Sunday, June 29, 2014

Shrine on, Shrine on Harvest Moon...

Yesterday we went for an adventure close to home.  In a blog post a couple of weeks ago we talked about Martyr's Day, where they walk as far away as Kenya and the DR Congo to come to where some Christian Missionaries were killed by the Bugandan King. As we were heading down for the gorilla trip we saw a few of these pilgrims coming along the highway.  They have over three million people last year but this year the guide said they estimated it to be close to five million.

This is the memorial chapel.  The beams and cross members all all symbolic of the number of those who were killed.  It is surrounded by different shrines to remember the fallen.  The Catholic martyrs have all been anointed sainthood because of all the miracles that followed their deaths.

Here is the mural that showed different depictions of how they died.  The man in the bottom right was speared to death because the King did not like him saying the Lord's Prayer because the only kingdom was his kingdom.

Here is the scene where they were all burned to death.  They were bound by bamboo sheets rolled up and then placed on the logs.  The wood was watered down so it would burn slowly causing that much more pain resulting in a longer death. 

On the way to Namuconco (the designated execution grounds about 20km from the palace) they would stop at every crossroad and give the people a chance to recant Christianity but none of them did and so one would die to show they meant business before moving on.


 The Chapel is surrounded by stained glass with a picure of each of the marters.

Another one

This young Christian had a Uncle that sent him away several times trying to give him a chance to live.  He kept coming back so to stop him from feeling the pain of the fire his Uncle had him clubed to death before they put his body in the fire.

There was a wedding at the Shrine so we got some great pictures of the bride and groom while on our tour.

Very cute flower girls


Love the traditional dresses.  The hoot and holler when the bride and groom come out of the chapel.


Typical wedding party vehicles fixed up for when they leave.  We saw one where the camera man was in a car ahead of them with the roof open filming the vehicle driving on the highway.

Now, on to more exciting news.  Sister Squire is becoming an expert on boils.  We had an Elder that she lanced a boil on his elbow and he ended up going to the hospital and having it done.  I may have misled you a bit, it wasn't her fault :).  It had become infected and so it needed to be lanced and packed every day for over a week.

This one is under the arm and very painful.  She had him warm it up and when she popped this bad boy she had stuff all the way up her arm.  Loved it!

Mostly blood coming out.

It appears they are both having a good time.  Notice the lovely operating room.

Here is one of the girls at church.  I love all the different ways they fix the little girls hair.  They are so dang cute!  Looks like the old Raggedy Ann dolls hair.  The smiley face was handed out at Primary.

Side view

Here is another little one with cure hair.

We had Mission Leadership Council (MLC) this week.  They have them come in from all over the mission and for dinner this time they took them to the Protea Hotel for their Friday Night Buffet.  I don't think we will be invited back because of the amount of food they ate, but several folks commented on how well behaved our group was.


There wasn't a lot to clean up on the buffet line when these boys were done.


Random photo of the day.  They have to post their land and vacant buildings because some unscrupulous folks will sell land they do not own.  I guess it is easier to post the property rather than deal with explaining to someone why they have to move off the land they just paid for.

Double random bonus, here is the fallopian tube structure at the top of our street.  Not sure what happend but Uganda will never be the same.


Ramdom trifecta!  It was President Chatfield's birthday this month so Sister Squire and I had a authentic portrate done for him.  He is a man of many talents and not all of them are spiritual.  He was a rodeo cowboy in his youth and still has horses and loves a good ride on a bucking bronco.  We just knew this would be one of his goals while in Africa.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


The trips to The Surgery (our local hospital name) have been less frequent this week.  We have had to go every day at 9AM to get an Elder with a boil on his elbow drained.  Today (Saturday) they filled the hole with honey and he should be good until Monday when he will be seen again.  Elder Voracek, who we helped last week with the hole in his hurt leg sent Sister Squire a very nice thank-you note along with a picture.  Here is the bottom picture part of the note...

Sister Squire helped him go to his "Happy Place" while the Dr proceeded to dig around the inside of his wound an inch or two to get all the dirt and grass out.  The doctor told him it is good that it hurts because only living tissue gives pain.  As part of the last treatment we had our first experience with using honey as an antibiotic healer.  It didn't seem to hurt him any and I came to like licking his leg whenever I needed a bit of a sugar fix.  The funny writing is the language they use in Ethiopia (Amharic: አማርኛ) where he served for a year.

Do you, like me, wonder if you have done any good in raising your kids?  I know that Nancy is the reason they turned out so nice but what about me, have I done any good?  Well, just when the self-doubts started to trouble my soul I get this amazing fathers day card that just screams - YOU DID GOOD MISTER!  Isn't it sweet that this reminded her of me?

In our branch in Laguzi we have had a baptism each week for the last two weeks.  I love being in Africa and watching the conversion of these good people to the restored gospel.  Last week we had a young woman baptized and this week a 73 year old man who accepted baptism.  The Elders had been working with Christopher for many months but he had to quit drinking so it took some time but he was ready and so today we baptized him.  Can you imagine his joy when this life is over and he is already through the gate and on the path back to his Father in Heaven.  Here is a picture of him and the Elders who worked with him.  Elder Vis baptized him.

Our sweet font - we had water today

We had two elders that had birthdays this week.  Sister Squire love to spoil the boys (and sisters) so she is always baking treats.  She made two of these pans of sugar cookies that were gone in no time.  Here is Elder Edman whose birthday really isn't until Thursday but he is one of our Lugzai Elders so we celebrated today.  He is from Texas so we had some good old Texas BBQ for lunch.  It is a hog that Elder Holyoak had butchered and then he cut is up a half for us.  It was so quiet during lunch you could have heard a pin drop.  Elder Holyoak is home in Gunnison now so no more pork from him :(

It was really good!

Happy birthday Elder Edman!

Last week we told about the two elders we were caring for.  It is fun spending time with these elders because we get to know them better.  A couple of cool stories.  Elder Voracek told of having a dream the night before he opened his calling.  He was playing soccer in his suit with a bunch of African children.  He is from Texas but was going to school at BYU Idaho so his roommate asked where, if he could go anywhere in the world, he would want to go.  He said he would like to go to the Uganda Kampala Mission because that is the only mission he knew the name of in Africa.  An interesting note is he knew that because Elder Edman is from his Stake and had just received his call to this mission.  Anyway, he opens his call and it is to the Uganda Kampala Mission and his roommate about falls off his chair.

Elder Salakielu had a dream two weeks before his mission call came and in his dream he was sitting with his family opening his call and it was to the Uganda Kampala Mission.  When his mission letter came, he was sitting with his family (Deja vu) and opened the mission call and it was to the Uganda Kampala Mission.  How cool are those stories?  Me, I had heartburn and a little gas before my mission call was opened but that was about it.

Our APs have had some cool stories as well but I will let you read Elder Gacula story about temple work that was published on the African site:  -He is from South Africa and when you say his name you click with your tongue on the c, Ga(click)la.

I guess you will have to cut and paste the link because it didn't happen automatically.

Our Lugazi family while we are away from our kids.

We hope all is well with everyone at home.  Here is the random photo of my happy place...BBQ night at Proteia Hotel every Wednesday - ribs, sausage (under the tomato sauce), chicken, potatoes and beef kabobs.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


We had the coolest experience this past week.  Besides taking two missionaries under our wing because one had a "P"day injury and the other came from Ethopia with an unknown diagnoses that needed some further evaluation.  We spent a lot of time running between two different hospitals for care.  The preparation day elder had hurt his leg playing steal the flag on a rainy day.  They were playing at the Kololo Stake Center doing a game of steal the flag on the wet and muddy grass.  He was trying to slide to release one of the other elders and slid into a stationary bench.  It crushed his leg and opened a large wound that had to be cleaned out.  When we got to the doctor they had to scrub an inch and a half in all directions under the skin to get all the dirt out.  We had to return every morning so they could irrigate the wound so it would not become infected.  Fun times for him and the last time we went in they put honey on the packing in the wound.  Sister Squire inquired what they were putting on his open wound and was a bit shocked to find this new open wound cure. Witch doctors?  Well, what do you know, after getting online she found there was some information on using medical grade honey in open wounds as it pulls out the dirt and provides some antibiotic effects.  He will back to work on Monday after taking a week off to heal.

Our other Elder had to come from Ethopia because they were certain he had a kidney stone at the hospital where he was being checked.  But, no blood in urine.  One other problem was the pain was not where his kidney was located.  Anyway, hospital care in Africa is different than in the USA so be glad for what you have Americans!  Still working to find out what is causing him the pain but our South African Medical Authority is working with us to diagnose.

Ok, back to our cool experience we had this week.  One of the Elders asked if we could come to a fireside with them on Saturday.  We agreed and asked what we needed to do.  Nothing came the reply, just show up.  We picked them up after we took another elder who had a boil that Sister Squire tried to lance but it would not drain.  We took him to our clinic and his boil area had cellulitis (infection of the cells) and they would not drain it until they took care of the infection.  He got an antibiotic and they had a baptism interview at the same place we were having the fireside.  When we picked up the elders and arrived at the home of the sister that was hosting the fireside for her neighbors, he was complaining about sore joints and muscles.  Looking at the material with the medication we found he is one in 10,000 who would have they type of reaction.  Anyway, we changed his medication and hopefully that will get him healthy.

I know, can I even tell a story without interrupting it with some more medical stuff?  Doesn't seem like it, does it.  So, we arrived at the fireside place and you would love this little community.  You drive on dirt roads to get to these homes that are gathered together in little communities.  This good sister (Mum MaFabi) has invited all her neighbors to hear this fireside.  After two hours of waiting for everyone to arrive we started. There were about 60 people, most of them were not members.  As they were announcing the program it was stated that the lesson would be given by Elder and Sister Squire.  How cool, I could be home being all comfortable or outside participating in a fireside in Africa trying to come up with a lesson that would start in a couple of minutes.  Unlike all the great stories that our prophets and others have told of being told what they would say - me nothing - I would have to rely on the scriptures.

I can't tell you how fun it is to share the gospel with people who need to have the joy and happiness of knowing were we came from, why we are here, and where we are going when we die.  I used the story in Alma 36 to show how happy we can be when we accept the Lord and repent of our sins.  How "exquisite and sweet" can be our joy.  The Lord does want us to be happy.

Sister Squire also talked about families and how leaving our family to come to Africa was one of the hardest things we have done but we want so badly to share what we know to be true and brings us such great peace and happiness.  Everyone should have the same opportunity for joy - that it is all worth it.

After the fireside they had a talent show where anyone could come and share their talent.  Can you imagine how it is to have the lack of a talent shoved in your face all the time!  I am lucky that Sister Squire was there to teach the kids sign language to I am a Child of God.  I really have to learn a magic trick or two...  It was great as they would share stories that had a moral to them or other wacky talents.  It is

The porch was the pulput, there were more than 60 and almost all in attendance were not members of our faith

They put bags on the ground for the kids to sit on.

Elder Agesa fanning the charcol for the after fireside snack, fire baked maize

One of the neighbors helping to get the grills ready

Lining up to get their maze to cook

This young man is the mission leader in his branch.  He is planning to go on a mission soon.

Sister Squire blowing on the coals to get this party started

Happy kids - we couldn't stay and enjoy the corn.

More of the neighbors that came to the fireside.  The elders reported that two of the people showed up at church today.

We had a baptism after church today and that is always fun.  I got a call on Saturday night and asked if we could bring our Jerry cans because Lugazi had no water.  We took our Jerry cans of water and met the missionaries with their six 5 gallon cans of water and added them to the fount.  We tried the water again and a miracle, it was on again.  We were only around 18 inches in the fount.  Just before our Sacrament Meeting I checked the water and it was off again.  The elders knew someone and said they would pay on Monday if they could bring another 20 5 gallon Jerry cans of water.  After our meetings we had enough for the young woman to be baptized.  We enjoy our little branch.

Random photo - look how close you can get to the wildlife here in Africa

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Why Would Anyone Ever Want to Come to Africa?

I mean besides some of sweetest people on earth, beautiful country, great fruit, tropical weather, big animals and of course GORILLAS,  why would you not come to Africa?  I have to warn you, this will be a travel blog so just skip to the pictures if you are easily bored.  What, did someone say pictures...oh sorry, I got distracted.  Elder and Sister Wallace are the office couple in our mission.  They had a long weekend in April, because of some Uganda Holidays, and went to the gorilla park in the Southern point of Uganda.  They loved it and so they went to all the work of setting up an opportunity for all the senior couples in Kampala along with President and Sister Chatfield to go back down and do the same type of trip.  They went further South and had to hike for 5 hours to get to where the gorillas were.  We went to the northern part of the park where there were some shorter hikes. The park is the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.  It is on the border with Rwanda and DR Congo and with some of the gorilla families will cross back and forth across the borders and if they do, you can't follow them into Rwanda or the DR Congo.  Our gorilla families were safely in Uganda. We had to go in May because the rates are half in the rainy season (April, May and November). 

The drive is about 250 miles and it took us 12 hours one way to do the trip.  It was good road for most of the way but the last 100 miles was under construction or just plain dirt roads.  It was a bone jarring experience but the scenery was fantastic.  Mountains covered in tropical foliage or cultivated with bananas, coffee beans, tea plants or other fruit and vegetables.  Our trip started out with a bang as the van with 5 senior couples started up our steep hill and could not make it up.  They tried to vote me off the island (because of my overactive thyroid that causes weight gain ;)) but we finally negotiated to ride with President Chatfield who was planning to only drive part way then go in the van with us.  With Sister Squire always a possibility to fill a blue vomit bag if she gets car sick, it was a great alternative and so we took two vehicles.  I tried to sing "100 bottles of beer on the wall" with President Chatfield to pass the time but he wasn't at all impressed so I had to quit. 

We finally pulled into the Engagi Resort Lodge at 8 PM where we had a wonderful four course meal and off to a great night's sleep.  We were up at 6:00AM for breakfast so we could be on time for the gorilla briefing by 9:00AM.

The very nice bungalow we had to sleep in.  It would have been nice just to spend a day here.  This is a wonderful place with good food and lodging.

Another bungalow, lush forest all around.

The Park ranger giving us the briefing.  You are not allowed to touch or get within 7 meters of the gorillas because of the risk of infection (to the gorillas).  There are around 950 mountain gorillas in the world and over half are in Uganda. 

I told the group that I love nature and would probably only wear a loin cloth out in the wilderness.  Several of the group wanted to back out of the trip but the money was non-refundable so they figured they could just wear dark glasses and avoid any line of sight issues.  I think some of them still are having nightmares...

So, there are rumors that man descended from the decide...

We could only have four of our party go on the close hike to the gorillas.  The rest of us had to drive another 1 1/2 hours to get to the trail-head.  Sister Squire went on the close hike with Sister Hansen and Elder and Sister Hannan while myself, Elder Hansen, Elder and Sister Story, President and Sister Chatfield along with two girls from Ireland and Norway living in Uganda went in the van.  They only allow 8-10 in every group.  So after the briefing, off we go.  It was another long and bumpy road but the scenery was wonderful.  This is a very beautiful part of Uganda.

The boys: Elder Story, Elder Hannan, Elder Tarzan, President Chatfield, Elder Wallace, and Elder Hansen

The girls: Sister Squire, Sister Hansen, Sister Hannan, Sister Chatfield, Sister Wallace, and Sister Story

These were all the people waiting to see if we would need any help as porters.  I took the picture from up the road a ways after we started to walk.  It was a steep climb.  There are not a lot of jobs in Africa and so they look for any way to provide for their families.

A shot of the cultivated hillside where they grow what they need to eat and what they can to sell for the extras they need to exist.

Some of the family working to pick tea leaves they later load and ship to be processed.

No entry is complete until you get some of the kids.  After we got to the top we had kids waiting for us to give a smile and wave.  We were wondering if these kids will ever leave the mountain or if they would spend their life here on he mountain in the fields.

We took these pictures on the way up the mountain.  When we came back down they all had hand-drawn pictures to sell and some rudimentary gorilla carvings.  We didn't have any small bills so we were not able to help.

We finally made it to the top of the mountain and it looked like the Unitahs with lots of pine trees.  The guard carries a gun because there are 50 attacking mountain elephants in the forest and they do get scared off by firing shots in the air.  Bummer that we didn't see one.

Ok, thanks for the patience, I think it is time for some really cool gorilla pictures.  Sister Squire had the opportunity to go on the hike close to the resort.  They left from the park briefing point and hiked around 30 minutes to where the gorillas that had spent the night up in the trees.  They were met with poop and urine dropping from the sky.  I bet you learn fast to never sleep under another gorilla.  After 45 minutes they started to come down out of the tree to move along to their daily rituals. 

Before we get to the gorillas, one last shot of me sitting under a tree thinking how cool it will be when I finally get to see a gorilla.  I couldn't help but think if they really do look and act like us?

This is how you climb out of the fig tree where you just spent a wonderful night.

Sun light, sun bright, first sun I see today, may I have the wish I wish today...

Don't you just love the expressions?

Someone forgot to comb their hair this morning...

Meanwhile, after our van parked we started up the hill and spent the next 2 1/2 hours hiking to where the trackers said the gorillas would be.  The trackers get to spend 8 days at a time following the gorillas so they can call on the radio to our tour guide so we can find them the next day.  After they work the 8 days tracking they come back and then work three more days at the park then they get 7 days off.  We were getting close and then the call came they had started to move so we had to backtrack and head down the mountain to where they had moved to.  It was fun having our way cut through the jungle so we could follow where they were moving to.

Finally, we found our family. 

Just laying around eating a few fleas and leaves.  Gorillas are vegitarian with a few execptions.  They do eat ants but mostly leaves and fruit.

Our big silverback gorilla.  Around 10 years of age they get the silver back and they will live 40-50 years. 

Happy thoughts...

You don't even want to know where his finger was before he put it in his mouth.  Lets just say that I have seen my grandkids do the same thing...

Hey, mind if I pick a few critters off your back and eat them?  Nope, don't mind a bit.

Hey mom, how long we going to be hanging out here?

They are so gentle.  The kids are climbing all over them and they just enjoy it.

I think I could take him...

I know, too many pictures of the cute kids but I can't resist.

 This is how gorillas play

Who ate the last piece of cake!


Ok, scram, party over... and off they went back down the mountain

Lots and lots of great pictures, great time with people we have come to love and who can ever get enough of road trips.  The lodge didn't have anyone coming in the next day so we were able to keep our stuff in the room and when we got back a bit after 4PM we took a quick shower (tender mercy) and off we went.  We traveled back across the dirt roads the long way because the bridge was still out and got to our hotel after mindnight.  We had to get up early again because we still had a 2 hour drive to Masaka where we would attend church.  It was good we took the time for a shower at the lodge before we left because this is what we found when we turned on the faucet in the morning for our shower.

Don't let that distract ya, Africa is great place where you can find anything you really need.  We love the work and love Africa.  Why would anyone NOT want to come to Africa?