Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chapter 15: What a week!



I know I say this every week but time has whizzed by again. This is late due to our busy Sunday and our exhausting week. And the power outage. And...

Here it is in a nutshell.

Monday: errands

Tuesday: House cleaning and more errands

Wednesday: Baked brownies and prepared a lesson (which didn’t come to past)

Thursday: Uh? ES went with the missionaries and then we took a nap??? I think

Friday: Went to Sabie, Hazyview and huddled during the wildest rain and thunder/lightning storm ever!

Saturday: Went to Lydenburg and rescued a stranded family (not in that order)

Sunday: Church, baptism, farewell dinner, nap (not in that exact order either)


I actually forgot to blog about the baboons we saw while driving home from Lydenburg the time before last. An entire tribe was crossing the road as we came around a winding bend. The road to Lydenburg is a winding road much like the AF Canyon road without the trees along side. It has many hair-pin turns and top of the world views. As we rounded a bend we all saw about 50 baboons ranging in size from Dad who was nearly as big as ES down to babies. Dad Baboon stood on the side of the road and watched as all his family came across safely. They were all running and I think we were all in awe over the incident that we forgot to take pictures but it was quite amazing especially for a city girl. So now when we go to Lydenburg we watch for Baboons. ES said he saw some last Saturday but we all voted that they were just rocks.  

We had some amazing lessons this week. ES taught most of them but I participated in the one in Lydenburg. We met at Colistos home in a township (these are the areas where the government built homes and communities for the blacks during the appartide.) This one is particularly small and Calistos house is very small. He works at Spur 6-7 days a week as a chips (French fries) and onion ring fryer. His shift is from 7 am to 12 midnight. Most of his money is sent home to his wife in Zimbabwe. He is very anxious to be baptized but he keeps getting called into work and in order to qualify for baptism you must attend church 5 out of 7 weeks in a row. He has only been once.

The day before while I was teaching seminary at the Weitsz’ home the Elders went to teach Lebogang in Hazyview. He is progressing nicely and has very solid questions. The lesson finished just before the biggest rain storm so far started. This storm blew down trees and brought hale to Sabie and overlapping thunder claps with lightning that hit quite close to where we were in Sabie.

Now, since this post is going to be even later than planned I suppose it would be appropriate to use the saying: the best laid plans of mice and women… I am typing this in the dark and using the battery function of my laptop. Our power went off around 11 am and as of this writing (not posting since I have no power or internet) at 3:00 pm it is still not on. Well, normally, I’d say, “Oh well.” But today is my turn to do the “welcome to the District” new missionary dinner. ES and I planned a Thanksgiving dinner sans his favorite part—cranberry sauce as it is nonexistent here. I bought a 12 lb. turkey that I later learned I’d paid $44.00 for (not sure I would have had I actually looked at the price label) Nonetheless, I’ve made rolls, yet unbaked, green bean casserole with real crispy onion things (not Frenches’), deviled eggs—an unknown item here—and apple pie with a new for me crust using only butter as Crisco is also not sold here. Now, of course, if I ever do get power today, I’ll add mashed potatoes and gravy and corn to complete the meal.

So as I was preparing food and preparing food and preparing food ES got a call from Sister Jennifer who he is Home Teacher for and the one who lives in Hazyview that the terrible storm they had last night (we only had some rain) blew apart some of her stairs. She is the one who lives in the wooden house that the Jrs and the Srs. went out to stain. Her stairs are kinda vital since she couldn’t get out or in her home without them. The men all loaded up, canceled a few appointments and left for Hazyview. So, maybe we will have a dinner and maybe we will not.

I may have to use Christy’s quick method of turkey baking… that is if I do ever get power today.

I wish I could have the skills of James D. my photo friend. He could have captured what I saw but I could not have so I didn’t even try. Last time I spoke about all the swarms of flying bugs…I can’t begin to describe that horror scene…but yesterday while I was cutting the Elder’s hair out on our back veranda (terrace) I noticed a huge swarm of birds, yes, birds flying and zigzagging around each other just inches from our view. We have a net that covers our opening so they couldn’t have entered and I’m so glad but they wouldn’t have been the problem. There were probably 2 or 3 hundred birds—small sparrow sized creatures—swooping and buzzing the air catching in mid-flight the hundreds of white bugs that were rising up from our below neighbors garden area. I don’t know if some nest or something had suddenly burst but you could see the bugs lifting off and then the birds swooping in to eat their fill. It lasted for about 20 minutes and then suddenly when the bugs were gone so were the birds. It was, I imagine, akin to the crickets and seagull episode of the pioneers but obviously on a mini-scale. I was cheering on the birds as I’d take a million birds to one flying white bug. Like I said, I cannot describe the beauty of the birds as they flew around in a figure-8 without running into one another and feasting on those nasty little bugs.  I wish I had the ability to show you first or second hand thru print the incident.  Go birds!

So, its Wednesday. We had no power until somewhere around 1: am the next day…today. So tonight is the “welcome to the district/early by one day thanksgiving dinner.” My rolls collapsed and we ate all the eggs last night waiting to eat real food. We went to a place called Ocean Basket and had overpriced fish dinners. I, for one at least, will not eat there again. Not so hot.L

For the rest of the info of my life see the captions for the badly taken but at least taken photos.

This is Kombicillae. ES baptized her on a hot, hot Sunday after church in KaNyamazone. The stairs you can see in the background go into the small build-it-when-you-need-it baptismal font. As you can tell we are all outside. The other white people in the pix are the Swans. There were 72 people attending Kombi's baptism. Great baptism and super good attendance. You would have thought we were in the States...except for the attendance part. Never have I been to a 72 people in attendance baptism.

Another guy was also baptized.
this is a home of some investigators the elders and ES were teaching. They are all interested but they are also the children of a polygamist. The Elders are checking into the circumstances of whether they can be baptized or not... Mom probably not and she is most interested... We really don't know what the church's policy is but we're checking. It is quite legal here.

This is Lebogang who is also being taught. He lives in Hazyview or at least near there. This is outside his apartment... They taught outside as he doesn't have any windows.

Another view.

And his view of his beautiful area.

a waitress that was very friendly. she told us she was in training and that if she had one complaint she would be let go. This was right after ES said, "I'm a little upset!" "Why?" "Because you haven't given me anything to complain about!" Tee Hee Hee! Only she didn't think it was very funny. In fact she sighed hugely!

This is the family the Elders went to rescue. They were stranded without gas and food or a place to stay. Its too long a story of how they got the Elders phone number and ended up in Nelspruit but needless to say, the Elders put them in touch with our Branch President who called their Branch President and etc., etc. They were at church on Sunday. We don't know if they plan to stay. He is out of work and looking for jobs in the mines.

This is Callisto and this is the cul-de-sac where he lives. His home is the one on the left side of the pix. Just below ES's thumb. It was quite warm but only got worse when we went inside.

The smiling guys.

These are views of the inside of Callisto's home. The walls are tin and wood and yes, you do see newspapers stuck in between the spaces. Ceiling is tin and the floor is almost lino... its actually an oil cloth that he has spread out. He is very fortunate as he has a window. I was sitting in front of the window. His kitchen is behind him and ES was sitting on his bed. This is a man who used to live in Zimbabwe with his wife and baby in a real house. He was a journalist and a journalism and media teacher in school. It was because of his job that he lost everything he had. He had to come to SA to work as a chip fryer. Nice man and very faithful. When I see this I have to remind myself not to confuse poverty with unhappiness. You can see from his smile that Callisto is a very happy man. Made happier because he has found the "gaps in his soul." His words, not mine. I love this man and hope he can continue to progress for his sake and that of his family. We gave him an extra Book of Mormon to take to his wife in Zimbabwe next week when he goes home to see her.

This young man is begging. We are on our way to church on Sunday morning. He is wearing a Santa hat. Yes, he's standing on the center traffic line. His sign says that he is hungry. We think he is one of many who work for a "pimp" of sorts. Like Oliver...and what's his name. Usually, there are as many as 3 at this intersection, 4 at the other and 3 at yet another. All have similar signs and they seem to trade off. He got mad at ES because he took his photo. No such thing as stealth with ES... Well, the kid marched over to our car and demanded money for taking his photo. I gave him a 2 rand coin (.20) and he said it wasn't enough. We told him take it or leave it and drove off. Probably not going to get a referral out of that contact...


  1. Mom! You did it! You put a lot of pictures of Elders Smith and Ah Wongs! Their mms (missionary mommas) will be so happy! Seriously, I hear all about it on fb. All of the joburg mms read your blog and hope for pictures. It's awesome!

  2. *Apartheid (Sorry, I just can't help myself.) :-)

  3. You are right Christy! My son is in this mission but not in your area but I still love reading your blog!! I hope he gets to your area!


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