Saturday, March 15, 2014

3/15 - Mission Splitting, Traffic Jams, Service Project, Party

Our mission is being split!  We will be in the new mission to be created in July.  The work is hastening.

Our investigator, Noah, is making great progress.  He often brings us gifts.  I had mentioned that I never found yams here so he brought us about 20 lbs of yams.  He said they didn’t have the yellow kind yet.  These white ones are more like what I call sweet potatoes, but with better flavor.
Huge Yams with Apple to show size

We shipped a document by bus courier to Younde since the mail is unreliable.  In the parking lot we found 3 men sitting on our truck bumper.  They all wanted church brochures, which we happily shared.  What a country!

Sister Coleman taught her first piano lesson in Africa to two girls at our home.  This was practice for the big group.  One of the girls learned Sister Coleman’s first name and said it was her first name, too.  She said that coincidence is called mbombo.  But she rarely uses “Ruth”, instead going by her middle name of “Purita”.
Piano Lesson in our home

The girls asked how much it cost to mail a package.  They were shocked when I showed them a small package we had just received and the postage on it, which was enough to feed a family here for a month.

Sister Coleman taught all comers at the Bonaberi meetinghouse and 19 people showed up.  Elder Coleman had to help out with individual instruction while Sister Coleman taught the group since we only had one keyboard.

One morning a young boy of about 13 knocked on our door.  It was a branch member, Samuel, paying us a surprise visit during a school break.  That was fun.

The Tour de Cameroon bike race came through town.  I just happened to be walking to a local store and saw the crowds and police.  One bike came by while I was there but I didn’t have my camera ready.  After 10 minutes the next one hadn’t come and I didn’t have time to wait.

Brother Bongongui died Wed morning.  He was the first Church member in Douala and served as the first branch president for many years.

We invited the Douala Branch president, Marius Nkong and his family to dinner.  They are a terrific family and have sacrificed much to help the Douala Branch grow.
Sonya & Marius Nkong with Moroni, Yael, & sister Alma

We got stopped by some cops again wearing what looked like highway workers outfits.  They said I need a Cameroon drivers license and should be fined $50 but they would let us go since we are missionaries.  Then the cop asked for a tip, so I gave him the $2 that I kept handy for such a thing.

We got stuck in a traffic jam for 90 minutes in the middle of the day Thursday because workers were putting some new speed bumps on the main highway.  Then Saturday we were stuck in the same stretch for 3.5 hours because a truck hit a train causing a 4-car & 2 motorcycle accident up on the bridge.  The bridge to Bonaberi is rather strange in that there is a train track embedded in the asphalt right down the middle of the road.  Traffic there is always bad so vehicles nearly always drive on the tracks and trains are rare.  But when a train does come it can be catastrophic.
3.5 hour traffic jam; note RR tracks in road

During the traffic jam we saw a branch member in one of the other cars.  I got out and walked over and found a car full of RS Sisters bringing food to the party.  One of them (Purita) joined us in our truck and we had a good time chatting.

Saturday was a big Relief Society birthday party.  It started at 6am cleaning the home of the newly widowed Sister Bongongui.
Cleaning Widow's Home

After that, with 12 people in our pickup truck we drove across town to pick up some soap and other gift supplies and then on to the Bonaberi General Hospital.
Members Piling into our Truck
At the hospital we visited the sick and give them gift bags and pamphlets.  One new mother asked for a blessing, so Elder Coleman and Elder Okon performed that ordinance.  Conditions in the hospitals here are rather abysmal but they did have an incubator for her preemie.
Maternity Wing of General Hospital
Preparing Gift Bags outside Hospital

Entrance to Intensive Care

Hall of Hospital

A Vacant Hospital Room Like Those in Use

Going from Room to Room; Some Have Outside Doors

Eventually, we headed back for some party supplies.  We were late for the party due to the train crash, but we saw the RS trivia game and the singing and dance performances.  Sister Coleman put on her new “kaba” (dress) and “foulard” (head tie) and modeled them for the group.  Every sister had a turn to be cheered on the runway even though nearly all wore identical clothing, made by one of the sisters.  The dinner had a wide selection of food, including deep-fried fish (entire fish), chicken feet, ndole, manioc in strips and chunks, deviled eggs with tomatoes, rice, beef parts, and fried plantains.  We tried it all and it was quite tasty.  Everyone enjoyed the party.
R.S. Dance Number

Sister Coleman Supermodel

Party Meal

Deviled Eggs

Tasty Fried Fish (just don't make eye-contact with it)

Chicken Feet Anyone?

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