Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chapter 21: Happy New Year 2015!

Chapter 21: Happy New Year!!!!

 Can you believe it? It is 2015! I’m amazed that that number is upon us… I can remember so vividly when the 2000 mark rolled around. We have moved so rapidly through the last 15 years that it’s hard to believe.

We’ve had a nice beginning to the week. I’m finally sitting to write on the blog and its Wednesday.
We drove to Kamatipoort yesterday (Tuesday last) which is about 3 kilometers from the Mozambique border and a 2-hour drive from our flat. Having a bit of time before we needed to be at the Kruger’s home, we drove to the border crossing. We let the Jrs. walk through the no-man’s land all the way to the actual border. We stayed and watched our car and all the interesting people. Just like living National Geographic.

The weather has been pleasant which is usually a conversation ploy for stalling but since I’ve been complaining about the HOT and HUMID stuff I thought I would insert that observation as we stood for some time watching the people and the chickens and the taxis off-loading people and their goods. We were close by where the Kamati River and the Crocodile River merge before flowing into the ocean. It was a very beautiful place. And a most interesting place. ES and I did not walk through the gates to the actual crossing itself but we could see where one country merged into another.

Today is New Year’s Eve and once it is dark we are going to change into our relaxing clothes, chose a Netflix movie and watch until Midnight. Yay!!!! We bought some sparkling red grape juice to toast the New Year. Time is going so quickly we will be leaving our mission before we realize what has happened.

Currently, ES and the Jrs. have gone to fetch Debbie, our investigator, to bring her to our flat and give her a blessing. On Christmas day, she went out to pick a lemon from her tree and a wasp stung her IN the eye. She is doing quite badly. Not only did she spend the rest of Christmas in the hospital but her vision is now impaired. They are hoping it is not permanent but they don’t know for sure. ES sent her a SMS (text) to see how she was and to wish her a happy new year and she said she “Had been better.” So he quoted her the scripture about calling the elders when you are ill and asked if she would like a blessing. She said she would.

They are on their way here.  (it went well)

Tomorrow is a free day. We are driving with the Jrs. to visit the tourist spots around Sabie like God’s Window and Potholes and Pilgrim’s Rest. These are amazingly beautiful places where people come from all over Africa (and the world) to see and they are right in our own backyard… well, an hour-or- two drive-away-back-yard anyway.

At this writing it is Tuesday. I am late with my blog due to the incredibly busy weekend that has transpired. To summarize: we had a great New Year’s Day! Super relaxing. See pictures; they’ll tell the story. The photos are of 2 waterfalls out in Sabie (the one where I slipped and fell covering myself in slimy mud is my most favorite.)

On Saturday, I had a 3 + hour seminary in-service training meeting. Very enlightening. I’m teaching Doctrine & Covenants/church history this year.

And on Saturday afternoon we were informed that Elder Ah Wong was going to be transferred. Very sad news for all; except he was of two minds. Elder Ah Wong was excited for the change and challenge but very, very sad to leave all those he had grown to love. This was his first place to serve and he has been here for almost 6 months. We were his first Sr. couple and he was our first missionary and of course, we love him. So when Monday came rolling around it was hard to say farewell.

Sunday, we had a farewell dinner for Elder Ah Wong. I fixed easy to do things as it has, once again, heated up to blazing temperatures. We ran our room noisier-than-a-jet-plane air-con all day. It was reasonably pleasant in our flat as the district joined in the send-off Elder Ah Wong in the manner he should have been. We just had to yell at each other to be heard. (maybe a bit of hyperbole.)

Tuesday, tonight, we will welcome the new Elder. He’s got awfully large shoes to fill.

Nothing new to report on the missionary work. This is a strange place regarding holidays. Everyone goes home for at least 2 weeks. Businesses close, work stops everywhere. They have been doing roadwork on the street that leads into our apartment since before we got here. Right about the 10th of December they stopped working on the road and as of yet they have not resumed. Will be interesting to see it start up again. But with this holiday season all of our investigators left the area. Hopefully, they will be returning soon so proselyting-life can begin again.

Still no monkeys but we got to see 2 separate groups of them on New Year’s Day… zoos are just not going to have the same appeal they once had…

This is Violet working at the water purification plant. I wasn't there so I'm not exactly sure what she is doing or what the next few pictures are but they are of the plant.

This is at the border. The trailer to the left hauls all the goods the travelers carry to the border. I'm not sure what this woman is doing but we are standing next to our car. See the shadow left hand corner. That's ES arm snapping the shot.

We are parked on the edge of the street right next to this garbage can... But the picture is of the vendors behind the orange umbrella. they sell all kinds of foods and some household items that crossers  can utilize.

Elder Smith is pointing to the Mozambique border.

Pay attention to the woman walking...not the car. She is carrying what she purchased on her head.

They have these small round pillow/type hats they roll and place on their heads. They place their bundles on their heads and walk along as if nothing is there. The one in the blue shirt was nearly running to catch up with her friend. She is carrying 5 dozen eggs in her arms. they walk across the border than pickup taxis on the other side to take them to their villages.

The river is in the back. This is where two major rivers join before moving into Mozambique and then into the ocean.

My boys and I'm not sure what I'm doing... ES is not much of a photographer...sorry.

New Year 2015. Elder Ah Wong pointing to Lone Creek Falls. It was like a "happening" that day. Place was packed with people all Braai-ing and having fun. There were lots of vendors across the way selling SA wares. The falls proper was beautiful.

Boy do we need to diet!

The Fantastic Four

The falls. I'm not sure if I'm praising some unknown deity or taking a photo????

Some posers. People love their photos taken. I was in several with these black girls. The white ones wouldn't even speak with us... not even Hello.


Horseshoe Falls. It is my favorite See the guy in the striped shirt. He moved down this little canyon just as I was walking behind him and slipped! I slid down a sloped rock, rolled across it and nearly toppled into the water. Bruised my rear end, my elbows and of course, my pride. Plus I was covered in silty mud. Fun.

This is the old man who collects your money to get into the park. He's got to be 100. Nice man. He sits there all day and collects R4 each visitor.

Pilgrims Rest. This is a mining town from the 1800's which has been preserved with shops and houses much like old Park City or Jamestown in CA. I rather enjoyed this part of the visit. We spent some time browsing and looking for some place to eat. We finally resolved to eat the snacks I had brought and wait for dinner so we could see the rest of the sites.

A better view

cows alongside the road on the way to God's Window

Warning! I love the pictures. Especially the one with the little person praying to the flowers. Um? And the guy falling...

I had to ditch my striped shirt, don my sweatshirt and see my new scarf I bought in Pilgrims Rest...
the area is called something like the "three roundels" I'm not sure if that is it exactly but the next picture shows a better view.

There are 3 of those Roundels (?) cropping up. see below as well. It is a magnificent view. You can see all the way to Nelspruit which is a long way away.

Those rocks are simply amazing. Someone told me you can take a boat ride along the river and that there is even a restaurant where you can dine by candlelight before taking the cruise back. Sounds nice and expensive.
Well that was our New Year's Day 2015. We didn't get in to see the potholes due to the size of the crowd but next time we'll take some better snaps. Elder Smith's blog which I reposted on my timeline has a few better photos. If you're looking at a map the area of the falls, the cows, and the Roundels are North of us towards the Zimbabwe border. Mozambique is West and South of us. That entire time of sightseeing we did not leave our mission area. Our proselyting area is HUGE. And might I add spectacular. Until Next time.

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