This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Zambia - Mormon Helping Hands

Each LDS Ward or Branch or organization within them is encouraged to do service projects throughout the year.  Once a year there is an effort to do something a little more major and try to involve other civic or religious groups in helping too.

This year the missionaries participated in cleaning up and painting the Matero Police station.  Matero is a neighborhood of Lusaka where there is a local branch of the church.  They meet in a home that has been converted into a meeting house.  The church has property not far from where they meet and has just gotten approval to start building a chapel.

This is a nice feeling to be part of the community.
This photo is of the completion of the project when the authorities "accepted" the work.
Kristi and I got to attend a nice dinner that night where the District President was thanked for his effort.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Goodbye Sister Nakitende

We try to not get too close to the missionaries.  We are told that we are NOT to be their parents or grandparents.  Sometimes this is a difficult task as we are all engaged in the same work and see each other on Sundays and at different meetings or when they come in to the office or when their flats need attention.  So I guess we do see them quite a lot.

This was a special occasion as Sister Nakitende was heading home to Uganda after serving for eighteen months.  Kristi had just served another nice meal, the green salad was the biggest hit.  All five of these sisters were living in the same flat for a while until Sister Nakitende departed for home.  They are a lot of fun to be around and are powerful teachers when about their work.

From the left are:  Sisters Dlamini from South Africa, Fuamatu from California, Nakitende from Uganda, Kristi, Rametsi from South Africa, and Sister Natsala from Uganda.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lunch Bunch - Where is dessert?

Sometimes Kristi is back from Immigration or I'm back from some bank.  Sometimes we aren't finding or fixing some flat for missionaries or their isn't a vehicle to have serviced or dents removed.  Sometimes it gets sort of quiet in the mission home.  

Then Kristi wanders in to my office and lunch appears.  
She tries to keep me healthy with yogurt, fruit and maybe cheese and crackers.  She doesn't realize that I have dessert in drawer #2 and it is mints, lollypops, peanuts and perhaps some chocolate.  Most days drawer #2 is lunch and not dessert.

I set my camera up on the file cabinet to record this romantic moment.

Kristi doesn't eat much "dessert".  That is why she looks like she does, and I look like I do.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Finding Dorothy, ------------------------------The cute Zambian "bush baby"

Dorothy Daka was born a month ago back at her grandmother's home in Chongwe.
Dorothy is the daughter of Jackson Daka, the day guard at the mission home.  I told Jackson when he was ready to go get his wife Precious and his new born daughter, I could take him and bring them back.
Chongwe is only 45 km from the mission home so I thought it would just take a couple of hours.

It turns out they live in Chongwe "district" and we went another 30 km beyond the town.
Then it was time to turn off the tarmac and wind around for about 6 or 7 more km. passing many family compounds.

The roads became trails and finally Jackson had me drive across this maze field to his mother's home. 

As you can see Jackson was all dressed up with a blue shirt and tie.  The first to greet us was his sister-in-law and niece.  That is their home behind them.  The one on the left is sort of a community family-room.

Next his mother appeared and I got a photo of Jackson with his mother in front of her bedroom.

Mrs. Daka was very happy to see her son but there was no outward show of affection.

My truck seems out of place here in this clean swept yard.  On the left side of the photo below is the kitchen when it is dark or the weather bad, otherwise they cook out of doors.

Before we left I asked if I could take a photo of the kitchen.  You can see three bags.  One has maize, another ground nuts, and the third charcoal.  There are also a couple of other plastic bags and baskets, a mat and a tin wash tub.

On the other side are buckets and bags of mealie meal.

You can see the bench doesn't go all the way around.  There is a separate one for the oil and water and pots that still have food in them.  The fire is in the middle.  This is looking straight in from the door.  This seems pretty typical of what I have observed before.  The bedrooms have mats,  maybe a thin cushion and blankets.  Perhaps a suitcase open for clothes and sometimes 
2 or 3 pieces of clothing on a hanger and stuck on the wall.

Mom Daka was anxious to show me what a good year they had.  She uncovered the maize crib and insisted I take a look.  Notice the old one had collapsed and there it lay.

Inside was maize drying up off the ground where the chickens couldn't get at it.

Underneath she stored the pumpkins that had grown within the rows of corn.

Water must be carried up the hill to their place about one kilometer.  I am a little slow and asked where that water came from and what it was for.  It is a section of tire tread and the water is for the chickens.  It seemed strange it was just out in the middle of the yard instead of under a tree or on the shady side of the house.  That ax is the most common tool for working fields and around the yard.

Jackson put two small plastic bags in the back seat when I picked him up.  He got them out and gave them to his mother.  They contained cooking oil and sugar.  I also noticed that he gave her some money. These gifts were given when I wasn't supposed to be paying attention.

I kept wondering where Precious and Dorothy were.

Then Mom Daka hopped in the back seat and we were off to find Precious and that "bush baby".
On the way I had to stop as there were all these school kids walking up my trail/road.  They had pots of food they were carrying.  Jackson said they were on their way to a funeral house to help mourn.

Precious was at her mother's house and that house is a fifty minute walk down a gully and up the other side.  We needed to go back to the tarmac road and then head down another road if we were driving.
Along the way grandma saw a granddaughter and we stopped and she hopped in too.

Finally, we arrived at Precious' home by driving down even narrower paths.
I stopped just short of the clothesline and Jackson did not move.  Finally, I asked "Aren't you going to get out?"  He seemed a little embarrassed but he said he was waiting for his mother-in-law.  No one came, we waited, no one came.  
It wasn't like they didn't know a diesel truck was sitting outside.  After at least ten minutes Jackson went and sat at the back of the hut where he knew everyone was inside.  I didn't want to miss out so I went and sat by him in the sunshine leaning against the wall.

Then a lady came and sat near me and I took out my camera and sneaked a photo of her feet.

Then I realized she was never going to look at us so I took her photo while she was holding this little boy who was plenty interested in the mzungu.

I am thinking, "I really only signed up to make a quick trip and bring this new daughter home,  I have plenty to do back at the office."   So I took a photo of the chickens.

The next thing I know, the mother-in-law is kneeling in front of me and presents me with a chicken.
Now I know chickens don't come cheap, and there aren't a lot of them around so I am very honored and try to accept as gracefully as I can.  When she left, I asked Jackson to take my photo.

Next Precious finally appeared with little Dorothy, the "bush baby" as I call her.
You could tell they were very happy to see each other but there was no real outward display of emotion 

Then the photo taking took place in earnest.
That is Jonathan, Precious' brother, Jackson, Precious' mother with Dorothy, Jackson's niece, some boys, Jackson's mother and the neighbor.

Zambian babies will never get cold.

I noticed while we were sitting at the back of the house that people were putting many things in the back of the truck.  This is what it looked like as we were preparing to leave.  Two bags of charcoal, a bag of mealie meal (too heavy for me to lift), a bag of ground nuts, various buckets and pots, a pumpkin, a suitcase and my chicken trying to hide.  (The chicken got moved to the back seat for the ride.)

Jackson wanted their photo taken by the truck with his mother and mother-in-law.

Then the mothers wanted their photo taken with me!  I was feeling younger by the minute.

Of course Dorothy got uncovered just a little so I could take her photo.

As we pulled out I noticed this young girl making peanut butter and then putting it into a jar.
That is a little different than what my kids had to do after school for a snack.

Precious' father was nowhere around, but on the way out she saw him down the road and we stopped and he said good-bye.

Finally, the little family was home with all their presents, and Dorothy.  The new little attraction will keep them busy and perhaps give them a few sleepless nights ahead.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lilongwe, Malawi (and drive back to Lusaka)

Malawi seems a little greener than Zambia.  Most of Zambia's weather comes from the Indian Ocean and skirts across Malawi, leaving some of its moisture before it gets to us in Zambia.

 There are more bricks of the red variety in Malawi than grey concrete cinder blocks.

Everything else seemed real familiar.

Not much different in day to day life.

Cabbages are in season.

And they are easy to carry home.

Having a pre-made latrine floor was a new item for me.  It even has slightly raised foot prints.

Malawi is below Zambia on all the per person income charts.
Here are people waiting outside a new football stadium hoping that they can pick up some piece work.

But once outside the big cities, life is pretty basic.

I wonder what will change in the next twenty years for this little girl far from the city.

Will every home have running water that is clean?

Will you be able to buy more than one cabbage on a shopping trip?

Will begging still be the best way to earn a living?
It appears this lady's hands were burned many years ago and she receives cash from a combie patron.

The sidewalk scones are good but I would like a little sugar sprinkled on them.

Lilongwe seems to have better city planning for the government buildings, but they are probably newer than Zambia.  This is Malawi's Parliament Building.

Suits are readily available.

It seemed I saw more Muslims and a couple of nice mosques.

I mentioned more bricks before.  Below are bricks of the homemade variety.

Gourds are plentiful at this time of year.

Malawi has these little 3-wheeled taxis to keep the economy moving.

If you don't keep moving you might get a custom made coffin.
One size does not fit all.

Kristi was leaning towards purple and it looked a little roomier.

This is always an interesting sight.

The chickens never look too disturbed.  I think they told them it was a field trip.

These types of signs are always disturbing.

Well, it is time to head west to Lusaka and a chance to throw in more of my random travel photos.

The road is pleasant.  Much better than all the stories we had heard for over a year.

Baobab trees will always intrigue me.

Back across the Luangwa River...

where the men have told their wives they have gone to get dinner.

We stopped again at the basket market and stretched our legs.

I chatted with some goats that are also on a field trip.

The piles of maize continued to grow.  They are waiting for the "middle man" to take them to the big market (or perhaps a field trip?)

There is always plenty to see along the road.

Many thing also cross the road at random times.  Cows, goats, pigs, chickens, dogs and people cross whenever they feel like it.  We tend to see more dead dogs, so they must be at the bottom of the stupid chain.  Goats tend to notice the traffic and stay out of the way.

We pass a lot of villages.

Everyone has at least one of everything - goats, pigs, chickens and kids.

Every once in a while the baboons scamper out of the way and up a tree.

Tom Humpherys just motored along and the rhythm of the road took over and all the critters stayed out of our path  -  that is until a big pig like the one below thought the rhythm of the road was 2/2 time and it was really  6/8.  The pig's drummer missed a beat and he hesitated then went forward and then made a fatal musical error by trying to correct his path rather than just move on.  He went right under my seat and it was sort of like rolling over a very large log with one tire.

We left the pig, but the squeal stayed with us for quite a while.

We pulled over up the road a ways to check the damage.  Part of the bumper was missing and the cowling between the engine compartment and wheel well was hanging.  I asked a man by a grass- topped home to borrow a knife and he came with one and cut the rest of the rubber off so it wouldn't scrape all the way home.  Everyone told us we did the right thing by driving on.  They assured us that there would be pork for dinner that night even though they weren't expecting it.

Whenever, or wherever you stop in the country, you can count on kids running to check out the Muzungus.

Sometimes we have cookies or candies to share with them.

Ten hours from Lilongwe and we are back in Lusaka, happy to have a clearer picture of what the missionaries are talking about.