Sunday, March 6, 2016

Back to Bo for 3 Days

This was a week of getting ready to go to Bo.  The first of the week the mission took delivery of our vehicle.  It is a brand new white Nissan Navara extended cap pickup.  Seats 2 in the front and you could get 3 in the back if you wanted to be cramped.  The transmission has 6 forward gears, as well as 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive with High and Low range.  It is really ideal for hauling missionary stuff, apartment stuff, and crawling around the crazy roads in town.

We have gotten our MyFi hot spot so we can have internet where ever there is cell phone reception.

We now have a mission smart phone that can text and take pictures.  It still needs a SIMM card before it will work.  This will give both of us a phone, Elder Sherwoods with SierraTel, a dumb phone.  Sister Sherwood's a smart phone with AirTel.  In Bo, you can't call from SierraTel to an AirTel phone.  This is like not being able to call from a Verizon phone to AT&T.

With a vehicle, internet and phones, we are ready to go to Bo.  We just need an apartment.  We thought it could be ready by the end of this week, but that didn't happen.

Monday it was decided we would return to Bo on Wednesday in our pickup.  We were needed to help oversee the several projects there and to get the Elders moved from one apartment to another.  Some sisters were being transferred from Freetown to Bo and needed to be in the Elders apartment.  The Elders were moving into an apartment that had work to do on the water and electric service.  It will be big enough for 4 sets of Elders.  We also brought with us, all of the stuff to supply 3 apartments in Bo and 1 in Kenema for new missionaries.  This next week we will be getting 3 new sets of missionaries in Bo and Kenema.  Every transfer period we will be getting more missionaries as they build up the mission after being closed for several years.

Here is a day in Bo,Thursday, from Sister Sherwood's journal.  "Thursday morning Bishop Wallace arrived.  We loaded a generator, freezer, stove, and 4 mattresses into his truck.  We headed for the New London apartment to get the elders there packing up and cleaning for their move to their new apartment in the Bo Branch(Bo has 13 branches of the church, Kenema has another 7).  Then we drove to their new apartment, unloaded Bishop Wallace's truck and 1 set of supplies from our truck.

There were about 8 workers there working on the apartment,  A plumber was replacing  a toilet.  An electrician was checking all the outlets and lights, and replacing bad ones.  Another worker was welding the metal work on the front door and later painted all the metal work.

3 more workers were repairing the plastic pipes from the water tower to the house in the back yard.  It was fascinating to watch them.  They needed to connect two lengths of pipe together.  We would have used a coupler.  They didn't have one.  They built a small fire, and heated up one end of a pipe and forced it over the end of the other pipe, forcing it to "bell out".  They quickly pulled it apart, let it cool, then cemented the two together.  No need for a coupler.

At noon Sister Sherwood met with Brother Robbin-Taylor whom Sister Clawson had hired to make curtains for the several new Bo apartments.  She showed him samples, made suggestions for fabrics, lengths and curtain rods.

We then went to another future apartment and unloaded another set of supplies from our truck.  They will be stored there until the next batch of missionaries arrive from the Ghana MTC.  We then returned to the Bo Branch apartment, eating our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the way.

While we were there the water truck arrived to fill the water tank at the back.  The water tank sits atop a 10' tower.  The drive way, some years ago, was a very steep cement drive about 10 ' long.  Now the cement is long gone and it look like 3 big broken steps of dirt and rocks.  The truck was not able to get up the drive and into the complex.  It was stuck at the gate.

No problem.  They unloaded the hose from the truck, which looked like the hose from a fire truck.  When it was stretched out it reached about 2/3 of the way to the tank.  It was about 15' short.  No problem.  They pulled out another hose.  It had no connections on it.  They attached it to the 1st hose using a foot long piece of plastic pipe about the same diameter.  Using a piece of inner tube they wrapped around the hose and pipe to seal them together.  One man climbed up a ladder made of branches to the top of the water tower and got to the top of the tank.  Another man climbed up after him to the top of the tower, and handed the end of the hose to him.  It was just barely long enough to go into the top of the tank.

They then turned on the pump at the trunk and water began flowing.  Where the hose connected to the truck, water was spraying out in all directions.  Where the two hoses connected to the plastic pipe the water began spraying out and it took 4 men holding the joints to keep the hoses together while they were being drenched with water spraying.  Last of all, there was a hole in the 1st length of hose which was spraying the side of the house, almost to the roof, right into the open bathroom window.

  No problem.   The tank was filled, those hoses were rolled up and put away and with careful maneuvering the water truck was able to back out of the gate, down to the road, and was on its way.  Job Done.
At about 4:00pm, Bishop Wallace sent us back to the apartment we were staying at to get a water filtration system.  That was a challenge.  We had followed him twice to the apartment we were working at but each time he had come a different way.  Could we find our way out, and then find our way back?  No problem. It turned out to be easier than we thought it would be.  I believe we are starting to know our way around Bo.  We were glad to go because we were both needing a bathroom break and there was not one available at the Bo branch apt.

We got back with the water filter system and installed it on the kitchen sink.  By this time most of the repair work was done, so we began to sweep and dust and clean so the elders could move in.  Meanwhile Bishop Wallace was trying to get the generator working.  The motor was running but no power was reaching the house.  They were using a long romex like cable with a plug on one end and bare wires on the other.  They were putting the plug into an outlet on the house.  They were then poking the bare wires into the output connector on the generator.  No power was at the house so they figured the plug must be bad.  They cut off the plug and used bare wires on both ends poked into the connectors.  Still no power.  The electrician had no meter.  He just tried poking wires to see what worked.  Eventually they found they were using the wrong 2 of the 3 connectors at the generator.  When they put the wires in the right holes they had power and the lights went on.  Of course he didn't want any help from Elder Sherwood.  Besides the power is only 220 Volts in all the country.

About 7:00 pm the apartment was finally ready.  By 7 pm it is beginning to get dark and it is not safe to be driving.  But we needed to get the Elders moved.  We went to pick up the Elders and their food and belongings.  We moved them to the new apartment.  It was after 8;30 when we finally got to our apartment and heated up a can of pork and beans for our dinner.  It was a very long day."

We are constantly amazed at the resourcefulness and ingenuity of these people  They have so little to work with, by our standards, but they make do and get the job done.   They are a very hard working people and are good people.  They are friendly and loving and will share anything they have.  They are a very happy people  The members of the church have strong testimonies and are fully committed to the church.

On our way back to Freetown we passed these vehicles.  Thought you might enjoy.

We love you.  Have a good week.


JoDee Leahy said...

Wow! It sounds like they are keeping you guys busy and amazed. What an exciting time to be in that mission. We love you and wish you safety and adventure!

Michelle Larson said...

That is a lot of work! It is exciting to hear how things are coming together though, and that missionairies are arriving! I love that the jolly ranchers are such a success! (as if there was any doubt they would be) LOVE the pictures of the cars! Especially the bottom one...too funny! Love you!

Linda Edwards said...

Yeah, the candy made it through customs. I love getting the blog updates. I can't wait to read the next chapter in this adventure. Question: are any of the young sisters and elders from the states? Or are they from other parts of Africa?

Paul and Susan said...

The 22 Missionaries that are here now are all experienced African missionaries that have been transferred from Ghana and Nigeria missions to help us get going. 2 of them are Sisters. We have 17 more missionaries arriving today. All Elders. They are also from Ghana and Nigerian missions. Also experienced. 15 of them are from the United States. One of them is from UK and 1 from Fiji. In June we get 27 new missionaries from the Ghana MTC. They could be from anywhere.