The school project is finished except for the closing ceremony, hooray! We managed to get all of the classrooms and much of the rest of the place painted in 2 days. On the 2nd day, Saturday, there was a large group of kids there for a special class before testing. The class got out about noon so I invited the kids to help paint. About 20 of them stayed to help. I think they were about 10 years old. We didn’t have enough brushes and rollers and scrapers and wire brushes, so they were almost fighting for each tool. I gave them as many tasks as I could come up with and they worked so fast that I was amazed. Before they left, Sister Coleman and I taught them the song “Baby Shark.”
|Elders West & Tucker|
|Frère Martin mixing the color by hand, literally!|
|Elders Mwehu and Tucker cleaning the walls|
|Elder Sperry sanding a door|
|Elders Muamba, Mbuyi, and VanAusdal|
|If the only brush available is on a stick, this is how you paint.|
|Look Mom, I'm turning white!|
|The group of workers at this moment|
|"May I have some paint thinner?"|
|Kids always love Sister Coleman.|
|Missionary and Future Missionary photo|
During the painting I checked the toilets and found a broken flexible pipe spraying water. As I was buying a new one in a nearby store, a man named Felix saw my name tag and hailed me because he is Christian, too. I showed him our project at the school and gave him a brochure. He sought us out at the school again the second day, having studied the brochure and having filled in the questions at the back, wishing for a copy of the Book of Mormon. I called the Elders to set an appointment and gave him a BoM. Missionary work here is so easy.
The mission president and his wife came for a zone conference. Sister Coleman made a crock pot stew and we asked our helpers to make African food for lunch. They made fufu and eru, which took all morning. The clean-up then took them all afternoon. I found that fufu really is filling. I wasn’t hungry at all until the next morning.
|Elders Kabasele, Mbuyi, Mwehu, & Muamba clustered around Sis. Monga|
|Purita and Fleur help prepare lunch|
|Eru, Fufu, and Beef stew|
The mission president also trained branch leaders, mostly on Sabbath observance. That was really important. I think when I taught it they didn’t accept it because white people just don’t understand life here. But now they heard it from an African and will probably make some changes.
Wednesday was National Day, the biggest holiday of the year in Cameroon with a parade and fireworks. It celebrates the uniting of the English and French Cameroons in one country and is a great source of national pride.
It is true that I will never understand life here. When we first came here I wanted to live, eat, talk, shop, and think like an African. But I can’t really imagine what it would be like to live my whole life without knowing where tomorrow’s meal will come from and continually giving away all of my money to help extended family. And I’m sure that I will never believe that a fetish came to life and took the form of a large boa constrictor to threaten a family. A very intelligent, highly respected, well-traveled church leader told me that that really happened. I was astounded that he would believe such a thing. Sorcery is just a fact of life here, more common than indoor plumbing. Sorcerers wander the streets. People dig up corpses to remove the head and put it somewhere else so the spirit won’t bother them. Charms and amulets are used. Bad luck is blamed on envious people casting spells. It is all so far removed from my experience that I have given up trying to think like an African. But maybe, just maybe, it is all real, and I am just protected from such evil by the priesthood and my calling.
|Douala Branch President Mbengue & wife|
|I had to stop for this truck driving the wrong way. It's anarchy!|