Every once in a while even a confirmed slob will clean up.
I suppose this is one of those times. I am just throwing random photos that are on my computer desktop in the blog and getting rid of them with a little bit of commentary.
First of all I have had this photo of a street vendor selling sunglasses because one of my sons collects sunglasses in a serious way and perhaps this photo would entice him to Zambia to find something unique. If they don't have it, they will find it for you.
I have debated if it was a good thing to show a mission vehicle stuck in the mud. Probably not since I am supposed to be the mission vehicle guru. Then again I really believe that there should be more 4x4 trucks for just such occasions. Or at least one for the vehicle coordinator.
This happened on the way back from the Blue Lagoon National Park. We were on the axle and at least 50 kilometers to the next anything. The two wheel drive truck doesn't even have posi-traction.
We started filling the hole with branches and rocks but miracle of miracles, the only other car in the huge park was heading out right behind us. When they saw us stopped they just drove out around us in the trees and I had to run after them to stop and help us out. It only took a minute but it would have been an hour or two for us to do it alone.
I would have called it the highlight of the day after seeing all the birds and animals but the real highlight that day was driving out into the dry lagoon that was full of six foot high grass, no roads or paths and heading out at a high rate of speed looking for water buffalo. It was an endless prairie in the isolated middle of Africa. In January it will be under six feet of water.
Below is a street near the mission home that had Jacaranda trees in bloom. I saved it as I wanted to paint it.
This chart below is posted in the water company office.
If you look closely the goals are amazing.
By 2015 they hope to have 80% of the homes hooked up to water.
The supply would be there on an average of 19 hours a day, at a public water supply 12 hours a day.
Their goal is to have that water, when it arrives, 95% bacteria free.
Those are great goals for the future, but what if you get water less than half the time and your water is of the 5% variety full of bacteria?
I'll never turn on a tap of water in California and think about it the same way again.
This lion is in front of the Zambian Supreme Court. It is in front of the Immigration building where Kristi got "cramped" and had angels flying over her head. It is decorated for Independence day.
Lady Justice was also decorated. She is not blindfolded here in Zambia but she does have her eyes closed. After seeing some of the newspaper headlines I wonder if she peeks at times.
Zambian Independence Day is October 24th. The locals say it always rains that day and they look at it as a blessing and sign from heaven that their nation is blessed.
It rained the 24th, the activities went on as planned.
It rained hard for ten minutes at a time but we were surprised how quickly the ditches filled and the dirt dried. The locals tell us the "real" rain will start around Christmas.
Below is a farewell dinner for two couples who were heading home. Bruce and Vonda Louthan on the right are returning to Moab, Utah. In the middle are Lincoln and Mary Harvey returning to Vancouver, British Columbia. We will miss them both.
This is a lousy photo but each day I drive by I think I should paint that lady and her fruit stand.
Below was the only photo I took early one morning after Kristi woke me up.
I have taken Kristi to the hospital exactly five times before now. Each time we came back with a new baby. Fortunately that was not the case this sixth time. No baby. Kristi did receive some shots and three types of pills for whatever caused her abdominal pain that soon went away.
It is sort of a shotgun approach to medicine here.
This was at the "BEST" hospital and newest in Lusaka. I woke up the guard to get in. I woke up the receptionist to say hello. I woke up the duty nurse to get directions. We woke up the doctor to get examined. I woke up the pharmacist to purchase the medication. There were two men in the lab chatting so I didn't need to wake them up. The doctor was asleep again for the final consultation. However, this little guy below was not even sleepy and he had the run of the whole place.
I paid less than $45 USD for all that fun and medication in the middle of the night. Quite a bargain!
I had this photo on my desktop just because this couple looked so modern Zambian.
A nice looking family.
Here is another dinner for the Louthans after the Harveys left. In the middle are the Humpherys from Hyde Park, Utah. They have replaced the Louthans as Public Affairs specialists. The couple on the right are their neighbors, the Lyles, the Humanitarian specialists.
We had District Conference last weekend. The count was over 700 in attendance. Elder Ayubu thought I needed his hat more than he did as it started to rain afterwards. I was happy to have a hat that style as it is the type of "andy cap" I usually wore at home.
So why am I cleaning up?
To be honest, I need a change. We have been at this office thing for six months and I have never, never, never worked in an office before. In fact for the last fifteen years I have been sort of carefree and when I reviewed Kristi's calendars we have been away from our home a total of four months out of every year on trips or overnight or visiting our children. I am not used to being so consistent or doing the bidding of other people. I asked for "hard things" and I think I got them.
So maybe I am "woosing" out. One day I knew I had reached my limit and wrote on the President's calendar, "Skidmores Away". I didn't have a plan or destination but I knew I was going to be gone for a few days or really be GONE. I do have a tiny, tiny twinge of guilt but tomorrow I have booked a get-a-way at Chongwe River Camp next to the Lower Zambezi National Park for three nights.
I was most excited about the driving directions they sent to get there. They included photos and "obstacles" labeled. It also said a 4x4 was essential so I arranged to borrow one. Three days ago they emailed to let us know the pontoon bridge was out of a river for repairs so now we will meet a boat for a two hour boat ride down the Zambezi to the camp. This camp is opposite the famous Mana Hippo Pools on the Zimbabwe side of the river. I am ready for quiet, outdoors, and being pampered.
I know the mission can survive without us. I just don't want to tell the missionaries where I've been.
Would characterizing this as a "medical emergency" be too misleading?