Thursday, July 30, 2015

A few extra pictures

These are a few pictures that didn't work on the last blog.

In the Kolwezi hotel, the door to our room going to the outdoors.
Not so good against a cold north wind.  Good thing we don't have those here.
We did, however, have a few men sitting right outside our door 
talking rather loudly to all hours of the night.
It was very noisy!!
This is how most things are built here though.

This picture is of that same road we were trying to drive down and could hardly find a place to go.
The picture doesn't do justice to the ruts. ... just saying!!

Our little man in the grey suit is so adorable!!
Don't you love his shirt?

This is a picture of the family before the girls started squatting for their own pictures.
What a beautiful family!!!
I love the girl's hair!

Isn't she sweet?
They braid patterns into their hair on their heads.
I love her questioning look!  She has such beautiful skin!

This little gal was so very shy.
She is so cute but I couldn't get her expression to change for anything.
I really liked her cute outfit!

Her mom sang in the choir.  (matching shirts)
This is a good example of the little ones hair with extensions when they are ever so small. 
 Isn't she cute?

Elder Bontamba is with the President and Sister Thomas in this picture.
He has a tie on that all the missionaries have as a gift form President McMullen, 
the former mission president.  
We have been asked to not give them gifts though.  
I can see the wisdom in this.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

We went to the District Conference in Kolwezi with the President and Sister Thomas.
We both had the opportunity to speak in the Conference.
It is stressful to speak in a foreign language.  
The good thing was that we had it translated into Swahili 
so I could say a sentence in French and prepare for the next sentence 
while he was translating to Swahili.  
It's not quite as rattling as just going for it in french.

After the Conference I took some pictures.

This beautiful sleeping baby girl has the most beautiful eye lashes.  
No one here needs to have an eyelash curler.  They are already done.

Every here likes the bright colors.  
Even the men join in with their bright colors.

These little girls were anxious to pose for a picture.
I actually ended up taking about 5 to make them happy.
They wanted their pictures taken over and over again.

I loved this little fellow.  He is so darling.
What a precious little face and expression.
Look at the little fellow in the grey suit with shorts sleeves in the background.
Isn't he darling?

Aren't her bangs gorgeous?  Talk about neat and tidy hair!!
She is dressed up to nicely with her beautiful dress too.

This little guy was such a charmer!!
He has the most beautiful teeth.

This little gal was quite shy but felt safe enough for a picture holding her mother's hand.

The choir that sang for the Sunday session of Conference.
They didn't have a pianist but when the conductor saw me he asked if I would play for them.
I played for the whole Sunday session.
After we rehearsed on Saturday evening following the Adult Session of Conference, 
the women all got new matching shirts to sing in.  
Choir uniforms are a big thing here in all the churches. not just ours.  

Emmanuel is a man who works in our office managing apartments.  
This is his brother and his brother's son.
It was so nice to meet them.  We love Emmanuel!!

This little girl had such a cute hair style.
Many of the little girls have extensions braided into their hair, even the babies.
This little girl's extensions look like they may be made out of yarn.
I watch the hair styles partly because I am making little dolls 
and I love to put different hair styles on them.

This family is getting ready to leave the church after the conference.
The woman in pink is his wife holding their baby.
I'm not sure if she'll try to get on the bike also or if he'll come back for her.
The most we have seen riding on one bike is 7, I think.

She is just precious!!  The bangles in her hair are so cute.

Here is our President with Sister Thomas and Elder Enock Ilunga Mukundi.

It seems like the children would all like to do a special pose for their pictures.
This is her pose.  It was so cute.  
Every time she thought I might be taking her picture she squatted down into this position.  
I love her hair!!

This girl chose to do the same thing.
She is beautiful and her dress is so pretty.
I don't know how they keep their clothes looking so clean when you see how they live.
It's amazing.

These two young men watched me for a long time.  
I'm glad I got their pictures too.
Serious young men!!!

I continue to find such joy in spending time with the children.
They are so serious for their pictures and then when they see themselves on the camera they laugh and laugh and run around.  How can you not love children?

We treasure all the great experiences we have!!

Mid-Winter in the Congo

Time continues to pass quickly.  We are over the coldest part of the winter now.  It did get a little chilly in the mornings so that we had to break down and wear a sweater a few times, not Neil though.  For the Congolese people it was very cold.  Many were wearing heavy coats and hats throughout the day even when it was very warm in the afternoon.  It's all what you get used to.  The change in temperature is interesting.  Our warmest to coldest at home is far greater than the warmest to coldest here but this is all they know.  In the summer we are so hot here and the Congolese are loving it.  Many of our missionaries want to serve up in the Kasai Oriental Province because it is much closer to the equator and much warmer.  They like the feeling of being wet with perspiration.

This first couple of pictures is from the rainy season.  
Here they don't refer to the seasons as winter and summer, spring and fall.  
We simply have two seasons - wet and dry.

This is a road that you normally would walk down but the rains have caused the flood.
It gives these people an opportunity to make some money 
by getting the travellers across the water remaining dry.  
The boats are interesting.  
There is a range of different kinds, 
right from quite well built to the hollowed out log that you see in the front of the picture.  
You'll notice the man with the bicycle who has his friend sitting on the seat 
with his feet on the handlebars to keep dry.  
This is how our missionaries crossed over this street each day.

Elder Amia is standing in this boat.  
He is such a good missionary.
He is a really good young man.  
He is in our English class and has been for a few months now.  
His mother can be proud of him!!
You'll notice that the boats all take in water that they have to empty out with buckets.

No matter what season we are in there is beauty in nature.
The colors in the flowering trees and bushes are so beautiful!!

We went out for dinner at this hotel restaurant one evening.  
This is during the winter so you can see how cold it is for us.
We are sitting across from our companions at this table.
It took about 2 hours to get our food.  
By the time our food came I was so hungry I would have been glad to go home 
for a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  :)
The food was good when it came.
Seating around the table from the left going clockwise:
Elder Davis, Elder Draper's empty chair, Sister Thomas, Sister Vance, Sister Anthony, Sister Cook, President Thomas, me, Sister Davis, Sister Mikesell and Elder (Dr.) Mikesell.
We love this group of missionaries!!  
We feel it is such a blessing to be able to serve with these fine people.

We found this caption.
There is so much truth in this.
Here the children run and play with their imaginations.
They are happy and have so much fun together.
Life is simple.

This little fellow on my back is Joseph Smith.
His mother, Solange, works here in the mission compound.
We all love Joseph!!  
He is growing so fast and it's fun to watch him play.  
He loves to be with the guards and they love to have him too.
The women here do not have to hunch over like I am to hold their babies on their backs.
They have strong backs and strong bodies from all the physical work they do to live.
Solange will strap him onto her back and work all day going up and down stairs 
and doing all her cleaning.

Here is Solange with Joseph on her back while she is working in the bureau.
She is a beautiful woman and is as nice as anyone could be.
She always has a big, beautiful smile.
I look forward to seeing her each day.

This is a rare sight here but it felt like we were home again 
at our Mountain home driving through the cattle on the roads.
It was just a fun moment for us.

We have not been able to find anyone who can tell us why they paint the tree trunks white.
Is it to keep the bugs out of the trees?  Is it to make them look nice?
We have no idea but they do look nice as you gaze down the street full of them.
Most trees along the streets here are painted like this.

This picture was taken inside one of the missionary apartments.
You can see the things they exercise with.  You have to be creative.

I think this is in Kolwezi when we went up for a District Conference.
We were going to see an apartment and this is the street we traveled down.
The big trucks at the top of the street were stuck there and so were just sitting as they were left.
The ruts in the road are bad so you just have to drive the best route you can find.
Some places there is only one lane of traffic that can move.

Who is to say we don't have swimming pools here?
We have seen a few just like this one.
Even at the hotels where they advertise a swimming pool this is what you find.
They also advertise running water but that doesn't mean that you'll have it during your stay.
They may turn the generator on for a couple of hours a day.  haha

Here is an example of one of those ruts in the road.  
You don't want to drive over that.

I love to see the different plants that grow here.
This one is so colorful, I think it is beautiful.

This is a tree that has been pruned?  ... hacked?
Well, it will continue to grow.  
I love the shade of the new green.
Here you can't keep things from growing.
Even the dead little twigs we used to mark the rows in our garden sprouted.

These women and children are on their way to church on Sunday.
They do find such beautiful little dresses for their girls to wear.
They find them mostly at the bundle mall.
The bundle mall is where they get second-hand clothes that have been shipped here 
from other countries and they are all tied up in bundles.
The vendor will buy a bundle, not knowing what is inside exactly, 
and open them up on the ground at a marché for selling.
Sundays is the day for buying clothes 
and there are many, many, many people selling their bundles 
that are laid all over the ground.
Gecamines has a great bundle mall.  
The term 'mall' is used loosely.

This is Ilonga.  He is our gardener at the compound.
I have never seen a harder worker.  
He is always working at keeping things looking their best.
On our drive-way we have pressed rocks to drive on.  
About four times a year he digs through the rocks 
to get out every little bit of green that are tiny weeds growing.
It will take hime about 3-4 full days of back-breaking work to do as he just bends over to do it.
Our grasses and gardens are edged and he keeps the grass from growing into the flowerbeds.
He is so kind and such a happy man.
He only speaks Swahili and French so it is hard for me to have a conversation with him 
but we do communicate through any way we can.  
We love this man!!
He is so helpful with anything we might need.

These two young missionaries are about to begin their missions.
They are leaving from one of the Districts in this area.  
They came so President Thomas could set them apart as missionaries.  
While they were here they joined in on one of our choir practices and they came up after to thank me.  They loved the rehearsal. 
 Such good young men will make great missionaries! 
 I felt such love for these two young men about to begin their full-time service!!

Here Sister Thomas and I are in the arms of Sister Lazuala, 
one of our Sister Training Leaders.
Isn't she a beautiful missionary?  
She always has a warm welcome for us.

I enjoy spending time with the missionaries even though I cannot understand everything they say.
It is great when you can speak heart to heart.  We only hope that we are fulfilling the things Heavenly Father has sent us here to do.

When I was in Elementary School, one year our class studied about the Congo.  Who would have ever guessed then that I would be living here now?  The Congo will always have a special place in my heart.  We are all children of our Heavenly Father and He loves us all!!!!  How grateful I am!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

A few photos in June.

I was sitting in my office one day and just looked out the window and this is what I saw.
The world is a beautiful place.

I love the beauty in all the vegetation that is here.
This is in the middle of winter.

These are a group of new missionaries.
The Assistants are in the photo too as well as the Special Assignment Missionaries.
Elders Eboule (AP), Kapanda (SA) Musadi, Kanyandu, Mukadi, and Tona

These are the rest of them in the group except one who didn't get in the picture.
You'll notice the sign that hangs over the Mission Office.
That is about as professional as it gets here.
These missionary names are:
Elders Ntoya, Beya (behind), Sœur Mambembe. 
Elders Guei, Ngeleka, Ntambwe, Lutumba (AP) and Elder Rakotondrabe (SA)
They are a good group.
Aren't they beautiful and handsome?

I had to show you the picture of this tree that has just lost its leaves.  
In two weeks it will look like the tree to the left. 
 Two weeks ago the tree to the left looked like the tree in the middle.
That's what winter is like here.
I took this picture from my balcony on the back of the house. 
 We have horses in that field as well.  I sure love to hear them whinny.
We are lucky to have a balcony on the front and the back of our apartment.
It's nice to have a small view.

This is the backyard of the Sister's House.  Sister Vance lives here.
She likes to sit outside the back door in the sunshine in her nice little backyard.
It's a beautiful little palm tree.  I like it the best of all the trees in the compound.

This is our little garden we planted of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and swiss chard.
It was fun to grow a few vegetables.
Isn't the lettuce pretty?

This cluster of bamboo trees is right behind the Davis' house just outside our compound.
They are beautiful and it's nice to listen to them creek in the breeze.

Here are our Sisters.
Sisters Anthony, Vance and Cook
They love to sing and perform.
They got those shirts made especially for their performance today.

Actions come with all their songs.  They are so cute.
This is a Family Home Evening at their house.

I wish I could remember what was being said here.  Look at Sister Vance's face.  haha
They are all 3 of them very fun!!

They sure got along well and we enjoyed them all.
"Ta Da" - the Grande Finish!!!

Lubumbashi has a Time Square.  I bet you didn't know that before.
Notice how they ran out of room before they got to the final "E" 
so they just painted it small to fit it in. 
 Typical of how things are done here. 
 No planning just work it as you go. 
 There is lots to smile at here.

This is on the same rose bush outside my office window.
I love the blossoms!!

We have quite a few of these beautiful little blue blossoms.

I don't know what this tree is called but I call it the 'Bottle Brush" tree.
Interesting flower, eh?
We had these in Florida too.

This flower grows on bushes and is prolific.
They are beautiful!!

A group of the same flower.

This is how they grow and they are EVERYWHERE!!
It is spectacular!!

These flowers look like white feathers growing in the greenery.  
I love all the green.
This is in the beginning of winter too.

We are losing Sister Anthony.  Her time is up and she is returning to Washington State.
This is all of us Senior Missionaries.
Left to Right:  Elder & Sister Mikesell (he is our doctor and she works on the finances)
Elder and Sister Davis, our humanitarian couple.  They are amazing!!  We have become very good friends.
Sister Vance, Sister Anthony and Sister Cook with Sister Thomas and President Thomas behind them.
Then you have me and Elder Draper on the right end.
Not one of us was trained to work in the office but we manage. ... barely!

Steve is the Davis' translater when they got out to meet with people.  He is a great guy.  
This is good with Sister Anthony looking up. 
 We always tease her about her size.  This really shows it off.

Emmanuel who works in the office and Sister Anthony.
Emanuel takes care of all the apartments in the mission which is a huge job 
especially here in this country.
He is just a very big little boy with an infectious laugh and we all love him dearly!!!

This is one of our guards, Skamon (pronounced Scammo), with Sister Anthony.
He is a wonderful man who helps us so much.  We love him!!

Our crop off the vines.
There were more than this but I didn't think to take a picture until now.
We saved them all in our kitchen and everyone just came in and took what they wanted when they wanted it but they had to be taken off the vines.  They did all turn red. 
Note the two peppers, one green and one purple.

Men cut the grass in large fields with the hand scythe.  Here you can see their work partly done.
It is lots of work and it is hot during the day when they are working.

I hope you enjoyed the few pictures in these last couple of blogs!!
We are healthy and happy and enjoying everything here.
We can hardly believe how fast the time is going.
We only have less than 8 months left.
My goodness, I better go and get to work.