Thursday, August 28, 2008

Number One Son-in-Law - Happy Birthday, Kelly

For many years I could refer to Kelly as my favorite son-in-law. Of course that was because he was my only son-in-law at the time. Now that Alicia and Haylee are also married, I guess it wouldn't be polite to say that he is my favorite. But he will always be my number ONE son-in-law. I wish I had more silly pictures of him on my computer. Almost every picture I have of him was taken with Heidi and the girls. This one, wearing the classy paper Jelly Belly hat while at the Jelly Belly factory is pretty special. Kelly's such a good sport. He's a great husband and father, and we are grateful to have him in our family.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Progress Report on New Mission Building Lagos Nigeria

This series of pictures shows workers at the new Mission Building and some of the progress. According to "Lucky" the project Superintendent, "the building is virtually finished" and he is being moved to a new project in the Capital City, Abuja. The first picture is a partially completed "Car Park". That's what they call a parking lot. The men are playing football, or soccer as we call it. Not many minutes after I took this photo, Lucky took their football and locked it in his office. His office will be the office of one of the Mission Presidents, when they turn the building over to us. The parking lot is made from interlocking pavers, very similar to what we use at home. The curb looking thing on the left of the first picture is made from pre-formed slabs of concrete held in place by concrete that they mix on the ground on the job-site. It is then carried on the heads of the workers, in buckets, to the place they "pour" the concrete from the bucket to the place they want it. This entire building has been built, one bucket of cement at a time. There have been no truck load pours like we do in the U S. They have worked for weeks preparing the ground underneath the parking lot. They have had a small diesel powered roller, vibrator on the job most days. The only days the machine was not working were rainy days when the machine would have gotten stuck.

The second picture shows the exterior of the couples' end of the building. The two Presidents' apartments go all the way across the area to the left, from this side to the back side and then half-way up the side opposite this view. Their apartments are very large, very spacious, four bedroom "flats", as they are referred to here.
The main thing I wanted you to see in the pictures with the scaffolding was the lack of any boards to walk on. The only place I have seen the scaffolding supporting boards of any kind, has been where the painters are. Most of the time the workers stand with bare feet on the bars and do their work.
This picture shows the way they make parking stalls. Colored pavers define the parking spaces. Not Yellow Paint to weather and wear off-over time. These babies stay that color forever.
The green Honda belongs to "Lucky" the Superintendent of the project. It gets washed every day, whether it needs it or not. Some Nigerians ("Lucky" is one) earn a lot of money. Their cars and how they are cared for is one of the indicators of their income. If you click on this picture to enlarge it, the large pile of sand just to the left of center is the final sand the interlocking pavers rest on. It is leveled by hand with very long straight boards. One man lays down every paver. Others bring the pavers in wheel barrows and stack them up at intervals so the paver dude just reaches out and he has all the pavers he needs right at hand

6 Months Today

We entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center) 6 months ago. I will admit the time has gone very quickly. That should give me hope that I will soon be home because I am feeling homesick today. I know that seem ridiculous for a grown-up, rational adult to be homesick. Our kids have been so great to send pictures, emails, etc. The problem is that I want to see first hand the remodel project at Kurt's house. I want to smell the newness. They can't capture that in the pictures. I want to hear Tyson's laughter as he rides that 2 wheel bike all by himself. I want to see the concentration on Megan & Kayleigh's faces as they perform at their piano recital. I want to be in the pool with Amber and Brianna as they dive for rings at Grandma's pool and try to race them to the bottom of the deep end. I want to see Dylan's gecko eat bugs and listen to Ethan say "you know what grandma?" I want to talk to them all and hug them all so they don't forget me. I know Cassie, Emmett and Miriam will consider me a stranger when I return, but they are young. Oh woe is me, I miss having play time with the kids. I guess I'd better grow up and go fix lunch and end this pity party. Time to think positive thoughts - the sun is shining in Lagos today. We are going to the produce stand and grocery store. I can buy more cookies. Life is still OK.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

First-Class Daughter - Happy Birthday, Heidi!

This is me (Linda) with my three daughters. The #1 girl at our house is Heidi, and this photo was taken shortly after her mission. She just attended her 20th High School reunion, and she still looks cute and young.
Here she is on the right with her sisters. This was taken right after Alicia returned from her mission. Heidi's sisters caught up to her in stature, but I think they look up to her in every way!

Heidi with husband, Kelly, and daughters, Amber (up top) and Brianna (below). Family is a top priority to Heidi. She is a very involved mother. She is helpful to all, and we hope she has a very happy birthday.

More Happy Birthday to Heidi

Heidi, chillin' out with Amber and Brianna at Grandma's pool in Sacramento.
Heidi is always thoughtful of others. She took the time to have her grandma take her and the girls to the California State Capital Bldg. where my mom worked.
I would say this is probably Heidi's favorite place on earth to be - right in her own home!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lizard Line-up

Even though lizards are a fairly common sight, I've never seen three all lined up nice like this. They are fun to watch, even if they are creepy. The video shows the big daddy lizard doing his head-bobbing routine. They are comical. If the background seems a little noisy to you, that is what a typical street sounds like here. We don't live in a quiet country village, you know.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

African Relief Society Enrichment Meeting

I have really enjoyed getting to know the ladies in my Relief Society. They are a fun, social bunch of ladies. Today was an Enrichment meeting. They are not as well attended as back home, but it was fun nonetheless. They were teaching how to cook BANGA JOLLOF RICE, which a traditional spicy African rice dish. We had it twice last week. I tried to take down directions and list all the ingredients, but I don't think I can find many of the ingredients at home. Sister Gold is our leader, and she is the one doing the cooking here. The red and white think is a kerosene single burner cooker. Most homes would have something similar (remember no dependable electricity, no natural gas). We are spoiled with a nice propane stove.

The video shows a sister mashing the cooked palm fruit to extract the red oil. The palm fruit is the size of a extra extra large olive. They grow in large clusters at the top of palm trees. I noticed them on a tree in Hilo, Hawaii, but didn't know they were. Anyway, after mashing the things, then water is added and swished around and poured into a pot. This is done several times. The rest of the smashed stuff is saved to use for something else. Then she added ground fresh tomato, ground crayfish, ground locust bean (smells just like bad stinky feet!), salt, curry powder, thyme. After that cooked for a little bit, then she put in sliced onions, scented leaf that was somewhat dried and and cut up. Of course there were no measured quantities! Next the rice gets rinsed two or three times to get rid of some of the starch. This then got partially cooked. Then she took it off the cooker and poured off the water, added new water and stirred it around and then drained off that water. Then she started added the soup stuff to the rice until she had the right amount and continued the cooking process. That is how you get spicy rice that isn't all stuck together in a big gooey glob. I was so glad that I went because it was neat to learn something new, even if I probably won't ever be able to replicate it. The video shows the pounding of the palm fruit. You will notice that they also use the "5 second rule" here when food hits the floor.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Traveling Sandwich Shop

It is a fairly common sight to see women carrying a tray of bread on their heads. Some are selling the loaves, but these ladies also have mayonnaise and butter on their trays. They cut a slice of bread about 1 inch to 1 1/4 inch thick and spread the stuff on. I don't know how they avoid salmonella in the mayonnaise after a couple of hours in the sun, but it doesn't seem to be a problem. It's not anything that I want to try while I'm here, though. I prefer tuna on wheat toast to go with my mayo.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

African Cement Mixer

We met this young man several months ago. What the pictures show is cement mixing, African style. They measure the batch ingredients on the ground including the powdered cement. They make a little crater in the middle of the pile and then add water, gradually. They mix the pile with a shovel, by hand. When the consistency is what they want, they stop and kind of organize it into a neat mound. When the cement is needed on the project, other workers with buckets come and haul the mixed cement to the appropriate place on the building project. There was a real cement mixer on the Mission Building project when we came, but it has been gone for about 2 months. We never saw cement delivered in a truck all mixed up. We have never seen a cement truck anywhere. The neat stacks of blocks to the right of the cement and buckets are pavers. They will be a portion of the "floor" of the parking lot. They call it the "car park". This process has been going on for the past month and a half. The building was supposed to be finished at the end of June. It looks like it might be finished late this year or early next year.

The young man is married and has a baby girl. He is not typical of the Africans. They marry late in their 20's at the earliest and most do not marry until they are in the mid-thirties. The pavers are leaning against a storage container the Lagos West Mission uses for books, pamphlets, water filters etc. The picture with the young man on the right with vehicles behind him is a view of our short street. We take this street and turn to the left to get out to the famous "Opebi Road".