Sunday, November 23, 2014

11/23 - Workers in Sync, Choir Concert

Top of Steps
We saw an incredible sight and I didn’t have my camera at that moment so I couldn’t film the action.  Workmen are building a building behind the Bonaberi meetinghouse and it is now 5 stories tall.  We heard chanting and looked over the wall.  They have erected a set of giant, wooden steps from the ground to the top of the building (see photos.)  

Bottom of Steps
Each step is about 12 feet wide, 3 feet deep and 6 feet tall.  On each step were 2 men with shovels.  Two men on the ground shoveled wet cement up to the first step.  The two men on that step shoveled it to the next step and so on up to the top of the building.  I counted 11 pairs of men all chanting and shoveling in perfect synchronization, one scoop every 2 seconds.  The chant was something like “lalalala dol-ly” repeated constantly for an hour and a half as cement worked its way up the stairs, two shovelfuls at a time.  Scoop (lalalala).  Heave (dol-ly).  Scoop (lalalala).  Heave (dol-ly).  No guardrails, no safety harnesses, and if one of the men took a step backward he could fall a long way.  One guy was barefoot.  One had no shirt.  One stopped for a few seconds and did a little happy dance.  It was like a scene from an old movie that they would never put in a modern movie because it would lack credibility.  We watched for about 5 minutes, mesmerized.

I joined a group of security guards (G4S) on my Monday morning run and had a good time running and working out with them.  Then on Friday a group of military judges and staff came running by as I was starting my run so I joined them.  They ran fast and gradually our group diminished from 6 to 3.  Then we stopped for pushups and the rest caught up.  I like running with a group because I don’t have to dodge traffic; cars go around us.

We were standing with the Elders outside their apartment in Bonaberi when a woman stopped and asked for info about the Church.  The Elders gave her some brochures and got her phone number.  I love this country!

We ate lunch at Frère Totto’s restaurant.  I ordered fish with rice and plantains.  Sister Coleman just wanted the crepes.  They served us each a salad and bread with our meals.  We are always shocked at the prices.  The total came to $1.90!  I asked how business is going.  He said that he has too many customers sometimes and needs more space.  With prices so low, I can see why.
Look like a Hawaiian restaurant, doesn't it?
The salad was pretty and tasty.

We went to Marché Centrale to a store to buy some fabric interfacing.  The guy running the shop, Kenneth, said that he is Mormon but hasn’t been to church in a while.  He promised to come soon.  His father, the owner, said that he has some land that we can use for a meetinghouse.  We looked at it but don’t think it will be of use, being undeveloped.
This possible meetinghouse site needs work.

Nearby fauna in the road

We visited another possible meetinghouse with the branch president.  He said that the requirements now are for a three-month rental that we can extend while we build a temporary meetinghouse.  We have yet to find someone who will rent for less than a year.  With our deadline about a month away it is fascinating to watch how the Africans resolve this problem, if they do.  We have been told to stay out of it so all we can do is hope that the branch has someplace to meet in January.

The branches had meetings on Saturday to watch a “District Meeting” broadcast DVD.  The church leaders said that Africans need to change some of their evil traditions but praised the great family closeness here.

After the “District Meeting” there was a choir concert/activity in the Douala Branch.  Sister Coleman wrote the script for it all, including a little FHE scene.  The choir of about 15 sang well and had a great time.  We performed for about 45 minutes before a crowd of about 6 people who applauded (in the chapel) at the end.  Then the branch president spoke and said he would try to get us uniforms, for which the choir applauded.
After the concert the choir started singing just for fun.

Bonaberi Branch had their Primary Sacrament Meeting.  The entire primary of 20 kids got up and recited perfectly all 13 Articles of Faith!  It appeared that most of the group knew them well.  These kids are bright.

We started a temple prep class in Bonaberi.  22 people attended.  There is only one returned missionary in the branch and I think he is the only member who has been to the temple.  The distance and expense makes it difficult.  It is only about 350 miles to drive to the nearest temple, but the roads are terrible.  Also it is in Nigeria, which is dangerous now due to the civil war.  So Camerounais fly to South Africa, about 3,000 miles away.  We hope that a big group will go next year, with help from the Temple Patrons Assistance Fund.

We skyped with the Nelsons, one of the mission office couples.  They are getting our new mission systems in shape.

The Bonaberi Branch clerk is an unemployed computer technician who is making jewelry and handbags to sell.  He does great work and custom-made one for Sister Coleman with a magnetic clasp for $3 plus fabric.
Custom-made handbag

Apart from everything else, we visited some members and taught some investigators.
We had to park and walk this road to Sister Olga's house.

Sister Olga, son Alain, and EQ President Momo

Driving is hazardous in this town.

This truck is on the wrong side and squished a car against the wall.

District Meeting with Elders Rakotondrabeharison, West, Legerski, & Larson

What do you mean, safety net?

Br. Pres. Nkong with Nana Francois, Etienne, Richard, Aldrich


  1. Wow, we need to figure out a way to import those handbags into the U.S. It looks great, and could go for a lot more than $3 here.

    1. I agree. I intend to look into it. It could help many people.