Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Saturdays are baptism days. This was a happy day for the many baptisms that were performed at the Duala Chapel.

This is a wonderful sight -- baptism clothes hanging on the fence of the Bushrod Island District Center fence to dry after several 10 baptisms that day.
This is a happy day for Elder Taylor. It was his first time baptizing. He and his companion had 7 investigators baptized that day.
Here's Elder Taylor with his senior companion, Elder Raymond, using a common transport here in Liberia -- "bikes", which is what they call riding on motorcycles used as taxi's. Virtually all "bikes" in Liberia are taxi's. We were just driving by and saw them and Sister Kirkham took this picture as we went by. Notice the rubber boots Elder Taylor is wearing. Notice the mud on the boots. It's the rainy season. Elder Taylor is at least a foot taller than Elder Raymond.

The Krumms arrive!

We are excited to have Elder and Sister Krumm serving with us in Liberia as senior missionaries. They spent most of their lives in Bakersfield, CA, and recently lived in Oregon for a while. Also shown here are Pres. and Sister Roggia, Elder & Sister Kirkham.

Schools typically have an animal "mascot". We thought of our friends, the Moench's, when we saw this school.

All the schools in Liberia are private - meaning, there is no public school system. If the parents can't afford to send their children to school, then they get no education. All school children wear uniforms. This nursery, elementary, junior and senior high school chose sheep as their mascot.

Thank you, Heather, for emailing us pictures of your home made pizza!

Our daughter, Heather, recently emailed us pictures of some spectacular home made pizzas she made for her family. Inspired by that, Sister Kirkham decided to make us personal pizzas (shown here) using Lebanese flat bread as the crust. Of course, they were vegetarian pizzas. They turned out spectacular as well! Elder Kirkham EAGERLY looks forward to more personal pizzas!!

Francis and Elder Kirkham at Family Bakery

The best place to get a loaf of bread and Lebanese flat bread is Family Bakery on UN Drive just past the Logan Town elders' apartment. So, whenever I go anywhere near the bakery, I look for excuses to go there. Family Bakery bread is sold in all the grocery stores in Monrovia, but it's nice to get it fresh. And, they have wonderful donuts. Except these are serious donuts, not like the fluffy American donuts. These are not overly sweet but meaty, chewy donuts. One of the big adjustments, recently, when the one missionary zone in Liberia was split into two zones was for the Monrovia zone to realize that Family Bakery was now out of their zone...and hence, out of bounds for them.

This is how you clean carpets in Liberia.

Liberia ran out of "cooking gas" (propane) so all had to use charcoal cookers to cook their meals. Here's the process to get charcoal in Liberia.

Tanks of propane gas are used for stoves by those who can afford stoves and propane gas. This is what all the missionaries (including us) use to cook in their apartments. However, in August when Liberia ran out of propane gas (has to be shipped into the country), all the missionaries had to use charcoal for cooking. Here's the process to produce charcoal. First, limbs and trees are cut and stacked as you see here. This was next to a 2-bedroom apartment where we are looking to place missionaries. Elders Opuene, Njaga and Kirkham are in the picture. Notice the trench that has been dug that the limbs have been placed in. This charcoal is being prepared by a family. In commercial operations, they use 10-15 feet long trees, limbs, etc. in huge mounds, to make charcoal.
Then they cover the wood with palm leaves and then pack it with dirt as shown here. You can just see the head of man standing behind the mound. They leave air vents at the bottom and a hole at the top, put (pour) something to start the fire, light the fire and cover it quickly and let it burn four days. Then they uncover the charcoal and quickly spread it out and preferably use dirt to stop the charcoal from burning. Sometimes they sprinkle water on the charcoal, but that's tricky because it can make it hard to reignite the charcoal.
Then they bag the charcoal, put palm leaves at the top of the bag and transport truck, by taxi (as shown here) to wherever it will be sold.
We loved this picture which Judy took as we were driving by because it shows charcoal bags stacked on top of a truck, plus we loved the name of this local welding shop!
When you buy the charcoal, it comes in a bag in large chunks. Then most people spread the charcoal on a cloth on the ground and using "a sharp knife," cut the large chunks into smaller chunks as shown here, so it burns easier.
This is Eric Tukulo showing how to start the charcoal using "plastic" (plastic bags). Eric is a handyman we use a lot for odd jjobs and repairs in the missionaries' apartments. When he found out we had a charcoal cooker, he was very anxious to show us how to use it. The elders talked us into getting a "very good, sturdy" charcoal cooker. Cost us $18. Eric got the charcoal for us and had his wife cut it into small pieces for easier burning. He told us that the "very best" way to start charcoal was to get a sack of sawdust from the furniture "stores", pour gasoline over the sawdust and then pour the sawdust on the charcoal. He said it "easily" starts...Reminded me of starting fires as a boy scout....
It worked! Then you put your pot or frying pan on the charcoal and cook your meal. In America, we call cooking on charcoal a backyard BBQ. In Liberia, this is how most people cook their meals, using charcoal. Eric is putting out the hot coals in a pan of wet sand.

Boys fishing in a mud puddle by their homes.

First, there were two boys. Can you see the sticks and twine they are using for fishing poles?
Then there were three boys fishing. Notice the charcoal on the ground which is used for cooking.
Then there were four fishing. There seemed to be negotiations over who got the fishing poles.
Finally, there were five. Some found it much more fun to twirl the twine in the air than continue fishing!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We often get visitors coming into the mission office at the Sinkor chapel. This day, these sweet boys had a nice conversation with Sister Kirkham

On the way home from Kakata, Sister Kirkham yelled "pineapple". I slammed on the brakes. We went back to this food stand out in the countryside.

When I took out the camera, several of the kids decided to pose for the picture. You can see the pineapple hanging from the stand. It looks like it's on top of one of the kid's head.

Visit to Kakata

We went to Kakata to look for an apartment for elders. As soon as we got out of the truck at one location, several children wanted to talk with Sister Kirkham.
Pres. Harman, Kakata Branch President, and Elder Kirkham standing by a community well near where Pres. Harman lives. Pres. Harmon is such a wonderful person, truely Christ-like. For example, he sent this text to me concerning some apartments we checked out to see if they are suitable for missionaries we want to put in Kakata: "Morning Elder Krikahm. How are u people today? Hope u are fine. However, were U able to see some where better then d one on Bong mines Road? We pray for Heavenly Father to help us, because there are more of Heaven Father's children crying in d Wilderness in Kakata we are responsible to bring them to know him too. God bless u. It's pres. Harmon."

Sisters would NOT accept help to unload THEIR generator.

The sister missionaries have been getting very unreliable power from a neighbor who was supposed to supply them power from 7 pm to 5 am, daily. So, we got them their own generator. When we told them we needed to get help to unload it, they would not hear of that! "We are sisters of Zion!" they proclaimed. "We can unload it!" And, so, they did!
I, of course, tried my best to stay out of the way....

We see this frequently. It took him many tries to get the tire rolling and then he uses the sticks to keep it going.

We never see kids with store-bought toys - only home-made toys.

Sister Kirkham decided to feed the birds on our back fence.

This is the view outside our kitchen window. Sister Kirkham set some bread pieces on the broken glass bottles for the birds.
What a study of contrasts. Here's the birds enjoying a free meal perched on the barbed wire of our compound wall.