Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weel # 60 - Granny

This week, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of the things I will miss about Botswana.  Time is getting short and we are almost down to 4 months now and we are working extra hard to make sure we do EVERYTHING the Lord wants us to do while we are here.  We’ve fasted and prayed to know exactly whom we can help each day and we continually pray that the Lord will trust us to be an instrument in His hands as we work in His vineyard at this time.  We do want to make a difference for someone, but it usually feels a lot like we are just visiting Branches, contacting people and going through the motions each day of phone calls, paying bills, doing transfers, fixing cars, fixing bikes, cooking banana bread and wacky cakes and etc.   As we’ve been driving around this week, I started wondering if I’ve told you all about the things we see here that are different from home.  I decided to try to do that better.  Here are some things that I will miss seeing when we aren’t here any longer.  When the weeds along the sides of the roads grow tall (which they do as our growing season is all year long and we’ve had lots of rain lately.  Anyway, they hire crews of people to cut them down with “weed wackers” which are just a hand tool something like a scythe.  They work so close together that it looks like they will cut each other’s arms off if they aren’t careful and they work from 7 AM to 1 PM in the hot sun and get paid approximately $50 a month.   It’s amazing to see these crews of people even out in the country roads where the weeds are tall and the strip of weeds along the road is really wide with perhaps 25 people on each side of the road working.  I have to admit, sometimes they only have 5 or 6 tools and everyone is taking turns using the tools, but this isn’t always the case.  It’s the same when we see the crews sweeping streets in town, every 3rd or 4th person has a broom or dust pan and the rest stand around and watch.  It is amazing to watch them though, most of them are old ladies in dresses sweeping, stooping over with a piece of cardboard, or using a scoop shovel and the work goes on.  We’ve been told this is what the government does though instead of having a Welfare Program where people get money for nothing.  They can work for $50 a month and it isn’t much but it does keep them from starving and it keeps them working for what they get.  I will miss the huge termite hills that we see EVERYWHERE.  They are in the country in the middle of the fields, in the middle of people’s yard, and they don’t seem to knock them down; perhaps it’s bad luck we don’t know but they just stay there and keep getting bigger and bigger.  I will also miss seeing the endless Tire shops, the barber shops, the tuck shops (where they sell candy, fruit and whatever else you can think of) along the town roads, the country roads,  and every street corner.  They just set up a little stand on a old table anywhere they want and there are usually at least 3 or 4 right beside each other selling the same thing.  They think if someone else is successful on that corner, they will join them and sell the exactly same thing.  They are industrious though and I can’t imagine they make much money at it, but at least they are trying.  You would all be proud of me, I can drive quite nicely on the (right) actually the wrong side of the road now.  I think it will feel strange now to drive on the left side.  I’ve gotten use to watching over my right shoulder for oncoming traffic if I’m crossing over the other lane and merging into the lane to my left when I moving forward.  I can zip through the “round about’s” without having heart failure about when to go or not to go.  I even jump into the car and ran into town by myself to get groceries if Dad is busy doing mission stuff.  I can park the car quite comfortably, but I still forget and get into the car on the wrong side.  Sometimes I even get clear inside and then realize I don’t have a steering wheel and It’s kind of embarrassing when you’re the only one in the car and people see you get in on the wrong side.  The missionaries are especially aware and laugh at me when I do that.  Dad actually does it sometimes still though.  I will miss seeing the ladies carry anything and everything on their heads.  It’s not unusual to see them carrying a case of bananas, a 5 gallon bucket full of “whatever” carrying them to their little “tuck shops” to see for the day.  We’ve seen everything from 2 cases of toilet paper, to big fluffy blankets, baskets full of groceries, while they carry bags or groceries in each hand and a baby strapped to their back with a towel or a blanket.  I love to see the ladies carrying their babies that way and the babies are always asleep or just laying there on their mom’s back and not crying.  I think their babies must be very content and love to be carried on the back of their mom’s or a big sister.  It’s amazing to see them walking everywhere and I will really miss that.  It’s been pretty hot here the past few months and the black ladies really wear some cute hats.  They also wear skirts most of the time, especially the older women and by older I mean anyone that is perhaps 30.  The only ones that wear pants are sometimes young girls and sometimes teenagers.  We don’t very often see anyone in levis; they usually have school uniforms or work uniforms and just dress clothes. The ladies often have a head wrap on that matches their dress.  Their dresses are often homemade from their real traditional cloth and they wrap a strip of fabric really cleverly around their heads and tie them up really sharp.   Their hair is very unmanageable so they have to either have it braided (which most of them do) or wear a wrap of some kind on their head or the newest and most popular thing is a wig.  Wigs are for sale on every street corner and in every beauty shop in town and in all the “China Shops.”  China Shops are big stores in town that sell stuff really cheap and is probably where most of the people shop; at least all the Sister Missionaries buy their clothes there.   I love to see the people with their colorful umbrellas that they all carry to protect them from the sun.  Even the men carry umbrellas and they don’t care if they are pink or purple, they just carry one if they want.  We even see little kids carrying their own umbrella walking beside their moms.  It’s pretty colorful along the roadsides as there are always hundreds of people walking everywhere and I will miss that.  You probably noticed that I called the ladies here “black ladies” and that is what they prefer to be called, not colored.  Anyone that speaks of another as “colored” is referring to someone of mixed race and it’s quite a derogatory term.    There is a lot of poverty here and people don’t have much, but they do dress nicely to go to town; it’s a real event for them and they dress for the occasion.  I had a lady come once to help me with some house and yard work so she could earn money to go to the temple and she brought her 3 year old daughter with her.  They road the bus from Kanye (1 ½ hours away) and when we picked them up at the bus station they both were dressed in their Sunday best clothes.  They came into the house and Rafilewe (the mom) changed into her work clothes and changed her little daughter (Loveness) into her play clothes and she went to work.  When the work was done, they both changed into their Sunday clothes and we took them back to the bus station.  Interesting!!!  Most of the transport here is white mini-van’s called Combi’s.  There are also big buses traveling between the bigger town every day; in fact there is a bus to Francistown and back almost every hour all day and it costs about 89 Pula or $12..  Lots of people work out of town and ride buses everywhere.  The Combi’s are the most popular and the cheapest.  It costs about 20 Pula (or $3.) to ride a bus to Kanye or any of the other towns that are are 1hour or 1 ½ hours away.  If they take a Combi across town it only costs about 2 Pula or 35 cents.  There are Taxi’s and I think they cost about 5 Pula to go somewhere in town which is less than a dollar.  There are bus stops all along the highway from town to town and people stand out and catch buses all day and even late at night.  There are also lots of people at the bus stops begging for rides from the cars passing and they stand right on the edge of the road and clap their hands at you or flap their hand up and down begging for a ride.  We can’t give anyone rides, It’s against Church rules for us as Missionaries, but lots of people do stop and pick them up.  I see young girls ( and even just young children) standing on the road side begging for rides and it scares me to death.  How do they know who will pick them up and how do their parents know if they will ever see their children again.  I think it would be very easy for children do disappear in this country.  I do have to say that lots of the children here are very skinny; I’m sure most of it is lack of food, but some may be just lack of homes and parents.  We literally speak to many of our youth who say they have no parents, but I guess that is to expected from a country where 1 in 3 have HIV AIDS.  In Francistown it’s 1 out of 2.  Many of our missionaries that come from other parts of Africa have only no parents living and have been raised by a grandma, an aunt, or someone else in the community.   I already mentioned the shops where everyone sells stuff, but my favorite are either the tyre (they spell tire like this) shops or the barber shops.  The tyre shops consist of about from 20 to 40 tires stacked up and a guy setting beside them with a tire pump and some tire repair tools.  They arrange the tyres really neatly in a stack, some flat, with another setting upright on the flat one and then several of them in a row.  It catches your attention and of course, none of the tyres are new, but have a little tread on them and people stop and buy them and the guy puts them on for him and life goes on in Botswana.   The Barber shops are nothing more than a tarp wrapped around a metal frame to form a small hut and the guy inside has some clippers and that’s about all it takes for a guy’s hair cut here.  They are literally everyone, sometimes 3 or 4 next to each other and it’s amazing how they are often all busy.  I’ve heard it costs about 10 Pula ($1.50) for a haircut if you’re from Botswana but our Missionaries would have to pay more.  They seem to cut each others’ or come over here for me to try to finish the job after they cut the bottom with the clippers.  I never conquered the clippers, but I cut dad’s hair all the time and the missionaries caught onto that and like me to do theirs.  I really don’t mind, it just makes me nervous as to if I will do it the way they like.  Anyway, sometimes the barber shops even double as “cell phone repair shop” or a “buy airtime here” shop and they might even sell you a banana or a piece of candy while you’re there.   One thing I will really miss is counting all the cows, sheep, goats, and donkey’s while we travel around to our different villages.  My absolute favorite is the Donkey Carts they use to carry all their water, their garden produce to sell along the road, and also for going into town to do their grocery shopping.  Their carts are all very “homemade” and some aren’t too bad either; and they are pulled by from two to four donkeys and I absolutely love it.  We see several of them each time we go and I keep telling dad that he needs to go home and build us a donkey cart and buy at least two donkeys so we can give all the grandkids rides up and down the canal and back and forth from Farmer’s Corner.  They would look so cute out in the pasture and  the grandkids would love to go riding with PaPa Lynn and we’d be the envy of all the grandparents in Burley.   I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned all the wheelbarrows we see around the villages also.  People (men, women and children) use them for everything.  Actually, I think if you aren’t the proud owner of a donkey and a donkey cart, the wheelbarrow is your only mode of transporting dirt, rocks, groceries, garden produce to see on the road, and also the way to haul wood home to cook with and to heat the houses in the cold season.  The kids push the wheelbarrows full of buckets of water and they are usually bare footed and running over the rocks.  They are amazing and I will really miss all the scenes of Botswana when it is time for us to go home.  I don’t think I mentioned the Swept-clean dirt yards.  When we travel along the road and go from village to village, we see lots of little round mud huts (called rondavals) with thatched roofts and they are literally out in the buses but they always have a small clearing where they have cleared away the bush and they literally sweep the dirt and make it look really clean around their yard.  They don’t do grass here, so yards are dirt and most are kept very well.  There might be 3 or 4 Rondavals in a group with a kitchen built outside from vertical sticks (about 3” High) held together with rope or string or wire to form a small area where they all cook over an open fire.  Their homes don’t have running water, or electricity or kitchens at all, they all just use the “community kitchen” and sleep in their own small huts.  Even in the villages like Kanye (where Mariah lives) they don’t have any street lights and most of the people don’t have electricity so when it gets dark, it’s dark; especially in these areas that we see along the highway that are so far from any civilization at all.   This are just a few of the highlights that I wanted to tell you about that we get to see every day.  I wish we could put all of you in our car with us and take you to see the sights, the sounds, and the people of Botswana.  They are a beautiful people; most are Christian’s but it’s amazing how they have wandered so far from our Heavenly Father’s commandments and don’t have any idea about The Word of Wisdom, The Law of Chastity, and That Families are Forever.  We are trying our best to bring them the Gospel of Jesus Christ so they can know true happiness.  They all know about Cell Phones and they are a very educated people.  We will continue striving to teach them all that our Heavenly Father wants them to know and we truly believe that This Is Afrika’s Time and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will someday flourish in Afrika and Botswana will be one of the first countries ready to accept the teachings that we have for them.  They all say they Love Jesus and they want to follow Him, they are just confused as to how to do that.  Pray for us, we will continue to pray for you and we hope the Lord will send lots of Senior Couples to Botswana.  If we had a Senior Couple in each of our Branches, I truly feel that our membership could double.  They just need leadership and consistency in their branches and all of these Immigration problems that we have been experiences have made it worse as we can only keep our Missionaries in their Branch for 3 months and then we have to change and the Missionaries are just getting to know the members and know what each branch needs.  Hopefully this will be getting better soon; but we will continue to pray for more couples as they could make an amazing difference for our people here in Botswana.  If you know of anyone planning to go, please tell them to write to us and we’ll put them in touch with President Poulsen.     For those who don’t know, I must add this to my letter today.  As of today, Roger and Shaundalee have legally adopted a wonderful little baby girl from Botswana.  Her name is Briella Morgan and the story of how she came to be a part of our family is amazing and full of miracles and tender mercies.  We wrote home about a girl we were trying to help that had been raped and was only 18 years old and been a member of the church for less than 1 year.  She had no family to help her raise the baby so after we helped her decide against an abortion (which her case worker had convinced her she should have) she chose to have the baby and we promised to help her find an LDS family to raise her baby.  To make a long story a little shorter, we found out that Family Services doesn’t function in Botswana and Mariah started asking us if someone in our family could raise her baby.  At the same time, Roger and Shaundalee individually kept having feelings that they should adopt this baby and after a couple of weeks, they talked it over together and mentioned to us that they kept feeling they were suppose to adopt this baby.  We found out it was impossible to adopt a baby out of Botswana until after it was 12 months old so we thought “that was the end of that”.   But the Lord and Mariah had different plans and the Lord kept prompting us and Mariah kept asking us to please have our family raise her baby.  We kept serarching and searching and finally found a Chief Magistrate Judge who told us it would not be illegal to have Mariah fly to America and have her baby and leave it there.  Mariah didn’t have a birth certificate (another long story) or a ID card which is what EVERYONE in Botswana must get when they are 16 (another long story) and she needed both of these to be able to get a Passport so we began the 2 month long process to obtain the Birth Certificate and the ID Card and then we were able to get the Passport and then on to the Visa. We were able to pay big bucks and get the Passport fast, but she was declined her Visa the first time at the Embassy and had to reapply and pay the big fee all over again and go for another interview.  This time she passed and was granted the Visa.  Three days later she was on a plane to America (8 + months pregnant (another long story and many tender mercies and miracles) and only 10 days after Roger and Shaundalee picked her up in SLC, she delivered a 6 pound baby girl.  Bryce and Melissa are now taking care of Mariah and nursing her back to health and she will be returning to Botswana on April 29th to continue her education and try to find work so she can (as she puts it) improve her Family Tree and make a new start for herself.  She is beautiful, tiny, and has a testimony of the gospel and Heavenly Father must have a wonderful plan for her life as He certainly has taken good care of her to this point.  She has faith that He will continue to do that and that she can truly make it on her own back here in Botswana.  Roger and Shaundalee plan to help her with a start in her education, but mostly she is determined to make it by working and going to school and serving in the church.  We love her and are eternally grateful for the blessing she has left with our family.  We love you all and we sure do love e-mails!!!  Mom and Dad, Grannie & PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine

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