Hello to ALL!!!
This has been a good week, but a hard week. We got Mariah back with us and we have missed her. She is definitely a strong spirit and a sweet girl; but she is definitely 18 and it’s been a while since we’ve had to deal with that. She is doing good though and trying to make good decisions; but the school thing in Gabs is just not working as we have all exhausted our resources for finding her a place to stay here so she is going with her 2nd choice to go to school in Kanye and “we hope” stay with a 23 year old new member girl (Dorothy) from the Branch. They don’t know each other too well, but I had gotten to know her through training and visiting their Branch and I asked her if she knew anywhere for Mariah to stay and she thought Mariah could stay at her place. She said he mom agreed and we thought all was well, but an Uncle passed away this weekend and today they were doing the “funeral thing” which in Botswana take a week of having people camp out at your house while you feed and entertain them and pay for everything. We did stop today after church and pay our respects and the mother said she was too tired to visit with us today, but we could come back on Tuesday. We told her that was fine as we had just wanted to meet her and we would come back later to talk about Mariah staying with them for the next 8 months while she went to school. Dorothy is going to the school part time, but she also got a job working there so they could go to school together and walk to and from as her house is close to the school. So, we’re still in limbo, but please help us pray that things will work out there as it seems to be our ONLY CHOICE at this point. We had to leave Mariah in Kanye today so we took her to the Elders to change out of her nice clothes and she went through her suitcases and just took a couple of every day outfits to keep with her and asked us to keep all the rest of her stuff with us until we come back on Tuesday. This week will be crazy as we have the President and Sister Poulsen coming to town on Tuesday evening for Zone Conference on Wednesday and the Riser’s from Francistown arriving Tuesday to stay with us for two nights so this situation with Mariah is getting critical and we have to get it worked out. She did get to take a Career Work Shop here this week so that helped fill her time.
On our trip to Kanye today we did the usual (count donkeys) and we got 187 just on the way there. On the way home I got to noticing all the things that are different from home and tried to remember what I haven’t mentioned already. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned the piles of wood along side of the road that people gather up and sell for winter heat and cooking during the cold season. Lots of people are gather this time of year and today we saw several ladies with stacks of wood piled on their head and some of them just walk along without even holding on to it. It is basically just tree limbs and old dead branches from all of the trees and bushes that are thick along the roads on both sides. Sometimes so thick that we can’t even see the goats, cows and donkeys.
Then I thought of something I haven’t even talked about and that is all of the little old Grandma’s wear dresses and they walk along the roads with their shawls and their heads wrapped with bandanas and they tried to flag down cars to give them rides. Not just a few of them, but lots, everywhere; that is how they get around I guess. Sometimes there will be 3 or 4 of them together and a pick-up with stop to give them a ride and they all just climb in and away they go. People are really good to stop and give other people rides; it always makes me wonder if they are really as safe as they seem. Men, Women, children, young guys, young girls, they all seem to be out flagging down rides and they just jump in with whomever stops and offers. I think in Botswana your children could disappear and you’d never know where they went. There are bus stops along the roads to the villages, and the people congregate there and when a car or truck stops, they all run to see who can get in first. I guess if they don’t get a ride before the bus comes, them they get on the bus; but it’s much cheaper if they can get a free ride. I don’t know, maybe they give the guy with the car a little Pula for gas????/ Never tried it; just don’t know!
And then last night we had about 10 -12 of our YSA come over to just “hang out” and they got a real good conversation on dating and what is a “real date” in Botswana. Lynn and I tried joining in on the conversation and definitely found out that we are either “too old” or from a “foreign country” to take part in the conversation so we just fixed them ice cream and cake and listened. At some point they were all talked Tswana loud and laughing and we couldn’t tell if they were speaking Tswana because they were more comfortable speaking in their native tongue or if they just didn’t want us to know what they were saying. They just kept laughing and some of them tried to explain what the conversation was about, but we just said “go ahead and enjoy yourselves and get everything worked out.” Soon it was time for them to go and they started figuring out who need to take which Kombi to be home and tried to make it so no one was traveling far alone and I guess that’s how they make life happen in Botswana. It’s no wonder they can’t date; no one has cars or money so they just love to come over and talk at our place. They hugged us and thanked us so much for letting them come over and said they had really enjoyed the evening and wished they could do it more often. We assumed they had enjoyed themselves and we’ll have to consider doing it again. I wished I could have turned on a tape recorder when they were speaking their Tswana; you would be amazed if you could hear how fast they talk and how unrecognizable any word is at all. At one point, I just had to say “Can any of you actually understand what each other are saying?” It was fun & we really love them.
And then there is today, Mother’s Day! As I said before, we spent the day in Kanye and just got home about 5 O’clock in time for some of the missionaries to come over and call their mom’s. That’s when we really get in on the languages and the laughing from country to country. We had Sister Chirchir from Kenya come and call her mom and her Native tongue is Swahili when she talks to her mom and another dialect from Kenya when she speaks to her dad. I found myself wonderful how she could talk all of those languages and she knows English so well and she is also picking up the Tswana better than most of the Sisters. We have French speakers from Madagascar and New Zealand, Elders from Swaziland, Uganda, Kenya, Australia, South Africa, a few from Zimbabwe and one from Ireland. I doubt if I remembered everyone, but that is mostly the countries represented here as well as several from the United States. We’re quite a colorful mission and it’s fun to get to know and love them all.
Along the food line, I have to mention that I actually found some Heinz Cream of Chicken Soup this week but it was almost $3 per can. I did splurge and buy two cans and made some Chicken Enchiladas for President and Sister Poulsen when they came to town. Also, we have started finding Ketchup instead of Tomato Sauce and it taste really good. The Tomato Sauce is quite light colored and a little runny and not too much flavor. It costs about $2 a bottle instead of $1 like at home, but it’s totally worth it. I also found a ham a couple of weeks ago; I’m sure they were just shipped in for Easter as they were very expensive and we bought one and wished we had bought another one, but already I can’t find them in the stores again. I guess that’s our one and only ham for our duration here, but it sure was good. I found Tortilla Chips also and they were $8 for a very small bag.
We have more people coming yet tonight to use the phone so I’m going to close and visit with the companions while the others make their calls. It’s a great place to be serving the Lord and we are happy. Someone please tell the Bowcutt’s that we are happy for them and their call to serve in the office in California. I’m sure they will love it and will do an amazing job and be a great asset to some President. Our president leaves on the 29th of July and we will get our new President Omer. We will probably only meet him the first time he comes to Botswana and then we will have to train another couple to work with him. We will do our best and leave things in the best shape we can. We are working hard and want you to know that we love the Lord and we are grateful to our Heavenly Father for ALL of His blessings in our life. We count you as our greatest blessings and are grateful for your example to us. Please know that we love each other and we are very happy serving here. It is a great time to be in Botswana and we are still working very hard to become a Stake. Maps are being prepared for some divisions that would let it all happen so it’s getting close, but probably not close enough for us to see.
LOVE, MOM AND DAD , Grannie & PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine