This is the beginning of our trip up north.
We traveled on a Sunday because that is when the plane flies.
WE landed in Mbuji Mayi
We arrived at the church while church was in session.
I went into the Primary to listen at first for a few minutes
and then they broke to go into Sacrament Meeting.
They came to welcome us in and the President to sit on the stand.
He had to explain that our ride was coming as we were to continue on to Mwene Ditu
to begin our meetings there the next day.
As everyone went into the meeting there was not enough room for everyone so the children sat outside behind the congregation and the Primary leaders stayed out with the children to tend them.
Being a Primary leader in the Congo is a 3 hour responsibility not 2!!
They were standing out under the tree because it was so hot and the tree provided wonderful shade that made the difference of quite a few degrees. You'll notice the girls with their arms folded.
The leaders finally gathered some chairs for the children by bringing the Primary chairs outside.
It was so hot under those tents. The children sat 1, 2 and 3 to a chair.
We seemed to draw a lot of attention so I went to sit amongst them hoping that would help the leaders. They were so adorable!!
Before they got all arranged I took a few pictures.
What a sweet little face this little girl has.
They were so interested in what Sister Thomas was doing so I took this picture.
I love the face of the little girl at the back on the left .... such bright eyes.
The little girl in the front on the right sat right beside me during church
and hardly ever took her eyes off of me.
More sweet faces. You'll notice the boy is trying to get his face in the picture
but wants to look the part of a man.
After we left, we found that the missionaries that we were transporting to Mwene Ditu
had brought some orange soda for the AP's. Hardly fair at all!!! It was so hot.
These are pictures of some of the sites there.
A smooth ride over cobblestone roads.
Really, this is better to ride on than some of the roads that had been paved.
We were squished 8 in the back of the truck on 2 benches lined up both sides in the back.
Thankfully it was closed in. We had most of the big luggage on top of the truck but there was still lots of back packs, bags, computer cases and water bottles for the whole week in the back with us to crowd our legs so that I couldn't move my legs at all.
This woman has a typical hair style that I love.
It wouldn't look as good on me though.
Women have some very cool styles that they like.
Many women wear wigs and own many of them.
It is hard to recognize the sisters when they come in with a new wig on
every time you see them.
This is about the most darling little face you could find.
She is just beautiful. It's hard not to hug them all.
Some of the smaller children are afraid of our white skin.
So I admire from a little distance.
These two darling little girls were standing by the roadside.
Aren't they cute? This is a common sight when it is hot.
I'm not sure why this dog is wearing a dress but its owner was intent on getting it on.
Then the dog went off rummaging around without the dress seeming to bother him at all.
This is another precious child just out to look at the sights.
My heart is full of love for the children.
I keep hoping that we are making a difference in this country
so that the children in the future have a better life.
This picture is full. The little girls in pink are all dressed up for Sunday in their finest.
The little children against the wall are not as fortunate but just as sweet in their rags.
The women in the middle are out to sell their wares for the day.
I'm getting used to seeing the buckets and bags on their heads
but I don't think I get ever get used to carrying things like that myself.
Here is a close up of those girls dressed in pink. Isn't that dress the little one is wearing so cute?
What is amazing to me is that they can come from their little homes and look like this!
These bidons are full of water. They weigh about 50 lbs each.
It is much harder work for this boy here
than it is for those of you at home to load or unload the dishwasher!!
When a truck runs into problems they just stop in the road where they are.
They don't try to pull over to the side very often.
It slows things down but the people drive by not showing any signs of frustration or concern.
It just is what it is.
These women with the red, blue and green tubs are carrying water. It is surprising that they can carry that weight on their heads. Each of these must weigh over 50 lbs too.
One of the sister here wanted to carry something on her head. She tried to lift a bidon of water onto her head. She couldn't hardly get it off of the ground let alone put it on her head!!
Their necks must be so very strong.
We were heading down the hill as all these people were coming up with the water they had gathered.
Some of these people do this for a living so every day they would go up and down
two or three times carrying such heavy loads.
You'll notice the little boys, two of them, assisting the front man with his bicycle.
They help him by pushing along. This is often the case.
I think this is my favorite tree here ... at least so far.
It is a Flamboyant Tree. I love the name.
They are everywhere and so beautiful.
Some streets are lined by them.
There is another Flamboyant Tree in this picture too.
This is just of more people doing what they do every day.
There is no water in this city.
The woman running across the road was very worried that we might hit her with the car.
Here the pedestrians do NOT have the right of way.
When you cross the street you take your life into your own hands! Literally!!!
This is down by the river where they all come to gather their water.
You can see the people there. Some of them are washing their clothes, others are getting water.
Hopefully not too close to each other but here they don't know the dangers of dirty water.
Some people find water where just up the street they are dumping garbage into the ditches.
It is a hot day. Some carry umbrellas with them to keep the sun off them and others just put a piece of cloth over their heads to protect them from the sun.
I love the red canister the woman is carrying. They carry things of all types and sizes.
Here is a look at some of the roads we had to cross.
You can't drive very fast on these roads.
They were paved by the Belgians in the 1950's and this is what is left of them.
Talk about bump, bump!!!
The seats we sat on in the truck were like hard benches with a piece of cloth pulled over them. There was almost no padding.
This shows the lush green in the country. The sights were beautiful and the little villages along the way seemed like such nice places to live compared to the city.
They had beautiful gardens and farm lands.
This is deep dirt in the road. You can imagine what it would be like to try to cross this in the rainy season. Even when it was dry it was hard to pass. The poor people pushing bicycles over the hills. This would be a nightmare.
It is not too bad when you have the road to yourself and you can criss cross it to smooth pavement but in busy traffic it wouldn't be good at all.
In the city I thought it was interesting to show the little shops and how they display there wares. Cardboard boxes make great shelves.
Even the next shop over has all their foods lined up on the ground.
It's how they live.
This is the church building right in front of us down this road.
This is a road to drive on.
The hotel we are staying at is behind us so we could just walk over to the church.
It rained a little later and this was an impassable road then.
This is our hotel room in Mwene Ditu. Not much to it but it was clean.
That is saying a lot.
The TV worked but we didn't have power anyway.
Besides it would just have French stations.
Here is the bathroom. The only water in here is in that green bucket.
That's how you flush the toilet, taking a 'shower', washing your hair
and anything else you might need it for.
It is NOT drinking water.
This isn't a great tree for climbing. The spikes on the trunk are hard and sharp like a cactus.
You certainly wouldn't want to run into it.
The color that it produces is pretty though. The vegetation is so beautiful.
This is where we stayed in Luputa. These are the stake offices/hotel rooms for visitors.
Well, bedrooms. There were two bedrooms with a third in the kitchen with one bathroom to share.
That cloth is the door.
The children liked to peek underneath it to see when we were going to come out.
This is the chapel of the church building. It is clean and tidy and hot!!
This is the front of the chapel. The white chairs are for the choir.
Some of the buildings here were built by the Belgians and would have been beautiful houses when they were built. Now they are run down. I liked the fence around this house.
There are many faces like this. I actually took this picture for Michael. I thought he would like it.
Good idea, eh?
This is the train station. There actually is a train that runs from Lubumbashi to Luputa. It takes weeks to get anywhere. There is no schedule that anyone can figure out but we laugh when you can't find flight and someone says, "you can always take the train!"
This darling little child came out when we got back from our walk. I think she is a girl. She came right over for me to rub her back and stood there for the longest time until she went over to play with Elder Draper.
The women made dinner for the missionaries in Luputa after the Zone Conference.
Here is one of the pots they cooked in. This huge pot is FULL of beans.
We hardly made a dent in it.
There was also another big tub of rice that was about the same size.
There was chicken, goat and pork .... well, cooked pig skin.
This isn't a great picture but it shows how they just pile into the back of a truck to ride.
They ride like this in the city and also on the highway.
No safety rules here!!
Our final dinner was at Mbuji Mayi with the Zone there.
This is Elder Tshimpe, on the back, and Elder Lono in the middle.
They are just arriving for dinner. This is their taxi.
These two are our AP's and very good missionaries.