Sunday, February 1, 2015

2/1/2015 - Couples Conference, Banking, Driving

We had to deposit a check in the Church bank account.  The bankers gave the impression that they didn’t want the money.  First they demanded to see the people who wrote the check, who are in Kinshasa.  Then they wanted a power of attorney, which we don’t have.  Then they wanted a very detailed deposit slip.  We filled out 3 before we got it right.  Then we had to go home and get our rubber stamp because, hey, the law requires a stamp.  The next day the bank called the Church district president in Yaoundé just to verify the details.  You can't be too careful.

Sister Coleman got her nails done again at Marianne’s boutique in Marché Centrale, so once again I wandered around among the booths.  And once again people stopped me wanting to know more about the Church so I had a good time teaching, passing out brochures, and answering questions.  I love this country.

The Mbenge family threw a nice going-away dinner party for Elder Colindres and invited all of the missionaries and some branch members.

On Tuesday we flew to Brazzaville for a Couples Conference with the other couples in the mission.  The conference was full of important information and interaction.  We and the Dimonds stayed at the beautiful home of Elder & Sister Bills and had a wonderful time.
The Bills, Moodys, Dimonds, Mongas, Baileys, Nelsons, & Us

I tried a Congolese specialty at a restaurant in Brazzaville.  It is called saka saka and is made of manioc leaves.  It was like a pile of chopped spinach but tasted better and was served with fish.

Our flights to and from Brazzaville stopped in Central African Republic, which is embroiled in a long civil war.  (We were surprised to discover our plane was going there.)  We saw a large refugee encampment next to the runway and people walking across the runway after we landed.  A fellow passenger explained that the UN took control of security at the airport so people come to live there for safety.  The camp looked like a cramped village with hundreds of small shacks made of wood scraps.  The Church has a branch in the country but no missionaries and President Monga has been told not to go there, so the branch is isolated.
Tight Security at the Bangui Airport in the Central African Republic

Central African Republic seen from the plane

We passed out transfer letters on Saturday.  ALL of our Elders got them, either moving or changing companions, except Elder Colindres, who is going home.  It is going to be a busy day Wednesday.
Bonaberi District opening transfer letters

Douala District opening transfer letters

Driving here is often like a game of chicken.  Whoever is the bravest has the right-of-way regardless of the left side of the road, stop sign, or red light.  If you are bigger, faster, or driving like a maniac people will yield to you.  On the way to the airport traffic came to a halt so several cars tried their luck in the left lane.  A big truck came straight toward them.  They all tried to squeeze back into the right lane but couldn’t, so all of the oncoming traffic had to stop.  After about 2 minutes the right lane started moving again freeing up room for the cars to get back in their proper lane so the oncoming truck could move again.  That happens all of the time but this time I got a photo.
This guy shouldn't have pulled out to pass.

Elder Kabasele asked us for funds to buy 2 buckets.  He has never used a washing machine and prefers to stick with the tried-and-true, African method of washing clothes: one bucket to wash and one to rinse.  (He transferred from Brazzaville where the missionaries don’t have washing machines.)  He got his buckets.

President Monga came to Douala and visited both branches on Sunday.  He did a lot of interviews and helped us with some problems.  He got to meet in the building that still has no electricity.  It is always great to have him here.  He knows the culture from the inside.  For example, according to tradition men can't dine with their wives.  But he feels that that is contrary to the gospel and the saints should change that taboo.
President Monga (center) with Elders Colindres & Kabasele

Yannick Njampou & fiancée (she's in pink) with friends
View of a downtown road (note the napping moto-man)

Sheet salesman

Beignet salesman

Man in traditional dress (not a nightgown)

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