Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Getting to Know the Country

This country couldn't be more different than Canada.
It is interesting to see all the sights here.  Pictures do not do it justice.  
You see it but you don't feel it all around you in a picture.

We aren't driving yet because we don't have driver's licences. 
 We don't have to take a test or anything, just pay some money and wait for them to issue one.
The senior missionaries are so good to drive us to the store and around to where we need to go.

The following video will give you a taste of what it is to drive in the Congo.
Can you figure out the rules of the road?

You guessed it!!  There are none!!!
There actually are but no one pays any attention to them.
However, if you are white you do need to pay attention because the police will pull you over for almost anything.
They have a few lights here at intersections but no one pays them any mind.  We have to stop but everyone else just keeps on going.  It is so funny!!
It's amazing that there aren't more accidents.
The rule here in driving is that if there is a space on the road, fill it.  It doesn't matter which side of the road it is on.  Trying to get across intersections with no lights is interesting.  
No one will stop for you to come across.  You just have to inch your way forward until you are so far into the road they have to stop.  Intersections can be filled with traffic moving all over in all directions and then you add people to the mix and you have it;  the Congo!
It's an adventure in and of itself.

This is in the mission home compound.
I didn't realize we didn't take one of the mission home but only got the office and our place.
The office is on this side of the building and our apartment is on the other side on the ground floor and upstairs.  You can see our balcony.  We have one on the back too.
It is a very nice home with 19 stairs going from the ground to the living room and bedroom upstairs.
The kitchen is on the ground floor.
I just think of the stairs as great exercise.
We'll send a picture of the stairs.  They are very funny.  
Every rise is a different height and every run is a different length.  
Some of the treads are not even rectangular.  You'll just have to see.

This is Elder and Sister Clawson.
They are leaving to go home.  We were their replacements but we can never replace them.
They are an amazing couple who were serving in many areas.
They will be missed in this mission by the staff, the missionaries and everyone else.
They were very loved here.

An Exercise Park
It is used by people of all ages.  
It looks like lots of fun.  I'd like to go there myself.

This is a common sight.  There is no garbage dump that we have seen.
The garbage is just on the sides of the road.
Garbage is burned here during the dry season.  We're not sure what they do in the wet season. 
I think they save it up.  We'll have to let you know on that one.

Trucks take goods from place to place to get them to market.
You can't believe how high they pile the goods on top of the truck.
All of this will get into that truck.
This is early in the morning loading up for the day.

They pile the goods and then put tarps over it.
Sometimes they hang things on top of the tarp by just tying them on.

Often we will see mattresses attached on top of tarps with bungee cords.
It is quite a sight to behold.

Here is a truck load on the road.
One or two or many people will ride on top of the whole thing.
Not a good place to be when you tip over.
(Although I think our grandchildren would think this was fun!)

On our trip to Likashi on Sunday we saw a couple of roll-overs.
What a mess!
Lots of people came to look and see.  
After church as we were driving home we saw some other trucks that had come to help.
There were police there so we didn't get very good pictures.  They do NOT like their picture taken.
If they catch you they will take your camera away.

These are some of the sights in town.
Anyone looking for furniture?
Then this is the spot for you.
It's not quite like the Brick.
There is no guarantee for cleanliness and there are no returns on anything here.

This is a little store on the side of the road selling backpacks and TV's and anything else they can find.  You see this everywhere, even in residential areas.

This kiln is baking bricks which they make here by hand like in Nauvoo.
It is all bricks, in and out.  They put charcoal between the bricks and let it burn for a week.
Then they let it cool for a week and then they dismantle the whole thing and use or sell the bricks.
It costs about 15 cents a brick to make and they sell for about 25 cents a brick.
They are many kilns like this in certain areas.

This mound of clay has been used to make the bricks.  
They don't make bricks from the flat ground soil.  
These clay mounds are found everywhere with trees and bushes growing on them.
Sometimes the trees are bigger than this one.
We don't know how these mounds come to be but when you ask a Congolese person they will tell you, "They are a gift fro God."  That is our only explanation.  I guess it sounds good.  They are a gift.

On the road to Lisaki from Lubumbashi we took some pictures to share with you.
It is more primitive outside the big city in the countryside.
Here is a home that people are living in.  It is covered in tarps.

Another home with a thatched roof.
It is made out of sticks and grass.

Many homes do not have a door.  
They hang a piece of cloth over the doorway for privacy.

You can see that many homes are built very close together.

This is charbon.  
They burn wood with very little oxygen so that it turns to charcoal instead of consuming the wood.
This family has made a bunch of charbon to sell.  A truck will come along and buy it from them and take it to the city to sell.

This woman has a clothing business on the side of the highway.
She'll stand out there all day waiting to sell something to someone.
I would like to know how much business she really does.

These are more homes.  
They have tin roofs which are held in place with rocks or bricks piled on them.
You'll notice the cloth door on the middle home.
The home on the right has a wooden door but see the space at the bottom of the door?
It isn't keeping out many little critters.

This family is blessed to have a motorcycle to get around on.
They call them motos.  They are often used as taxis.
Note the clean? laundry drying on the hedge at the side.
Remember the dust is everywhere here.
Many of the senior missionaries have scratchy throats and coughs 
from all the dust and smoke in the air.

This home is a better home.  It is painted.  Note the dust halfway up the side of the building.
I like the bright blanket hanging on the line.
In the Congo people really live outside and go inside just to sleep.
Everything is done outside just like camping. 
They wash outside.  They cook outside on small Hibachi-type stoves that burn charbon.  They do their dishes outside.  They bathe the children outside.  They sit outside all day.  This is all done without any tables.  They work on the ground on the dirt.

This is in town at a roadside market.

Many people carry their goods on a bike.  They load the bike and then push it to where they need to go.  This man has a small enough load so he can ride his bike.  Sometimes the loads are huge and they push them up hills and down.  Sometimes two people are pushing.  It is very hard work.

Here is a fun sight.  This woman is going to church on the back of the moto riding side-saddle.
We've never seen that before.

The children at church are so sweet.  This little fellow was afraid at first to shake Elder Draper's hands.  When Elder Draper caught his hand he pulled back in terror.
He cheered up when he saw the picture of himself.
The children here haven't seen many white people.  They stare at us but are very curious too.  Sometimes they'll come over just to touch our arms to feel the white skin.  It's very cute!!

Isn't she so cute?  I love the third pigtail sticking straight up.
She came over to me to shake my hand about three times as she was just standing, looking at me.
The children do not speak much French.  They speak Swahili but will learn French in school.
Boys are educated much more than girls.

In the halls at church when I wave to a child that child will come over with their hand stuck out for me to shake it.  They will shake your hand over and over if you are standing in a group of children.  It's so adorable.  These three were anxious for their picture to be taken.

These holes are everywhere on the roads.  We drove down one road and none of the manholes had their covers on them.  How would you like to drive there in the dark.  The first time we went to English class our driver hit the hole on the left.  It was a jarring experience.  It destroyed the tire but we didn't know it at first because the roads are so bumpy.  We were luckily just a few hundred feet from the church so we didn't have to change the tire on the side of the road.

We're lucky we didn't lose the whole car in that hole.  I guess we were going fast enough not to get stuck because the tire just went in and right out again.

Missionaries are always eager to serve.  
You'll notice that it took six of them to change the tire.
That was funny!!
Everyone had to go home to change clothes after that!

We are loving our time here serving where we can.
We are enjoying working in the office and helping the President with his job.
All of us in the office are there to help ease the burden that one person couldn't handle all alone.
President Thomas is a wonderful leader and we are so happy to serve with him and Sister Thomas too.  They are wonderful in their callings.


  1. Wow! That video is hilarious!!! The scenery sure look bleak! I can't imagine that being a reality! Good thing the things around us don't determine our happiness!!

  2. Yeah, the driving is crazy! I have my hands full trying to teach Aubrey how to drive and pay attention to all the signs and rules. I can't imagine trying to her in all that chaos!!! Next time hold the phone sideways to video, you'll get a better picture:) Rob's always giving me trouble for videoing with my phone upright. He's right though...sideways is much better.

  3. pretty chaotic!!! BTW that was excellent footage of the sky and the should never be taken in portrait, only in landscape. how many times do I need to tell you!?! ;)

  4. Laila couldnt believe that those people were hanging out the van door while it was driving on the road. Those were some crazy pictures! I can relate to you with the little black kids staring at a white person. In Mexico we sometimes has little girls and boys stare at us at church. This one time this teenage mexican girl came up to me in the middle of sacrament meeting and took Sadie aways from me and brought her back to her seat with her family. I was glad Sadie was young enough that it didnt bother her. haha