Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29, 2016

My iPad is dying. Cholena and Gabby are coming to Africa the end of July. I will see if Cho can bring me another one. Very many projects in the works . Lots of meetings and late evenings.

June 27, 2016

Eric's Birthday! After work tonight we went to the Clawson's for dinner. It was just us the Clawson's and the miners. Sister Miner made Hawaiian Haystacks for supper and I made a pan of cinnamon brownies for dessert. Sister Clawson added vanilla ice cream. Oh that was good. Ice cream is hard to find here. With it just being the 6 of us, we had a very nice evening. Elder Madu did not want to join us. He leaves for Nigeria tomorrow morning. I think he was just whipped. Anyway, we had a pleasant evening. During our dinner, President Clawson was talking about tribal issues within the church. He was saying that sometimes when a Nigerian or Ghanaian is called to a position, the Sierra Leonians will oppose the decision. Or if a Sierra Leonian is called to a position the Nigerians and Ghanaians will oppose the decision. OHH! That was the reason Elder Madu said so powerfully "there are no ITES!" After dinner, we had a family home evening and talked about wolves in sheep clothing. It was good.

June 26, 2016

We stayed the night in Bo. We went to district conference. The building was wonderful. It was very big and patterned after the stake centers in America. They, of course, do not have a/c but all the windows were open and they actually had ceiling fans that worked. It was wonderful. But then a heavy downpour started and the temperature dropped and all the windows were shut and the fans turned off because the Africans cannot stand any temperature below 80 degrees. Don and I were suffocating. There were 840 people at this district conference and the heat, sweat, and smell rose quickly. Finally, someone on the stand motioned to someone to start the fans back up. Oh what a relief. After conference, we came home and brought Miriama Kargbo with us. She went with Sister Clawson but she lives close to us, so we brought her home. She is such a sweet 27 year old single woman with a beautiful testimony. She is six feet tall and wears 4" heels. She is slender and very stylish. When she walks into a room, heads turn. We were going to have dinner at the Clawson's tonight but everyone was tired and Elder Madu wanted to go to his hotel and be alone. We are going to have dinner tomorrow night at the Clawson's after the office closes.

June 25, 2016

Elder Madu was ready for breakfast right at 7:00 just as he said he would be. I had breakfast laid out for him and I cooked an egg and cut up a tomato for myself. We were going to have prayer and he took my hand in both of his and asked me to pray. I did. We then enjoyed breakfast together. He poured water on his cereal. He said he does not use milk on his cereal. After breakfast, we drove him to BO, a town 4 hours away, for district conference. We met the Clawsons and Sherwoods for lunch and then attended the Saturday afternoon adult session of conference. It was very good. Elder Madu made several statements that made me wonder. One thing he said was "there are NO ITES". After conference Don and I went to the hotel and went to the hotel restaurant and had a pizza. The first pizza we have eaten since leaving the states. It was good and hit the spot.

June 24, 2016

I stayed home to clean and cook. Don went to the office and then at 5:00 p.m. Went to the seabird (a speed boat that takes passengers across the bay from the airport to Freetown) and picked up Elder Declan Madu, Area Seventy, for West Africa. They came home and Elder Madu was very hungry. I was going to make sweet and sour chicken for dinner and then thought better of it because I wasn't sure an African would like sweet and sour. I asked Geneba, the Doe's nanny, to help me. She taught me how to make peanut Butter sauce. It sounds gross but it is actually quite good. It is a comfort food for the natives. It is made from tomatoes, onions, chicken and peanut butter and water. Elder Madu ate 3 BIG plates full. He came from Nigeria, but it took him 48 hours. There was a lot of waiting at the airports. I don't think he ate in all that time. The 4 missionaries came over from next door and we sat for about an hour and visited with Elder Madu. It was such a sweet experience. When He got up to leave, he asked about breakfast. I told him I love to cook and I would make him anything he wanted. He is a very regimented and precise man. He said he wanted cereal, a boiled egg, and fruit "if I have it".

June 17, 2016

Spent the day in the office . Had 5 appointments. Learned Brother Doe had another bout of Malaria and has had a set back. He may be 4 to 8 weeks in Ghana yet. Oh boy! This is hard on everyone.

June 15, 2016

Our 7 year old, Isabelle, lost her first tooth today. We had an awesome experience today. We attended a closing ceremony for a school project that the previous Senior Missionaries started before the Ebola. There were more than 200 students there, many parents, and people outside leaning in through the windows and doors. It was attended by the Paramount Chief of this Section, the Minister of Education, the Headmistress (Sister Scott) and the Principal (Brother Stephens) and the local political counselor. The political counselor is 86 years old and has spent his life teaching school, and of course Don and I were in attendance. We were the only white people there. (Before we applied to go on a mission, Don said several times, "I hope they call us somewhere where we will be the only white people in a sea of black". Today was that day. It was a beautiful ceremony. We began by having a Christian Prayer followed by an Islamic Prayer. All the "dignitaries" spoke. Then they had a group of children come up and sing "I am a child of God". I was amazed. But I jumped right up and joined the children. After they sang, a young man about 12 years old recited Doctrine and Covenants 130:18 -19 "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come". We were again amazed. Then they had about 40 nursery and kindergarten children stand and they recited Psalm 23 from start to finish. Then all the children sang a song about how sweet education is. Then the older children put on a skit about what it was like before the "Latter-Day Saints" came and supplied them with tables, chairs, blackboards and supplies. It was cute. Then they asked Don and I to speak. We were so touched by the whole experience, it was so easy to look into those beautiful faces, feel the love of our Father in Heaven for each one of them, and to bear testimony of Jesus Christ. A closing prayer was offered. We shook hands with all the dignitaries and went outside to shake hands with the children who swarmed around us. The little children wanted to touch us and the older children wanted a thumbs-up. I gave many thumbs-up and the children would put their thumb on my thumb and then they would kiss their thumb. I don't know what that means, but I will ask some of our native friends. After we walked away from the children and was visiting with the Headmistress and the Principal, I felt a small touch on my leg. I looked down and there was a very small child looking up at me. I bent down and she said "potty". I didn't think I heard her correctly and looked over at her mother who was squatted down about 6 yards away. She said "she is asking you if you have to go potty". That is the very first time here in Africa I have heard the word potty. So I thanked the little girl and told her I did not need to go potty and I helped her go back to her mother.Tonight Geneba, the Doe's nanny, brought over a treat for us. It was "African rice pudding " and we were instructed to sweeten it according to taste. We were thrilled. It was in a pan with a lid and we did not open it until after she left. We took the lid off and we both just stood there staring into the pot. UH? What was this. It looked like brown water. I got a spoon and stirred it. There were small rice balls in the brown water. I tasted it and it was bland. We sweetened the water and ate it. Thursday - I asked Geneba how she made the rice pudding. She said she takes rice and pounds it until it is a powder and then she drops it into boiling water and it makes small little balls and then she adds spices to the water. Africans don't eat it with sweetener.

June 13, 2016

Yesterday afternoon Sister Clawson called about 3:00 and invited us to dinner. Elder Standfield, a general authority, is here on business and he was going to be at dinner. We joined the Clawsons, Miners, Heckles and Sister Hawkley. It was a small intimate group and several sacred stories were shared. It was a relaxed and spiritual atmosphere.

Friday, June 17, 2016

June 12, 2016

I went to the PVA for church today and worked in the primary. The volunteer Sister running the primary has been a member for less than one year and has not been trained. She has no idea what to do. Three weeks ago I gave her all the manuals, gospel arts book, and everything available at the distribution center for primary. There were 35 children in Primary today and she is trying to teach them by herself. I went prepared today to do singing time. She was suppose to prepare a lesson. She did not. So I did it all. They only have a one-hour primary. I used the Gospel arts book and told them Book of Mormon Stories mostly. I felt impressed to show them a picture of the Temple and asked them about it. They said it was a building the Missionaries go to to learn about how to be missionaries. They were clueless on the real purpose of the temple. I used pictures in the gospel arts book to explain the purpose of the Temple. The older children were in awe. After church was over, I had a meeting with Sister Cecilia and we decided on how to run the primary next week. She is going to prepare a lesson and I am going to do singing time. She is not familiar with the music in the children's song book. For opening exercises I asked her to choose a scripture or an article of faith to have the children recite. I had printed out the opening exercise agenda for her. After we had our meeting and she had gone home, I was talking to Saidu Thoronka about our meeting and he informed me Sister Cecilia is illiterate. I could have crawled into a hole. He said he would help her prepare. Good grief! Why didn't she tell me. I don't bite. I would have done something different that would have allowed her to be successful. But with Saidu's help, she will be successful.

 Our humanitarian work is quite consuming and getting together with her is near impossible. I could have worked with after church if I had known her situation. I will know for next week. Don went to Chruch at the Grafton Branch. District President Sesay asked him to be there for priesthood support this week since the Branch President died on Thursday.

June 11, 2016

Today is Michaella Doe's 13th birthday. She spent the entire day with me. I taught her how to use measuring cups and measuring spoons and fractions. She did not know how to crack an egg. So we practice. Then she made a wonderful chocolate cake. Michaella wanted to put chocolate frosting on it so we made a cook frosting and she put a very thin layer on the cake. Oh! It turned out wonderful. Sister Clawson made some pink roses and Michaella put them on the cake and then we experimented with some of the icing tips and Michaella put on some green leaves, and made a double border around the edge. It really turned out pretty. This is the first homemade cake she ever made and she was very proud of herself. Then we spent an hour learning how to direct music. We only got through 3/4 time and she does not understand it well. But she is learning and I am learning on how to teach conducting. We both have a lot to learn.

June 10, 2016

I spent the day learning how to teach literacy under the new church program. It was too short of a training to make a real impact. We have no materials either. It is a great program but useless with only half a training and no materials.

June 9, 2016

Aunt peg (Pauline Frank Roder) passed away at 3:00 am this morning. It brought back painful memories of January 14, 2011. Our hearts are saddened.
Had a day in the office. Lots of things happened. It is amazing how many people come into the office to visit us. Most of the time it is related to our humanitarian work but some times it's men who are looking for counsel about things that are weighing on their minds. They come in distraught and, as Brother Thomas who we share an office with says, they leave with hope. They come seeking "Elder Carley". He listens and he just helps them think through their issues. He lets them talk it all out and they come up with their own goals. They leave with a clarity of thought which brings comfort to their souls. That is the blessing of age and life experiences. Plus, Don is an exceptionally tactful man - that is a spiritual gift.

Since we have been on our mission, Don has been given a "spiritual gift". That gift is the gift of discernment. We have been approached several times by unethical people desiring "help for their community" only to have a hidden agenda of how they can line their own pockets with the humanitarian money. Don has been blessed to recognize a scam no matter how well it is covered up. He has learned how to say "NO", look into a person's eyes and dismiss them in a way they know they have been caught. The Lord is in charge of the work here in Sierra Leone and He will not have thieves with their fingers in His sacred money.

 There is definitely a mantle with this calling. It is physically felt by both of us. It feels like a coat of protection has been placed around us. The Holy Ghost is constantly guiding and inspiring us. Not only with the work we are doing, but in all things. His presence is felt and I must say enjoyed very much. I can truly understand how some missionaries find it very hard to be released and why some senior missionaries have served 7 and 8 missions. This is an incredible experience to be so closely associated with deity.

June 8, 2016

Don, Sister Clawson and I talked to Sahr Doe today and talked about several options on his living arrangements when he gets home, which should be at the end of June. Sahr wants the house the miles have been living in to be remodeled for him and his needs. Don is undertaking that project with the help of Sahr's construction crew. Sister Clawson is an interior designer and she will be designing the layout of the home and the awning over the porch and the wheelchair ramp. The 3 of us have visited 3 hospitals interviewing physical therapists. We have one or two more to visit. So far the only one that offer electrical impulses is Choithrams and their equipment looks archaic.

 The Chinese hospital is a very nice hospital but they have out priced themselves and have no patients. They have very nice, modern, equipment but seldom has anyone trained to operate them. They have a rotating schedule of technicians. They come for 6 months, do what they are capable of doing on the machines they are trained on and then leave and the next batch of technicians rotate in and they use the equipment they are trained on.

After talking to Sahr, Sister Clawson and I visited with Sister Doe and got permission for us to have a birthday party at the compound with only those living in the compound. That would be the 4 missionaries, Don and myself, and the Doe family. 10 in all. I told Michaella I would teach her how to make the chocolate cake she loves so much on Saturday morning. Her grandmother and nanny are going to make rice and sauce (stew) for supper and I am going to make some baking powder biscuits. Sister Clawson is going to make some pink (Michaella's favorite color) frosting roses to go on the cake.

If I get a chance, I want to get Michaella a scarf or a wrap that they wear here for a gift.

June 7, 2016

Elder and sister Miles went home to Centerville, Utah today. It was a tearful goodbye.

Michaella, Sahr's 12 year old daughter, came over tonight wanting us to text her mother and ask if she can go with some friends this Saturday to Aberdeen Beach to celebrate her birthday. Don sent the text. Sister Doe texted back and said "NO, your daddy is sick and this is no time for a celebration". Oh my heart broke for her.

June 4, 2016

We had a fun day today. We went with the Miles and the Miners (other Senior Missionaries) to the chimpanzee sanctuary. It was fascinating. The chimps put on a show for us. One male chimp made a loud call and 7 of his closest friends came swinging in on tree limbs. They did not come close to him but they were very fun to watch. The male chimp picked up a big rock and climbed a limbless tree to the top where there was one branch with a lot of leaves. The whole way up the tree he kept threatening us with that rock. We were warned before we left that the chimps sometimes will throw a rock and we were not to throw a rock back because if we did all the chimps would throw rocks at us. There were about 10 of us on this walking tour. We all kept our eyes on that rock in his hand. At one point he put it in his mouth and turned his back on us. We were all relieved. Then he got to the top of the tree and he did not have that rock. We all decided he had to have stored that rock in that group of leaves. We stayed at this particular location for quite a while. When we left, that chimp was not happy. He wanted to be the center of attention and we were leaving. He ran along the fence line screaming at us until he couldn't go any further. Then he just stood there and screamed at us. AWWWW!
We left the sanctuary and decided to go to the large and spacious building to shop. I hate that place. There are so few people who go there that the merchants are all over you pushing their wares in your face and following you around and absolutely making you miserable. I had 3 men all selling the same product trying to get me to buy from them and I kept saying "NO" "Leave me alone" "NO". They only kept at me. Finally Don stepped in and called them off of me. As I was walking away the 3 men got into a fight with each other because no one got a sale. I wanted out of there and I left the building.

 On the way home, we stopped at the PVA to check on the work and learned all 22 homes have been re-roofed and the project is done. Also, the security bars for the Windows and doors at the Black Smith shop were being installed. This will complete our first two projects. Yeah!

While at the PVA a woman I met last week who introduced herself to me as "yilla"(she was one who received a new roof and she thanked me profusely) asked Don where her friend was. I was in the truck with Sister Miles. We were deep in conversation so I did not go with Don to check on the work. Don told her I was in the truck. She was OK with that and asked Don what his real name is. His name tag says Elder Carley. Don told her his mother named him Donald. She thought about that and said, "I am going to give you an African name". She thought some more then with both her hands in a fist and with her thumbs up and her index fingers pointing at him said, "Joseph

June 3, 2016

We went to Makeni today and did Auxiliary Training. I ended up doing nothing because Sister Clawson took all the time plus ran over by 15 minutes. She did an awesome job and I learned so much from her. Working with the Saints here is very different than the kind of teaching we do in America. These people have no association with Mormon history and do not relate to it. Frequently used terms in America mean nothing to these people. I am learning how to teach in a whole new way. Also visiting us this week are Melissa Hockley, and Joan and Elder Heckle. Elder and sister Heckle are literacy trainers for all of the world for the church. They and Melissa have revised all of the church curriculums that will be coming out in January. The curriculums will be very simple to teach and are based on the Scriptures.

 We received training while they were here and today Melissa spent and hour training the Saints in Makeni. It was fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed it. On the way back to Freetown, Melissa and Sister Clawson rode with us. Melissa said she thought I should be taught to be a trainer for the literacy program. I told her I was very interested in that because I have used the Laubach method of reading for 40 years in teaching people to read. Melissa became very excited. She said "that is what we based our revisions on." Then I became excited. I love the Laubach method of reading. The people I have worked with have been quite successful using this method. Illiteracy is very bad here in Africa. There are so many people who cannot read. I am thrilled to be able to teach through this new program and look forward to the new curriculum.

June 1, 2016

June 1, 2016 - Wednesday On May 13th we had a male nurse come into the office wanting to start his own pharmacy and we have since told him we can not help him because he is not qualified as a pharmacist and Sierra Leone's laws are very strict. He was devastated. Don called him today and asked him if he was interested in doing nursing. He said he was and Don asked him to come to the office tomorrow

May 29, 2016 - follow up from april 7th

We got up this morning at 6:00 and went to Makeni. We have two missionaries that
needed a ride back to Freetown. One is being transferred to Freetown and the other is
going home to Fiji. We are very tired tonight.

We learned over the weekend what happened to the man who killed the little girl that I
talked about on my April 7th entry. The man was the brother of the paramount chief so
he was set free. He said he was "sick" and he wondered if he could drive and he was
only testing himself when he got behind the wheel of the car. His license has been
revoked permanently. The little girl was a member of their family as well.

May 28, 2016

Don and I spoke at youth conference today. We did well. The African live on their own
time schedule. Which is "whenever". Our Mission President is trying hard to get all the
wards and branches to start and end on time. At 10:00 youth conference was suppose
to start. There were about 50 youth there. Don said he was going to start the meeting
and asked me for an agenda. I told him he could not do that but he could get the kids
to sing. So, he stepped into his normal, happy, confident self and started a
conversation with the youth. He asked many ofthem what their favorite hymn was.
Finally one young man said, "I have two questions of you. First, what is your favorite
hymn and sing it for us." I laughed out loud. Don made a face of shock and explained
he did not have a nice singing voice and they should sing it with him. They said they
would join him after he sang the first verse by himself. I was laughing so hard. Don was
a trooper. He told the youth that when they started laughing they had to join in on the
singing. The man at the keyboard played an introduction. Don started singing. He
barely got the first line sung when the youth broke out in loud laughter. Then they
tried pulling me in on it and told me I had to conduct the song. Little did they know
Sister Clawson has been working with me and has taught me how to conduct 4/4 time
with an upbeat. I jumped right up and stood next to Don and all of us sang The Battle
Hymn of the Republic. What a wonderful ice breaker. His second question was "how
did you and your wife get together?" Don gave a brief explanation about him and Linda
and they about he and I. The youth were very gracious. The priesthood leaders did
not show up until 10:20 and then they were so unorganized that it took them several
minutes to get going. The youth straggled in a few at a time and by the end of the first
2 hour session, there were between 150 and 200 youth.

The youth here are wonderful. They have such beautiful testimonies and have a unique
way of expressing it. On Fast Sunday, there is a line of youth waiting to bear their
testimony. It comes from the depth of their soul. The Spirit is so strong and it is such
an honor to be among them.

May 27, 2016

What an awesome day. We went to Lungi, a 4 hour drive, and met with the military.
They have 2 buildings that they are not using that they would like us to help them
develop into a trade school. The one room is about 40 ft long and 35 feet wide, the
ceiling is open and the walls and floor are concrete. It would be perfect for one or two
trades. The other building is a very nice unused classroom. The military's idea is they
need to train the soldiers so when they leave the military they have a skill to fall back
on. They have between 500 and 1000 families associated with this base. We were told
that the women are "idle" and they want some skills taught to them as well (cooking,
soap making, hair care, manicures & pedicures, cleaning, anything so they can help
bring money into the home. I was told by the Major that they have a problem with the
women being idle and not happy with the amount of money the husband brings home
so they up and leave the husbands and "go find someone who makes more money".
This would be a wonderful project. Don asked the officers to meet with the people of
the base and get their input on what kinds of skills they would like to learn and then
present to us their ideas. We are excited about this plan.

Another place we visited was a hospital for women and children. They have 500
women a month going thru this place. It is clean and well organized. We met with the
main doctor and he is just as humble as can be and sincere in his treatment of his
patients. They are in need of an x-Ray machine and a ultra-sound machine. He has
other needs and he is going to prioritize them and give us a list. We really want to help
this hospital.

We visited a Chief, who attended our first meeting and was so excited about us doing
some humanitarian projects in Lungi, that he went home and spent 2.2 million Leones
having a hand-dug well started. He ran out of money so he covered the hole. He would
like us to finish it. It is a worthy project and he has shown he will take care of it once it
is finished. We will be doing this soon.

There is a well in Kissy that is also worthy of our help. This well was financed by the
Church. The contractor the community hired did not know what he was doing and the
concrete wall crumbled and has fallen into the well. The hand pump was also ruined by
the well technician. Because the concrete was in the well, it kept plugging up the
pump. He fixed it 3 times and his final solution was to cut the connecting rod so the
pump is two feet above the water level. The well is damaged and non-functioning. It
services 200 people daily when it is functioning. Now the people have to fetch water
from a long way away. The caretaker has put 20 million Leones into repairs of this well
out of her own pocket and it is still broken. We can fix this and bring some relief to
many families.

As of today, 16 homes at the PVA have been re-roofed. There are 6 more homes to do.
They should finish this project sometime this next week.

The blacksmith shop will get its security Windows and doors on Monday and Tuesday.
Our very next project will be a well up at Treeplanting. We are waiting for the welldriller
to finalize his quote. He says it should be ready early this week.

may 25, 2016

We went to Makeni today to take all the electrical stuff to wire our apartment as well
as the electrical fixtures. The apartment is quite nice and almost finished. While we
were there we visited the 4 missionaries. We ended up asking one set of missionaries
to go out to lunch with us. Neither of them had eaten in a restaurant for quite a long
time. They only knew of two restaurants but had no clue of their quality. We chose to
go to the hotel to eat. It was really really nice. We were the only customers and we
were treated royally. Our bill was 200,000 Leones ($35.00).

While we were visiting at the end of lunch, I asked the African Missionary what it means
to be legally engaged. He told me if a man and woman live together for 3 years they
are considered legally engaged. If the woman dies after being with a man for 3 years,
he is required to marry her dead body and pay for the funeral. She cannot be buried
until he pays for the funeral. If he does not marry her, he cannot marry anyone legally
or be legally engaged. I asked what happens if the man dies. The answer was
"nothing, it's OK".

Don and I have been asked to speak at youth conference for the Freetown Stake on
Saturday. I asked the Missionaries what the needs of the youth are here in Sierra
Leone. The first thing out of their mouth was chastity. They said they have taught
"very many" young women who are 18 and 19 years old that have 2 or 3 babies. Then
they mentioned the Restoration. The theme for their conference is 2 Nephi 31:20
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ." Don is going to talk
about a scripture we read today from the Soden family which was 1 Nephi 17:13 "
And, I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if
it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep
my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it
is by me that ye are led" and I am going to talk about the Book of Mormon centering my
talk on 3 Nephi 11:5 Looking steadfast towards Christ through the scriptures.

May 23, 2016

Today was an odd day. We took John Lukay to the bank because he was having trouble
cashing a check I wrote him. We got that straightened out. But that put us on the
north side a Freetown which is much closer to the Mission Office than going back home
and around. But it does force us to drive in the heart of Freetown and that is one awful
mess. But Don was a trooper and downtown we went. Don had quite a bit of business
to attend to downtown so we found a place to park and I was stuck waiting.
Fortunately, Saidu Conteh was on duty as a security guard close by so he and I had a
two-hour visit. Saidu was telling me about his brother being legally engaged. That
confused me because I was picturing a formal document or an agreed upon dowry or
something. But he was vague on his explanation and I could not decipher the meaning
of his words. While Saidu and I visited Don spent his time working on Sahr Doe's
finances. He met with Brother Doe's Banker and Don was authorized to pay Sahr's
contractors. The banker did not know all the people who needed to be paid so Don sat
with him and identified each person and how much to pay them. Then we went to the
office and worked until 6:15. We could have stayed much longer but they were anxious
to lock up the office for the night.

May 22, 2016

We called the Soden's tonight to wish Isabelle a Happy Birthday. Her Birthday is on
Thursday this week but we have no idea how that day will run for us. It was wonderful
to talk to all the grandkids.

We had an awesome meeting tonight with the political leaders of Grafton. They had a
well dug by hand and ran out of money before they reached water. This was a couple
of years ago. The hole is still in the ground. They would like us to finish it for them.
Don told them to gather the community together and we would talk. They gathered
the political leaders and a few community members. When we arrived, I was so
surprised! They set up an area under a big shade tree with a table that had an old
ragged white curtain on it for a table cloth and some plastic poinsettias in a nice vase.
They did with what they had. It was refreshing. Then there were 4 chairs behind the
table and about 6 rows of 5 chairs in a semi-circle in front of the table. There were a
few people there and we shook hands with everyone. Then we went up front and I
started to sit on a chair in the front row and whoa that was the wrong thing to do. I
was only part way down when I heard groaning and I stood right up. Don motioned to
me to come sit behind the table with him. I went behind the table and started to sit
next to Don and I heard another groan. I was only part way down so I stood back up.
There was a man sitting at the end of the table and he told me to take the "seat of
honor" which was beside him. So I sat next to him. No groaning when I sat down. The
man at the end of the table was the translator for those who did not understand us
and for us who did not always understand the natives. There were about 35 people
there. All of the political leaders were Muslim. They all wore there Muslim garb. The
Chiefs all had on plain but fancy head dresses. One of the Chiefs sat right in front of
Don. The first 3 rows of seats were occupied by men and the back three rows is where
the women sat. Don explained what the Church expects from those who we provide
wells for and what they can expect from us. At one point he explained that we require
they form a community committee of no less than 5 people on the committee. He held
up three fingers and said "if you have 5 people on the committee, 3 of them must be
women, if you have 7 people on the committee 4 must be women, if you have 9 people
on the committee 5 must be women". At this there was a round of applause from the
back 3 rows of women, all in Muslim garb. I was shocked! I thought the Muslim
women were totally submissive and not allowed to talk. The entire group was so
grateful and kept thanking us and telling us what a wonderful humanitarian thing we
are doing. Near the end Don asked if there were any questions. The Chief sitting in
front of Don spoke for the first time. He spoke in Kreo and the translator translated -
"Why do 3, 4 or 5 of the committee members have to be women?" Don made this part
up. There does not have to be women on the committee but he felt impressed that he
should make that a stipulation. So, when he was asked the question, he replied with
this -"it is the women who fetch water, it is the women who uses the water to cook and
clean, it is the women who will protect and maintain the well because they are the ones
who know how hard it is to fetch clean water." Everyone was thrilled with that
explanation. Then that same chief who asked the question, pointed to me and said in
perfect English, "This is your wife." Don nodded. Then leaning back in his chair, he
pointed to a woman three rows back and said "This is MY baby". Everyone laughed. It
was a wonderful meeting. Every woman there came up to me after the meeting and
shook my hand and thanked me profusely for being a "woman leader" and for helping
them to get clean water. Then they took the flowers and tablecloth off the table and
began moving the chairs and table. I felt like I was in Relief Society. It was such a sweet
feeling. I miss my sisters in Relief Society.

A couple of side notes: Towards the middle of the meeting a chief came around the
back of the tree and immediately a young man sitting on the edge jumped up and gave
his seat to the chief. Towards the end of the meeting the Paramount Chief appeared
and immediately a young man jumped up and gave him his seat. There was no
hesitation on the part of either young man.

After the meeting, the men were all standing around visiting and the Emaun (sp) the
man who calls everyone to prayer over the loud speakers 5 times a day beginning at
5:20am and the last call is at 8:20pm appeared.The call to prayer at noon is between
45 minutes and 2 hours long. I personally find it obnoxious. Anyway, the Emaun
appeared and Don was so excited to shake his hand. Before we left the states, Don
studied the Muslim Faith and read the Koran to prepare for what we might run into
here. He and the Emaun had quite a conversation.

May 20, 2016

Spent the entire day 9am - 7pm inspecting 6 wells, 5 spring boxes and 4 Latrines on the
east side of Freetown that the church built in 2014. We were very pleased that the
majority of them had been well maintained. We were disappointed with a couple of
them who let the wells get ruined and one latrine was a huge failure because it was
within spitting distance to the ocean and the ocean is free to use as a bathroom and it
cost 2 cents to use the toilets. Needless to say their beaches are foul! We will make a
final report to SLC on Monday on these facilities and close them as projects.

Two more houses at the PVA (polio victims association) were re-roofed today. We
showed up on our way home to check on the project. We were met by several people
thanking us profusely for the new roofs. The rainy season has started and it poured
yesterday and today. They were very happy they have dry beds. Saidu Thoronka, our
materials manager, said he is having the homes with the worst problems fixed first. We
are so pleased with that. John Lukay is our site manager and is making sure the roofing
is done correctly. He is a very talented young man. He works for Sahr Doe as his
"gopher" and is without a job until Brother Doe comes back.

Nelson, Sahr Doe's banker, called Don this afternoon and told him Sahr called him and
gave him instructions. Don is to go in to see Nelson on Monday. Don was almost doing
cartwheels. He is so very pleased Sahr is beginning to think about his business and is
making decisions.

Don got a text from Sister Doe today saying the doctor says Sahr has chest congestion
and she was asking Don what they should do about it. He text her back and told her to
call Dr. Anderson, the American Doctor there in Accra, who has been looking in on Sahr.
We are both very tired tonight.

May 19, 2016

Don received a phone call from sister Clawson who heard from the American Doctor in
Accra who is watching over Sahr Doe. He said Sahr's neck looks like a master surgeon
did the repair. However, the nerve damage is so severe that he is paralyzed from the
neck down. They are giving him physical therapy and we will just have to wait and see
what the Lord has in store for him.

We spent 7 hours this afternoon and evening inspecting 2 wells, 2 spring boxes, and 1
Latrine that the Church built in 2014 in western Freetown. The first well we went to
was way down the mountainside the rest of the wells, spring boxes and the latrine
were places we had to hike to but not near as steep as the first well. We walked
through so many open running sewer streams. This is where the dogs, cats, chickens,
pigs and every other animal get their "water". It is so disgusting. None of these animals
are taken care of. They are just there and no one takes care of them. The dogs have
mange and open sores where the flies have eaten them plus the dogs fight and take
chunks out of each other and they walk around with wide open wounds. Plus none of
the animals are fed. They all have to scrounge through the trash to find food. The pigs
live in the sewers. It is amazing though that they don't kill each other for food. There
are tons of baby chicks but nothing eats them.

The councilor's house at the PVA got re-roofed today.

May 6, 2016

"Satan is trying to kill this man!" Don picked Sister Doe up at 5:00 a.m to go to the hospital to get Brother Doe onto the ambulance and over to the ferry by 8:00 a.m. Everything went as expected at the hospital. The traffic through Freetown was minimal because of the hour of the day so they made good time over to the ferry. Mustapha, true to his word, met them there and got the security people to open the VIP gate and he talked to the ferry manager and he agreed that they would be given tickets to get on board. A little while later, Don and Mustapha visited with the head of security for the President of Sierra Leone (size - think defensive tackle) and he agreed that they would get on the ferry and they would be put on last so they could be the first ones off. So everyone gets loaded and now it's Don's turn. He drives up, backs up to square himself with the ramps and then had to drive through water to get to the ramps and the ramps had a severe slant which when you got to the top you popped over the edge onto the deck. Can you see where this is going? Now, it is the ambulances turn. He did not square himself up to the ramp and he got the front of the ambulance on the ramp, one rear wheel was barely on the ramp and he dropped the other rear wheel into the ocean with a big clunk as the ambulance undercarriage hit the ramp tossing Brother Doe around like a wet rag. Without thinking about his patient, and only being concerned with getting the ambulance out of the ocean and onto the ferry he put it into 4-wheel drive, put it in reverse and gunned the motor which caused the ambulance to back off the ramp and the rear tire which was in the ocean caught the ramp extension and launched itself back out of the ocean and flung the whole vehicle back up on the concrete approach ramp. Brother Doe took another excruciating jolt. Then the ambulance driver squared up and got onto the ferry with another jolting pop over the edge of the ramp. 3/4 of the way across the bay, Sister Doe rolled down the window (she was in the front seat and Don was in the Back)and told Don the a/c quit. Brother Doe is in a neck brace and it gets very hot underneath it. Without the a/c he suffered. The a/c quit because of the wreck that happened at the ferry loading dock which caused a leak in the a/c system. It was 10:30 in the morning when the a/c stopped working and Brother Doe had to be in the ambulance until 4:15 that afternoon. He was in there during the heat of the day. Enduring was very difficult. They did park the ambulance under a tree and opened the doors. However, this is Africa and it does get HOT! They took turns fanning Brother Doe. Don went into the airport to see if he could get some a/c for him. He did have the help of one airport employee who took him from the lowest security guard and after 4 stops Don was now standing in front of the airport manager who tells him he cannot put Brother Doe into the VIP lounge because the President of the country has reserved it. A/C is not turned on in the Lungi international airport until flights are checking in. But, by that time the airport lobby is hotter than blazes and impossible to cool down. Besides, Brother Doe would have been surrounded by hundreds of people in a crowded lobby. So that was not an option. There is a whole story about someone coming to fix the a/c. But the a/c was too badly damaged. Don made contact with Kenya Airlines and they assured him that they would take care of all the details with immigration and customs and true to their word, they came for Sister Doe about 3:00 and when she came back, everything was taken care of. They just had to wait to get Brother Doe on the airplane. About 4:15 they came and whisk him off to the airplane, sister Doe went through customs and then joined her husband! He arrived in Ghana a couple of hours later and was met by an ambulance, an American doctor and a close personal friend of Brother Doe. Surgery is scheduled for Monday, May 9th. The general patient-care standard in Ghana approaches American Standards Brother Doe never lost his faith. He saw tender mercies (unexpected blessings from the Lord) and miracles all along the way. I do not personally know what they were, but he mentioned them multiple times to Don. He even gave his wife a blessing. President Clawson and Don were present for that. Sister Doe wept. His recovery and resumption of normal life is going to require more endurance than the past week. But I am confident that a man does not define his life by how he walks. He is defined by his brain and what is in his heart. And Brother Doe has a tender heart full of love for all human beings. He is a man that is truly loved by very many people. He is 36 years old.

May 15, 2016

We spoke to Brother Doe today. He sounded upbeat. He has eaten some oats and has drank a liter of juice and 2 half-liters of water. He says his throat is sour and very sore. We don't know anymore than that. But he was full of gratitude for all the support. Today was Zachary Hyde's high school graduation. Sure wish we could have been there. Congratulations Zach. Talked to Jennifer tonight.

May 14, 2016

Noon - Brother Doe was just taken into the "theatre" (operating room) for neck surgery. The duration of the operation is expected to be 7 hours. Lazy day. I made some no bake cookies and they did not harden. I think the elevation may have something to do with that. Things just don't cook the same as I am use to.

Don leveled the stove.

Duane - you asked if the sun travels in the same path everyday since we are so close to the equator. No it doesn't. It seems to move from south to north at this time of year.

We went for a walk and came across a Muslim funeral. There were four men carrying a simple pine wood casket on their shoulders. Then there were a half dozen men following along behind. It was quiet.

Brother Doe's operation lasted until 8:15 p.m. He is in ICU.

May 13, 2016

We went to the PVA (Polio Victims Association) this morning and took pictures of the 22 homes that will be getting zinc sheeting put on their roofs. It was a nice visit with many people. The material supplier is butted up to the PVA so there will be no transportation costs. The cost of the project is 33,660,000.00 Leones or $5,801 USD. Now get this, This is a cash only society and their largest bill is 10,000 Le. . The PVA will provide all the labor. This is a good project. As we were going through the complex, I met a woman wearing a very pretty blouse and I said "OO, that is a very pretty shirt". She stuck her arm out and said "African Black". I stuck my arm out and said "American White". Then I pulled on her shirt and said "very pretty shirt". She then realized what I originally said and we both laughed. We were walking around with several men, all victims of polio and on crutches. I was amazed how well they got around. The ground is very rocky and they just go across it as if it was nothing. One time a man on crutches wanted to see the top of the roof so he jumped up on a rock and stretched his head as best he could and then jumped down. A few minutes later, Don jumped onto a rock and slipped off. I thought it was pretty funny. A one-legged man on crutches could do it but a two-legged man not on crutches slipped off. Then a bird crapped down Don's left arm. Oh, how the Lord keeps us humble. We had our laundry with us, so when we got to the mission home I washed a load of whites and got Don a clean shirt.

Brother Doe is scheduled for surgery tomorrow.

We actually had a fascinating young man come into the office this afternoon. He is an out-of-work nurse who wants to open a pharmacy. We had to tell him he was not qualified because he has not gone to school to be a pharmacist. However, we talked about many other options of things he can do with his nursing degree to be self-reliant. President Alie Kargbo was in the office and we brought him into the meeting to help translate for us. Even though we all speak English, words and phrases mean different things to each of us. Like when I asked a man if he would like some pop and he looked at me so funny and said "NO". Uh-Oh what did just ask him? So I explained I was going to get a soda and asked if wanted one. "YES". I asked him what "pop" meant to him. He said it was popped rice and wondered why I wanted him to have some in the middle of the day. Back to my story: Alie came in and translated and then told the man he had a man in his Branch that was a pharmacist and owned a pharmacy. He volunteered to visit with him on Sunday after Church and to feel him out and see what opportunities may be available for you. He asked the man to call him on Monday. Don was pretty excited when he left the Office. This may be another tender mercy. When Brother Doe comes home, he may need nursing care and this man may be the answer. He is a nurse and he has the strength to pick Bro. Doe up and move him around, if need be. His request to start his own business was a unique request. All other requests have been "what can you give me". M