Thursday, July 28, 2016

July 27, 2016

We stopped over at the police station here in Kenema before going to our WASH meeting. They are asking us to put a well in in their compound. They have between 200 and 300 prisoners plus all the police officers and staff and they have no water on their facility. They have to buy their water off the street. Can you imagine that many people and no available water? Can you imagine the conditions the prisoners are living in? Jonathan Cobinah was with us and he said that the prisoners do not have beds to sleep on. They sleep on the cold concrete floor. The prison is overcrowded and was never meant to have that many prisoners in it.

We attended a WASH (water and sanitation) meeting today. This is a meeting where all the NGO's in the area get together and share what they are doing so we can help and support each other to make sure we are not duplicating efforts in the same areas and to help the African people to have much needed basic necessities. Oh My Goodness! It was so refreshing. It was the exact opposite of the one attended in June in Freetown. This was a real meeting that accomplished exactly what it was suppose to. We got a real education and are so excited about what we can accomplish with help from other NGO's.

July 26, 2016

We came to Kenema with Elder and Sister Greding today. We are going to go look at 40 wells that were done between 2010 and 2014. They want to check on them and see if they are still functioning and give a report back to Salt Lake City. We got here late so did not go out today.

July 24, 2016

Sister Clawson's Birthday. We went to church in Ebotown. At the beginning of Sacrament there were 10 men and two women. Sister George and her husband and Don and I sat on one side of the chapel and later a 3rd woman came in and sat in front of us. All the rest of the men sat on the other side of the chapel. Everything went well and normal until the first speaker got up. He is an arrogant pompous man who is of the opinion that he should be the Branch President and his self-importance is overwhelming. In the Sunday School class last week he kept going on and on sharing everything he knows. The teacher cut him off several times. He was the first speaker today. He started with "My brethren in the Priesthood". Then he turned sideways facing the men and his back to the women. I let him talk for at least 8 minutes and never once did he glance over at the women. So I got up and went over and sat next to a man that was mostly in the middle of the men. He had to look at me. After he talked for a few more minutes and I was still there, he started glancing over at the women. And I do mean glancing. After the Sacrament service was over, he stared hard at me and did not acknowledge me in anyway. I had an opportunity to pass him in the chapel at the end of church and when he saw me, he turned and went the other way.

 Brother Doe received the Sacrament today and for the first time since his accident he was able to put the bread and water to his own lips. WOW! He Sampson has been working very hard with him this week and he is doing amazing things with his hands. When he got here on Tuesday he could only lift is right arm a couple of inches and had no grip. Yesterday morning, Bob came over and the very first thing out of his mouth was "my dad put his hand on my head". WOW! When he first entered his home on Tuesday, his eyes were darting back and forth as he was taking in the sights. He could not turn his to the left or to the right. Last night I went over to talk to Sister Doe and he was in the living room with a ton of men. I look at him and he had a grin from ear to ear. He was so happy. I asked him if I could talk to Feima and he actually turned his head to the left and nodded that she was in that bedroom. I was shocked. He is responding incredibly well to therapy. We can hardly wait for Cholena to get here. She has done a ton of research on what kind of equipment Brother Doe would need for therapy and she is bringing many things with her.

 President and Sister Sesay came over for a visit tonight. He always seems to know when I am making cookies. The missionaries next door asked me for cookies this week and I had none to offer. So I made some this afternoon and took them down to them. President Sesay LOVES cookies. It doesn't matter what kind.

July 23, 2016

While having prayer this morning, Don mentioned now that Brother Doe is back and running his own affairs and is surrounded by all his loyal employees, that he is gently being pushed out of the scene (which is a comforting feeling for him. He is so tired of handling all the problems and paying all the bills). It was less than 10 minutes later when Elder Samchee appeared at our door saying Brother Doe wanted to see Elder Carley. Don went over and Brother Doe asked him to take care of something for him. Brother Doe received two visitors this morning from the material supply store (lumber yard) where Brother Doe gets most of his building supplies. They heard Brother Doe was back and came to ask him if he sent Victor and Abduli to represent him while Brother Doe was away. He had not and was quite upset that these two men used his name and told the Labanese men they represented him. Fortunately, the Lebanese men doubted Victor and Abduli and did not sell them anything under Sahr's name. However, Sahr wants Don to visit Victor and let him know that he was never authorized to do business under his name and the two of them are done doing business together. Victor is a very poor electrician. He and Don had a run in before. Victor was suppose to fix the electrical problem at the Grafton Branch and Don was there when he was fixing it. Don saw that he was doing something with bare wires and was shoving them into the wall. He told Victor he was creating a fire hazard and the two of them went round and round. Don insisted the work be done correctly. Back to today. After Don talked with Brother Doe, he went to see Victor. He took John with him since he did not know where Victor lived. Victor was not home. He will try again.

We went to the sea bird to pick up the Gredings. They are a really nice couple. They live in California and are the Water Specialists for the church. They are live-at-home missionaries and are assigned to Sierra Leone. They come here 3 times a year. I am not sure but I think how this works is they are the major initiative couple. Meaning any project over $25,000 USD is paid for and monitored by Salt Lake City. We will know more on Monday. We have two other NGO's we have set up meetings with us and the Gredings on Monday morning. We are going to coordinate how we can help each other. Then the Gredings are going to Bo and Kenema on Tuesday for 10 days. Don wants to follow them and stay for 3 days to learn as much as we can from them.

Brother Doe has the beginnings of a rash on his rear. Don is having Adrianne talk to the nurse and Sister Doe at this very minute. We talked to Adrianne earlier and got her recommendation and stopped at the store on our way back from picking up the Gredings and picked up some Zinc Oxide. Sounds simple, but there is more to it than applying an ointment. There are sitting instructions, changing position instructions, equipment instructions, clothing instructions, etc. Bed sores are dangerous. Infection can set in and kill a person as fragile as Brother Doe.

Monday, July 25, 2016

update from cholena

well if you are reading this you know that Gabby and I will be leaving for Africa next week. I would imagine i will not be able to update this blog until the first week in September. Maybe i will be able to do it in Africa, but who knows. We would love all of you to pray for us during our trip. the collective faith of our family and friends will help the work and will of the Lord to be accomplished.

- Cholena

July 21, 2016

Something Don and I get a kick out of is the African people who expect you to tote them around. This morning we left the compound about 9:30 because Don wanted to go over some business with Sahr before we left. We were just getting into the truck when the phone rang. It was John Blackie, one of our well-site managers, saying he is waiting at the junction for us. We go right by the intersection that goes to his house and we have picked him up and delivered him back to this point many times. We assumed he just wanted a ride down the mountain. So we picked him up and went down the mountain. We were going to turn left to go to the Mission Office and he said, "no turn right". Don and I both said at the same time "where are we going?" He said "to see the well". Which meant we had to drive through downtown Freetown and go over to Kissy which was a 30 minute drive if the traffic was decent, which it wasn't - it was horrific. We saw the well (one of our projects) and it was completed. It looked wonderful. Lamin, the contractor, was there. We did our business and when we went to leave Lamin jumped into the truck with us. We decided to go back around the mountain, and pass our apartment, instead of going back through Freetown. We thought it would be faster. It wasn't. We drove about 4 miles and Lamin asked to be "dropped". Don pulled over and he jumped out. We got back into traffic and it was bumper to bumper In stop and go traffic. It took us and hour and a half to go 5 miles. The taxis and potapotas were making a third lane of traffic on the right shoulder and passing by the line of traffic and going ahead and squeezing into the line. It was making the wait that much longer. I finally said, "I am going to shut my eyes, These guys are making me mad". That worked for about 30 seconds. Then a man from a stand on the side of the road took a huge tree limb and drug it onto the shoulder of the road so the taxis and Pota-potas had to stay in line. When we got up to where he was, I opened my window and yelled "Thank you" to the man. He did not hear me and came out and Don was pulling me back and calling me by name. I didn't care. I was so grateful. When the man got into hearing distance, I again said Thank you. He gave me a simple two-finger salute. He knew what I meant. When we got to the problem of the traffic jam we found a group of young men who decided to put a ton of dirt and rocks in the road under the pretense of filling potholes. All they were doing was making it a one lane road and making people pay them to pass. Don refused to pay them and they hit the truck and yelled in Kreo something we didn't understand. Once passed this point it was clear sailing. We got back around to the junction to where John was wanting dropped and he said he wanted paid. He is suppose to be paid from Accra directly into his bank account. I have at times partially paid him when he was desperate for money. But today was the day I was going to go to the bank and get some petty cash. I only had 62,000 Leones ($11.00). I gave it to him with the promise I would submit his request for payment immediately when I got to the office in hopes they would pay it today. Accra only pays on Tuesdays and Thursday's. It was already 2:00 in the afternoon. I also needed an invoice from him showing his hours worked. He had it but he did not make a copy for me. So we sat while he made out an invoice. In the meantime we watched a taxi pull up and 4 Adults and one baby got out of the back seat. The driver took a 50# bag of rice out of the trunk and laid it on the ground. Two women and a baby stayed with the bag of rice. An ocata (motorcycle used as a taxi) came by and put the rice on the seat and was asking who was going to ride. The two women and the driver got into a fight about the cost of the ride and the driver unloaded the rice and drove away. The ladies stood there and no other ocata drivers offered to help them. John got his invoice done and got out. Don looked at me and said, "let's see what we can do". He rolled his window down and tried to talk to the women but they did not Understand any English at all and we did not understand anything they said. A young man came by and Don asked him a question and he spoke very good English. He talked to the women and told Don they have family that are ocata drivers and they are waiting for one of them to come by because they would not charge them for taking the rice to their home. OK, they had a plan. Then the young man wanted to know where we were going and asked for a ride. So, into the truck he came and down the mountain for the 2nd time today.

 We got John's paperwork into Accra as promised. Tomorrow two of our missionaries go home - Elders Kochiver, and Lefler. So we had a going away dinner for them at the Clawson's. We had enchiladas, rice, vegetables, and chocolate cake with icing. The two young men decided on the menu. Elder Lefler had a guitar and he played High on the Mountain Top and we all sang. It was beautiful.

July 20, 2016

Don took Brother Doe to P.T. Today to meet Sampson the therapist. Augustine, Mr. Davis and John went with them. They were all very impressed with Sampson. Sampson worked on Sahr's right hand and got it so he can actually turn his hand over in both directions and he can lift his arm higher. Brother Doe was Amazed. So was everyone else. Sahr was so impressed with Sampson he had Mr. Davis call him to "come". Sampson came over and brought some of his tools. He worked on Sahr for about 45 minutes massaging his feet and legs with his tools. Sahr's legs got to the point they were jerking and at one point his left leg gave a good kick. There were about 8 people there and a whoop when up! When we got to our apt. Don told me not to put too much trust in the jerking. He then called Adrianne and asked her if the jerking was just a natural response or if the brain actually sent out signals to make the legs jerk. Adrianne said there had to be brain connection for the legs to jerk. We are encouraged. Sampson is a man who treats the whole soul. Meaning, he treats spiritually as well as physically. He told Sahr to believe in Jesus because only Jesus can heal. Sampson is an awesome human being. Augustine worked for 36 hours and then went home last night. John and mr. Davis took turns staying up all night watching over Sahr and turning him. They are such loyal employees.

Ocata driver throws woman from bike. We were on our way home from the office and we came to a round-about and as we were going around it a police officer with a helmet on and a baton in his hand non-chalantly crossed the road in front of us. He suddenly took off running. I turned my head in the direction he was running and saw an Ocada driver (motorcycle taxi driver) throw his passenger from his bike and he sped off with the police officer running after him. That poor woman bounced off the ditches concrete wall and bounced onto the ground. There was nothing soft or graceful about her fall. She had to have been hurt.

July 19, 2016 - Brother Doe comes home and Bob's push-ups

Brother Doe came home today. Don and Augustine , the nurse, went to the airport to get him and Feima. They came back with them and Izaak Morrison. Which was a surprise. Izaak has been working on the Ghana end of this whole ordeal. Brother Doe and Izaak's wife served a mission together in Nigeria and then later Brother Doe and Izaak served in the MTC in Ghana together as missionaries.

 President Sesay built Sahr a metal ramp to get him into his home today. It is very nice. He and 4 of his employees were here and they brought a generator and all the tools they would need and they took measurements. They needed 1.6 million Leones for the materials and the labor was donated. They went and purchased the material and later came back and made the ramp. They finished making it about half an hour before the Doe's arrived. When they were finished about a half-a-dozen men got brooms (with no handles, and they were all bent over) and swept the compound. John (one of Sahr's loyal employees) got a bucket of soapy water and washed the ramp until it was spotless. The place looked wonderful.

The airline would not let Brother Doe bring his bed on the plane. He has a special bed that will help him not get bed sores. So when they refused to let him bring his bed, they contacted Mustapha and Sister Clawson and between the two of them they found a bed. It was delivered about an hour before the Doe's arrived. It was an old, archaic, filthy thing that must have been in storage. A dozen men were trying to put the bed together and to get the controls that raise and lower the bed to work when Don called. I told him what was going on and he had a cow. He wanted to talk to John immediately. Apparently the bed was wired for 110 and not 220 and they were trying to get it to run on 220. Don told John not to do anything with the bed until he got here. In the meantime, I got a bucket of water with disinfectant in it and started to clean the mattress and bed. John came over and took the rag from me and Amenetta (a 17 year old girl) wanted to help so I gave her a rag and the two went to work on that bed. They had it looking really good but then Mr. Davis appeared with a bucket of hot soapy water and washed it some more. It looked wonderful when he got done with it. Everyone wanted to be of service.

Oh Brother Doe looks rough. His lips and hands are swollen and he has lost weight (which he did not have to lose). But he was happy to be home and when the compound gates opened and he saw all the people here waiting for his arrival, he wept. Brother Doe is well loved by many people of all classes. He has the compassion of Christ and a love for all people. He has employees that are exceptionally loyal to him. His son, Bob, was standing next to me and when I saw the compound door open, I pointed to the car coming in and asked him what he saw. He jumped up and down and yelled "my mother". I held on to him until the car stopped. Then he ran and she opened the door and he flew into her arms. There were way too many people here and they all wanted to help. Brother Doe was exhausted from the long day but he was so kind to everyone. While he was greeting everyone, Don and a dozen other men went to work on that bed. They could not get it to work. They are going to use it until Izaak can go back to Ghana and ship Sahr's bed. After they got Brother Doe fed and into bed, Don told the crowd they could visit Brother Doe one person at a time for a few minutes. John stood sentinel outside his bedroom door and followed the orders - he being the last to visit.

 I spent the day cooking. I made dinner for the Doe's. I made cookies and made enough to give to the workers who were finishing up the remodeling of the bathroom and for the few early-arrived people. I made my first batch of ground-nut stew and rice by myself. It turned out really good. This is a "comfort food" for the Africans. I made a pot of chili for Don and me. It is the first pot of chili I have made from scratch that did not turn out tasting like beans in water. It actually tasted good. I was glad I made it because there were a lot of people to feed. Fortunately only a few ate. I wasn't planning on feeding a host of people. I just wanted the Doe's to have dinner waiting after traveling all day.

I cannot end this days writings without adding this. Bob was at the other end of the compound and two missionaries were competing on who could do the most push-ups. Elder Samchee did 15 and Elder Anku did 6. Bob wanted in on the action so they let him participate. Bob did 17. The Elders were laughing and declared Bob the winner and gave him 1,000 Leones (.16 cents). Bob was so excited he came running to me and showed me his 1,000 leone bill and was dancing around saying "I'm going to buy something!" I asked him who gave it to him and why. He told me about the contest and told me he was the winner so Elder Samchee gave him the money. I had serious doubts that Bob knew what a push-up was. So I asked him to show me. He said "no, you will laugh at me. The Elders laughed." I promised him I would not laugh. So he got down in the proper push-up stance and immediately pushed his butt way into the air and then lowered it to the ground and then back up and back down 17 times. I lied! I burst out laughing. I asked him if that is how the Elders did push-ups. He said, "no they did it different."

July 18, 2016

Spending the day getting ready for Sahr to come home tomorrow. His wife, Fiema, said this morning they are packed and ready. They are anxious to get home and everyone here is very excited to have them come home. Don, John and I went to Wellington to get some tools so the men can take the beds apart that are in the house Sahr will be in. Then we stopped at the grocery store to get him some, skim milk (which we forgot), cranberry juice (which we were surprised we were able to get), some bottled water, thermometer (which they did not have), hand sanitizer, hand soap, tissues, the following which they did not have: latex gloves and alcohol wipes. Don and Mr. Davis are going shopping in downtown Freetown this afternoon to find a shower curtain and a rod. John says they have a medical store downtown that may have these things. So Don and Mr. Davis are going to try and find the place.

I found sour cream (not something you can usually get here) this morning at the Grocery store so I am going to make some potato soup for supper. (Yikes! That soup was nasty. What they labeled 'sour cream' was sour yogurt!)

I also found a very small bag of chocolate chips, probably 1/2 cup, at St. Mary's and they wanted $8.00 for it. Most of the bags were a mass of melted chips that got hard again. But, you can get candy bars here. I don't know why I couldn't buy a big chocolate candy bar and chip it up. I can certainly try. Worse that would happen would be the chocolate has something in it that would prevent it from working well in your recipe.

July 17, 2016 - Happy Birthday Elena!

Today is Elena's 7th birthday.

We went for a walk and had 6 children join us. They were so sweet. I finally had to tell them to "go home" because we were getting a long way from where they joined us.

Elder Samchee came over to return my cookie sheet. I made the missionaries a pan of brownies yesterday and Elder Samchee said they ate them all at once. Elder Samchee sat and visited with us for a while. He got to laughing about his companion. Elder Samchee is from Ghana and they speak TWI (pronounced "tree")and his companion is from Nigeria and they speak IBO (pronounced "Ebo"). They have the same word in both languages that have different meanings. As they were teaching, his companion told the investigators that he was going to read from the Akok (a backward c) nsa. Elder Samchee burst out laughing. In Nigeria that word means bible and in Ghana it means chicken foot.

July 16, 2016

The missionaries had 8 baptisms today.

Michaella came over and told me about getting chicken and potatoes from Elder Carley and told me she has no money to pay for them and asked if she could work for me. Heck yes! I put her to work dusting, sweeping, mopping, helping me with a Primary project and helping me make ground nut stew for supper. It was a very pleasant day. She worked and I baked. Gotta love it.

July 15, 2016 - rat poop

I have trouble sleeping and I usually am awake for 2 hours in the wee hours of the morning. That is when I read my scriptures. I sit in the living room and make myself comfortable. I did this this morning and I looked down and saw on the adjacent couch RAT poop! EEK!

It rained super hard for a long time today. Everything is flooded. They have 2 foot concrete ditches along most of the roads to channel the rain water to the ocean. But, there is no trash pick up here and the natives throw all their trash onto the ground and into those ditches. Freetown is a filthy town. When the heavy rains come, the trash all floods out of the ditches and all over the roads and hill sides. The roads that join the paved roads are all dirt and rock roads (Freetown is a rock mountain so all the roads go up and down). With the roads being dirt and rock, the dirt and rock is flushed down onto the pave roads and those roads are washed out. People get out with their shovels and wheelbarrows and scoop up the dirt and rocks and haul it back up and place it back on the washed out roads. They do this almost everyday because we are in the "rainy season". Which really does have a great amount of rain.

July 14, 2016 - dad is arm wrestling again

Don had to bring the Campbell's in to the office this morning and he and Mr. Davis were going to do some electrical shopping in downtown Freetown. I called Sister Clawson and asked if I could spend the day in her office today. She was thrilled. So that is what I did. I did odd jobs for her. Don came back to the office at 5:00 to get me. He said that Michaella's last day of school is tomorrow and they are having a "bring and share" day (Potluck). She wants to make chicken and chips. Of course she told Geneba that at 4:00 and it was too late to go and buy a chicken and dress it and make chicken and the chips are French fries and they had no potatoes. Geneba was not happy to be put on the spot like this. Don gave Michaella 4 chicken breasts from my freezer and 4 potatoes under the condition she tell me about it and offer to pay me. Of course she has no money so we will see what she does. 

While Don was shopping down town with Mr. Davis, they were in the electrical supply "store". They found the 2 circuit breakers they need and the Lebanese man wanted 50,000 Leones ($8.00) for them. Don told him that was too much and offered 40,000 Leones. The man said "NO, 50,000". Don then told the man he would arm wrestle him for them. If he won he would get them for 40,000 Leones. The Lebanese man looked at Don and said, "If I win, they are 60,000 Leones". This got everyone in the place excited and they all gathered around. The 25 year old Lebanese man stared hard into Don's eyes and they gripped each other's hand. The battle of the Titan commenced on the glass counter top. Don asked who was going to say go? While they were debating it Don said, "go" and their hands and arms became rigid. The first 5 seconds was a complete draw. But by the end of the 15th second Don had the Lebanese man's fist on the counter. There was a whoop and a holler and a joyful noise. Don got the 2 circuit breakers for 40,000 Leones ($6.75 for both). This is what builds fun and trust. (And yes, he ripped up his shoulder but according to him "it was worth it")

Thievery is common here and you have to protect yourself at all times. You keep one hand on your purse/fanny pack/wallet at all times and your cell phone in a zippered pocket. The thieves usually work in pairs while one bumps you the other gets your phone, wallet, purse, whatever they think is valuable. While Don was walking downtown he had his right hand on his fanny pack and a man came up to him and grabbed Don's right forearm. A quick reaction from Don landed a fist into the man's chest. His reaction was "oh that was fun" as he jumped around laughing. At this point, Don realized the man was not a thief but just crazy.

july 13, 2016

We went for a walk and just as we hit the market road a huge police truck with about 40 -50 police officers came to a screeching halt right in front of us. The police officers all jumped out and they were decked out in swat clothes and they all had tear gas guns. They headed down the road that goes downhill that the chinese are building. A young man came up to me and said "Sister Carley, something bad is going on down there". I don't know who he was but I have to assume he is a member of one of the branches we have visited or he read my name tag.

July 12, 2016

I turned on the light in the kitchen and saw a white lizard crawl up the wall and over the top of the cupboards. I was told that the white lizards are "geckos" and they have a poisonous spit that they spray on food that will make you sick if you eat it.

 We have cockroaches in the kitchen and I keep them under control by applying a mixture of sugar and baking soda and sprinkling it on the counters. (Thursday -the last 3 days the baking soda and sugar has been gone in the morning. The gecko must be eating it).

While leaving for the office this morning we met the Nigerian missionaries in our yard collecting silver dollar-size snails for their breakfast.

I spent the afternoon in Sister Clawson's office helping her organize some of her paperwork and files. I just love Sister Clawson. She is so down to earth and she is so positive. She is a joy to be around. We are becoming good friends.

July 11, 2016

Melvin Jr.'s 51st Birthday. Holy cow! Can that be right? How did Jo get to be so old? (That was a little tongue in cheek). Jo isn't old but she is older than me haha!

We went to Makeni today to check on the apartment and to pick up Mr. Davis, Sahr's construction manager. The apartment is done and all we have to do is buy some appliances and furniture and we can move in. However, we will not be going out there permanently until Sahr is home, his home is outfitted the way it needs to be and Cho and Gabby have gone back to America. Plus Don wants to help Sahr to re-establish his business. Mr. Davis came back with us because he going to start work tomorrow building a ramp into Sahr's home and creating a handicap bathroom.

On our way out to Makeni, we were driving by 6-Mile refugee camp and decided to check it out. Two weeks ago NPR Radio came to visit us and pleaded with us to get these people some water. They have to walk a long way to a stream that is full of vegetation and strain water which they use for drinking, washing, cooking, everything. Last September (2015) Sierra Leone received 9 inches of rain in one day and it washed away homes from the sides of the mountains and people were left stranded with no where to go. We were told the government built them a refugee camp but did not provide any water. WHAT? Why would they do that. We weren't told the complete truth. The refugee camp according to the sign is a compound with 1,700 homes in it and 15,000 people. There are actually 50 zinc houses with 5 houses in 10 rows. In the center there is a large latrine plus there are four 10,000 liter milla tanks standing empty. Apparently, the government put in the Milla Tanks and filled them with water and the community used the water and did not collect a small stipend for each jerry can so when the water was gone they could have the tanks refilled so they have no water. This is what we are up against. There have been so many NGO's coming to the aid of Africa and providing necessities without requiring anything from the natives that we have created a nation of entitlement. Even though the people have money, they are constantly asking us for money and for things. They look at us as rich white people and as an NGO who will give them anything they want. They are constantly begging and telling us they have no money. So why do they all have cell phones? Why do they smoke and have tattoos? There really are many people who are very poor. But even the poor tell us that they can afford 100 Leone's (.02 cents) for a 5 gallon can of clean drinking water. We have written a letter to Salt Lake outlining our findings and requesting permission to require the natives to pay a small percentage of the cost of the project so they will feel they have some ownership in the finished project and will take care of it. Such as a well. We have not received any answer yet, so until they tell us "no" we are proceeding with this idea. We are training people how to form community committees, to select a caretaker, to collect money, how to keep a simple bookkeeping record, how to open a bank account, and most importantly how to keep the money safe from someone skimming off the top. The 6-mile community has everything it needs to be a viable community except leadership. We do not plan to do anything with this community at this time.

July 10, 2016

We went to church in Ebohtown today. It was General Conference for us. The showed the Sunday Morning session from the April conference. It was so good. I actually got tears in my eyes when I heard President Eyring begin to speak. It has been so long since I heard a talk in church that I actually understood. The Ebohtown chapel is high on a hill overlooking the landscape that slopes down to the ocean. It was a beautiful sight. We were sitting by a window and could see clearly the coast of Africa and all the houses on the hillside. It was a clear sunshiny day.

 District President Sesay asked Don to come to church at Ebohtown today to help him with an ecclesiastical issue. This is the same one they dealt with 6 weeks ago. It has escalated. President Sesay had an emergency with his 11 year old daughter and had to leave the meeting leaving Don to deal with the situation. This isn't his first go around on an issue like this for Don and he knew exactly what to do. Of course, he did not assume any authority, he was just a mediator

July 7, 2016

Today we met Sister Clawson at the 7th Day Adventist Hospital to visit with the American doctor and Sampson the physical therapist. This was our 2nd meeting with Sampson and Sister Clawson's first. All 3 of us are in awe of this man. We learned that he has been a therapist for 25 years and has never been associated with a hospital before. He has always done home visits. So when we asked if he would do home visits to Brother Doe he was quite accommodating. AND, believe it or not he only lives a few minutes from the Doe compound. Plus, the American Doctor is willing to do whatever is necessary to treat Brother Doe. The Lord certainly has had His hand in this. Everything is coming together so nicely.

Cholena has gone to great lengths to find on-line medical equipment necessary to stimulate Brother Doe's muscles and has talked to professionals who work with paraplegics to learn what type of equipment we have to have. She and Gabby are coming to Africa the first 2 weeks of August to help set up, orchestrate, and train nurses who will be working for/with Brother doe. He comes home on the 19th!

We attended our first NGO meeting today. We were excited about it. It was supposedly a meeting where all the NGO's in Sierra Leone get together and share information on what they are working on so we can all help each other to do the best possible projects for the African people and not duplicate each other's work. There were no introductions and we learned later that there were at least 3 new NGO's represented. The Ministry of Water for Sierra Leone conducted the meeting. I would guess there were about 8 NGO's represented. The Ministry shared with us their goal for the next year. One of the NGO's said "this is the same plan you presented last year". They continued on. After the first woman made her presentation then a man made a presentation. I was sitting next to the window that had a running generator just outside of it so I could not hear anything.. I saw Don's body go rigid, he sat at the edge of his seat and his face was harsh. The gift of discernment kicked in and Don saw through the fa├žade. After the 2nd presenter spoke two more men made presentations and then they opened the floor for questions. When they acknowledged Don, he bolted up. He acknowledge that we were there for the first time and he would like to have clarification on something the 2nd presenter said. Don then asked if the presenter was asking the NGO's to pay the salaries of the government employees and just consider it a management fee. The man became very defensive and he talked until he wasn't making sense. By this time it had become Chrystal clear to everyone what was happening. I looked at the faces of the other NGO's and they were all straight with no expression except one man who was laughing. The meeting ended shortly thereafter. The man Don went head to head with got up immediately and left the room. Then two very important NGO's (to us) approached us and want to have lunch so we can talk about how to help each other. The outcome of the meeting for us was awesome. We have a couple of projects that just came up that we have no resource for - until now. Another tender mercy!

On the way back to the Mission Office, Don told me that the 2nd presenter told us that he sent 2/3 of the staff to China on a "travel trip" and then he proceeded to ask the NGO's to pay the salaries of the government workers and consider it a management fee. But the truth was buried in the wording and presentation. This is what riled Don.

July 5, 2016

This morning we were to pick up the Campbels to take to the Mission Home. Brother Campbell arrived at our apartment and when asked where his wife was he told us she would meet us at the junction. (Every intersection here is called a junction). So we were driving down the road and Don asked Brother Campbell what his wife was wearing today so we could look for her. His answer was "cloth". Don and I both burst out laughing. And Don asked him what color her cloth was. His answer was "not green, not red, not maroon". We again laughed and Don said "in other words, you don't have a clue what your wife is wearing". Too, funny!

At lunch Don and I have been going outside and sitting on a park bench within the Mission Compound just to get away from the phones and drop-in people and the host of people coming into the Mission Office for business. We were sitting on the bench eating our lunch and I looked over at Don just in time to see a fly fly up his nose. He lurched forward put his head between his knees and he was snorting and blowing trying to get that fly out of his nose. He could not. After several minutes, he decided to pinch his nose and kill the darn thing. He doesn't know what happened to it because he never saw it come out and it did not feel like it was in his sinuses. Oh how we laughed.

July 4, 2016

She's a grand ole flag. . . Happy Independence Day! I made red, white, and blue deviled eggs for the Mission Office. They were a hit. WE are very grateful for the land we love!

Friday, July 8, 2016

July 3, 2016

I made red, white, and blue deviled eggs to take to the mission office tomorrow. Our 4th of July celebration will be "small small" but it will be commemorated. "Small small" is an African term that means a variety of things but mostly it means Just a little, a little bit, minor, easy, gentle, slow etc.

I went to church at the PVA today and Don went with the missionaries to Kossoh Town. Don came to pick me up at the PVA and was met by a man who said to him, "We don't want to be like one of the nine lepers who Christ healed. We want to be like the one who came back and thanked Christ for healing him." He then profusely thanked Don for the new roof on his home. The beginning of the rainy season is upon us and he has a dry home. The Church is doing a great work here in Africa. Thank you to all those who contribute to the humanitarian fund.

We had an awesome quote in our Sunday square from the Soden family. It was from Cholena and it reads "Go out and preach the Gospel. If necessary. . . Use words". Neal A. Maxwell.

 And Eric asked the question: Do you have air conditioning? Yes, we do have air conditioning. The church takes very good care of us. We have a/c in our apartment (when the generator is on which is only during the times we are home) and we have a/c in our church truck that we drive and when we work in the office at the mission home we have a/c. Being the humanitarian couple, we are out quite a bit, but it sure is nice to get into a vehicle that has a/c. We only have electricity when the generator is on. So the refrigerator and freezer have limited abilities. But, we are so grateful to have a refrigerator. We have a washer and dryer that don't work but we are grateful to have a washer and dryer. We have limited water, but we are so grateful to have water. The rainy season is upon us so the hand-dug wells and boreholes are beginning to recharge.

July 2, 2016

I invited the four young men missionaries over for a pancake feed this morning. Oh my goodness! Did they ever eat. I was given a recipe for German pancakes and I made two 9X13 pans of that and then I made the tried and true "Sister Warnick's Wheat pancakes". I also scrambled a dozen eggs. Even the two African elders chowed down. They were definitely full when they left.

 We had a fun evening. Today is Geneba's birthday. I made her some cookies "that do not have chocolate" at her request and then took her, Bob, Michaella and Amy the two Doe Children and Amy is Michaella's friend out to eat for chicken and chips. (Chips are French Fries). Don got Michaella to arm wrestle with him and she couldn't even begin to be competition so Amy joined her and the two of them were no competition. But there was a lot of laughter. And that was what was needed. July 2, 2016 - Saturday

July 1, 2016

43 years ago today I was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A joyous day!

We went to Lungi today and met with Dr. Sesay at the Bai Bureh Memorial Hospital. Oh what a sweet man he is. He is truly a disciple of Jesus Christ - a very good Christian man. We have all the information we need to put in a project for him. He needs 5 pieces of equipment and we are going to work hard to see that he gets them all or at least the most critical.

It rained all day. When we left the hospital is was raining cats and dogs. We were driving down an asphalted road that was full of huge potholes that were filled with water and you could not tell how deep the potholes were until you were in them, and much of the asphalt was gone on the edges. We came upon a woman with a baby on her back and I exclaimed "oh my goodness that woman has a baby on her back". Don slammed on the brakes and rolled down a window and invited her in. She looked over at us with a look of true distraught on her face. She quickly got into the truck. She had just come from the hospital with her sick baby. We had just eaten our lunch and I had a half a sandwich left and handed it back to her. She fed her baby part of it and she ate a little of it. Brother Vandy was with us and he tried talking to her in Kreo asking her where she lived and would take her home. She responded and I asked Brother Vandy what she said. He laughed and said, "I don't know, she only speaks Timney" (I am not sure I spelled that right). He laughed because I am forever asking Don to tell me what someone (Including Brother Vandy) has said even though they have said it in English. Brother Vandy just realized what I deal with. Anyway, we got close to a market and she asked to "be dropped". She then stuck her hand out and asked for 2,000 Le (.40 cents) for "food and drink". Don gave her 5,000 Leones (.90 cents) and told her for "food, drink, and transportation". She took the money, said "thank you", and got out of the truck in the pouring rain. Brother Vandy said, "she will not get transportation. She will buy food."

 When we got home Geneba needed a 50 Lb. bag of rice for the Doe home and Africell (the security guard and handyman for the complex) needed to go and get diesel for the generator. So we loaded them up and went to the street market and got the rice and then on to the gas station to get fuel. The Jui Junction Market was across an extremely busy street from the gas station but I told Geneba I wanted to get her something for her birthday which is tomorrow. I asked her if there was something she would like to have that I could buy for her. She got so excited and said "shoes". So Don took us across the street to the market and Geneba and I went shoe shopping. She found within 10 minutes the shoes she wanted. They cost 15,000 Leones ($2.50). She was thrilled with them. I asked her if there was anything else she would like to have. She said "I haven't had a new dress in many years". That was all I needed to hear. So we went down thru the market and found a tailor who had a huge variety of material. She picked out the material and the tailor is going to make her a dress. The material was 72,000 Leones ($13.00). I also found a piece of material I liked and I will have a dress made, too. When we got back to the compound, Geneba got out of the truck and leaned back in and said, "thank you, I am so thrilled". My heart melted. I did so little, but it was not little to her. We take so much for granted. We are wealthy beyond measure compared to the people of Sierra Leone.

June 30, 2016

43 years ago today I was baptized. 43 great years filled with tender mercies from God and much forgiveness. Such a wonderful blessing.

I got bit by some kind of a bug on my leg and have a huge knot that is bright red. You can see where the bite is. It does not hurt or itch, yet.

Had a good day at the office but Don was so cranky. We have more to do than we can get done and it just catches up to us after a while. We just have to take a deep breath and prioritize. We are going to Lungi tomorrow to get the hospital some equipment and to visit with the Military Base on their trade school idea. They tried to give our transporter their plan but the transporter refused to take it because it did not include the school ideas they wanted for the women. Women are the low man on the totem pole and are not treated well by most men. So for them to want to do something for the women is awesome. June 30, 2016 - Thursday