Monday, July 25, 2016

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.

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