Wednesday, June 29, 2016
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.