Sunday, April 27, 2014

4/27 - Chairs, Keys, DVDs

One of the things that I love about Africa is never being cold.  The weather is always in the high 70’s to low 80’s 24 hours a day.  It is usually warm enough at midday to perspire but is never hot like Sacramento summers.  We never need to grab a jacket because it is always warm, day and night.  We’ve seen some brief rainfalls but they say August is the real rainy season.

Our days are busy and very satisfying.  We have so many friends now and always feel like we’re learning, helping people and making a difference.

Our monthly trip to Yaounde was more fun this time because the Moodys are living there.  We went back to Mount Febe and had a great time sharing experiences and getting to know them better.  I paid the bills, balanced the books, and transferred financial custody to them.  Then we had some free time to watch “Frozen” on the TV.  During the closing credits the power went out so we lit some candles and kept talking.
During our Hike on Mount Febe

Flowers on Mount Febe
A Rock at the Site Where Cameroon was Dedicated

On the way home we got a call from South Africa asking us to copy the General Conference DVDs that we will receive and send them to the Yaounde branches.  Apparently the regional office made a mistake in shipping and we were the only ones that could fix it in time for the Yaounde District viewing schedule.  So, we frantically made 5 copies of 6 DVDs and sent them by bus courier to the Moodys.

Another surprise on the way home was finding our truck completely surrounded by bundles in the lot where we had paid to park it.  We couldn't even get to it to put our backpacks in.  It took about a half hour for the workers to create a narrow channel for us to jockey it out.
That's Our White Truck Engulfed by Bundles

We finally bought new soft chairs.  Our two sofas are much too firm for comfort so we’ve had no furniture to relax in.  We shopped all over before finally settling on a little hole-in-the-wall furniture maker.  We found one we liked and he made it with the fabric of our choice.
Our Furniture Maker in his Showroom

One of Our New Chairs

Piano lessons in Douala were severely limited by a lack of electricity (the bill didn’t get paid) and a heavy rainfall.  Only 5 students showed up in the rain, but without electricity Sister Coleman had to make do with a chalkboard.  In Bonaberi there were 15 students who shared 7 keyboards for 2 hours and made great progress with Sister Coleman going from student to student.

I asked if there was a place nearby to get a new key made for us for the Sacrament Meeting room at Douala.  But the genius, Romeo Dim, found a better solution.  A new key costs $30.  A new lock barrel costs $10 and comes with 5 keys.  The shopkeeper came to the church, replaced the lock barrel, and I paid him the $10.  The branch president was thrilled.  I think the branch was sharing one key before.

On Friday nothing crazy happened!  We worked on reports, ran errands, and did chores with no surprises or sudden needs to change plans.  That is the first time of our mission we’ve had a day like that.  Isn’t that wild!

We had an expert from Kinshasa come to give clerk training on Saturday.  He did a fantastic job but ran out of time.  Our clerical challenges are many.  Names are complex combinations of family names with various spellings of African and European given names.  Nobody has a computer at home and apparently none of the records have ever been verified.  And nobody has an exact address.  Donations are all cash and banking procedures are archaic.  Salaries are low and needs are many and complex.  We’ve had to adapt standard church procedures to fit local requirements.

On Sunday the Bonaberi choir sang a special musical number in Sacrament Meeting with a little side-side, rhythmic dance step to keep time.  That’s the first time I’ve seen that.  Injecting a little African culture into the service.
The Train Coming down the Middle of the Street in the Rain

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