Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On February 10 the Elders were leaving out the front gate. The bottom hinge broke out of the gate.  The elders told Andrew (the guard) they had to hurry on and to just tell Elder & Sister Schlehuber. We knew we needed a welder and general "fix it man". Vandi was called and he took me to a welder. We loaded the equipment and came back to inspect the job.

The welder's extension cord was just insulated cable with bare wires on both ends. He stuffed those into the socket in the alcove in front, tried a test weld, upped the current and then the socket (and several others in the house) stopped working.

No plug?  No problem!

We considered renting a large generator or a flatbed truck or trailer to carry the gate to his shop.  But the best solution was to stuff the extension cord wires into the socket for the master bedroom air conditioner. Since this air conditioner wasn't working properly, it didn't matter if we blew another fuse ... we just hoped we wouldn't melt any wires together in the house!

The finished weld of the hinge to the door.

Welding the hinge back onto the door

Success! The socket for the hinge was welded back on ... but was at a slight angle from where it should have been so the gate did not easily slide on to the hinge posts. But no real problem ... the welder just got a big hammer and beat on the hinge until it straightened out (a little). Some lubricating oil and more hammering and it moved more or less into place.

On February 13 we tackled the broken door locks to the front and back doors. Vandi had me park at his work (filling station on Fenton Road). We walked to where Sister Schlehuber and I had picked up padlocks a couple days go, and picked out some door locks with nice handles. We then drove to pick up an "expert" at fixing metal doors & locks ... a young man at a trade school and a younger side-kick at the welding shop (where we got the welder that fixed the main gates.)  His grinder quit working part way through fixing the front door. After much hammering & chiseling, and a pop-rivet tool that barely worked, he had the front door working. The back door (and door locks) took a literal beating but the job got done!  And the door doesn't stick any more!!

Extension cables spliced together
Connecting extension cords when you have no sockets or plugs

Grinding off the old door lock

Pop-riveting the new door lock in place

A new plate welded 

Holding lock in place while Pop-riveting

Extension cable for welding "plugged in"

After old door lock has been removed, before new lock put in

February 16th our guard noticed a bird flying out of our water tank. Maleki, one of the young men who Andrew lets in to water the plants, offered to climb in and clean out the tank.

Maleki getting inside the water tank

Emptying out the water tank

Friday, February 3, 2012

Some notes

We have put up lots of apartment pictures on the Our Apartment in Bo link above.  And we've posted the last 3 weeks worth of pictures on this page below this post.

Some quick notes -

When we went to Njaie Town branch Sunday, I opened the truck door to get out but before even one leg had hit the ground my glasses had completely fogged up... same thing happened to Elder Schlehuber.  And this is the dry season!

One disadvantage of not having hot water is that you either have to be stronger or more creative to get some bottles open.  A belt wrapped around the lid and 4 hands works pretty well.

I always keep with me, even in the house, my phone, keys, small knife, and flashlight.  I attach the phone to me so I'll have it, so I won't lose it, so it won't be stolen when I'm out.

Huge groups of school children, all ages, walk along the road between Bo and Kenema.  They all wear uniforms and more than half carry machetes.  We think it is like a school lunch program.  They use them to open coconuts.

We did some training with the full-time missionaries.  Every meeting starts and ends with a hymn and a prayer.  However, there is no music, no recordings, no keyboards, so the tradition is that the conductor sings the first line or so, then he/she says something like "On the count of 2 go..., 1, 2..." then everyone sings.  We had thought we were instructing but not running the meeting.  However, it turned out differently.  I chose the hymns on the spot, conducted, and yes, I even sang the first line of each hymn!  I am going to fix that!  I'm taking my mp3 player and speakers.  Then I can play the hymns and conduct only... it will set the tone so much better if I'm not singing a solo!  But the missionaries were very nice about it all, and the elders sing loudly, enthusiastically, and well.  The windows for every meeting are always open... I think the singing must carry a long ways!

Delivering a new generator (and elders) to Kenema

We needed to take a new replacement generator to the elders in Kenema (45 minutes away).  However, the elders were in Bo for interviews, so we piled 4 of the 6 into the back seat of the Ford Ranger.  They still thought it was better than a taxi ride with 9 or so people in crowded into a small small taxi.  ("small small" is Krio...see, we're learning the language!)

.4 in the back!
Elder Jenkins (Star Valley), Elder Tawiah (Qatar), Elder Purcell (Samoa), Elder Coffie (Nigeria).

Elder Purcell and Elder Coffie and Elder Schlehuber driving.


Bo to Kenema country side.

Hut by side of road Bo to Kenema (taken at 110 kph).


 Bo East Zone Leaders Elders Ellsworth and Stott had this beaded mat made for us by the District Young Women's 2nd Counselor, Sister Bahun, and presented to us on behalf of the entire East Bo Zone.

Some general pictures of Bo below.

Lewabu elders apartment.

View from Lewabu elders apartment.

View the other way from the Lewabu apartment.

New Lewabu chapel - no sign yet.

Bo market road to Njaie Town chapel.

Bo market road.

Such is Life truck (that's what it says on the hood).

Road to Njaie Town chapel.

Turn off to Njaie Town chapel.

Motorcycle swarms.

More bike swarms.

From Bo Branch chapel.

Just liked the goat in the parking area Bo Branch.

View from back of Bo Branch.

Freetown - 12 January to 19 January 2012

A few pictures from our week stay in Freetown at the Mission Home apartment.  Arrived in Freetown on 12 January, departed to Bo on 19 January.

View from our apartment in the Mission Home.

Downtown Freetown pictures

Road to the Mission Office.

On the way out of Freetown to Bo.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Food in Sierra Leone

While food variety is fairly limited, we can get some very good foods.  Delicious butter from Belgium, Holland, and Denmark.  Oats (both regular and Scottish) and UHT box milk from Germany.  I've used that milk with a yogurt start that I brought to make really good yogurt!  Frozen vegetables from Belgium.  Great gherkins from Turkey.  Canned and bottled goods from the U.K. Chicken from Brasil.  Chicken frankfurters and some other items from Lebanon.  Beans and flour from the U.S.  Pasta from Italy.  Rice is from the U.S. and Asian countries.  Laughing Cow (La Vache qui rit) cheese.  Bread, eggs, mangos, bananas, garlic, onions, potatoes are local.  We have papaya, coconut, plantains in the yard and we may get a pineapple before our 23 months is up.  They are pretty small right now.  Local beef and Groundnut Paste (peanut butter) are available in Freetown.  I made a Sierra Leonean version of stroganoff that was pretty good.  Only thing is, Freetown is 4 hours away.  Next trip there we will get a cooler and bring things back that are not available here in Bo.

The local market has lots of "things" available.  If you can't find it, just ask and someone will appear with it.  Then the bargaining starts.  We are quite good at walking away... we know what the prices should be for the few things that we need to get at the market.  If they don't come down, we don't need it!

There are 3 "mini-marts" in Bo that sell things fixed price.  Bo mini-mart and Albertsin's have a very limited selection, but Sabbagh's is the store where we do most of our shopping.  They are Lebanese (as many of the store owners seem to be), have the best variety of foods and other things.  They sell propane, mosquito nets, Islamic foods, all the foods listed above (except for the beef).  They even had Argentine apples the other day.  The most interesting thing on the shelf is an inflatable life raft... I'm not sure where you would use that, although there is a river between Bo and Kenema.  I'd hate to puncture it and sink in that water though!

So, cooking is a bit of a challenge.  I haven't yet had the courage to try the oven... there is no oven thermometer, it's all a guess!  And, cooking really heats up the kitchen so I think I will wait til the rainy season when it's a bit cooler.  We are eating well, more carbs than at home, but we work it off!!

The missionaries tell us there is a new restaurant run by an American couple for another faith's ministry here.  They say it is "real American food", mashed potatoes even... the Americano... they get real excited about it!  When we get a free moment we will have to try it.  Sab's, run by the Sabbagh store owner, is a restaurant that is also okay to eat at... haven't tried it yet.  We hear that they have chicken and rice and more traditional Lebanese food.

Been busy

We have been very busy, and it looks to just get busier!  That's good!  We have limited internet so I haven't been able to put up any pictures.  I hope to do that soon. 

We are enjoying the work, enjoying the local meetings, enjoying working with the missionaries, enjoying Bo.  Bo is a relatively quiet smaller area that is easy to get around.  There are 28 young missionaries in Bo & Kenema.  The Zone Leaders for the Bo Zone East live in the back in the same compound.  They are a great couple of missionaries, Elders Ellsworth and Stott. 

They have been so helpful to us, getting us oriented to the area.  Andrew, the daytime guard, is trying to teach me some Krio... he says he will only speak to me in Krio which makes it a little difficult!  He is Muslim, native language Krio, 2nd language English.  In this area and especially in Kenema (1 hr to the east) people also speak Mende.  Yesterday I learned how to say "bye-bye" in Mende... that will get me a long ways!

The Zone Leaders were showing me some of their pictures when Elder Stott wanted to show me one... they debated back and forth until I said "If it's not appropriate I don't want to see it."  They were quick to say it was appropriate.  Then Elder Ellsworth started over to show me and Elder Stott said  "Do you like cats?"  I said "Yes" and Elder Ellsworth did an about face and sat down again.  I could see they really wanted to show me, so I said "Oh, just show it to me."  Elder Ellsworth came back with the picture... a cat being roasted.  It was skinned but you could see that the head was a cat.  Elder Stott had taken 1 bite... Elder Ellsworth had declined.  We don't see many cats around.

There are huge rodents called "grass-cutters".  We haven't seen any yet, only pictures, but several people (including Elder Stott) have said that the meat is excellent, really sweet and tender, better than beef.  I'll take their word for it.

Last week Elders Ellsworth & Stott were in their kitchen having breakfast.  Their kitchen is separate from the living quarters... it's like an outside cooking area that has decorative bricks all around it... with a lot of holes in the bricks.  They had put screens in every single hole to keep the mosquitoes out and it was working well.  But that morning a lizard was on one of the screens.  They were peacefully watching the lizard when suddenly a huge bird swooped in, grabbed the lizard and flew off with the lizard still holding onto the screen.  They replaced the screen later that day.