Sunday, April 13, 2014

4/13 - New Clerk, Health Issues, Rain

This week was more relaxed than usual with very little scheduled.  But, as usual, surprises were around every corner and every day was a new adventure.  Sometimes it feels like our main job is entertaining guests, which is a pretty fun job.

Monday was P-day, so we tried to get caught up on chores, but it wasn’t meant to be.  In the afternoon, the missionaries called and asked to come over and watch “Ephraim’s Rescue,” so I tried to make some pizzas.  I discovered that we had no yeast and the oven was not hot enough, so they didn’t turn out very good, but the Elders ate them anyway.

Then Dr. Samuel came over to visit.  Dr. Samgwa’a Samuel is a physician who also runs a charity that helps orphans and abandoned children.  He just finished paying for his father-in-law’s funeral when his mother fell sick.  Her hospital expenses took all his money before she died, so now he can’t pay for her funeral.  And in the meantime, the German sponsor of his charity died so he is being forced to disband it unless he can find another source of funds.  He’s looking for about $100K per year to help 90 kids with support, comfort, advice, vocational training, etc.  His website is .  He wants us to come and see his facility.

Tuesday Elder Nyom (set apart last week) was feeling very sore and tired.  By the time we got over to see him he said that he was improving.  We took his temperature (99.8) and told him to drink a lot and eat gentle foods and call if he gets worse.  It is probably not serious.

Thursday Elder Ngalamulume told us about pain in his eyes.  We consulted with the mission president, who is a physician.  Again, nothing too serious, but this week he is being transferred to Kinshasa where the president can keep an eye on him.  This week is transfer week, but he is the only transfer in Douala.  We're going to miss him.  He's a great missionary.

Sister Coleman got a haircut next door.  The salon is comparable to a US salon and charges almost as much.  It’s hard to find someone who knows how to do Caucasian hair.  The Elders can get their hair cut at a local barber for between 40 cents and a dollar.

Our water supply has been very erratic lately.  We’ve had to take bucket showers a few times and once we ate at a restaurant to avoid washing dishes.  I changed the sediment filters but installed an incorrect filter and had to fix it to get decent flow when the water finally came back on.

Piano lessons in Douala drew only 5 students, probably because it wasn’t announced in church.  Boniberi had 13 students.
He Wanted to Wear My Tie at Piano Class

Thursday brought our first torrential rainstorm during a piano class.  A pair of missionaries showed up at the building completely drenched.  They had to stand under an awning for a while before they were dry enough to come in.  We waited until it let up a bit before leaving the church, giving the Elders a ride and heading home.  There seemed to be a lot of trash in the road, a few extra disabled cars, and some deep puddles along the way, but no huge traffic problems.  The storm did knock out power briefly a few times and the internet for 24 hours.

Friday we hosted another lesson for Noah.  He wants to be baptized but the Elders seem to be teaching the lessons very slowly to make sure that he is really ready.  This is Africa and that's the way it is done here.

I did some clerical training for a new clerk.  The records are a bit messy here because names tend to be flexible.  People use different names for different occasions.  The kids in a family might not have the family name as a surname, or might use it as a middle name.  And spelling is widely variable.  The clerk probably needs to correct one third of the names.

The Douala Branch choir director, Claudelia, is a hoot.  She snaps her fingers to beat time while we sing.  Once she had us tap our toes and read the words.  That sounded like a thundering herd.  She told Sister Coleman once to play the song faster, so I gently suggested that Sister Coleman is a professional and will play as fast as she leads.  She is young but seems to have a creative streak that is coming out now that she has a pianist.

There is a member in the town of Kribi (about 2 hours drive) who comes to church in Douala occasionally.  He says that he has been teaching a group of 8-9 people and wants missionaries to come to teach them.  But our instructions are to wait until some members move there and we can establish a branch before teaching or baptizing anyone.  This is Africa.  I'm hoping that when the mission splits in July that we can send missionaries to start branches in some of these smaller cities.

I discovered a missing filling, so I’m going to have to find a dentist.  More on that later.
Drive-by Photo of Crane that Fell Across Road

Rigging the Generator at the Church when Power Failed

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