Thursday, January 17, 2013

This is a tree we have enjoyed watching on our journey to and from Kenema for the past year.  During this time, the start of the dry season, it is covered with coral flowers.  Very pretty.  After taking this picture we realized it is very representative of the road between Bo and Kenema, nice paved road, hilly with dense vegetation, palms, rice fields, a small pineapple plot, a variety of houses made of stick and mud or block with metal roofs (tin coated with zinc), and a few wood houses.  Small huts like these are everywhere.  Along the road people spread their grain on the asphalt (in the foreground), wash their clothes and lay them out to dry on the asphalt.  The bags are casava leaves (to sell and eat), and the wood is harvested to burn for charcoal.

Farther down the road we saw a man climbing a coconut palm.  Some areas have many more palms than are in this scene.  There are schools, churches, and villages all along the way.

Our new high-speed internet office.  We have had very slow internet while in Bo... many times as slow as 5 to 10 kbps, but sometimes around 100 or a very few times up to 200.  Elder Schlehuber's computer needed to download some anti-virus updates and it was taking a loooonnng time.  We ran out of time because we had to go down the road to a new rented chapel to do some training.  So we left the computer on and took it with us.  When we got to the building, suddenly the internet was faster than we had ever seen it here... 700 to 800 kbp!

We have not been able to Skype much because of the very slow connection but in our new high-speed internet office, we can!  We were parked in front of the chapel compound, about 20 feet off the Bo-Kenema highway and about 15 feet up.  A lot of people walk along the road.  I'm sure they wondered what we were doing, standing there talking to a computer on the hood of the truck.  The smaller girl came by with a huge tub of something on her head.  After watching for a while, she went on, then suddenly she reappeared with her older sister so that she could see what was happening! 

When we first drove up, I walked around the side of the compound to check things out.  A little boy about 4 waved and called out "Pumwe, Pumwe" (white person).  Then he ran into a hut and brought out about 6 or 8 more little kids all waving and calling "Pumwe, Pumwe".  I think we provided local entertainment!  (These pictures were taken in the early evening.  It looks like night because of the flash.)

New high-speed internet office in Bo!

Bo has 1 garbage truck but it doesn't go as far east as our apartment is.  Not sure how it works anyway.  I think it gets trash from the market area and that's pretty much it.  Everyone just burns everything.  But in the rainy season it's too wet too burn.  We pay someone to come and brush the grass (whack it down with a machete).  Then, in a couple of weeks everything has grown back... and the June grass grows to 6 to 8 feet tall.

Now that we are into the dry season we can clean up and burn!  The farmers burn the fields to prepare for the rainy season.  There are unattended fires all along the roads.  I used to worry about fire in Arizona and Utah, but here... no wahala (no problem!)  There is always so much water in the air fire won't get out of control.  So we burned our back yard.  It wouldn't keep burning across so Elder Schlehuber had to carry fire using papaya fronds.  Sometimes we see people carrying fire in a metal dustpan from one house to another.

The rainy season has blue skies, but the dry season is mostly white skies due to the dust and the smoke.  The dust is from the east, the Sahara sands.

Contributing to the smoky skies.

Elder Schlehuber carrying fire to keep the burn going.

Generator building in the back, broken step ladder to the right.

The fire burning around the plantain and the mango.  It burns quickly and doesn't harm the plantain, mango and papaya trees.  Strong (overripe) papaya in the foreground.

The senior accountant at the bank in Bo where the missionaries do business invited the missionaries to a Christmas lunch prepared by her (a member) and 5 assistants.  It was a huge spread!  Wonderful food and Christmas music.  The missionaries were well fed that day!

Awaiting lunch... Elders Walker, McDonald, Jest, Flament, and the right half of Elder Weller

 Waiting with anticipation...  Elders Symons, Stewart, Burton, Nichol and Jones (right foreground)

More waiting... Elders Lokpo, Nwosu, Assumang, Coffie, and Rochester

Part of the spread... fish, kabobs, breads, soups, stews, vegetables, cakes, beans, rice, African dishes, cold soft drinks, juices, water

  The Christmas Cake

 Elder Opuene showing his first plate

Elders Turner, Opuene, and Ngerem

Elders Stewart and Burton, the Bo East Zone Leaders who live in the small apartment in the rear of our compound... after lunch!