Sunday, April 12, 2015

4/12/2015 - School Project, Moving a Member, Activity Increasing

Good things are happening here and it seems like they are coming faster now.  The Douala Branch has the internet and electricity (legally), leadership problems are being resolved, activity is picking up, and members are helping each other.  If you want to serve a mission where you will really feel needed, loved and appreciated, come to Africa.

We started our humanitarian project!  On Monday we met with the school PTA president, one of the directors, the branch presidents, and assorted parents and church members.  On Tuesday we bought tons of cement, gravel, sand, and other supplies to repair the classroom floors.  We hired professionals to dig the 7 meter deep septic tank.  On Wednesday work began in earnest and about 50 people came to help, mostly from the families of students.  They worked until midnight and got 2 classroom floors and a large part of the septic tank done the first day.  By Friday most of the concrete work was done.  Romeo Dim is directing the effort and it is going great.
Digging a Deep Septic Tank

Elders Kabasele & West working on concrete

Classroom floor finished and desks back in place
Some of the volunteers from the neighborhood

We helped Gregoire Ele’s family of four move from a small 5-room home to a 1-room home.  It took five loads in our covered pickup to move all of their stuff.  It makes you realize how little is really needed.  They are a happy family and don’t need much.  They cook with a dutch oven on a tiny wood stove on their front porch.  Their bathroom is the brush next door.  I asked how they would move if we weren’t there with a pickup.  They would rent handcarts.
Moving the family of Gregoire Ele (facing)

Gregoire Ele's kids, Messie & Yweh

Their new one-room home

All of the neighborhood kids wanted to help
 One of the neighborhood kids about 8 years old asked if he could ride in the truck.  When I saw the bigger kids pushing him to the back of the group trying to get in, I announced that there is room for everyone in the back seat.  Then I made sure that nobody got left out.  There were 8 in the back seat and one on the tailgate for the slow 1.5 km ride.
8 kids in the back seat

Several less active families & members are coming back to church in the Douala Branch including the families Dim (Romeo), Yamen (Hippolyte), and Samgwa’a (Samuel).  Joseph was there with Rosine preparing to get sealed in the temple and even Bema Anne showed up.  Attendance was 140 which is higher than usual.  We’re excited.

Piano lessons are getting crowded in the Douala Branch.  The brighter building, the new location, the new leader, we don’t know exactly why but we love it.
Piano Lessons in Douala (part of the group)

Sister Coleman gets a hug from star student Samuel

Movie night was well attended in Bonaberi.  We counted at least 48, our best attendance so far, with several investigators.
Elders Mandefu & Sperry and Wilfred

Tuesday night the city hall in Douala caught fire due to an electrical problem.  A large portion was gutted and the building shut down.  People are bemoaning the loss of all of those government records.
City Hall before the fire

City Hall after the fire

Wendesday we were informed that the Church could not build a meetinghouse unless we turned in two overdue reports that day.  We frantically worked with the Douala Branch leaders to gather the information and cobbled both reports together just in time.  We are hoping to get construction going on that soon.

This week was crazy busy but full of blessings.
Worker carrying 100kg (220 lbs) of cement on his head

Transporting a ladder & compressor

Africans are very patient and perceive time differently than westerners and that is reflected in their French expressions.  Here are some common examples:
J’arrive (I am arriving): I will arrive eventually but might have some things to do first.
Je suis à cote (I am next to you): I am within a mile or two.
Je suis la (I am there): I will be there soon, maybe in 10 minutes.
On a commencé (We have started): We will start soon, probably before you get here.
Ça commence a quatorze heures (It starts at 2 pm):  It starts about 4 pm.
Ça commence a quatorze heures précis (It starts at precisely 2 pm):  It starts about 2:30 or 3.
Soyez à l’heure (Be on time):  [This is a nonsense phrase.]

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