Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week # 70 - Granny

Dear Family,
Things have been really crazy this past week and we have been on the road every day.  We are preparing for another transfer and for a new Mission President so we are trying to make sure EVERYTHING is in “tip-top shape.”  We did apartment inspections all over Botswana this past week and that is not my favorite things to do, but Dad takes the lead and does the complaining, I just hand out the candy bars if things pass.  One of our Zones this transfer had extra nice clean apartments so we are throwing a good old American wiener roast, potato salad, and smores party tomorrow on their preparation day for lunch.  We are going to try building a bon fire in an old barrel that we have here at our place and hope none of the neighbors complain too much.  If it works, we want to do it again for our YSA just before we leave as kind of an entro-to an American camp out that we’ve told them all about.  They’ve never heard of a wiener roast nor a smore, so Dad is putting together some wire sticks to roast with and going to put enough together tomorrow to see how they turn out.  He found some really stiff wire (had to buy the whole roll) and some dowels so hopefully it will all work and we’ll be able to have a couple of fun parties even though it’s winter time here.  It actually gets up to about 75degrees during the day so we are planning mid-day activities and hoping for the best. 
Some of our missionaries have been asking to go to the Jwaneng Diamond Mine that is 2 hours from Gaborone so President told us to go check it out and see if it was worthy their time on a preparation day and see what it would cost them to pay for their own gas and take a day and go.  We took our Zone Leaders with us on Friday and left at 6:30 in the morning to get there for the 9 O’Clock tour they offer and it was quite a fun day.  It is the richest diamond in the world and it was pretty amazing to see their operation and all of the huge machinery that it takes to mine diamonds.  I can’t say the tour was real efficiently run, but we enjoyed ourselves.  They said it took 2 hours and with all of the wasted time waiting for a escort vehicle to lead us down into the mine, waiting for a host to come and tell us all about it before we left, waiting for someone to bring us keys to go into the vault where we could actually see some of the diamonds they have mined there, and then waiting to go through the detectors before we could leave the property to make sure we hadn’t picked up any diamond,  it actually took 4 hours.  I’m glad I went once, but if the missionaries are going, I don’t plan to go along with them.  The tour was free and they have a small game drive you can go on afterwards that is also free so we certainly can’t complain about the cost.  It was a fun day and we saw Zebra’s, Warthogs’, Wildebeests’, Hartebeests’, Impala, Springbok, Giraffe’s, Roan Antelope, Ostrich, & even a monkey along side of the road on the way home.  Not too bad for a Free Game Park!  I think the missionaries will want to go see the diamond mine as well as the Game Park as some of them haven’t seen anything around here except a baboon and some monkey’s and maybe a warthog.   We have been very blest to get to go to all the places we have been because most of the missionaries don’t get to do any of that.  In South Africa there are lots of Game Parks though so the Elders get to go there when they are serving in other areas, but the Sisters only serve in Botswana!
We just got through hosting our YSA get together that we have every month.  They absolutely love to come and we have more and more new ones all the time.  I think we must have had close to 60 tonight and they played games and we fed them bread and jam and hot chocolate.  They ate and ate and even started asking for “doggie bags” but I told them to eat all they wanted, but I didn’t do “Take Away.”
We really do love them and they love having a place to just come and talk and laugh and enjoy each other.  We have noticed they are even pairing up a bit and we had another two weddings announced today so hopefully getting them together to have a good time is making a difference in their social life.  We moved our time up from 5 O’Clock to 4 O’clock because it is dark by 5:30 now and we thought they would leave earlier to get home on their public transport; but they were still here at 7 O’clock so it was kind of a long evening but that is alright too.
We have transfers again on Thursday so wish us luck.  We have 9 Missionaries that are out of time so I’m sure getting them through the border will be another nightmare.  We are going to see if we can push Stix (our Immigration guy) to please spend some time at Immigration on Monday and Tuesday morning before they have to leave on Tuesday Afternoon and see if we can get some permits or waivers or something that will work better at the border this time instead of taking 5 hours and paying P950 in fines.  Wish us Luck!!
I typed up a few fun things to share this week while I was thinking of things to write.  I’ll add them to this letter.

More fun Info from Botswana
It’s really hard to find corn chips here.  Occasionally we find some really spicy chili hot ones, but this week we found some plain ones to dip in Salsa (which we can’t find either) but I do find a canned Mexican Style Diced tomatos, peppers, and chilie mix that tastes almost like Salsa.  The salsa substitute that we buy costs almost $2. for a 410 G can which is a normal size can like corn or green beans come in which isn’t too bad, but the Corn Chips were almost $7.00 per bag for an 250 g bag which is about 8 oz. Needless to say, we bought them anyway & they have been tasting pretty good today.

Canned foods are hard to find much of and they usually cost quite a bit.  I have been hunting for green beans and haven’t found them very often, but I did find them this week and just picked them up and bought 8 cans as there was no price on the shelf.  When I got home and looked at my receipt, I had paid about $2.25 per can and it too is just the normal vegetable sized can.  I won’t be feeding those to the missionaries!!!

The cheapest tuna we can find is about $1.75 a can but we always buy it anyway as dad loves Tuna.  We can usually find frozen vegetables so we have plenty of those.  Sometimes they even say McCain on the label.

Today we got a chance to go to South Africa to visit our one District so while I was there I thought I’d try to buy a new Mascara since my last one is all but gone.  I found some Maybelline Black, just like I wanted and it was 110 Pula, which is almost $17.00 but I bought it.  Every other brand on their shelf was much more.

We also found Pretzels which we can’t find in Botswana, they were $7.00 US for an 8 Oz. bag, probably expensive since I remember getting them in a huge bag at Smith’s for about $2 or $3. Tomatoes, on the other hand are always very cheap here.  I think I only pay about $2.00 for a bag with 8 or 10 tomatoes in it.  They are usually very green when I buy them, but they ripen up quite nicely on the kitchen cabinet and we put them in or on everything.  Dad is even learning to like tomatoes on lots of things if I don’t slice them very thick.

We bought watermelons 3 times lately and they seem quite plentiful right now; so we thought it must be the season for them to be grown in everyone’s garden.  We have only found one good one.  It was seedless and cost about $6.00 and was about the same size as the smaller seedless ones at home.  The 2nd one we bought was seedless but absolutely tasteless and only pink and the 3rd one we decided to try one with seeds but it was white inside and had a million seeds and was stringy so we just threw it away without tasting it.  Since they each cost about $6 or more, we decided to forego the watermelon for our usual bananas, they are always pretty good and plentiful.  We have found a few Fugi apples lately and they are small, but really good and I don’t know how much I paid, they were by the bag and I bought 2 bags.  Oranges are pretty good here; they have the little Clementines and another thing they call Naartjie’s and another one called “easy peeler” and they are all pretty good.  They have tons of really hard to peel ones that I think people must juice out and they are really cheap and we see ladies carrying them home in big bags on their heads all the time.  The little stands along the streets are full of them right now, but don’t taste too good to me so I avoid those and go for the easy peeling kind. 

That's it for this week.
We Love You All
Mom and Dad, Grannie & PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine

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