Monday, June 5, 2017

The Gospel of Jesus Christ in Sierra Leone (Part 2)

Today we will focus on 3 new district centers being built in Bo and Kenema.  Earlier we mentioned that a second stake was being created in Sierra Leone.  That happens on June 18.  The Kissy Stake will be created.  The Freetown area will now have 2 stakes.

They are talking about 4 more stakes in our country.  Three in Bo. and 1 in Kenema.  These are not approved but three are ready to be proposed.  We are not part of that proposal, review and approval process.  They eventually will need to be approved by the Quorum of the 12 Apostles and the 1st Presidency.  But we are witnesses of the longer term preparations being done here.

In Bo they are building 2 new district centers.  In Kenema they are also building one district center.  Since Bo West district already has a nice large district center, that makes a nice size district center for all the districts in the eastern part of Sierra Leone.  Those of you that can predict the future, perhaps that says they are getting ready for 4 stakes in eastern Sierra Leone since all of these district centers are designed to be stake centers.  That is exciting to us.  We will now bore you with pictures of these 3 new District Centers.  All are scheduled for completion in the September 2017 time frame.

BO East District Center

Located on the east end of Bo, about 1/4 mile east of the current Gbondo Town chapel.  Just south of the Bo-Kenema highway.

These 3 district centers are all basically the same design.  The center building is the chapel and cultural hall.  The two side buildings contain Relief Society, Primary, classrooms, branch and district offices, baptismal font, and restrooms.

The steeple tower you can see here.  The steeple is lying on the ground in a crate.  All 3 district centers will raise the steeples this week.

This is the Relief Society building.

BO North District Center

Located on the site of the former Bo Chapel.  They leveled the old chapel and have been meeting in a temporary chapel while they are building this district center.

You can see they are getting ready to raise the steeple on Bo North.  These are all the same buildings, just a little tighter together.

 We got two pictures of the baptismal fonts on this building.  Indoors!!  Dressing rooms built in!  Not quite what they are used to here in Bo except for the Njagboima building which is already a district center.  It look like the baptismal font room is open air on the sides.

A closer look at the font.

Kenema District Center

Located at the far north of Kenema, north of the airfield and of the IDA branch and chapel.  Just west of the highway going north from Kenema.

 They are ready for the steeple here too.

We believe that is the font down near the end.  Notice the open air design.

This building is on the far north of Kenema.  The branches need to expand north so it is not so isolated.

It is very nice on the top of a small hill.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Farming in Sierra Leone

Palm Wine

We watched a guy in a palm tree outside of our compound preparing to make palm wine.  He is cutting off the fronds preparing to make a hole in the tree.  As best we understand, it is like tapping a sugar maple to get the maple syrup.  He is  tapping it to get the palm juices to make  “palm wine”.  The juice comes out white or milky.  They make a hole into the core of the tree.  They put a tap in it, collect the juice, and let it sit for about 3 days to collect and ferment.  Then they fill bottles with it and sell it.  We have been told it is good and makes them tipsy, but we have not tried it and do not intend to.  It has been fun to watch.

As you can see from the pictures they have tapped the tree and are collecting the “palm wine”.  They will collect about 2 gallons of wine from this tree.  This is a fairly short tree.  

The bottle is about 10 ft off the ground.  Some we see on the highway are very tall.  It takes about a day for it to ferment.  If they wait much longer than a day it turns to vinegar.  Every day they collect the bottles and sell them in the marketplace. 

An African Yam

Sister Sherwood was given a yam on Tuesday.  In the picture you see her holding an African Potato next to the yam.  Both of them are medium sized.  The yam is the big one.  They eat them in soups or just cooked in chunks with the soup poured over the top of them.  They also harvest the tops of the African potatoes,for potato leaf soup.  If they use the tops for potato leaf soup, they do not get any potatoes.  So they plant two gardens, one for the tops and one for the potatoes. 
All the rainy season gardens are planted and growing well now.  The swamp gardens are done and they are preparing them now to become rice paddies for the rainy season. The locally grown rice is pink instead of white.  The ground is very fertile

We planted a cornfield outside the compound this week.  It was sprouting in 3 days.  They are about 1-1/2 inches tall now.  We are looking forward to corn on the cob.  We hope we can harvest a few ears while it is still tender and milky.  Here in Sierra Leone, they harvest the corn when it is big and starchy.  Then they roast it.  We do not find it very good.  We shall see if our way works here.  It still may not be very good but at least we are going to try.  Our guards, missionaries and neighbors can harvest the rest of it after we get our early pick.