Friday, July 6, 2012

Africa: Vision for the Future

 If you look closely, you will see these are the offices for Ethiopian and Kenya Airlines.
George & I will fly to Johannseburg on Sunday morning (July 8th)
I'm glad we will NOT be flying on these.  We will be flying on South African Airways.
Oh, wait...
They changed the name to help people forget a terrible crash a couple years ago

 This is my lucky hazel nut.
My daughter, Joanne, gave it to me many years ago.
I will keep it with me while we fly to So. Africa

 Speaking of luck.. Elder Bingham graciously accompanied four of us to shop.
He was very patient as we went into one after another of about 15 small shops like this.
All I wanted was a cotton blouse, preferably white.  No luck.
Many of the shops had "used" clothes on their racks & few selections.
I miss Nordstrom's :(

This is a South African-owned market at the other end of Trente Juin Blvd.
So it's about 5 miles and the prices are high, but it has the best pork roast in town.
Despite it's name.. it is a pretty calm place.

These are the police you MOST want to avoid, because they can actually chase and catch you.
Then they will park their motorcycle in front of your car to keep you captive.
A boot or tow truck is in your future if you resist paying the bribe.
 Here is the larger of the two policeman who stopped us a couple weeks ago.
This photo was taken on another day & I had to do it carefully.
It makes them mad and you are in BIG trouble if you're caught.

Despite the terrible reputation the police have for being mean & corrupt, there ARE exceptions.
This policeman is always at a certain intersection and is unfailingly friendly & nice.
He's so well-liked that one American (UN, I think) actually gave him his car when he left Africa.
It's always parked nearby and makes us happy to see that he was rewarded so handsomely.
(But discretion in picture-taking still seemed appropriate)
So, did I tell you the men like pink shirts?
Lavender is a close second choice.

Where do you even FIND a neon green suite?!

This woman's bag & dress ensemble is nicely done.
But, I really like the way the guy perfectly coordinated his purse to match his shirt.

It's always hard to choose the winner for "Pajama of the Week"

This contestant's shirt features what looks like big fat green lips.
Shouldn't there be extra points for that?

Another example of Congolese ingenuity... License plate too big?  No problem.

A sight we see all-too-often... a taxi can't get around all the traffic stopped at a light.
Solution:  ride the sidewalk, then do an end run AND a front run to cross 4 lanes for a U-turn.

Ta Da!! The famous "Kabila Car".  It was in the Plaza the night of Kabila's birthday.
I took video of it from our 4th floor that night and thought he was aiming a gun.
When the car pulled alongside us last week, it was a surprise to see he's just pointing.

Before the Construction Training graduation, I snapped a picture of Elder Billings & his "boys".
He and his wife previously lived very near my daughter in West Jordan, Utah. 
He taught construction at SLCC & specifically wanted to serve a mission in a 3rd-world country.
After coming here, he says that he has NEVER felt so fulfilled in all his teaching career.
The young men in the program are anxious to learn and work hard.
He loves them like sons and they love him back.
Sister Billings had a wonderful spread.  Four of us helped by making cookies.
(I assisted with serving & steered as many potential victims as possible away from mine.)
We all noted again that the Congolese women seem to have bigger appetites than the men.

The enthusiastic choir members & conductor were made up entirely of the graduates.
When it was time to pass out certificates, they were each given a surprise gift..
A large metal box full of construction tools, a huge 6' level & a framing square.
They were so happy to receive this unexpected gift.
They are now well qualified in a useful trade for opportunities to be employed.
Some will probably be hired eventually to help build the planned Kinshasa temple.

OK... so there is no subject that escapes my interest.
This is a typical Chinese-made toilet.  Perhaps you can tell how narrow the seat is.
 I guess it makes sense, because Chinese are typically MUCH smaller than Americans.

Also made in China... apparently some Chinese have square bottoms.

All the other couples' apartments boast imported FRENCH fixtures.
Not surprising that the French to literally make this item into a throne... on a pedestal.

It appears that I've actually been able to download part of this video.
The large van held a wedding party of Salvation Army members.
The men & women all wore white suits and the women had white felt bowler hats.
The van was actually ROCKING back & forth with music and singing.
They were having a great time and made us smile!

Here's a much different type of vehicle and passenger.
Every weekend this guy & a couple of his buddies take a special ride down Trente Juin.
They must pay the police to hold back some traffic from the side streets.
They start on one end and get up to at least 80-100 mph...then do the same coming back.
We saw them one day as they got up from their chairs and began getting their gear on.
I recognize the pink boots I saw that day on this guy.. (Talk about mixed signals)

If only I had a wide-angle lens to give you the full view of Kinshasa traffic.
You can only see four vehicles in this, but multiply it by ten for a truer picture.
I think I've figured out why, on top of the fast & crazy traffic, driving is hard here.
There is absolutely NO sense of "personal car-space".
Today, Aimé Ngoy, one of our Mission Office assistants (and our most careful driver)
was driving our 4-wheel drive truck when someone cut in front of him too sharply.
It took off the right fender & bumper, but the repair shop "fixed" it before day's end.
How? Two drywall screws to secure the bumper to the car & adhesive in the crack.
As it happens, the Church turns over vehicles every four years 
and we are scheduled to get a brand-new Toyota truck next week.
(Good timing!)

Don't assume that this vehicle will go slow because of the outside passenger.
They go whizzing down the boulevard with no apparent concern about Laws of Science.
(gravity, momentum, force, impact, inertia, velocity, sudden deceleration, etc)

Of course, it COULD be worse.  You could be INSIDE this one.
 Like a wobbly old person, it went carefully around this sharp turn...
and leaned so far to the right we thought it might actually just lie down on it's side.

Apparently this driver does NOT  know the way to San Jose! 

Aimé Mbui is one of many young returned missionaries who has qualified for BYU-Hawaii.
The scholarship is for need-based students, but he will contribute as much as he can.

He is now working part-time at Temporal Affairs and once a week cleaning the Mission Office.
He will leave this fall & come back someday with a good education to help make Africa better.

We're proud.. our own President Jameson represented the Church in this historic meeting.
He and Sister Jameson were well-received and had a good visit.
Although unnoticed by the world at large, 
this meeting represents part of the great progress being made in Africa.
I love the information that President Jameson shared with this man (see link below)
And wonder... what did he think as he heard these things?

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