Sunday, October 26, 2014

10/26 - Meetinghouse, Muslims, Motos

Exciting news about our Douala meetinghouse.  The building we have been renting has been sold and others have been deemed too expensive, so the Church is going to quickly build a temporary meetinghouse on the Church property!  We’ve owned the property for many years and I love the central location on a hillside so it will be good to get members in the habit of going there.  Then maybe soon we can start building a permanent edifice.  Of course, we still want to divide the branch and maybe rent a building closer to the south end of town where many members live.  That would help with attendance.
The Church Property in Douala

We taught again in Japoma and two new people showed up, Janette & Danielle.  The group is growing and it is fun.  We love teaching.  And the Church property is much closer to Japoma than our current meetinghouse.
Frère Nana, Odile, Janette, Danielle, Esther, Desirée, Edimo, Elder Hatch, Anustra, Elder Colindres

Sudden and unexpected transfers.  A missionary in Yaoundé was sent home for medical reasons (not Ebola) so Elder Waite was given less than 24 hours notice that he was going to Yaoundé.  He thought it was a joke.  But the next morning we put him on the bus.
Later at the bus station we picked up the Elder from Yaoundé.  On the way to the airport we found that he had some last minute issues with his travel arrangements.  We made a lot of phone calls and got it sorted out.

It is odd that in 8 months the only two missionaries we've known to go home for medical reasons went home a week apart.  And neither was due to Ebola, or Malaria, or Dengue Fever or the myriad of common African illnesses.  And for those of you worried about Ebola, the number of new cases per week peaked in September and has leveled off and dropped a bit.  So, it seems to be getting under control without ever reaching Cameroon.  If you are worried about the cases popping up in the USA, you can come here to be safe.  :-)

Wednesday was the return of the Muslims from their annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and the day we had to go to the airport.  The airport parking lot was full so we had to park on the sidewalk, as directed by a policeman.  There may have been a thousand people crowding the lot and pressing us on all sides as they waited eagerly for loved ones.  At least we knew that they are all saintly, Allah-fearing people.

We visited one of the farthest fringes of Douala to see an inactive member, Rachel, and her family.  We also stopped by to see another family, Noumbou, Towo, and Dimitri, who haven’t come since Towo got Typhus two months ago.  Driving through the massive throngs of people for maybe 10 kilometers really shows the immensity of this city and its population of millions.  It took about 4.5 hours to visit 2 families.
Rachel with her 3 kids and a niece

Towo, Dimitri, & Noumbou

Intersection with a Cop in a yellow vest

Both branches watched General Conference on Saturday and Sunday, 3 weeks after the broadcast, because it took that long to get the DVD’s.  They served sandwiches between sessions and had a really good turnout, even on Saturday.

I put the 20 books that Jeff Gibb gave me in a box with a sign-out sheet and let our piano students check them out.  It was a hit!  8 students checked out one book each including some kids that don't know English, even though all of the books are in English.  They were so excited.  A girl told me that they do have libraries here, although I've never seen one.  I wish that I had a lot more books and some in French and some about African kids.  But it's a start.  We never see pleasure reading books in people's homes.

To the uninitiated, the swarms of motorcycles (motos) can be shocking.  They seem to flow around the cars like water, going in all different directions, sometimes bumping into our car or each other and squeezing through the narrowest openings between cars.  If necessary, they go on the sidewalks or median strip or down the wrong side of the street.  They often ignore traffic lights and cops.  Anything to get their paying passengers to their destination.  It still makes me nervous, even though I haven’t hit one yet.  Fortunately, they are not fast.  They are typically 150cc or smaller, made in China, and look like they are ready for the scrap heap.  Their passengers are often carrying buckets, ladders, windows, or other precarious cargoes.  Nobody wears helmets or holds on to the driver.  They just putt along at 25 mph and pay 60 cents or a dollar when they arrive.
Just drive slowly through the swarm...

Carrying a Window on a Motorcycle is Common

Frère Momo showed us his house under construction

Soeur Bonbongui, Sonya Nkong, Alvine
 I saw a sign that said "Plage" so I wondered if there was a decent beach somewhere in Douala.  Here is what we found. 
Douala Beach on the Bay with the tide out

Douala Bay


  1. I always enjoy reading the blog, and even more, I enjoy sharing your stories every month when I teach Elders Quorum!

  2. I'll bet everyone likes getting their picture taken, and maybe getting "famous" on your blog.

    If I lived there, I would carry my panes of glass on the back of a moto too. ;P Better than trying to carry them while driving my own moto. :)