Monday, July 10, 2017

Wednesday June 28, 2017

Jack and Jim's 70th Birthday!

Don attend the WASH (water and Sanitation) meeting in Kenema only

to have it cancelled after 4 men sat for over an hour to have no one

else show up. The man who conducts the meeting is always telling

everyone how important it is they attend. He chose to attend a

different meeting. No one was happy. Don doesn't think he will attend

another meeting. I vowed not to attend another WASH meeting last

month when they asked us to contribute a ream of paper for their

copier. These people beg money, supplies and food for this meeting

from the NGO's monthly and the meetings are a waste of time.

Nothing of value is accomplished. We have not contributed from our

Humanitarian fund, but we have contributed out of our own pocket.

Tuesday June 27, 2017

Don and John finished evaluating the other 14 wells. Three or four are

not working because the water committee failed to function and did

not collect any money for the water so when the submersible pump

failed, they did not have the money to repair it. One well was

completely abandoned because the people would not pay 1.3 Cents for

40# of clean-drinking water. So they get all their water from a dirty

contaminated stream. They use this stream for a toilet, washing their

clothes and for cooking and drinking water. They get free medication

monthly for everyone in the village from the government to keep them

from getting cholera, etc. So here is a perfectly good well not being

used. Frustrating!

Tonight I taught the first lesson in the Temple-prep class which was to

be for the District Presidency and the 8 branch presidencies. There

were over 30 people there but many of them were women. I don't

have a clue who many of them were. I was later told two of the

branches opened this meeting up to anyone in their branch who was

interested in attending. Because most people here speak Krio and

many women in Sierra Leone are illiterate that put an interesting twist

on the class. I taught the class as simply as I could and I am very glad I

had visuals. That helped many to understand. President Charles, the

man who asked me to teach this class was skeptical, originally, to

having a woman teach a class of men. But after the class, he held my

hand in his and said "I couldn't have done it any better". I later learned

he is a counselor in the Stake Presidency of the Freetown Stake and

works for the Church and is over seminary and institute for all of Sierra



Monday June 26, 2017

Don left for BO this morning with John Blackie our site manager for 18

wells in the BO area and with Samuel Samba our favorite contractor.

The manufacturing facility of wheelchairs for all of Sierra Leone is

located in BO. They need their facility re-wired and a 3-phase electrical

system connected. A local contractor has given the church a bid but

the work of most Africans is so poor the Church wants a second

contractor to look at it and see if they can do it for the same cost of the

first bid. Don and Samuel stopped and took a look at the project and

were aghast! I don't totally understand electrical language but the

problem has something to do with the first contractor trying to put 3

phases into a one-phase box. Samuel is going to put in his own bid

which will be considerably more costly but it will be done right.

Don and John visited 4 wells this afternoon and were pleased all four of

them are working and the water committee in each village is collecting

small amount of money for each jeri can and are using the money to

improve their village and our keeping their well maintained.

Sunday June 25, 2017

We went to the Jui Branch today. I didn't know it, but Don agreed to

have me speak to the Branch Presidency and their wives, Elder Quorum

President and his wife, clerk and his wife, Relief Society President and

her Husband about the Temple. He told me as we were walking up the

stairs to the Sacrament room. He said I was suppose to talk to them

and find out what they know about the temple so I would know how to

prepare my lesson for Tuesday. After Sacrament, we met in a small

room and my goodness! They threw one question after another at me.

I answered everyone of them. I actually felt invigorated. It was so nice

to be in a teaching situation.

Friday June 23, 2017

We are out of budget so we are concentrating on finishing up the many

projects we have going. However the 14-stall toilet at the PMB Bus

Stop has not started yet and I just finished writing the contract for the

200 tables/benches for the schools in Kenema. When those are

completed, we will be out of projects for this year. We are beginning

writing up projects for 2018 for the couple that will come in after us.

They will get a new budget January 1.

Don will be going to Kenema and BO next week to do an evaluation on

58 wells we have put in in the provinces. The roads are nothing but

huge pot-holes (they call them pit-falls) and this is the raining season.

Those pot-holes are now full of water and you cannot tell how deep

they are. Don is going to hire an okada (motorcycle) to take him

around. An okada can go around most of the pot-holes. I am going to

stay at the Mission Home for the week except for one night. I have

been asked to teach the Temple-Prep class to the Kossoh Town District

Presidency and 8 Branch Presidencies. Of the 8 Branch Presidents only

2 have been to the Temple. The other 6 are return missionaries but all

served missions when there was not a Temple in Africa so they did not

have a chance to go to the Temple. I am thrilled to be given a chance to

teach. This is the first time since I have been in Sierra Leone that I have

been asked to teach. They really want the natives to do the teaching.

That is how they will learn. I really miss teaching.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Jeremiah (11 year old grandson) had knee surgery today. He will have a

3 month recovery period.

We miss our grandchildren and our children.

I made a cake and hot chocolate out of the cocoa beans I got in Kenema

a couple of weeks ago. It takes a little more cocoa than the storebought

stuff to make a good tasting cup of cocoa. The cake was good


Monday June 20, 2017

We visited 6 of our job sites today. That was a lot of climbing up and

down the mountains. On one hike down, my feet slid on the loose

gravel and I slid into the back of Don. I was going pretty fast and I

intuitively tried planting my walking stick into the ground. Instead, I

planted my walking stick right on the top of Don's right foot. That kept

him from going anywhere but luckily I didn't throw him off balance. He

turned and looked at me with the sweetest smile and look of happiness

on his face. Melted my heart.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Don is still not bright this morning. Still running a fever and runny

tummy is worse. We will not be going to the office. Don has a hot spot

on his phone so we can have internet service, but all our data is on the

computer at the office. So today will be a P-day.

Friday June 16, 2017

Don has been ill most of the week. We have not worked hard or as long as normal.

Monday June 12, 2017

Don is not bright today. He is in bed with a massive headache, body

aches, runny tummy and fever with feelings of freezing. These are the

classic symptoms of malaria but he has been faithful in taking his

malaria medication so the chance of it being malaria is small.

Bob asked me tonight if I would make a birthday cake for him. His

birthday is in March. I asked him if he got a cake for his birthday and he

said "no". I wasn't aware of that. I told him I absolutely will. He got so

excited. I will let him help me make it and we will have a party for him

and Michaella together. And they will each get a present!

Saturday June 10, 2017

Vickie Cantrill's Birthday - Don's Sister.

Don spent the day doing a service for Saidu Thoronka. He is having a

house built and Don worked alongside the natives in building a

foundation. He says he carried over 50 headpans of sand and granite.

The young natives carry the headpans over their heads with their arms

extended straight up. These headpans, filled, weigh over 50 lbs each.

Don was not able to lift the pans over his head. He could only get them

waist high so he carried them in front of him. The natives thought he

was so funny and made great light of him. Of course, he is also 50 years

older than most of them. On one of his return trips to get another

headpan full, Don was walking behind a young man who had ear-buds

in and was dancing to music. When the young man realized Don was

behind him, Don started mimicking the young man's dance. Oh that

tickled the young man and he began dancing with Don. The two of

them put on quite a show and brought more laughter and delight to the

hard-working men. Don bought the men fish and sausages (hot dogs)

for lunch. Don really has a fun personality. Many people here love

him - but what can I say - I do, too.

Thursday June 8, 2017

While going down the mountainside to check on the progress at

Boundary one, Don slipped on wet pebbles and his feet flew out from

under him. He fell backward bracing himself with his hands and was

very glad he did not break his wrists. All our projects that Samuel

Samba is the contractor of are doing great. We are very pleased and

the communities are beyond excited and grateful. We have many

communities who see what we are doing for others that they want us

to help them as well. We have used up our budget for 2017 and are

working up the paperwork for additional projects to pass on to the

couple that comes here in November to replace us. They will get a new

budget in January and will have many projects to choose from that all

they will have to do is make visits to the sites, meet the people and

submit the project to Accra, Ghana, for approval. When we came here,

we re-opened the mission after it had been closed for 15 months due to

Ebola. So, we had to start from scratch.


Sunday June 4, 2017

Several women left church today sad. Part of the culture here in Sierra

Leone is to give your children to someone else to raise. I cannot tell

you how amazed I am to learn of the vast amount of child swapping. I

may give my baby to someone else to raise but yet take someone else's

to raise. There are some legitimate taking in of other peoples' children

such as the parents die. That is understandable. The child swapping

escapes my understanding. In Sunday School, the lesson was on

Temples and the reason for them. A discussion came up about who can

be sealed to whom. The teacher had no idea and asked me. The

question was asked "if I take in a child and raise it as my own, can that

child be sealed to me?". I explained that children had to be sealed to

their own parents unless the parents give up their parental rights and

give permission for you to legally adopt them. This cut to the heart of

at least one Sister. Another Sister asked, "Can I have my grandchildren

sealed to me?". Again, I explained that children are sealed to their own

parents. That if your child is not sealed to you then your grandchildren

will not be sealed to you either. But if your child is sealed to you then

their children are sealed to you. You are linked together. More Sisters

saddened. There were a couple of more questions but I can't

remember them. There were no questions about parents being sealed

together. It was all about the children. I, myself, was in tears. I don't

understand this culture and I don't know how God will help these good

women, who love with all of their heart, not have these children as part

of their immediate family. I am sure He has a plan and they will be


Sunday, June 4, 2017 2:16 PM

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The 3rd borehole attempt at Kobba Farm has produced enough water
to produce a 6- gallon-a-minute recharge rate. We are so excited. This
is going to bring water to as many as 2,000 people who are now
fetching all their water for everything out of a dirty contaminated
stream. They will now have clean drinking water.
Evil has appeared at two of our other work sites. We are wanting to
close down those work sites but feel we must push forward for the
innocent people who are suffering for water and sanitation. Don is
over at one of those sites this morning dealing with the wickedness.
Don went for a run this morning and ran for two hours. Going up a
mountain trail, a man hollered to him and wanted to talk. Don could
not understand him and it finally occurred to him what the man was
saying. It sounded like he was saying "do you want to blue a chair". He
repeated himself a couple of times and then Don realized what he was
saying". He was saying blow not blue. So his sentence was "do you
want to blow a chair". He was asking Don if he wanted to sit in a chair
and blow or "catch his breath".
Don went to Mende Well to check out the work. It is going very well.
The capture box is built and the concrete is drying. The lid has not been
put on yet. The people were asked to not walk on the top of the
concrete wall and have debris from their shoes fall into the water and
contaminate it. Everyone was doing that except one young woman.
She was on her 4th trip of the day to fetch water and each time she
walked on the top of the concrete wall. The people told her each time
not to do that. She didn't listen. On the last trip a young man was so
angry, he knocked the full jeri can off her head. That made her mad
and they got into an argument which lead to physical violence. The
young man was on top of the young woman slapping her with an open
hand. Don went over and separated them and told the young woman
to put the can back on her head and leave. They continued to yell at
each other and again got into a fist fight. This time grandma appeared.
Don says she was a stocky woman who had muscles upon muscles from
years of fetching water and doing hard work. She grabbed the young
man and told him he was not allowed to hit a woman "it's the law".
(REALLY! There is law like that here where the men pride themselves
on how many times a week they beat their wives?). The young man
slapped the grandma and she slapped him back. He grabbed grandma
and was bringing her to him and she gave him a head butt right in the
mouth. At this point, several men joined in the ruckus, broke up the
fight and grandma and the young girl trotted off. Don was pleasantly
amazed at the strength and clear thought of grandma.

Thursday June 1, 2017

Coffee beans or as they call them in Africa "coffee cherries". We went to Kenema to

attend the monthly WASH meeting and there were several places drying coffee cherries

and cocoa beans along the side of the road. I stopped at one place and was told they

would not sell me coffee beans or cocoa beans because they only do export. They took

me next door and told the proprietor I wanted to buy just a handful. He told me he

would not sell me any but he would give them to me as "a gift". We got to talking and he

told me he had visited New York in the states. He told me he went to Dunkin Donuts and

they were serving 4 different flavors of coffee and one of them was made from this kind

of a "cherry". He was so proud of that. The picture below this one are the cocoa beans.

He said all I have to do is to let them dry in the sun for a couple more days then I can

grind them into a powder and I would have unsweetened cocoa powder. I might do that,

but I really want to put them in a jar with a ribbon around the top and put them on my

counter to look at. He thought that was pretty funny. I want to give Sister Miner and

Sister Clawson some as well. See entry for March 8th to see a coffee tree.

Wednesday May 31, 2017

Safety! Not a concern in Africa. There are no safety procedures here in

Africa. The African people are so careless with their lives. They do so

many dangerous things. Three weeks ago at one of our work sites the

workers work in flip flops or barefoot. While digging inside a spring

capture box, one of our workers put a pick axe through his foot and was

bleeding profusely. Samuel Samba took him to the hospital and he got

19 stitches, antibiotic shots and pills and had to go back to the hospital

for 5 days to get another shot each day. Don took his family a 50# bag

of rice because the man was unable to work. Monday, the man was

back at work and wanted to thank Don for the rice. Don said it was

very awkward. The man did not know what to say but Don fully

understood his gratefulness.

I heard a man yell at another man to "hurry up". The man's reply was "I

am in full haste".

While driving down a mountain we came upon a very old land rover.

We could see through the back window and the man driving the vehicle

was so small he had to look through the steering wheel. He drove

erratically so we thought it must be a child. At an appropriate place,

Don passed the vehicle and I could see it was an adult - he was just

small. For some reason we thought this was so funny and took great

joy in the experience. Are we weird or what?

We are enjoying our mission. We work with many people and many of

them are good people who are just fun to be around. The country of

Africa is absolutely beautiful. This time of year is what we would

consider "Spring". The rains have come and all the trees, bushes,

houses, air & everything has had a good washing and spring flowers and

new growth on bushes and trees are blooming. Flowers bloom here all

year long. But in Spring, there are many more flowers. During the dry

season many trees and bushes go into hibernation.

We are in Kenema today attending a WASH (water & sanitation)

meeting. We will have dinner tonight with the Corbaly's who are the

MLS Senior Missionary Couple here in Kenema.

We have heard from SLC that they are having trouble finding a

replacement couple for us. The one couple who specifically requested

to come to Sierra Leone was denied due to health issues. There are no

health care facilities here in Sierra leone that can handle anything more

than first aid needs. SLC told us they are looking at another application

from a Senior Couple and they may be a possibility. We can not extend

beyond our current time offered. We can, however, go home and

reapply and come back. We have been considering that but then

again, we have been talking a lot about going home, re-establishing our

goat herd, and how we are going to rearrange the usage of our

buildings. We have been talking about getting on our motorcycle and

visiting family and friends and stopping in to see the other Senior

Missionary Couples we went through the MTC with. There were 7

couples and we all went to Africa, Asia, or the Mid-East. It will be fun

to sit and compare notes. We have wondered together what the Lord

has in store for us next. We are healthy and willing. We are confident

the Lord will use us to continue to bless his children. What joy there is

in the service of God!


Friday May 26, 2017

Isabelle's 8th birthday. She has decided to wait to be baptized until her

Grandfather comes home from his mission in November.

Today we are checking out some of our job sites. Wlhile at the Dwarzak

Tank there were many school children on break and there was one

young man with a baby monkey on a string. Don took pictures to send

to Isabelle.

A view from the top of the mountain. This is a picture of Freetown.

Notice how the houses are just about stacked on top of each other. In

the background is the Atlantic Ocean. You can see a ship.

Saturday may 20, 2017

We are in Makeni for the weekend. Tomorrow Makeni will be made

into a District. We had leadership training this morning for all the

leaders in the 3 Branches that are here. There is a lot of excitement

about becoming a District. This evening we had our 8 young

Missionaries over for dinner and then a district meeting. President and

sister Clawson arrived on Friday shortly after we did and we had a taco

dinner and spent the evening together. That was sweet. Tonight they

shared with the missionaries the things they learned in Ghana from

their Mission President's training they attended last month. They also

told us that the Kissy District (in Freetown) is going to be made a Stake

on June 18th, the Freetown Stake is going to be split into two Stakes

before the end of the year and there are two other districts getting real

close to becoming a Stake. By this time next year there will be 5 Stakes

in Sierra Leone. Right now we have one. Our full compliment of

Missionaries is 160. We are currently at 133. We will reach 160 in

September. President Clawson has requested 50 additional

Missionaries bringing our full compliment up to 210. The reason for

this is that it was discovered that there are some self-established home

groups in the outer provinces. There is one that has 4 members and

their average attendance at their Sunday meetings is 78. This particular

group is 4 hours north of our closest district that can support them.

There are also two other groups within 10 miles of each other that

didn't even know the other one existed and these groups are south of

Kenema. Kenema is 4 hours from Freetown. The growth of the Church

in West Africa is phenomenal!

Tuesday may 9, 2017

I was making our lunch to take to the office and pulled out the can of  pringles from the cupboard. When I opened it, I was surprised. It was full of compost. Apparently, I threw away the chips and put the can of compost in the cupboard. Good Grief!

Wednesday May 3, 2017

We are all tired!!! Don and Elder Greding took Okadas up to the Mende well and came

back to the office very excited. The work there is going very well. Elder Greding is

impressed with Samuel's work and told Don he has found a 2nd contractor he can work

with when we go home. This is exciting to us because we love the work Samuel and Bai

Sesay are doing and are relieved because Elder Greding is a hard man to please. He has

strict work ethics and these men meet his expectations. Sister Greding helped me work

on some contracts and closing out old projects that I am unfamiliar with. It was a good

day to take a rest and do brain-work instead of hiking. She is so easy to work with and I

just love her. She is so down to earth.

Tuesday may 2, 2017

We picked the Gredings up at 9:30 and headed out. We went to the office and Sister

Greding and I stayed at the office while Don and Elder Greding took Okada's

(motorcycles) up to the Mende Well. We are deconstructing an old poorly constructed

spring box and the work is going well. Elder Greding met our contractor, Samuel

Samba. Then the men joined Sister Greding and me and we went Down-the-Hole. It is

a very long, steep, and treacherous descent. The Gredings were very impressed with

our accomplishment and with the way the community is collecting money for the

water, their bank account, the way they are transparent with the community and with

us. Elder Greding asked who our contractor was on this project and Don told him,

Samuel Samba. After spending quite a while at this site, we hiked back up this

mountain. Sister Greding said this hike was similar to "tarantula mountain" in california

that she hikes but tarantula mountain is only 1/3 of the distance as Down-the-Hole".

She found this hike almost unbearable. Then we drove to Leicester/Glouster where we

have a huge capture box being built and were able to just drive to it. Samuel Samba

was there working with his men. Elder Greding was pleased with this project and it's

construction. From here we went to the Dwarzak Tank and that is another long uphill

hike. Not terribly steep with some nice flat parts to hike on. From here, we called it a

day and dropped the Gredings off at the hotel and went to the mission office to check

our e-mails and to pick up vivian to take him home. But, he left with Ali Kargbo and we

did not have to take him home. We stopped at a roadside stand and bought fruits and

vegetables. We are so tired. Don is actually grouchy.

Monday May 1, 2017

We met the Gredings at their hotel at 9:30 a.m. We spent all morning visiting sites in the grafton/waterloo area. We visited Kobba Farm where we have a hand-dug borehole going in, then the 5/5 school where we put in a hand-dug well a few months ago. Elder Greding was disturbed at what we found. The well is just fine but they are not collecting money for the water so they will not be able to maintain the well. They tried convincing us they are collecting money but they have a 14 year old illiterate girl
"collecting" money and she was no where around. Someone rounded her up and she said she collects 1,000 Leones per jeri can. But there were 12 people their to fetch water and many of them had multiple cans. She did not collect from any of them. Elder
Greding asked two of them if they brought money to pay for water. They said "no". He asked Brother Stephens when he collects the money from the young girl. He said,"once a week on Mondays". That is ridiculous. Thievery is so bad here you would never leave a weeks' worth of collections with a young girl who has no where to keep anything safe. Elder Greding came down hard on Brother Stephens and reiterated everything we have been telling him. If they do not start collecting for water, this Well will be spoiled. We are going to work hard with Brother Stephens and Mrs. Scott on getting them to collect money. From here we went to the PVA and watched them on the construction of the 7-stall toilet and 2 showers. Bai Sesay was not there. He had gone to get some things they needed for the project. Elder Greding checked the concrete work and it was good. He did not like seeing the mortar they were using sitting out in the hot sun drying out. Apparently, the drier the mortar gets the more it loses it strength. He told the men to mix a little water with it. When President Sesay
arrived, Don asked him about the mortar. President Sesay said exactly what Elder Greding had said and pointed to the pile of mortar and said "it is finished". Elder Greding was very pleased with President Sesay's answers to all the questions and later
told Don that He has found a contractor he can work with when Don and I go home.

From here we went to the War Wounded School to show Elder Greding the ramps and sanitation facility we constructed there. Again, President Sesay did the work and Elder Greding pronounced it "good". On our way to our next site, we stopped at our favorite chicken place and had lunch. Then we hiked to the Hill Top site, which is not on the hill top. We have to hike down a very steep and treacherous path that Don has fallen down many times. We all made it down safely. Sister Greding and I decided after about half an hour to head back up before our husbands because we are much slower than they are. For some reason, I kept trying to fall over to the right and she kept trying to fall backward. We held hands and slowly picked our way back up the hill. She would
keep me from falling sideways and I kept her from falling backwards. Two old white women! What a hoot! It took us forever to get to the truck and were there only a few minutes before our husbands popped up. Then we hiked down to Boundary 1, level 1
and level 2 and the hand-dug well. We had to hike over boulders and down slippery rocky paths and across what is called a bridge but is anything but a bridge and it is a long way down. We spent about an hour at these 3 places and then hiked back up the mountain. We were all huffing and puffing. What a day. We went back to the hotel with the Gredings and ate dinner with them. We are all tired!


Wednesday April 26, 2017

While hiking down the mountain to check out an open spring source at "George's Dam"

the path was beautiful and it was very nice. However, there were places on the path

that had small pebbles and hiking downhill was tricky. My left foot rolled out from

under me and I fell twisting & hurting my knee. We were passing a house and a woman

brought out a chair and placed it under the shade tree and I sat and waited while Don

and the two natives continued down to the spring, which was within sight of where I

was sitting. When they came back about 45 minutes later, my knee felt pretty good

and we started back up the mountain. I could tell the back of my knee is what was hurt.

We went slow and I did just fine.

Thursday April 27, 2017

Independence Day for Sierra Leone. They became independent from the British colony

on April 27, 1961.

I had a quiet day doing the things I enjoy doing by myself. Don had a "murphy's law

day" and is quite agitated. Living in this compound is so draining. Everyone relies on

Don to solve all the problems. He has been very frustrated with Africell, our one and

only security guard that is left because he is always drunk and is not mechanically

inclined and he is in charge of the generator. He messes the thing up all the time and

Don is constantly fixing it. Tonight Africell came after dark to start the generator and he

was drunk and couldn't get it started. He asked Don to get his truck and jump start the

battery on the generator which happens multiple times every week. Africell has been

given money on several occasions by Sahr Doe to buy a new battery and we keep

having this problem. Don says the batteries Africell is buying are old used ones and/or

batteries that are cheap and don't work well. Tonight Don was out-of-sorts from all

the other things he had to fix today that this just pushed him over the limit and he

yelled at Africell. Africell was so hurt and Don, as Leo would say: "popped his cork".

Brother Doe fired Africell.

The back of my knee is tender. The front of the knee just below the knee cap is tender

when I walk down hill.