Sunday, January 25, 2015

Little bare bums everywhere

I got to do something this week I never thought I would have the chance to do.  There are currently 88,000 missionaries out in the mission field and I was able to set-apart one of them.  This is the largest missionary workforce that has ever been assembled in the history of our earth.  Auma Lucky is from Gulu, a 6 hour drive from Kampala, and will be going to the Ghana Accra Mission.  She was a very sweet missionary.  President Chatfield always has so many meetings and interviews to do that it was wonderful to take this one little thing off his plate so he could do the dozens of other things necessary.

As I pondered a missionary force of 88,000 men and women I thought about the talk Elder Bednar gave for the Africa Southeast Area Satellite Broadcast.  He talked about how our current leaders of the Church have given a timely emphasis on the how each of use should be hastening the work of salvation.  He then cautioned: "We always should remember a fundamental truth: this work is the Lord's work, and He does the hastening.  Clearly, brothers and sisters, we play a vital role in helping the kingdom of God to roll forth throughout the entire world.  But, the Lord hastens His work, we do not."

He then asks two questions: "(1) Will we as individuals and as a Church keep pace with the Lord's hastening of His work?  Or (2) will we as individuals and as a Church insist on doing \things the way they have always been done, or the way we are accustomed to or comfortable with?"  These questions have me thinking of things I may be doing the same way I have always done them.  There is a great possibility there is a better way.  I think each of us can think of how we can hasten the changes we need to make to be ready for Him when He comes again.  The question for me is if I am becoming a better disciple of Christ or just going through the motions of being a missionary or member of the Church.

We were invited to another soccer game between the missionaries and the Iganga Branch.  Before the game I saw a teacher in a classroom but official classes do not start until next month.  School is out for December and January and the new school year will start in February.

The teacher gave me permission to take some photos.  Here he is teaching them mathematics and this is like a summer school.

Rita is a returned missionary from England and has lots of followers.  She came to cheer on the teams but wanted it to end in a tie, like the last game, because the losing team will pout.

A few pullups before the game.  I am out of the picture doing several hundred...

They do take their soccer seriously.  Here they are having a prayer before they go out and try and kill each other - like ward basketball.  Branch in red, missionaries in yellow.

Even the Iganga Relief Society president, Ida, gets into the act throwing in a wayward ball.

The game winning goal celebration, the elders had a goal lead but gave up two goals in the final minutes to lose the match.

Team photo

Sister Squire purchased and presented a game ball to the winning team.

Cute baby alert.  The Africans call this the "brown" baby because of his light skin.

The cheering section.

I was not going to leave Africa without trying some of the "street food" where you can roll the dice and see if your body will handle it.  I had the Bugembe Elders with me and asked where the best Rolex (a rolled up African like burrito) was made.  They told me so I bought them each one and one for myself.  The total of this treat for five people was the equivalent of $3.  Quite tasty but I make them better at home.  This is the griddle with charcoal in the bottom to keep it all hot.

He puts some cabbage, carrot and onion in the cup and slices some tomato then adds as many eggs as you like and pours it onto the pan.

Here is the egg mixture cooking and then he places a chapati on top and rolls it up.  Sister Squire chose not to partake.  Just like McDonald's you can have as many eggs and chapatis as you like and get charged accordingly.

Another one bites the dust.  Our very good friends, the Hansens, left Wednesday for home.  I would walk with Elder Hansen every morning when we lived in Kampala.  Starting from the left we have Pres and Sister Chatfield, Story, Hannan, Ekland, Hansen, Squire, Wallace and Chabra.  Everyone will be gone when we leave except the Chatfields and Chabra (who now do medical for everywhere except Jinja area).

Are you ever too old to play in a kids house?

This was a new one for me, beware of dogs at the pool.

Now then, can you ever do too many jigger projects.  I will not bore you with the details but I will share some of my favorite pictures.  The little babies don't wear pants until they are potty trained but they do get a nice bead set to go around their waist.

I loved the eyes on the girl on the right, don't turn your head just your eyeballs.

I had to meet with elders of the village.  The one I am shaking hands with was baptized but no longer goes to church.  He did bear his testimony to me however.  It was nice.

Cute girl eating jack fruit.  It is very sticky but the fruit is nice.

Even Sister Squire likes a good fist bump now and then.

They took over an hour getting all the jiggers off his feet.  They were on his toes and around the outside of his feet.

This is an plastic oil bottle and plastic bottle tops for the wheels.  I love how they make their own toys.


Dirty and lovely all at the same time.

The hydrogen peroxide soak while waiting for their turn to get cut.  The man on outside is the one with the really bad feet being worked on.

No end in sight, just cute kids everywhere.

Same little boy as earlier but now asleep on his brothers shoulders.

As you will see later, this one did not like the strange white people.  She was very cute.

This little girl almost threw herself off the bench not wanting the strange people to wash her feet and look for jiggers.

When they got rid of the razor blades I saw this girl cutting some of the jiggers off her own feet.

Here is my little friend a bit more upset with me being around her.  Just like when raising my kids, I have to go and get the camera to capture the action.

These two were twins. Both boys.

If Sister Squire had her way, he would be heading home with us.

We had one of the past mission office couples come with their kids to show them a country they fell in love with while serving here.  They brought along some hygiene kits and paid for the jigger cost to come out and serve.  President Chatfield's family is coming next week and they will do a jiggers  project for 100 kids.  I will be taking his meeting assignments while he spends time with his family.  Here is the final wave goodby.

As we were driving to the Elders home we saw this little naked boy with a water jug running across the street.  He was a bit nervous about seeing us stop to take pictures.  Here in Africa they have the kids carrying anything from a liter to a gallon jug based on their size and ability to carry water.  It is a family affair and they start as soon as they can carry a jug.

Back off and running

Sister Squire caught this shot just above our home as she was out for her morning walk.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Yawnnnn, another week, many more adventures

Oh my, where to start with every week being an adventure.  You think there will not be anything of significance to report and then the week fills up with many exciting adventures.  But before that, I have to report on some of the things I have learned of much more significance this week.

President Uchtdorf was one of four speakers at the Regional Stake and District Conference for Southeast Africa.  This was a video broadcast and every speaker was wonderful.  President Uchtdorf began by telling the listeners how much he loves the people of Africa, their testimonies, their faith and being "uplifted by your joy."  I agree with his sentiments,the people of Africa are a very easy people to love.  He talks about being in the temple and how it doesn't matter your color, your profession, you status or what calling you hold in the Church.  Everyone is dressed in white and all are loved equally by our loving Savior.

In Matthew 20: 20-28 the mother of Zebedee's children wanted a favor of the Savior, to have her two sons sit - one on the left and one on the right of the Savior in Heaven.  He gently told her she didn't know what she was asking and said it was not his to give but His Fathers.  The other disciples were moved with indignation against the two brethren.  Jesus taught them how each us can become "great."

"Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."  I have read this many times but this time it really hit me what it takes to be like Him.  He was not sent here to earn glory or to be praised by man, even though that is an outcome.  He was sent here and did spend his entire life ministering to those who lived during his earthly ministry.

I am not one who actively searches out opportunities to serve.  Sure, I love signing up and going to do service when given the opportunity but those are all planned by someone else.  His life was spent looking for opportunities to serve and, being perfect, knew where to find them.  It is good that I married way above my level.  Sister Squire does actively search out opportunities to serve and I tag along with her.  I am way better than I would be on my own.  I do hope that I will start now to not look for ways to be ministered unto, but to minister.

Now on to the adventures.  I mean it isn't like I had to fight a lion to save Sister Squire, lift a zebra in a mighty show of strength or scratch a crocodile's eyes out, but still, we did a lot of fun things.  On Monday, the Jinja zone was having a bonding activity for one of the Elders heading home this coming week.  However, he was called into Kampala for his final exit interview with President Chatfield but the party must go on!

Sister Squire and I were going to have hot dogs and luckily when we stopped at the church the bread man was stopped on the side of the road so we purchased a dozen buns.  Perfect!

We saw this rouge elephant as we were heading into the park by the Nile river.  It should have been a warning for what was to come...

Elder Sherwood with the kerosine to help get the charcoal started.

It was a chilly 82 degrees out and the elders were enjoying the heat.

Meanwhile, the sisters were cutting up their meat.  I still haven't had the courage to buy meat from the butcher shops along the streets in Jinja.  The sisters knew what to do with each cut.

Even sitting, they go into a pose when the camera comes out.

I think even her companion was a bit unsure about what to think about this situation.

She may have some anger issues...

Sister Q enjoying some of the meat before it is cooked.  Crazy lady!

For the moms out there, yes they were also having some vegetables.

Mom saw to that.

Eve showing where the women's bathroom was.

The sisters got first crack at the grill and yes all that meat is for them.  The coals were too far from the grill and the meat turned out really tough.  The sisters were all getting a good smell as it cooked.

The elders were doing tinfoil dinners.  They turned out pretty good.

Elder Matli showing he was going to cook and eat a muzungu meal.

Not a lot of talk at this point in the day.


Banana boats in Africa, are you sure?

Oh wait, did I say I didn't have to hold up a zebra in a fantastic show of strength?

Or fight a lion to save sister Squire.

Oopsie, I guess I missed one.  It was only a flesh wound.

Actually on further review, I scratched out his ears not his eyes.


One of the murals on the walls.

Back to posing.

The zone by the Nile.

This is the back of the shirt each missionary received at Christmas.  Every missionary had their last name on the back.

I actually didn't fight this spider and stayed quite a ways from it.

So after a great Monday I receive a call on Tuesday that one of our members has passed away in Iganga.  They were asking if I could pick up the body and transport to his village where he would be laid to rest.  When we got to his home we found him laying on a mattress in the front room.  They don't go to the mortuary but prepare the body at home.  The funeral happens soon because they need to be buried quickly.  We took the body to his village and the funeral was on Wednesday.  He was an endowed member and only wanted endowed member to handle his body so I was able to help lift him into the coffin.

There is much loudness at an African wake.  When we got to his village about 1 1/2 hours from Iganga his family started to very loudly show their sadness.  After, I went in to the living room I asked if it would be possible to offer a prayer for the family.  A peaceful calm settled over the room and I know comfort was offered to the family.  It was a precious experience.

Here is the coffin from the store.  We then went to his home and put him in the coffin and then traveled up to his final resting place in his village.

Well now, what to do with our Wednesday.  Fight wild animals - check.  Drive around with a coffin in back - check.  How about a handover?  What is a handover?  Well, you have the Church Humanitarian build 11 bore holes, 8 latrines and 3 10,000 liter water tanks along with some hygiene training for some of the villages.  At the end of this huge project you invite the surrounding villages where the work was done and you have a party.  That is a handover.

The latrines will help a population, with an average age of 15, to have the opportunity of their children going to school.  The schools cannot open if they don't have proper latrines.  40% of this district is unable to attend school because of inadequate infrastructure.

It is summer break in December and January.  Here are the desks stacked against the wall waiting for the start of the new year.

Welcome to our school!

Yo bro, how about a ride?

Each project had a sign to show who funded the project.

All the latrines were for 3 boys and 3 girls.

You really do have to have good aim to make these work.  The community has to be trained to make sure they will keep the boreholes and latrines clean and serviceable.

Cute kids

I don't know how they will handle the infusion of kids when all these kids grow up and have families.

After the latrine we  went to see one of the bore holes.  We had a ribbon cutting ceremony at each site that we visited - three total.

While waiting for the Govenor of the area to arrive I taught them the two handed high five.  A rather advanced high five I must say.

Godfrey Kitimbo was the contractor of all the projects.  He is also the branch President of the Mpumudde Branch.

Some of these pants left you free and easy.

Sister Squire with a bunch of her peeps.

This is the governor of the district.  It is an elected position and she was very charismatic.  I really liked her and she knows how to take over the crowd.  Here she grabbed one of the kids and striped him down for a quick bath to show the village how it is done.  The little boy was very good for having his first public bath in front of around 40 people.

Short video of the bath.

It looks like we are both giving each other a dreamy look...I was thinking how nice it will be for these kids to have a bathroom, she was thinking how frightening I look.

When we arrived at the hand-off ceremony, 2 1/2 hours late, there was a crowd of at least 500 people who had been singing and dancing while waiting.

Three tents with a more than full capacity crowd.  Talks, thanks, dancing and networking.  What more could you ask for.  It lasted around 1 1/2 hours.

Dancing and singing as we were seated.

This girls did a type of rap about hygiene.

As we were walking back to the car we saw this jam session going on.  I love the wooden xylophone and the great sound it makes.

The rest of the week was for meetings, office work and other mundane projects.  Fun stuff!  We did have one of our members go a bit crazy and take off all his clothes except his boxers and run around and tore up Elder Thorton's shirt.  It is sad because there really isn't a program to treat mental illness here in Africa.  I tried to reenact the scene but didn't really capture it.

This is how you do road work.  You pile up a bunch of dirt on the road and some day you come back a grade it out smooth.  It is really nice until the rains come again and the ruts show up again.

See you next week.