Daily Archives: April 13, 2010

13 April 2010

13 April 2010 – Tuesday

Exactly one year ago we left our boarding in Swaziland and traveled down to Richards Bay. It was the last day of the holiday and the roads were packed. It did not help that they were also re-building the main hi-way so that there was only a one road shared by traffic in both directions for 80K.

Elder s Hafen and B met us at McDonalds and took us to our temporary boarding and helped us get settled in. What a blessing they were for us as the Swaziland Wilsons were just a couple of months before.

Now we know the area so well that for the most part I do not really think about where we going. Of course it helps that Mary seems to be a human GPS and gets us within striking distance of almost any place we have been before.

Mary had an early appointment at the hospital and then we took some time to clean house. I know we should have done this on P-day but we just could not face it yesterday. I found that sometime yesterday I had accidently turned off my cell phone. Luckily we missed only one important call. President Vilane needed help with a food order. Since we were going to Enseleni to meet with him in the afternoon, we just left an hour early so we could buy and deliver the order.

We have bought so many food orders at the store that the cashier automatically called over the manager so we could get the 5% discount that they give to pensioners – they know we often buy for them. I had forgotten all about it. A little later I was checking out our personal order and another cashier reminded me that the last time I saw her I had commented on how tired she looked and today she felt and looked great. We are going to miss these folks – after shopping at the local store in Provo for 25 years, the cashiers still are not as friendly as they are.

We delivered the food order and then spent some time talking to the members who were out and about. Mormon row has 5 LDS families in a row of 8 or 9 houses. We had a short visit with Mama Zulu and then a much longer one with Queen Seoka. This last was very important because I found she worked in the local clinic as a registered nurse. It turned out she should be able to help sister Vilane get a job either in the clinic or at one of the local government hospital.

We then went over to President Vilane’s where we did the branch quarterly report and finished the audit report. When we were finished and getting ready to leave he asked if we could drop him at the bank in Richards Bay. Of course we were happy to do this but first we stopped so he could talk to Queen about sister Vilane getting a job at the Richards Bay hospital.

By the time we were through and had dropped off President Vilane I got a call from the garage door installer and he wanted to come by and check out the problem. So we went home and I dropped off Mary before going to get the car washed. It was really dirty after our trip to the game park yesterday.

The repairman came and plugged the opener back in and of course it started working fine. I was just starting to feel really foolish when it started making the noise it had before and smoking. So it seems that the motor is blown and they will try to get a new one in tomorrow.

Earlier when I was waiting for Mary I felt I should call Bongani out in Esikhawini and see how he was doing. He was excited to talk to me and said that once again he had gotten an answer to his prayers about the Book of Mormon being true. I told him we would try to get out and see him tomorrow. Hopefully this time his faith will be strong enough that he will come to church on Sunday.

I am reading some of the volumes of Lunds “The Work and the Glory.” Some of the volumes seem to have disappeared from the library at Esikhawini so I only get to read about every other volume but that is OK because I do know the story. I find reviewing the history of the Church this way is quite spiritually uplifting. Sharing the story through the Steeds is a good way to ‘live’ the experiences of many of the early saints.

For the second day I spent well over an hour working on pictures. Some day I might even get them posted on our blog.

12 April 2010

12 April 2010 – Monday

We were up early and made it to Umfolozi game reserve before 7:00. We have gone so often that the woman ranger at the desk know the make and color of our car. It turned out to be a perfect day to be in the park. The sky was clear but it was not too warm.

For the first three hours we did not really see that many different animals. We did see lots of giraffes and zebras, but the most interesting things we saw were birds. We came across four or five varieties that we did not recognize and we got to take some good pictures.

It was not until we left Sontuli picnic area that things really started to happen. First we saw our first rhinos but they were deep in the grass and it was impossible to get good pictures. But then we heard and saw a helicopter circling around and soon we could see it was herding a large herd of Cape buffalo to some part of the park. Along with the buffalo were impalas and wildebeests. I took a short movie of the helicopter doing its job. As we left the park I asked the rangers if they knew what was going on and they said they were pushing them to a corral where they could be given shots against disease.

A little further along we were going through herds of friendly impalas and zebras when a young elephant came out of the brush and walked across the road about 300 yards in front of us. By the time we got to where he crossed he was well on his way to wherever he was headed. He was walking a very steady and determined pace. I later wondered what would have happened if we had been sitting right where he crossed the road – I am not sure we would have been much of an obstacle for him.

It got better even better after that as we saw a car stopped on a bridge crossing as dry river bed. It turned out they had located two lions sitting in the grass. One was a young lion of probably a year or so and the other was a good looking older male. We got some good pictures and at one point I found myself looking the older male right in the eyes as he was looking for a way across the road we were on. He decided not to cross right there and moved back into the bush instead of going over the car.

After that we saw a nice group of 5 or 6 rhinos lounging under some trees, a couple more lions, and then another single elephant. We also ran across a herd of zebras where they had pretty much paired off and were resting their heads on each others backs. I never did figure out why – maybe so they could brush flies off each other’s face? It really was quite interesting to see.

The drive home took a little longer than our morning drive to the park, but we enjoyed looking at the landscape of Africa along the way. So ended one of the best P-days of the year.

11 April 2010

11 April 2010 – Sunday

Mary had an early appointment to get her incision re-packed so we were out of the house by 6:15. It took longer than we expected but even so we were the first ones there for Esikhawini’s PEC meeting. I had told President Nyawo that we would not be picking him up but a little before 8:00 I called to find out where he was. It turned out he was having a problem getting a taxi so I went and got him after all.

After PEC we stayed and had sacrament meeting there. It is too bad we do not get to meet with the members of the branch more often. They are a great group of people but we do not know them as well as we should. The attendance was very low – hopefully because it was the last day of the vacation.

After sacrament we went to Enseleni. The number of primary age children that showed up was amazing. They just kept coming in – mostly after the meeting had started. But this is not unusual since most of the adults come late also. By the time sacrament was over there were about 60 attending – about half of which went to the primary.

President Baldwin was the District speaker and he gave an excellent talk on service. He is one of the best speakers I have heard and most of it is done without referring to his talk or notes. Included in his talk were parts on patience and diligence – the two areas of the resent General Conference that I found especially important to me.

I went to AP lesson and as usual enjoyed it very much. Khulekani does a very good job of teaching. He works very hard at getting everyone involved in the lesson. He asks lots of questions and if someone is not participating he will ask one or two to them.

After the meeting I made it a point to go and thank the Primary teachers for the way they work with the 25 or more children they get each week. They are really amazing young women.

10 April 2010

10 April 2010 – Saturday

We got a call from the elders saying that the appointment with the Shandu group had been cancelled. This was very discouraging as we had thought they were really golden contacts. Later we found out they cancelled because one of the sons could not be there. They said that the group was reading and talking together and looked forward to seeing us again. I told them we would try to get out to see them during the week.

But it was probably a good thing that they cancelled because one of the branch presidents called and said a member needed a food order. Since we had an open morning we took care of their needs before going to Esikhawini so Mary could meet with Sister Khumalo to plan for the District RS conference in May. After the meeting she gave piano lessons to the four of her 6 students. They are all progressing but Sazi seems to be the most likely to become an actual pianist for the branch.

After piano lessons we went to the Richards Bay chapel to pick up some paperwork that needed to go out to the branches. While we were there we found out that Jackie Deplooy is the new RS president and so they set up a time to train her.

We then had dinner with the Griesmers at Ocean Basket. Sister Griesmer order a seafood platter for one and it had enough food on it for two or three people. I do not think she will order it again. After dinner we all went up to Engwelezane to drop in on the Youth activity that they were having. They had it at a private home and of course the boys stayed in one area and the girls in another. We left before we found out if they at least ate together. I was able to give president Mngadi his audit and quarterly report forms and told him I would like to get them back by Thursday. We then wound our way home through the now very dark landscape and arrived home at about 8:30. It was a good day even if we did not get to teach.

On our way to Enseleni we came across a crew cutting one of the many tree farms along the road. It was the first time we actually could stop and watch them work. It is really amazing how quickly they can cut down the trees and strip them of their branches and bark. Of course everything is done with large pieces of specialized equipment and it takes only one or two minutes to take care of each tree.