Now, you answer back “Yebo.” We have just greeted each other in Zulu!
I have to spell everything phonetically so I’m sure the words are not spelled in correct Zulu but the pronunciation is correct.
It’s been a slow start around here but let me explain. When we were in New York City on our first senior mission and made an observation about something that was different everyone would respond with, “Welcome to New York!” Here with all the major differences (yeah, I’m talking Major with a capital M) the phrase is TIA or “this is Africa!”
The flight was nice albeit loooonnnngggg. I sat between Wayne (who will now be referred to as Elder Scott) and a former college football player wearing the biggest ring I’ve ever seen. He played linebacker for Oklahoma State and went to the Cotton Bowl. Thus the ring. Needless to say, I felt like the peanut butter between two thick slices of bread. He works in the oil fields in Mozambique and travels to SA every other month.
OK. So we touched down an entire day later and are literally the last people off the plane sans the flight crew. And of all things, as I was attempting to push my luggage down the aisle, I tripped over it and did a nose plant right in front of a female attendant. Really em…barr…assed but not hurt. A little iffy getting through customs but that was straightened out quickly. We finally got to the luggage carousels and our luggage was gone. While we’re looking around for our 6 million bags… okay only 6… a smiling man says “Delta? Delta?” and points to our bags all loaded on a cart. He guides us to the exit while pushing our cart full of luggage. He, noticing our name tags, asks, “How come there are so many churches in the world?” I thought Elder Scott was going to faint. I know he looked around to see if we were being pranked. Needless to say, Elder Scott started in on the first discussion. By the time we reached the exit gates Elder Scott had gotten his name and number and then turned him over to the Zone Leaders who were there with the President/Wife to pick us up! Talk about the right start!
I know I’m using a lot of !!!!! but we really are excited. Can’t hardly wipe the smiles off our faces.
So we went to dinner with President Dunn and Sister Dunn and the Zone Leaders at a place called Founders. Very nice dinner all around. They don’t do ice so you have to ask for it and for water, actually. As we are leaving—I’m wearing my airplane flip-flops—I miss the curb and do another face-plant! This time I do get hurt. Skinned shin and jammed wrist. Of course, I’m doubly em…barr…assed as everyone was fussing over me… I must have really looked like the little old lady who can’t seem to walk in the dark. Now, every time I am with them they say, “Now, watch the step,” or “Be careful, there are stairs.” Yeah, really embarrassing especially since Elder Scott volunteered the story of my fall in the plane. Yeah, completely mortified.
So, we get moved into our first “flat” that night. See the pix.(when I learn how to post the picts I will) It was very nice except for the little exception of the shower that leaked all over the floor, the reversed hot and cold water “taps” and the draft when the wind blows. The curtains in the windows blew out as if the windows were open. But it was very quiet and had a very nice (with an emphasis on NICE) bed. After the plane ride, it was heaven.
For the four days we were in Johannesburg we visited a variety of stores; Woolworths (my favorite for prepared foods,) Spar (my favorite for breads and household things) and Checkers which is a big store like Walmart. We worked in the mission office for half a day and then went to dinner with one of the mission couples—the Hansens.—Great People. Super nice place and when we walked in we were greeted by a very tall handsome man named Sam who said, “Good Evening Elder Scott, Sister Scott.” Elder Scott asked him, “You recognized who we are… do you know us?” He said, “I am a Mormon too but I haven’t gone to church for a while.” He was so nice. We committed him to come to church and got his phone number for follow-up with the Elders. So far so good!
The next day, Saturday, we packed up our bags and traveled four hours with President and Sister Dunn to Nelspruit. Pronounced Nels prit. This is where we will serve the rest of the 18 months. We moved into a temporary “flat” until ours is ready on Friday, the 29th.To be continued...