It was my turn to write home last weekend, but the office has been a ZOO lately and I just didn’t get it done. The end of the month is very busy with Rent checks, power bills, and water bills, as each must be picked up, written out, and then hand delivered in person or taken directly to the landlords bank.
We are really getting the hang of things here in Botswana and don’t even need our GPS system any longer. We’ve been to each of the chapels around us now, and also we’ve been to each of the missionary apartments so we pretty much know how to find everything we need to get our work done.
I haven’t had a hair cut since we left home, so my hair is getting pretty long; at least for me. I’m going to get Dad to attach a couple of pictures that show you what a Barber Shop and Hair Salon look like here. They are pretty creative about being “self employed” and we do respect them for that. It’s actually fun to stop at the road side shops to buy fruit, especially oranges and bananas right now. I try to keep a fruit bowl in the kitchen all the time for when the missionaries come and go; they seem to appreciate it as most of them don’t go home for lunch in the middle of the day so we offer them a little bit of a healthy substitute to hold them over until evening or even until 9:30 when they get home. Our missionaries work very hard here and if we ever call them in the day time, they are always in an appointment and call us back. It’s really a change from Ukraine where they seldom got a chance to even teach a lesson. Our baptisms continue to be amazing as we witness 7 last Sunday (a family of 4, including dad, mom, and two teenage children) and then 2 other teenagers and one young boy 9 years old. This Sunday we have more baptisms, but I’m not sure just how many right now. The work continues to amaze us and we are so happy to be involved in it.
Dad is busy getting signs made to give directions to some of our smaller branches and also some gold platelets to hook to some new tithing boxes he had made; also for our small branches. They just meet in homes and there is nowhere for them to put their tithing, if they should decide to pay any. We struggle with that and our new branches will never qualify for a chapel until they teach and become successful at getting their members to pay tithing. Dad is very busy and is in charge of so many things here. President Poulsen knows he can count on so he just calls and has him take care of anything that needs done in this part of the mission. Tomorrow we are traveling to Kanye (about 1 ½ Hours away) for Dad to give a 2nd Interview to a young lady wanting to be baptized and also to give a fireside to the adults of that Branch. We are excited about the chance to do all of that, but not about the trip home in the dark as that is the village that has so many donkey’s and goats and cattle and they are all along the roads and just stand out in the street. We’ve gone there many times and always count just donkey’s or just cattle. We don’t even try to count the goals, but we’ve counted over 200 donkey and over 300 cattle before just on a one way trip. Anyway, I told dad that we’ll have to just take our time and I’ll help him watch the road for anything with 2 or 4 legs as the people walk the streets also and they wear dark clothes so there isn’t anything white to show up at night except their teeth!!
We are definitely the minority here and we laugh at the fact that people stare at us when we walk into a room. I’m sure we are a novelty, but they are always friendly when we speak first. We always try to do that and we are actually starting to be familiar with a few people in the businesses that we work with and they always treat us very nicely. I’m sure just the local people on the street think we are very peculiar with our dress-up clothes all the time and our name tags, not to mention our white faces. They usually talk Svetlana (language of Botswana) here most of the time, especially when we are doing business with them and they talk to a fellow employee so we have no idea what they are saying or if they are on your side or not, but they can speak English to us when they have to and we try really hard to understand them. When they are speaking behind their thick glass windows, it’s really hard for us to hear or understand them, especially Dad so he just makes me come along with him at every window just so I can translate for him.
We are very healthy, happy, safe and busy so don’t worry about us. We can find most things we need here and if we can’t find it we find something that will work in it’s place. I’m getting better at cooking here with the different items on the shelf, but I am tackling the Zone Conference dinner on Monday. Sunday afternoon the Cardiff’s from Francistown (5 hours up North) will be coming to stay with us for 2 nights and President Poulsen and his wife and a daughter and her husband that are visiting them, will be coming in for dinner Sunday evening. We will have Zone Conference all day Monday and they are always a spiritual feast. We are looking forward to having a little time with the President and to be taught by him. Dad is helping me shop today and tomorrow so we have everything for the dinner; we are serving Super Spud, corn on the cob, rolls and root beer floats for dessert. The super spuds are easy if we can just find enough large potatoes, most of them here are pretty small. I saw some big ones the other day, but it was too soon to buy them. Maybe I’ll just try to get them from one of our little salesmen along the road. Butter is plentiful and really good here, but sour cream is a premium and only comes in 250 ML containers which is about 8 OZ. Milk products are very expensive; we pay about $2. For a 2 Liter bottle of milk; my family would love to do dairy here and get the kind of prices that are charged here. Corn on the cob seems to be in season here, it too is a little spendy (about $1.50 for 4 small ears) but our Missionaries are excited about something different for their dinner as they usually have one of the ladies out on the street fix their meal and they say that they ALL fix the same thing which is rice, curry chicken pieces, fruit salad and a cabbage type salad and some other flavored rice dishes. We’ll see how it goes and if I can actually pull it off with crock pots, and a very small oven at the church. I’m trying to find a Sister that lives close to our chapel that we meet at and see if I can use her oven for part of the potatoes; I found one but she works and is trying to find a relative that would be at her house on Monday so we could use her oven. If it flops and we have cold potatoes, or cold gravy mix because we blow the circuits at the church, or the stove won’t cook 50 ears of corn in the one big pot I found, I’ll know not to ever do this again and we’ll just settle for the root beer floats (without root beer ) as they don’t sell root beer. The elders told me there is something call “Iron Brew” and it taste a little like root beer; and I’m going to buy a couple of Liters of Orange Pop as that could work for the floats. Wish me luck!
Mom and Dad