Monday, October 27, 2014

Crazy Things Happen in Africa

Oh man, time is flying by and we are spending time in both Kampala and Jinja.  We are going to miss our good friends in Kampala and getting to go out and do things with them.  Once a month we have a family home evening with the couples in our apartment and we just love the other couples.  They are as different as can be but that is why we love them all.  I am really glad there are not a lot of people like me because chaos would be the result.  Dog and cats living together if you get my meaning (if you do get my meaning, write me back because I have no clue...).  After the lesson of counting our blessings we had a pumpkin painting activity so we can get in the spirit.  Some pictures to follow.

On Wednesday we headed back to Jinja for the rest of the missionary apartment inspections and to handle some medical needs.  They have a steak place called Ozzies (she - the owner- is from Australia) and for $18,000 shillings ($8 bucks with tip) you get steak, mash, salad and a water.  Sister Squire has limited me to only one trip a week for this delightful respite.  I will have to take a picture next time but the food disappears quickly so I haven't had time to snap a photo.  The trinkets are cheaper here in Jinja than they are in Kampala so our poor girls will be loaded both coming and going from Africa.  They will be here soon and we can't wait.

We had an Elder Makasi visit our District for a meeting this Saturday.  We were to read four articles: More Diligent and Concerned at Home (Elder Bednar); Power in the Priesthood (Elder Andersen); The Gospel Culture (Elder Oaks) and the Family Proclamation (Prophets, Seers and Revelators).  For the first half we told what we individually learned from the articles and what it meant for us.  He wanted us to articulate how something from the articles was going to change our lives.  The next part the audience could ask any question and he, the Mission President along with his wife and the District Presidency would answer the questions.

I will share a couple of the questions and their answer.  One asked when they would have a temple in Uganda.  Elder Makasi quoted Elder Nelson who said building a temple is easy, building a temple worthy people is the hard part.  I thought that was profound because isn't living our life to be temple worthy the really hard part of life?  Some others stated how difficult it was to start a family with such limited resources.  President and Sister Chatfield have six daughters and not one of them married someone who was already "making it".  The same can be said of our daughters and our daughters-in-law.  You look at the potential of someone, not where we are today.  Isn't that what the Savior does with each of us, provide opportunities for us to grow and develop through trials and hardship?  I like an example President Chatfield gave of no one starts out on top unless you are digging a hole.  We have to work for what we get and working together with your spouse gets you there faster.  It you start at the top - there is only one way to go.  Prayer was also discussed and how important it is to weary the Lord with our prayers.  In D&C 10:5 it reads: "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work."  A comment was made that if we want a "million dollar" blessing we shouldn't try for it with a $3 prayer.  I know I am lax in this area and will try to do better.

We love being here on our mission and while we love and miss our family so very much, it doesn't change where we want to be at this time in our life.  Speaking of crazy things that happen in Africa, it had been a long time since I have presided in a meeting but I was set apart as the 2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency this week.  It will be fun to learn this side of things over the coming months.  I was able to do my first pre-mission interview Monday morning and what a great spirit these new missionaries bring.  Love it!

Tell me we don't have the cutest missionaries in the world.  And they chose hot dogs over hamburgers so they have that going for them as well.

Sunrise in Jinja

Halloween decorations here in Uganda even though the Uganda's don't celebrate it!

Here we are - busy as always.

Some pictures just don't have words...

The gang after another fun home evening.

Sure, the week we are leaving they come and grade the horrible road in front of our apartment.

Again, some things just don't have words to explain.

Nancy's father will turn 90 on Halloween but had an open house last Saturday so we broke out the musical instruments to sing to him.

When you hear the music, you have to dance.  I don't think the little girl in front "gets it."

Go ahead and stop to pick out how ever many chickens you need for dinner.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Well, I'll be jiggered!

The weeks have been getting crazy lately.  As you know we are shifting to Jinja next month but are trying to attend district meetings and do the medical at the same time.  Only problem is the towns are two hours apart so we try and stay in one place for a while.  We left for Jinga in Wednesday and I was able to attend the District Presidency Meeting.  We then had the rest of the week to do our inspections of several of the elders apartments.  We do these inspections every transfer or every 6 weeks.  We did almost half this week and will go back out and do the larger half next week.

Meanwhile, while in Kampala we try and set up as many appointments for Monday and Tuesday as we can.  We have dental and medical appointment set up for this coming week.  We had another doctor appointment set up for 8PM on Tuesday night but we got there an hour late because of the nasty traffic you get every night at going home time.  Because our elder was not hurting they had him wait and he was the last appointment of the night - we got home at 1:15 AM.  Crazy, I tell ya!  The one nice thing was they moved from the old building to a brand new high rise a kilometer away.  It was much nicer and Sister Squire didn't have to stamp her feet to keep the mice out of the room.

On Saturday we went out to help with the Jigger humanitarian project that will go for the next 4 weeks.  They will do 100 people each week for a total of 500.  They get new shoes after they cut the little fellas off their feet and sometimes on their hands, legs and arms.  We also spray the homes to kill the jiggers in their home.  It is quite a project.  You will get tired of hearing about it so I will move to a few pictures.

Here is our new flat in Jinja.  The flowers are to welcome her to her new home or because I didn't get her flowers for our anniversay, can't remember for sure...

The new entry/living room.  Narrow but very nice.

Bore hole where everyone gets water in the village where we are doing jiggers.

The little girls get to help raise the even littler girls.

this was the early line for jigger treatment.  Over the morning and early afternoon we did 100 people.

Love these happy smiles

Elder Wallace showing the house sprayers how to use the equipment.

If you ever have paranormal activity, this is the group you call!

The big boy got to build 10 new sprayers.  The first one was a bugger.

It was busy like this for several hours.  This is where they cut and dig out the eggs of the jiggers.

I think she is in a few pictures, cute girl!

New shoes after getting treatment.  They were told to wait after they were done.


Another cutie getting her feet scrubbed



Here is the tarp with all the shoes that are fitted to each man, woman or child.

This was the cleaning crew, Sister Hannan, Sister Squire and Sister Wallace.  They clean the feet good then send them down to the cutting crew.

This senior sister had some really bad feet.  What a blessing to get them taken care of.

The lady three down is the one with the really bad feet.

This little boy was very cute.  Yes, he is wearing a ladies top.  Very common as they wear whatever they get.

You can see they plan to grow into the shoes.  I think they intend them to last a couple of years.

Hey sister, what up?

This is lunch being prepared.  At the end of the session they fed everyone who helped with the project.

Group photo

Elder Wallace at the end of a very sweaty session.  Quality control in the back.

 After we got done we went out to eat at the hotel on the Nile with all the monkeys.  The pictures did not turn out well but they were really riled up.  You had two groups of monkeys yelling at each other and jumping toward each other.  One time they were screaming and running towards us...I ran like a school girl.

Another beautiful day in Uganda with a sunset on the Nile river.

Heavenly Father has sure provided a beautiful earth for all of us.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Oh death, where is thy sting...

We both knew it could happen while we were on our mission.  My mother, Helen Gubler Squire passed away on 16 October 2014.  I think there may be something wrong with me because I only find joy and peace in her passing.  I blame my mom for this, she blessed me with a rock solid testimony of the plan of salvation, so I know where she is and I know she is happy.  Tears do come when I think of the reunion of mom with her two children, Kirk and Krystal on the other side of the veil.  She was a good woman and while suffering from Alzheimers the last few years, I know her disease was more for us than for her.  She lived a good life and was able to look past resentment and jealousy the way the Savior taught us until the disease started to take her mind away.  I think the disease was also a test for my Dad.  He refused to even consider, except on really hard days, putting her somewhere else where they could give her care.  He would have his bad days caring for mom when she wasn't able to hold her bodily functions but would be back to expressing his great love for her an hour later.  I love that man and say "well done thou good and faithful servant."

I have wonderful bothers and sisters that have cared for mom and dad and I know they will continue to do so now that dad will be alone.  I have so much to be thankful for with the heritage from my own parents and my grandparents.  I love how being raised in LaVerkin built such strong individuals.  I could go from one grandparent home to another in a three minute walk.  Can you say lots of treats!  My mom was a wonderful homemaker and would make home made bread a couple of times a week and clean the house top to bottom every week.  She later complimented my wife for spending time with the kids and letting some of the small things go to spend time with the kids.  She recognized the importance of spending time with your children.  You would not find a more fierce protector of her children.  My fourth grade teacher did not figure I had much going for me, go figure :).  My mom lit into her and would never let another child go into her classroom.  Don't mistake that for letting us children not take responsibility for inappropriate actions, I had a lot of those as well and suffered the consequences, yikes! I have a mom that fasted and prayed for a wayward son for several consecutive days.  She knew one day would not be enough so she went the second, third, fourth and fifth mile in my behalf. 

When we are home we have all our children and grandchildren over to our home every other week.  Where do you think we learned that little trick?  I think of all the good traditions and parent skills that we have done as parents and we got many of them from the example of our parents.  While I will not be there for her funeral, I will be praying for my dad and my bothers and sisters with their spouses and my children, her grandchildren,  to find peace and comfort. I already know mom is happy and at peace.

Here she is in her past days of glory celebrating Cheryce's 5th birthday.

This was a photo when we were living in an apartment in SLC that mom and dad owned.

She loved boating as long as her children were there with her.  She liked to remind everyone that she was the first one to ski behind the new boat. I feel the same way.  It had to be hard because she was wearing her Levis.  We spent a lot of summers at Lake Powell.

One last one and this is precious to me and not just because of the heavenly glow all around them :).  The girls were able to go and see their grandma one last time last week .  Rachelle played the piano and they sang some songs.  When she was done she started to shut the piano.  Mom: "don't you shut that keyboard," so they sang and played a few more songs.  Feisty to the end!

Take care mom, see you on the flip side.  Go ahead and help where needed when you see the need.  "Oh death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:55, 57)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Just a man on the railroad tracks

Once again, another fun filled week!  The weeks go by so fast and it seems like we always have so much to do every day.  It is nice that work seems like fun and fun seems like, well fun.  I know, life is hard but it is even harder when you are...well you fill in the blank :).  I was able to attend my first District High Council meeting today and it brought back a lot of memories.  It was fun serving on the High Council because you grow to love the different personalities that make up the HC.  You work with a group of people that are united in a purpose.  It doesn't change no matter where in the world you live, it is the same.

The District is working to become a Stake and they have a way to go but they are working hard to get there.  They are very direct and I think people in the US would have a difficult time when they are called out in front of everyone.  They don't do it with any maliciousness, only to point out what needs to happen when it doesn't.  The Lord has said, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them (Ether 12:27)."  We too often take offense when we actually have an opportunity to see our weakness and try to do something about it.  The only purpose of repentance is to change, not someone else, but ourselves.

Last week after we finished with the hygiene lessons at the school we went out to eat with the elders.  They all like Ethiopian food called injera.  I have to admit, it wasn't bad.  In making injera, teff flour is mixed with water and allowed to ferment for several days, as with sourdough starter. As a result of this process, injera has a mildly sour taste. The injera is then ready to bake into large flat pancakes. This is done either on a specialized electric stove or, more commonly, on a clay plate (Amharic mittad, Tigrinya mogogo) placed over a fire. Unusual for a yeast or sourdough bread, the dough has sufficient liquidity to be poured onto the baking surface, rather than rolled out. In terms of shape, injera compares to the French crêpe and the Indian dosa as a flatbread cooked in a circle and used as a base for other foods. The taste and texture, however, are unique and unlike the crêpe and dosa, and more similar to the South Indian appam. The bottom surface of the injera, which touches the heating surface, will have a relatively smooth texture, while the top will become porous. This porous structure allows the injera to be a good bread to scoop up sauces and dishes. Thanks internet for all the wonderful explanation of this spongy food you use to pick up different dishes with your hand.

Here is a sample of the different plates.  We got the mixed plate so we could try different types of sauce with the injera.  The Elder in the middle ordered chips and then poured his sauce over that along with the injera.  The Elder on the left found something he liked and then you pour it out and get to work.

Sister Squire can't wait to get started.

And we are off to the races. Our injera happens to be out of rice flour.

Here is a good view of the spongy material you use to grab the meat and other sauces.

Starting to get full...most of the different mixes were pretty decent.

This week we had the opportunity to help as we kick off training for a large humanitarin project of cutting jiggers off of people feet.  The effort will involve five weeks of 100 patients each week. There will be more about this in future posts so I will just share some of the photos from our first visit. You will remember we did a project soon after we first arrived in Africa.  This effort will be much larger.

When you are the biggest kid on the block, you take the toy and play with it. The wheels are made from plastic lids for jars or drinks.  Clever!

Peak a boo, I see you

Some of the gang looking to see what the new guys want

This little boy was cute as a bug.  They don't put clothes on them until they are potty trained

I love a country where even the little ones get to play with machetes

The kids take care of each other and look at the big eyes in back.  I did find out that girls are the same throughout the world.  A mouse was walking along the brick wall in back and the chickens started to chase it.  It ran towards the back of the house and two little girls were there and started to scream.  Loved it.

This little girl was hauling bamboo somewhere

The rooster, king of the hill

This picture was interesting to me because they are growing at least 6 different crops.  Banana, squash, sugar cane, casaba, beans, and maize.

The gathering place where Sister Squire was able to teach about jiggers (the picture is actual size I believe).

Elder and Sister Hannan giving some closing remarks.  They are over humanitarian works.

A picture of the crowd

This little girl must have been told it was bath day.  She had the basin with water and had her bath while life goes on around her.

After the jiggers training we went to a Branch activity in Walukabe.  Lots of fun and games and they had over 140 people attend.  Cute kids

Love this picture

Crazy hair day?

At dinner in the evening we saw this gecko in the light.  We thought it must be baked but later on it had moved on. Just getting warm.

At church in Lugazi, Snow White showed up.

Last week I posted this video to Facebook to gauge if I have put these kids several years ahead with my totally cool moves or, some few would argue, perhaps they will never be able to dance again (without some type of therapy intervention).  The consensus was to keep on dancing.

You can see the results of my teaching.  I think I have inspired a new generation of dancers.  It is kind of long so you can only watch enough to see the impact of my "skills."  This is a traditional African dance.

Fist bumping is now International.

Finally, just a man, in dress shorts, dress socks and casual shoes, walking down the rail tracks along the Nile.  Just a man...