Monday, March 26, 2012

Getting diesel fuel

We have eight 22 liter containers for diesel fuel for the generator and try to fill up when we've emptied six. That way if diesel isn't available for a couple of days we can still keep the lights on.  After getting a new battery for the truck it was time to go get more diesel and fill up six empty containers. I called ahead to Vandi, our "gas" man and all around "find it for us" guy.  He said he would call back when he knew if it was available and where (one location is easier to get to than the other).  A few minutes later I got the call that diesel was available at the Safecon station at Shellmingo Circle.  I didn't get going for another half hour and regretted waiting when I got there as I ended up having to wait another hour and a half before my six little cans could be filled.  Another truck was already there filling up their containers.

A company from Kenema comes to Bo to fill up their containers with diesel.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Missing ... one truck battery

This morning we went out to exercise and when Sister Schlehuber leaned on the truck hood to do some light pushups she noticed that the hood was not completely closed. Lifting the hood we found that the battery had been stolen during the night. Even though the truck is parked inside the "compound" wall, someone had come over the wall and taken the battery. After checking with some friends in the area, one of them (actually, the first counselor in the Bo District presidency) came over and we took off for the middle of town to find a new battery. My favorite part is that virtually everyone in Bo gets their transportation by flagging down a "bike" and off you go as a passenger on a motorcycle. I haven't had so much fun since we got to Sierra Leone!

We hadn't been parking the truck in the garage for a number of days because one of the hinges on the garage doors had broken and needed welding. Today we got the hinge welded and are back to parking the truck in the garage.  Having the battery taken may not have been such a bad thing though.  Just several days ago we had to replace the battery because it was getting weak and wasn't always turning over the engine to start it. The replacement did not fit well ...  positive and negative posts on the wrong side badly straining the connecting cables and too short (had to use a couple of blocks of wood under it and on top to barely hold it in place).  I worried that since it didn't fit well, that it might break loose on our next trip to the Liberia border.  Looking on the positive side of things, I think the Lord may have had a hand in helping us to look for a correct battery.

On another positive note, the welder came this evening and welded the hinge so that the garage door could be easily and safely opened and closed.  The truck and its battery are now safe in the garage at night!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Our first trip to Liberia 23 Feb 2012

On 23 February 2012 we made our first drive to Liberia.  We understood that it is a 5-6 hr each way trip so we were to leave at 6:30am and be home by 6:30 pm... best of all be home by dark!  Markus was leading the way with one elder who had completed his mission and was going home to Liberia.  We had 3 sisters transferring to Liberia, and the back of the truck loaded with luggage, mail, and unit supplies for 2 branches.

Well, things didn't go quite as planned!  We didn't get away from Bo until 7:30am.  Markus needed diesel so we went into Kenema to fuel up.  We looked for fuel for 1 hour before finding some at this hand operated pump.

Markus on the right.

Diesel hand-pumped from left gallon glass to right, then into the hose stuck into the tank.

We are now 2 hours behind schedule.  We know we'll be driving back in the dark some but figure that 1 hour of that will be on the good road from Kenema to Bo... not too bad, but we'll hurry!

As we travel the road we realize the truck is not performing as it should.  Markus is okay but ours has no acceleration... we can't keep up with him even on the "good" stretches.  At about 2100 rpm regardless of gear it starts to hesitate.  The road is rough and the light is flat which makes seeing the potholes difficult.  It's the dry season so there is dust...

On the way back we crossed this bridge in the dark.  Before we started out we saw a large semi on the other side... we each blinked our lights at each other.  He turned his out so we assumed that meant we could go first, which we did.

Traffic jam on the road to Liberia.

The pothole diameter is the width of the road. Can you see it?

Markus waving us into the lead 'cause we can't keep up with him!

Big dips + short wheel base + speed = hmmm, yep, rough ride!

Town of Zimi.
         The town of Zimi is 27 miles from the Liberian border.  It takes about 2 hours to go those 27 miles.

This is the main road to Liberia so there are big trucks.

And taxis... with "stuff" on top, including people and goats.

Melima, Sierra Leone, border town.

We made it... Bo Waterside, Liberia.

4 missionary trucks to make the exchange. 2 from SL, 2 from Monrovia.

Elder Tims transferring to Kenema (then home on the next transfer in April).

Eagerly going thru the mail sack!

Elder and Sister Kikham, Elder Krumm in back, all in Monrovia.

Everyone transferred and ready to go!
We took about 30 minutes to quickly talk, transfer everyone and information, load up and head back.  We were 2 hours late at the border which meant the Monrovia couples had waited there 2 hours for us.  They were worried maybe we were motion sick with the road... not so.  The road is no worse than many backroads in southern Utah.  However, the speed is greater!

Elder Schlehuber drove all the way to Liberia.  Sister Schlehuber drove all the way back.  She drove as fast as she could to get as far as possible in the light.  But... we had issues at the border which delayed us some more.  The truck could hardly make it up some of the hills, although it seemed after hitting one particular bump that it did perform a little better!  We tried to get a run on the hills but that is difficult when the road is rough.  Marcus had us go in the lead since we were having vehicle problems.  Even so, it was like a horse heading home to the barn, and the closer we got to Kenema the faster we went.  Maybe that was an illusion since we were in the dark about 4 hours prior to reaching Kenema.  One advantage of the road in the dark is that the holes and gouges are visible because of the shadows.  The flat light in the day camouflaged the holes.

The only wild animals we saw were bats and very large insects jumping in front of the headlights.  But there are plenty of goats and dogs around the villages.  We even saw 2 cats cross the road in our headlights.

The next day we had the fuel pump replaced on the truck and it runs like a charm now!  Ha, ha, we also discovered that we have no tools in the truck, not even to change a tire.  But Markus was there and he always carries tools!  (We will get tools, don't worry!)

The next transfer is 10 April... another trip to Liberia???

P- day

Some recent P-day activities... Elders Bennion and Stott trying on hats with Elder Schlehuber, having a mock fight, and then going off to play football (soccer, I think).  This day Elder Bennion reported that he scored... the first time on his mission (23 months)!  After that they went to the Internet Cafe, and then went to work proselyting.  It was a good day!

Another p-day activity.

This is the fuse that is on the electric water pump circuit.  Notice the burned, melted plastic from overheated wires, but the fuse never blew!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Elder Holland visit 17-19 February 2012

Elder and Sister Holland, Elder and Sister Snow, Elder and Sister Dickson, Elder and Sister Curtis, and Elder Mensah visited the mission in Freetown 17-19 February.  Leadership and auxiliary training was held along with a conference on Sunday.  The conference was held at the largest conference center in town but it was overflowing!  The training was wonderful!  The missionary meeting was wonderful!  The entire few days were busy but full of wonderful instruction and conversation!

Elders Ellsworth and Stott on the way to Freetown for Elder Holland's visit.
                  And Elders Ellsworth and Stott on the way home from the 3 day Freetown event.

Dust and gas lines in Bo

One day in mid-February when the dust from the Sahara was blowing we needed to get diesel for the generator.  The truck uses diesel also.  Since about mid-February diesel has been scarce in Bo.  Some days there is no diesel anywhere in town.  Petrol (gasoline) seems to be in a little better supply, but the lines in the pictures below this day were for petrol.  We were able to get diesel this day.

Dust from the Sahara.

And more dust... fine red dust.

Gas lines at Shellmingo Junction.

Motorbikes (bike taxis) waiting for gas.

Some local food

Pink and yellow grapefruit.

Lots of seeds but REALLY good!

Fu-Fu with fish.

Pounded casava with chicken.

And Elder Stott (l) and Elder Ellsworth (r) show how to eat it!

Peanut Butter cookies

10 February 2012

I finally tried using the oven.  There's no oven thermometer so temperature is a best guess.  We found pre-heating works pretty well... just wait about 5 minutes, then stick your hand in and you can generally tell if it's about 350 or 400.  Actually doesn't seem to make much difference!  Jessica's Peanut Butter Cookies turned out great!

Mobile, all purpose oven light

No spatula but a potato masher works just as well!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Delivering a new elder

Yesterday afternoon Elder Otubu, a new elder on his way to Kenema, was brought by Markus Wallace (the mission dirver) to our "compound".  Elders Bennion and Stott ("our elders" ... the East Zone Leaders who stay in the apartment behind ours) immediately hailed bikes and took off to go to work with him.

This morning we took Elder Otubu to Kenema and concluded our "budget training" that we began with the Kenema elders a month ago.  They're doing great on their budget and even reported some improvements in their diet since they were recording what they were spending.

Elder Tims took a group picture of us. Left to right: Elder Schlehuber, Sister Schlehuber, Elder Dyngee, Elder Tims, Elder Coffie, Elder Otubu, Elder Purcell, Elder Tawiah.