Sunday, May 17, 2015

5/17 - New Investigator, Open House, Long Run, Restaurant

About 10 days ago I was walking down the street and a man asked me to buy him a cookie.  I stopped and explained to him that as a missionary I couldn’t, but what we share is much more important than money.  That started a discussion and we swapped phone numbers.  He found his way to the church, met the missionaries there, and started the lessons. Today he came to church services and I was so excited to see him.  I found out that he is an electrical technician and not a beggar as I originally thought.

The Douala Branch had an open house yesterday and let me be in charge, so I kept it to a simple tour, film, and refreshments.  From the time we opened our gates at 10 until the end at 1 there were people coming in.  Our missionaries, full-time and branch, kept finding people passing by and bringing them in.  The sign-in sheet had 36 visitor names and several came to church today.
Maryanne inviting a passerby to the open house

Therese at the sign-in table

Jean Marie Su explaining Sunday School to visitors

On my Monday run I encountered a different group of 24 guards, so I ran with them.  One said that they were going to Ndokoti, so I planned for a long run.  They didn’t tell me that they were taking the long way to get there and a longer way back.  It turned out to be over 20 km, which is almost a half-marathon, with nothing to drink.  They took over three hours, singing African cadences the whole way.  They always love having a white guy in the group.   And I love the protection from vehicles that a group provides.

We checked out the school again and found it much improved, although there were problems with 4 of the toilets.  I did some diagnostics and fixed them.  I think that I have more experience fixing toilets than any plumber in town.  They were not properly installed.   
Kindergarten kids love Sister Coleman.

Faucets in the school yard now work.
We added this pump & tank to get water to the toilets.
While we were working some kids used the other toilets but one girl chose instead to use the weeds.  Even the teachers often use the squatters out of convenience instead of taking the time to get the key to the sit-down toilets.  We’re planning a bit more training. 
I found a good sign to put up in the adult restroom at the school.  I just don’t want someone to break the toilet and get injured by shards of porcelain.

Our new supermarket, Super U, is even better than we thought.  It had a crock pot.  We have hunted all over town for one with no luck.  It also had amplified computer speakers for under $20.  The ones we have been using are starting to fail and everything I found elsewhere is very expensive.  A lot of the staff from another supermarket is now working there.  We asked the butcher about it and he said they have a common owner, so he works at both on different days.
The center aisle of Super U

I flipped through some children’s books in the book department of Super U and found a picture book full drawings of naked kids and topless women working in their tribal community.  Maybe that is common in some distant villages but we’ve never seen it.  People here tend to be very well-dressed.

An Elder got sick and had to take a couple of days off.  That is hard to do because they have so many investigators and really want to teach them.  Our Elders are very dedicated.

On Friday we took our employees, Davy, Fleur, and Purita, to a restaurant to celebrate Labor Day, since we were unable to do it on the real Labor Day 2 weeks ago.  We went to the restaurant Elsa-Services, owned by a branch member, Sister Ndedi.  When we arrived she already had 4 other customers so she asked our girls to take our orders.  Then she asked Fleur to cook the miondo and Purita to wash some dishes.  What is the point of going out to eat?  Anyway, I tried the mbongo with fish and macabo.  Mbongo is a tasty black sauce for the fish and macabo is like potato.  It was good but the fish had too many bones so I gave up halfway through.  I wanted to try the red macabo on the menu (written on the wall) but all they had was white.  Sister Coleman had chicken and rice.  Five meals and four sodas came to 9,500 Fcfa (about $19).
Eating Out with Davy, Fleur Ida, & Purita

But first Fleur had to fan the flames to cook the macabo

Purita was asked to wash some dishes

The "Menu du Jour" on the wall

Mbongo and fish
Also on Friday the branch leaders had financial training by Blaise Ngangou, the area auditor.  He explained budgeting, welfare, and stewardship and told lots of stories about bishops stealing money and thinking they wouldn't get caught.  It was well done.

We invited Noah to dinner today to celebrate his birthday.  He was amazed that we remembered.  Planners are rare here.  The Dimonds visited again, this time to sustain and set apart the branch executive secretary.
Some kind of demonstration.  We pulled over to let them pass.

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