The Newcastle elders invited us to dinner Sunday night. Elder Mebetha is leaving and he had promised to make "pap" for me. It is pronounced "pop". It is a white maize mush in the traditon of southern grits or italian polenta. Elder Mabetha makes his pretty stiff. He served it with a gravy made from ground beef, mixed vegtables and beans. It was good with the gravy but I wouldn't care for it alone. It was our first traditional African food.
We finally got a decent phone up and working. It took a few days and a couple of visits to the Vodacom store. We had to just buy another phone. They simply could not get the phone we brought with us from home to work. We are happy to have a phone we can use.
We had Family Home Evening again. Even more people came. This time I served ice cream and cookies.
|Our family home evening group|
|Some one wrote this on our refrigerator message board. Probably one of the girls|
We had to go back to the old missionary flat that we had just moved the elders out of to do some more cleaning. The elders notion of what is clean and our notion of what is clean just does not coincide. While we were cleaning some things out of the garage Elder Hind took a broken rake with a metal handle and tried to throw it over the fence. He forgot that it was an electrified fence so he recieved a good shock. Glad his heart didn't stop. Then we had to shop for a new stove, washing machine, microwave, dishes, pots and pans and other things because we had to split everything between two flats. Stoves don't come with the flat.
This week we had to make an doctor's appointment for a missionary and then meet him there to make sure he got the necessary tests and to pay for it. I am surprised how much time we spend helping the elders. Of course we probably won't ever have to move a missionary boarding again. That was a lot of work and it really stretched us because we have had to learn some things about doing business here. I really don't mind helping the elders. I feel like a mom or a nana when I am helping them.
I went with Elder Hind to the Madadeni Chapel because he had a meeting and I didn't want to sit home. I was sitting in a classroom studying and the 1st counselor in the Branch Presidency came in and asked me to be an advisor in the Young Women's program. Yay, I have a calling!
I made my first attempt at baking this week. I made chocolate chip cookies. First problem, can't find chocolate chips. A large Cadbury chocolate bar chopped up will do. Second problem, they have 3 kinds of brown sugar: light brown, caramel brown, and treacle brown. The treacle seemed the most like our brown sugar but was twice the price so I decided to use the light brown sugar. Also all the brown sugar is coarser than our brown sugar. That did affect the texture of the cookies quite a bit but the elders thought they were good and that is all that counts.
When we went out with the elders that evening I brought some cookies for the family they were teaching. I hope they liked them.
We went out to visit another family this week. As we went out to get in the car to leave a couple of drunks approached us. The elders got in the car, Elder Hind and I were a little behind them. The drunks wanted to shake hands. When one of them grabbed my hand he kissed the back of it. By this time I could hear the elders saying, "Get in the car! Get in the car." Meantime friendly Elder Hind is shaking hands with the drunks too and he also got the back of his hand kissed. The elders were a little nervous. They said they don't know what would happen but we just can't take chances.
We finally got our internet up and running. Turned out to be a bad modem. The mission office contacted a church employee and he found the problem. Happy day! We have not had WiFi the whole time we have been here. We hooked up the ethernet cord and had a few days of internet until it stopped working too. Now we have internet and a decent phone.
On Saturday, we worked in the community garden again and then attended a District Meeting in Madadeni. They discussed alot of the issues they are facing in the branches. Not the least of which is the poverty of the people. People who want to come to church can't because they don't have cars and public transportion is too expensive for them. The ones that live too far away to walk have to choose to come to church once a month because that is all they can afford. It makes it hard to staff auxiliaries if people can only come part time. Some of them walk for over an hour to get to church.
There are senior couples who are called as self reliance missionaries. Their job is to help people get out of poverty. They help with the Perpetual Education Fund and job training, employment and teaching people how to start a small business. But the needs are overwhelming. I heard on the local radio that unemployment is 24% but if you counted discouraged job seekers it could be as high as 40%. I hope we can make a difference in some small way. We won't solve Africa's problems but we might be able to help some individuals live better lives.