We went to church in Osizweni this Sunday. We were going to teach the Sabbath Day Observance lesson. However the branch president forgot the projector. This branch meets in a school so the projector is kept at the president’s home not at the school. Oh well, we had a nice time visiting them. We will have to arrange to teach them another time. It can’t be next week because Conference is finally coming to Africa.
We have a lot to do for the next couple of days because we are leaving for the Senior Couples Retreat at St Lucia on Wednesday morning. We are so excited to go but we want to leave things in order here. So there is washing and packing to do, house cleaning and a little shopping also. We had FHE on Monday, we had to cancel our school visit because they were still working on the classrooms out there, but we did do some visiting in Madadeni. We also had to cancel our Eternal Marriage class for this week. On Tuesday we were set to go to a musical festival. We are working with a young women and she had asked us to attend. We were looking forward to it and had bought tickets. Then we were told that President Zackrison would be in Madadeni for an important meeting and needed Elder Hind to be there. That left me without a car to get to the music festival. So I asked Sister Zackrison if she wanted to go and give me a ride. She was happy to go so we had a good time visiting and watching the show. And I was happy to not disappoint a special young girl.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
On Wednesday we got up and finished packing and hit the road. Elder Hind and I had a little disagreement about which road we should take to the northeastern coast of South Africa. There are 3 or 4 different roads to choose from and of course we are not familiar with any of them. The one Elder Hind wanted to take was a secondary road that I worried might be a little sketchy but seemed more direct than the others. Google maps had them almost tied as far as time. In the end my route won out because that is the one Naggy Maggy (GPS) wanted us to take. We found out that President Z took the sketchy route from Newcastle and not only was it a good road but he also had a close encounter with an elephant that was blocking traffic. Of course he has been in Africa too long to feel there was anything special about that.
It took us about 5 hours to get to St Lucia. It is a resort town on the northeastern coast of South Africa. There are beautiful beaches, game reserves, boating, nature walks and etc. It is a very popular place. It is famous for hippos which live in the estuary next to St Lucia. Every night the hippos come up out of the water to eat the grass in the town.
|Elder Hind and the Indian Ocean|
The first night we were there we had dinner with the other senior couples in the mission and then we had a work meeting back at our hotel.
|These are pictures of the hotel grounds. This is a tropical area |
and much different from the area around Newcastle.
It was so good to be with other senior missionaries. Some of them live several hours away and we will probably only see them once or twice while we are in South Africa.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
We had breakfast with the other senior missionaries this morning. Then we went back to our room. Just as Elder Hind went through our door he saw a monkey going out the window with a banana he had stolen from us. We spent the next half hour offering him bananas and marshmallows so we could get some good pictures.
|Elder Hind trying to lure a monkey close enough for a picture|
|Monkey with his stolen goods|
|A baby monkey trying to get the courage to grab a marshmallow from the windowsill|
We went for a walk around town and looked at some things in a very nice gift shop. Elder Hind wants a drum but we couldn’t find what he wanted. We will have to find one someplace else. We also went to the estuary but the only hippos and crocodiles we could see were far away.
|A street market near the St Lucia estuary.|
|Elder Hind talking woodworking with Elder Sorensen|
After lunch we went to traditional Zulu village. No one actually lives in this village but you can spend the night there if you want. Some of the women there don’t bother with shirts but one of the senior sisters very nicely asked our guide to wear a top because we are from the United States. She was happy to oblige us, but most of the senior elders said they were too old to care one way or the other. Zulus don’t think much about going topless although in townships the only breasts we have seen have been on nursing mothers.
|Some of the senior couples|
|A medicine woman with her little pots of herbs.|
|A woman weaving a grass mat.|
|Creating beautiful bead work|
|A potter making the traditional Zulu pottery|
Two Zulu warriors using their shields as a bag to carry game.
|Here we are dressed in traditional Zulu clothing. The skirt|
I am wearing is made from strips of cowhide and weights about 10 lbs.
Now days the women wear pleated skirts. The pleats represent the cowhide strips.
That evening we had a very nice catered dinner at the hotel and then we had another meeting. It is nice to hear about the challenges and successes of the other missionaries. Elder Hind has had to learn a lot more computer skills that he had before. We were surprised to learn that this was actually a common problem among the senior elders. It was a good time to learn from the other senior missionaries and to feel their love for their missions and the people they work with. We came away from that meeting with some fresh ideas and resolve to keep working hard.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Normally getting up at 4am is a hard thing but not when you are going on a game drive! We got up with all the other senior missionaries and climbed into our bakkies and headed to the Game Park. We drove about 45 mins to get to the park. We stopped at the park entrance and had a picnic breakfast of juice, ham sandwiches, boiled eggs and muffins and bananas. Then we went hunting for big game.
|This is the oldest game park in South Africa|
|We ran into this guy early in the day.|
|Zebra. If you are from So Africa it is pronounced Zeh bra|
|Lion, King of the Jungle or in this case king of the savanna.|
|Did you know Warthogs have to kneel to eat?|
|This is called a Nyala. I love his yellow stockings|
We stopped at a picnic spot and our guides made us a wonderful lunch of steaks, sausages, potato salad and a green salad.
Then we did a little more hunting before heading back to our hotel.
We were glad when it was time to head back to the hotel. Our backsides can only take so much bouncing around in a bakkie.
Then we did a little more hunting before heading back to our hotel.
|A kind of Starling|
|The guide said the dark stain on the elephant's leg is from urine which means he is in a bad mood.|
|The guide called these little antelope "McDonalds" because they are lion fast food.|
We had a couple of hours to relax and visit with the other couples and then it was time for a night game drive. We had heard that the hippos come into town at night and sure enough before we got out of town there were two adult hippos and a baby hippo grazing on the lawn of a park near our hotel. Hippos are very dangerous. They don’t think of you as prey as a lion would. But if you get in their way they will bite you and stomp on you. The guide told us that someone in St Lucia lost a leg to a hippo a couple of years ago. He went outside to see what his dog was barking at in the front yard. He didn’t see the hippo until it was too late.
I couldn’t get any good pictures in the dark but we saw lots of animals. The guide had Elder Hind hold a spot light and help him search for animals. We found a lot of them just by their eyes reflecting the light. We stopped at one point and our guide made us all hot chocolate and passed around some chocolate rusks. (Really hard bread/cookie thing that you have to dip in the hot chocolate in order to bite it.) We had a good time but we were jealous when we heard the people in the other truck saw a leopard with a fresh kill. The leopard is the only one of the big five (elephant, cape buffalo, lion, rhinoceros and leopard) we haven’t seen yet.
We got home about 11pm that night and could barely stagger into bed. We are too old for this much fun.
|This is the only decent night drive picture we got.|
Probably because the little chameleon is the only animal that
would let our guide pick it up and carry it to the truck.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
|Elder Hind holding a hippo tooth|
This morning we went on a boat ride to see the hippos and crocodiles in the estuary. It was a beautiful day for a boat ride.
|We saw lots of hippos|
|This is not a hippo. This is a crocodile.|
After the boat ride it was time to say good-bye to all the other couples and head on home. Just outside St Lucia is a cheese farm. Because Elder Hind loves cheese we had to stop there . We didn’t do the tour but we looked around the grounds and the cute little shop they have there. We bought a piece of really sharp swiss cheese and we ordered a pizza to eat for lunch. It was a very nice pizza.
|Entrance to the cheese farm shop|
We decided to take the road that Elder Hind wanted to take. It was a nice trip. Very beautiful scenery. We got a little lost every time we got to a town but we always found our way out. Elder Hind had to slam on the brakes because some stupid goat walked out in front of our car. We bumped him but he got up and walked away. When we checked our bumper there was no damage but there was a tuft of goat hair stuck in a crevice.
We almost made it home before an amazing thunderstorm hit. It was dark and absolutely pouring rain. But we were in familiar territory so we didn’t worry much. Let’s just say Elder Hind didn’t worry much.
We were glad to finally be back to the place we call home. It certainly feels like home to us. And when we saw our elders again, Elder Mvinqi said, “Sister Hind, please don’t go away again.” It was nice to be missed.