This weekend started Friday night at the Ngaba Ward. The Young Single Adults (YSA) invited the Hatch's, they are the office couple, to teach them dances. (For John Standing - it is the obvious mistake, a white man teaching a black man to dance.) They are young for senior missionaries. They are from New Mexico and are really fun. They love to run, dance, and have a good time. What makes them more fun is that they do not speak a word of French, but communicate extremely well. They just use enthusiasm and speak loudly. Well, anyway, we all loaded up, the Hatch's, the Binghams, who are the humanitarian couple, and us, and off we went.
The kids loved it. We taught the Cotton Eyed Joe, The Virginia Real, and some weird cha cha dance that the Hatch's brought from New Mexico.
They asked us to come back next week and do it again. Actually, next weekend is the Masina stake YSA activity, so who knows. We are invited to that activity also. Suzanne is playing for a girl who will sing, and we may have to dance again.
Saturday am, we decided to go see a near by monkey reserve. On the way we stopped by a potential clean water well project. As we can see from the pictures they have an extraordinary farming project. With the hot weather, and the rain, the soil can grow crops if taken care of. This land was terraced and made available to the families in the area. They rent space, grow crops, and then use, trade, or sell what they can.
The crops are watered by a series of ground springs. It is these springs that the humanitarian couple have proposed for a six water site project. The people now draw their water from springs that are contaminated by the ground and surrounding environment. We saw women and children who walked several kilometers to collect water. Note: there are no pictures of the people or the springs as they asked us not to take their pictures.
Kasava is the main crop grown here, but there was also celery, chard, etc. Also, bananas, Papayas, coconuts, and pineapple. We purchased several of the fruits.
On down the road towards the monkey preserve, we passed the orphanage that the office staff has sort of adopted. We had to go there, Suzanne and I had not visited it. When we arrived, we met a woman we know who works with adoptions. She was there with a couple from Bend, Oregon who were picking up the little girl they had adopted. It was a rare occasion. The lady from Bend had brought dolls from home for each child, you will see them in the picture.
Mom and Sister Hatch sang with the children. About 30 children. It was very clean and well organized. Last week, the Hatch's and the mission presidents wife (Pam Headlee) took our some little tables and some small soccer balls. The play area is on a hill and the balls roll down onto a road below. So, next week we are going to build a fence around the play area to keep children and balls in play.
There was a new little child there who was ill - probably malaria. I have said before that we do not have the remitting/recurring type that you see in the Pacific area, but still the little guy was sick - probably taking him to the hospital tonight. Medication usually clears it up. Elder Bingham, the humanitarian Elder is about 6'5'' and a gentle giant. For you Greshamites, he is Lindsy Holmes' uncle. The little guy really took to him. Here is a tender photo of them.
Well, then we went on and found a quite pretty place and took some pictures.
We never got to the Monkey Retreat, it was too late, and we had to get back for Young Women and basketball with the young men, so we came home.
Tomorrow is stake conference at the Masina Stake, and we have been invited by the stake president, I hope that doesn't mean he will call on us to speak. That usually means me, since I am the only Francophone.
So, it is a pretty full weekend. Next weekend will be also. Then we start a series of Career Workshops on the next several Saturdays.
We love it here and are grateful to have been called to Africa.