrated he unloaded on her. The doctor stood there and said and did nothing. So Don pivoted and went back into Brother Doe's room and took out his pocket knife and poked Brother Doe in the bottom and sides of his feet. He could feel each poke and he could tell Don which foot was being poked. He had sensation all over the bottom of his feet. Don had just finished when the doctor ,the same one Don had asked to do the test, walked into the room. Brother Doe asked the doctor to touch his legs. The Doctor touched his legs from his groin to his ankles on both legs and Brother Doe was able to tell the doctor which leg and where on the leg he was touching. Brother Doe has numerous friends. Brother Doe's good friend (I learned his name it is Mustapha) had gotten the travel nurse arranged and got the Kenya airline to reserve 3 tickets for the Friday evening 5:30 flight direct to Accra, Ghana. One for Brother Doe, one for the nurse and one for Sister Doe. But the only way to get the tickets is to go downtown Freetown to the Kenya Airline ticket office and pay with USD only. You cannot go online in Sierra Leone to get tickets on Kenya Airline and you cannot buy a ticket at the airport. NO Credit cards or leones (African money). Brother Doe had many friends who came to see him including 3 women from Liberia, but because Brother Doe was in ICU they could not visit. They hung around in groups outside. Don went out in the evening and told them the flight arrangements have been made and he is starting to feel things in his legs. They were encouraged.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 3, 2016

I have learned a little more about the culture here. The reason Brother Doe was not fed yesterday is because the nurses only do medical things. They are not involved in patient care at all. That is for the uneducated, unskilled, and people from tribes that are considered of lesser importance. There are 115 tribes here. Only two tribes are of any importance. If you are not from either of these two tribes, your life has no value. So their culture and their tribal differences dictates what people do and how they do it as well as what kind of treatment you will get.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Hello all - i am happy you can read these updates from Africa. Dad told me he could see the comments when he viewed the blog. So feel free to leave any comments on any post - but remember that it is a PUBLIC post, so Dad and Jeanne can see them, but so can everyone else.

I will try to post as often as the emails come in , which is usually once or twice a week.

Thanks for loving and supporting my parents!

Pic Treeplanting Village PIC

Not sure why it is called treeplanting village? I will have to ask.....
- Cho

Pic The structure on the Front Left is a toilet - PIC

The structure on the front left is a toilet

PIC - Our community in Grafton - PIC

PIC Fetching water at the well - PIC

Fetching water at the well

Pic - All African Babies are carried this way - PIC

See his Feet! 

May 1 2016

Fast Sunday. I went to church and Don and Sister Doe went to the hospital. The nurses and doctors are taking very good care of Brother Doe. His needs are being met. They are turning him and giving him water and keeping him clean. He will not be flown to Ghana until Tuesday. Tomorrow is Labor Day and is a holiday. Air flights are cancelled for the day. Good Grief! Sahr's good friend has done a lot of work behind the scene. He has arranged with a neurologist in Ghana to do the surgery and has gotten all the expenses outlined. We just have to get Brother Doe to Ghana. The time to do any real good is long passed. Now it is more of fix the bones so they don't do damage to the inside of the spinal column. Don told Brother Doe the clinical prognosis today. He said he took it like you would expect. But, Brother Doe was very grateful someone finally told him the truth so he can start thinking about the future. He told Don, "I am going to walk again." Don responded with, "and I am going to be right beside you brother when you do." Don suggested to Brother Doe that Sister Doe go home, shower, nap and come back later this evening and he would stay with him until she got back. Brother Doe did not want his wife nor Don to leave but Don did not need to be in the room with him. He wanted his wife to sit next to him. He is in need of security and that is what his wife and Don represent.

Today is Fast Sunday so he is being remembered by many. His name has been put on the prayer roll at the Temple in Ghana, and through the faith of many, miracles can be had. We will see what the Lord has in store for this very kind, righteous servant of the Lord. After church today as I was leaving, a woman came to me and told me she needed to talk to me. We went outside and she told me she needs medical help because she has an itchy rash all over her body inside and out. I asked her if she has talked to her Branch President. She said "no, I am from the PVA (polio Victims Association)" who meets across the street. I happen to know that the Grafton Branch President has authority to help with this community. I asked her to write her name and phone number down on a piece of paper. I added a note to the Branch President and handed it in to his office where he was having a Branch Council. He read the note and asked for the woman to come in. She went in and came back out saying she has an appointment with the Branch President on Wednesday. With her was a very thin woman who speaks some language I am not familiar with and we could not communicate with words. She lifted her blouse front and back and showed me sores all over her body. Having been to the leperosy camp, this sight gave me the hebee gebees. I told her friend to take her with her on Wednesday to see the Branch President. On Fast Sunday, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we fast for two meals and donate to the fast offering an equivalent of what the two meals would have cost. The Branch President/Bishop then uses that money to help the poor. These sweet sisters are in need of help.

April 30th 2016

Sister Doe arrived at the Hospital at 4:00 a.m. When she entered the Ward, there were rats running around under the men's beds. She noticed her husband's IV bag was dry. She walked into the hallway and could not find anyone. She hollered "Nurse" - there was no answer. After the 5th time of calling "nurse", each time louder than the last, an aide came out of another room where she and the other aide were sleeping on beds. Sister Doe indicated her husband's IV bag was dry. The aide changed it. Don arrived at the hospital about 9:00 a.m. Don, sister Doe, and Brother Doe's friend went to the Standard Charter Hospital and found it to be a good hospital with medications, equipment, and bedding and a/c for the patients. The hospital was clean and the nurses trained. They went back to the awful hospital and the doctor had not arrived. To get Brother Doe out of the hospital the Dr. Had to sign a release form. They waited. Don noticed Brother Doe's IV bag was dry. He called a nurse and told her. With a horrified expression on her face she quickly changed the bag. Don noticed two hours later that Brother Doe's IV Bag was still full and it was not dripping. He called the nurse (they had a change of shift so the original nurse was gone) and said "it is not dripping". She said "Oh" and went over and turned a knob, smiled and said "it's OK now". The first nurse forgot to turn it on. Don called and text the Dr. multiple times throughout the day and got no response. He later found out that the doctor attended the wedding of one of the technicians and by 3:00 was still not there. Nothing had been done with Brother Doe. Don went and arranged for an ambulance from the Standard Charter Hospital. When it arrived, Don told the nurse he was taking Brother Doe to another hospital. Of course, she had something to say about that. Don got in her face and said, "I am taking my friend out of this place." The nurse pulled out a release form from a drawer with no handle and said "sign this you are taking him out". Don wrote very large across the page, "I D.L. Carley am taking Sahr Doe out of this place" and then signed it. The nurse signed it. Then she told Don to date it. He did. She told him to sign he dated it. He did. Then she did the same. Now they had to get brother Doe out of bed and onto a stretcher to take him down those awful stairs of 3 flights. There were many people ready to help move him. They were all talking at the same time and each had their own opinion on how to move him. They did not have a backboard. The general consensus was to have everyone put their hands under brother Doe and lift him. But they couldn't agree on that either. The noise was too much. Don yelled "Shut UP!" No one responded. He yelled it again louder. Still no one responded. He yelled it a third time and emphasized it. Everyone came to a screeching halt. The room was silent. Don, being angry, asked "who is in charge here?" No answer. He asked a second time "who is in charge here" with more sternness. One person pointed to a nurse and said "she is". The nurse took a step back and said "NO". Then Don said, "OK then, I am in charge. He pointed to himself and pounding on his chest with his short stubby finger repeated, I AM IN CHARGE!" Then he received inspiration on how to move Brother Doe. He told all the people they were going to use the sheet brother Doe was laying on, they were all going to pull it tight and they were going to move very slowly from bed to stretcher. They did and it worked. Brother Doe was rescued from "hell". They got him to the other hospital and was treated right away, received an X-ray & scan and found that he has a C6 vertebrae that is broken. The bone is broken but the things that fill the spinal column was still in tack. He needs surgery ASAP. The Doctor told Sister Doe that because of the length of time since the accident, he did not feel very hopeful that Brother Doe would be any better than he is now. She was crushed and became withdrawn. The Doctor said he could not do the surgery here, Brother Doe would need to be flown to Ghana to a specialist. Sister Doe and Mr. Davis, Mrs. Doe's driver and another man I did not recognized came home. She was so tired and unresponsive. She went to bed. Her good friend came over and stayed with her until she fell asleep. Don and the Doctor worked tirelessly arranging for a flight and a medical person to escort Brother Doe to Ghana. Only one person could go on the flight with him, and that was going to be the medical person. Sister Doe would not be able to go. The pilot notified Don that they needed an e-mail from the Doctor itemizing what medical equipment and medications they needed to have on the plane. Don went to the Doctor and told him. The Doctor said, "I can't do that until morning. I left my cell phone at my office and I don't have a computer here or Internet". WHAT? Don was livid. He went back to Mrs. Doe and the other friends of Sahr and told them. Two of the men went to see the Doctor and took their cell phones and put him on the spot. Don did not tell me what happened, only the doctor was able to make the e-mail. Then Don was notified that because they would be flying over Ivory Coast and Liberia, they had to have permission from the embassies in those country to allow them to fly over them. The embassies were not open. Tomorrow is Sunday. Will the embassy be open then? We will have to wait and see. Don got home about 10:00 p.m. He was keyed up and very tired.

April 29, 2016 - long read, but need to read before current posts if you want the whole Sahr Doe Story

I am married to the most awesome family.

Cholena is the mortar that keeps us all connected. She is so honest, trustworthy, and able to help me, 5,000 miles away, with all kinds of things. I appreciate her so very much. Plus, she has 5 of my grandchildren whom I love and miss.

Adrianne, has been a huge help to her dad with how to deal with medical issues (not with either of us. We are both healthy and doing fine). We have relied on her expertise heavily.

Which leads me to my amazing husband. Last night Sahr Doe, our landlord and Don's good friend, was in Makeni and coming home (2 1/2 hours away) when his back tire blew. He was going 160 kilometers per hour and his car swerved and went over the edge of the road, where there was a 6" drop which caused his car to roll twice, hit a tree, and landed either on its side or on its top. There was a man in the car with Brother Doe who walked away unharmed. However, Brother Doe was injured. I do not know how Brother Doe got out of the car. I do know that the man that was with him and the local villagers turned the car over. A private car appeared on the scene and they put Brother Doe in it and he was taken back to Makeni to the Holy Spirit Catholic Hospital. One of the villagers found Brother Doe's cell phone and called the last number that was called. It happened to be his wife. They told her "to come". Then he pocketed the phone and took off with it. Brother Doe always carries a big black thick briefcase full of money because he is a contractor and has to pay all his employees and this is a cash-only society. The man that was in the car grabbed the bag and a villager came by to be "helpful" and tried to take the bag away from him. He said, "No, he is my friend, I will take the bag to him". Which he did. They got Brother Doe to the hospital and he was in severe pain. They laid him on a bed and tried to determine where he was hurt. He could move his arms but cannot move his hands and has feelings in his lower extremities but cannot move anything below his waist. Sister Doe arrived at the hospital and stayed all night with him. She called President and Sister Clawson, who in turn called us. Brother Doe is the first counselor in the mission presidency. Don worried about Brother Doe all night. At 2:00 a.m. This morning I woke up to hearing Don texting. I asked what he was doing. We had several important appointments today and he was cancelling them all and told me "we are going to Makeni in the morning". When we got to Makeni we had no idea where the hospital was. We stopped every couple of blocks and asked a pedestrian. Then Mr. Davis's, Brother Doe's plumber and right-hand man, face appeared at the driver's side window. He was on his way to the hospital and found us so we followed him. When we got there, they would only let one person in to see Sahr. One person for just a few minutes for all day. Don said, "I am his minister, I need to see him." He went in and then, Don worked his magic and multiple people were able to see him. Don knows how to get around people who uses their limited power to try and control a situation. Sister Doe came out to where a group of women, including myself, were and she looked so very tired. When she saw us, she began to cry and quickly got control. The hospital is quite clean and the staff adequate but not trained. They all wore rubber knee high boots, latex gloves, hair nets, and gowns but they had no idea how to work with someone with a back injury. They did not know how to turn him, move him, or to take proper care of him. The Doctor put off Sister Doe until after 11:-00 when he finished his rounds. Which turned out to be good. It gave us a chance to get there, assess the situation and call Adrianne for guidance. Don was armed to visit with this doctor. He requested Brother Doe be given a blood thinner to prevent blood clots - the hospital had none. Don requested an x-Ray/scan be done on brother Doe's back to see what was broken, they had no x-Ray/scan machine, Don asked for some ice to help prevent swelling, they had none. Don asked for a pain killer - they had none. When I learned all this, I said to Don "it sounds to me like the humanitarian couple (that's us) needs to work with this hospital and get them some medications and equipment". Don agreed. This hospital referred Brother Doe to the big hospital in downtown Freetown. An ambulance was arranged for and two ambulance drivers came in all ready to pick Brother Doe up and put him on their stretcher. Don intervened and would not let them near Brother Doe then he instructed 6 men on the proper way to move someone with a back injury (thank you Adrianne). They listened to Don because he was quite firm with them, plus he was making sense. Then another man arrived and started giving orders and he was saying the same things Don was saying. Don put his hand on that man's shoulder and said firmly to the six men "this man is in charge, when he says move you move. Everyone got it?" Six yeses. They managed to get brother Doe moved and into the ambulance with minimal added pain. The trip to the Freetown Hospital was beyond wild. I have never seen more disregard for an ambulance. The ambulance driver was outstanding. He knew the road and where the potholes and the "traffic calmers" we call them speed bumps are. When he had to, he got in the oncoming traffic lane and drove fast and made the oncoming traffic get off the road. The traffic going in our direction, never moved over they just stayed going at the same slow pace and the taxi's had the audacity to stop on the road to load and unload passengers with the ambulance behind them with all the sirens blaring. We were right on the ambulance bumper all the way. When we got to downtown Freetown, the traffic was horrific. Still the same disregard for the ambulance. We finally got to the hospital. When the ambulance was pulled into the hospital underground entrance, they asked for 15,000 leone just to be there. (15,000 Leon's is $2.50 to us but it is a huge amount to an African. The people work hard doing construction in the hot heat 10 to 12 hours a day for $10,000 Leon's which is $1.70 to us). Sister Doe paid it - she had Sahr's big black bag. It took them at least an half an hour to get him out of the ambulance. When they did, they took him into this small side room where there were a bunch of people, they closed the door and left Sister Doe out. Don wasn't going to have that. He asked her if she wanted to be in there. She said "no". She was so very tired. Don said, "I will go". He opened the door and went in. Sister Doe looked at me and said "why can't they stabilize him before they do that - They are killing him." I did not know what they were doing. When Don came out he was beside himself. What they did was take his temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and Oxygen level and nothing more. They rolled Brother Doe to the bottom of the stairwell and six men picked up his gurney. WHAT were they doing!? They have no elevator. They hauled him up to the 3rd floor, jiggling him all over the place and when they got him to the bed they dropped him 8 inches. Don yelled. The damage was done. The bed had no bedding. The family has to supply everything and I mean everything. Brother Doe had on a neck brace that was too large for him and it was interfering with his breathing. They would not take it off because he needed the neck brace. They told Sister Doe to buy him a soft one. Then this stupid male nurse, who was running the floor, told Sister Doe before they would do anything for her husband she had to pay 645,000 Leon's (which is about $110) for one week of care and for 3 meals a day. Sister Doe pulled out the money from her husband's briefcase and paid him. We have learned the hard way of many of the ways Africans steal from each other. When I saw him count the money and put it in his pocket, I whispered to Sister Doe to get a receipt. She asked. He said something to her in Kreo and she responded in Kreo. Don asked what was said and the man quickly said "she can get a receipt on Monday from the finance department". Don looked horrified and said "my wife has a receipt book with her, she will write out a receipt and you can sign it." He had no choice. I do carry a receipt book with me at all times because as we pay for things that pertain to our humanitarian calling, we get a receipt for everything. The money we spend comes from the donations of members of the church. We consider them sacred and we use them wisely. The hospital is filthy, the man was the only nurse, the women were aides and sitting and joking and not paying a bit of attention to any patient. There were 2 wards with 6 men in each Ward. Don forced the nurse to take care of Brother Doe. He asked where the Doctor was. "He will be here tomorrow". REALLY! TOMORROW? Can we get a blood thinner for Sahr Doe? "The Doctor has to order it." Well, call the doctor. "You do that." Frustrated, Don asked for the Doctor's phone number. He called the doctor and the doctor wanted to know why he wanted a blood thinner and why Don was asking. Don explained he was not a medical person but he knew that needed to be done (thank you Adrianne). The Dr. Agreed and spoke to the nurse and before he ordered it he asked the nurse if he collected money and how much. The nurse then asked Sister Doe for money to buy the blood thinner. She paid him. Later, Brother Doe was in severe pain and Don asked if he could be given some pain killer. Again the nurse said "you call the doctor." Don did, the Dr. Ordered 40 mg of something. A few minutes later the nurse came to Don and told him to call the Doctor and ask him if they could give him 60 mg instead of 40. Don made the call and Don told the nurse "yes you can give 60 mg." Do you see anything right with this picture? The nurse came to Sister Doe and asked for money to buy the pain killer. She paid him. The hospital is not at all well kept. Sister Doe was beside herself with the lack of patient respect, family respect, the filthiest of the place, the lack of upkeep, the lack of training the women workers exhibited, the stupidity of the nurse and most important the lack of care for her husband. She and Don and a good friend of Sahr's met privately and Sahr's friend had done some research and found that there is another orthopedic/neurosurgeon in Freetown at a hospital called Standard Charter. They are going there tomorrow to check it out to see if it would be better for Sahr. They want him out of this hospital ASAP! I came home with Sister Doe and Don stayed at the hospital a couple more hours before coming home.

PIC - A gift from Brother & Sister Doe for Independence Day Celebration - Dad in African Garb - PIC

this is in their apartment

MOnday march 14 got a lengthy update - see original post for update too -

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

April 25th 2016

Tonight Brother and Sister Doe invited the 6 senior missionary couples to dinner. Three couples were called to come to Sierra Leone for 4 months to help kick start the mission. They had all served here for almost two years before the Ebola came and the mission was closed. Two of the couple's are going home on Thursday this week. In honor of them, the Doe's had a farewell dinner party. Oh my goodness! We had the most wonderful food. Most of it was "what is this?". We had "starters" which was enough to be an entire meal. Then came the main course of chicken cooked two ways with different spices, fish balls with just a hint of fire, fried rice flavored with Pepe (a very hot pepper), some kind of a little meat tart which was medium hot and spicy but oh so good, two different kinds of muffins and then out came a two foot fish on a platter. It was headless but the tail was still on it. Sister Doe called it a Cuda/Cuta (her accent is very heavy and hard for me to understand her so I am not sure what kind of fish it was). It was very meaty and covered with some kind of a spicy sauce. I was so full I could not enjoy one bite of it. After this course, out came the salads: lettuce, coleslaw and macaroni salad. Then for dessert, Sister Clawson brought ice cream and Spiced apples and offered root beer floats. We are in a community where people go to bed hungry every night. When we drive thru our community, we have to drive very slow because the "road" is a dirt path full of large rocks and we bounce all over. Because we are driving slow, people bang on our window asking for food or money. And here we are inside our compound eating like Kings and Queens. But, this is an exception, not the rule.