Monthly Archives: April 2010

19 – 20 April 2010

19 April 2010 – Monday

We had a very quiet Monday that we mainly spent at home relaxing, cleaning house, doing laundry, etc. I called the Mickelsens to talk about next week and found that they were both not feeling well. Sister Mickelsen said that the Coxes were also ill. We were sorry to hear about this and hope they all get well soon.

20 April 2010 – Tuesday

Medical day for us – we seem to have had a lot of these over the last 10 weeks. Today we met a group of elders at the Care Doc clinic where three of them got booster shots and one went to the eye doc. Anything we do with the elders is good fun – elder Musisi really did not like getting his shot, elder Dimene who was worried before hand came through it like a champ, and elder Moremong took his shot and his eye exam in stride. We were happy to find that elder Moremong did not need glasses but did have an infection that needed some drops to correct. He got a letter from Specsavers saying that his vision is 20/20 so he can get his drivers license without buying glasses.

We also did a number of errands including getting a sign for Esikhawini. Since it was a duplicate of one we had made for Enseleni, it only took about 4 hours from when we ordered it to when we picked it up. Elder Lieros and I had a chance to talk a little about the YSA at Port Durnford and we found that Gabi had moved back to the family homestead and had come to Church on Sunday.

18 April 2010

18 April 2010 – Sunday

It was very strange day because we did not have to rush around getting ready by 6:45 so we could be in Esikhawini by 7:30. Instead we had a leisurely morning but with a little excitement when the power went out while I was ironing my shirt. We supposed it was one of the normal shut downs that happens fairly regularly but for some reason I had the feeling that I should check our breakers. It is a good thing I did because it was just our house that had lost power and until I flipped the main breaker nothing was going to happen.

We got to RB early so we could say hello to everyone. It turned out a number of people were not there. The De Klerks did not come in because one of their sons was bitten by a very dangerous snake. President Baldwin and president Vezi were in Kosi Bay for a visit and the Duplooys were at Engwelezane so Mark could speak there.

Everything went well until just before Mary was to speak and then the power went off. This time it was not just the chapel but the whole area and it stayed off for the rest of the meeting and beyond. But we both are able to speak loud enough that everyone could hear us – except a couple of the young men who slept through the meeting. Mary’s talk was excellent and I thought mine was OK. At least it felt good and a couple of the members were nodding in agreement at the right time. Freddy came up after the meeting and said that he could hear and understand everything we said. This is not always true for him because he has to use a hearing aid and sometimes they speak so softly he can not hear.

Before the meeting I introduced myself to a woman I did not know and found that she had just came back from New Zealand where she has lived for 4 years. She said the area she lived in had about 20,000 people from South Africa and when she went to church she found out the bishop there had been one of her bishops here. She hopes to go back in a year or so with a new work visa.

I had planned to meet with Calwyn Baldwin and get some records straightened out but with the power off we could not use the computers so we changed it to Wednesday night before the meeting. Mary and sister Khumalo were going to meet with Jackie Duplooy so they could give her some training but she must have decided to go to Engwelezane with her husband.

When we drove up to the library in Enseleni we knew there was a problem because the elder’s car was parked outside the gate. It turned out that due to the municipal strike the library could not be used and we could not even meet on the grounds. So I suggested we meet at a member’s home and the elders went out and got permission to meet in the Gumede’s garage. We just held sacrament with two short talks – there were 38 members –including 5 investigators – present which is pretty good since a number of members had heard there would be no meetings today. They had the same problem in Engwelezane so they met at President Moloi’s house. They had 63 in attendance.  It shows how faithful many of the saints are in these two branches. Hopefully the strike will be settled by next week or we will not be able to show conference in those branches.

In the evening we had the elders over for dinner. I am not sure how excited some of the African elders were with roast beef – it is something they never have had before. I noticed that one did not even try it. But there was plenty of mashed potatoes – well there should have been plenty – corn, fruit salad, rolls, chocolate cake, and ice cream so I do not think anyone went home hungry.

So it was an interesting Sabbath day here in Richards Bay. There were problems but it did not stop the work from going forward.

17 April 2010

17 April 2010 – Saturday

In the morning we bought all the things we will need for feeding the missionaries tomorrow. In the afternoon we went to Esikhawini where Mary gave a number of piano lessons while I met with president Nyawo and worked on reports. I also got the new hose ready for use in the garden. Sister Mathe was there and we decided I could actually make two hoses from the 30 meter one we got.

Mary has enough students that although she started at 1:30 instead of 2:00 we did not leave the chapel until well after 4:30. Hopefully the new couple will include someone who can continue to teach piano so that by the time they leave the branch will have a number of pianists. They also need a regular chorister.

We spent most of the evening preparing our talks for tomorrow.

16 April 2010

16 April 2010 – Friday

I woke up about 4:00 and started thinking about all the things we needed to do before we go home. My mind raced from one thing to another and there was no way I was going to go back to sleep. I was thankful when it finally got to be 5:30 so I could get up and get ready for the day.

We took President Mann to the Richards Bay chapel so he could meet with the 8 elders from Empangeni. He started that early because he needs to be in Swaziland by 4:00 for appointments. We opened everything up so they could meet. Also Mary got to look at the extra Christmas ornaments the Sister Mann had sent along for the couples to look at and buy if they wanted them. Mary decided that she wanted them all. She checked with Sister Mann to make sure that was OK and we will pay her in Dr. Pepper from Ballito.

We tried to buy electricity at the municipality building but ran into a big problem. We did not realize that they were having a demonstration by the workers who are on strike and the offices were closed down. There was also trash thrown everywhere and the concrete trash containers were tipped over into the roadway which made it hard to negotiate through the area.

We worked our way out of mess and went to the store to buy a food order for Port Durnford. Mary tried to buy electricity while I did the shopping but the computer was down. Hopefully they will solve this problem before we run out of electricity. We have bought enough food orders that I can almost do it without thinking. We have decided to increase the amount of maize meal that we buy because it is really the staple of their diets.

We took the order out to Port Durnford and delivered it to the family. They always thank us and I try to remind them that it is the Lord and other members who actually provide it, we are just the delivery people. It is wonderful how the Lords program helps the worthy poor.

We stopped and talked to Bongomusa’s mother who really needs a job. We talked about her problem and said we would try to help but there was so many people needing jobs that they are very hard to get unless you have some special skills. We spent some time talking about her early life in Port Durnford. She walked to school each day with Thandi Nzama. Her children want to ride the bus and of course that takes money which they really do not have. It is a sad thing to see how little some people have to live on.

We then went back to Richards Bay to lock up the chapel. It turned out that no one had made plans to have the RB elders come back and do that. Since we were already heading that way it was not at all inconvenient.

After eating lunch we called President Vilane to make sure he was going to be at English today. He told us that due to the strike the library and everything else was locked up so not only could we not have English class they also could not have Seminary, Institute and Youth.

We had decided to go to Esikhawini and see if we could help revive the Youth program there. It seems almost no one has been coming to the meetings. I suspect it is because there was not much for them to do when they got there. We will work with the leaders and hopefully help them prepare for success.

There were only three young men and one young woman but we had a pretty good meeting. We worked on the theme for the year, the first two Articles of Faith and played Book of Mormon Bingo. We also suggested that on Sunday they talk to the youth who come to Church and see what they would like to see happen on Fridays.

15 April 2010

15 April 2010 – Thursday

We spent the morning packing up a couple of boxes that we will send home in the Mann’s container. We thought that President Mann could take them back with him after he had finished his circuit. However later I realized that they would be going to Swaziland and there was no way that they could get them over the border without a lot of hassle so we will take them to Durban next week.

We spent the afternoon in Port Durnford teaching English, having Youth and giving piano lessons. Being in Port Durnford is really a wonderful experience. It is true rural – well at least semi-rural – South Africa. Everyone knows everyone and have for years. Some of the families have had lived there for three and four generations. That is why when there is a funeral half the town is likely to show up.

Our next stop was the Richards Bay Chapel where we waited for President Mann to finish talking to the District Presidency before we went to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant at the marina. We had a good visit with him. He mentioned that after our great first quarter, it seems that Satan has tried to stop the work. Cars have been wrecked, elders have been ill, and there have been a number of companion problems. All of this causes extra problems for the President however the work continues to go forward.

The best news we heard was that there will be a couple to replace us coming in August. We will not get to meet them here but we should be able to see them at the MTC. The President also said he was promised two more couples. One will go to Bloemfontein to work with PEF and CES and one will either come here or to the Ladysmith/New Castle area. That decision will be made by the new mission president.

After dinner we all came home and relaxed. The President caught up with his e-mail and then we talked some more about what is going on in Richards Bay and throughout the mission.

14 April 2010

14 April 2010 – Wednesday

The garage door repairman came by and took the motor assembly to get it repaired. I am not sure why he did not do this when he was here yesterday, but he said that it had to do with paperwork. I guess he wanted to make sure it was under warranty.

We then had to dash to make it to Empangeni district’s DDM. Although we had to leave before it was finished they had a good meeting. Elder Kaseke gave an excellent talk on finding. After the meeting we had our Wednesday lunch at KFC and then went to Esikhawini where Mary taught English and I went to see President Machaka. We then tried to visit some of the members but everyone we tried was away for the day. We then went back to President Machaka’s tuck shop so I could reimburse the elders for getting their fridge repaired. As I have mentioned before I often feel like a mobile bank. But I am glad to be able to do this so that things can get done.

There is a municipal strike going on and this includes the trash collectors. As part of their demonstration they throw trash all over the streets. One side of the Esikhawini loop looked like a giant trash can. Hopefully they will get things settled before it gets too bad.

Rhinos, Warthogs, etc.


We saw three sets of rhinos. The first pair were so far into the grass that we never got a good shot. The two on the left above were just off the road. The group of 5 or 6 in the other two pictures were gathered together – something we do not often see. They are amazing animals and move very quickly for something that large.


Warthogs come in all sizes but the old boy on the left was the biggest I have seen. He was big enough that at first I thought he was a small rhino. I think the one in the middle is a mother because she was herding along four little ones. These ugly beasts have become one of my favorite African animals.


Mary caught a good picture of the one monkey we saw. The center picture is one of the donkeys that hang around one of the group of buildings in the reserve. I usually do not bother to take pictures of impalas but this buck had a nice set of horns and was willing to pose for me.

Elephants –


We always know that every game drive is different and sometimes we will see lots of elephants and sometimes we are lucky to see one. The last time we were at Umfolozi we basically ended up in a herd of elephants by the river. This time we were lucky to see two and both at a distance. This one crossed the road about 300 yards from us and by the time we got to where he crossed he was moving away. We have lots of shots of the back end of animals and elephants have really big ones.


We were only about 2 kilometers from the exit when we came across this young elephant spraying water over itself. By the time we got to where we could take a picture it had started to move away from the water hole. At least this time we got a couple of shots of its side instead of its rear.

Helicopter Roundup


We came across a herd of wildebeests enjoying their lunch. Then we saw a helicopter weaving back and forth over the river valley.


The first animal that came running by was an impala in a real hurry. It was soon joined by the wildebeest and finally there came a large herd of Cape buffalo that was being rounded up by the helicopter and moved to an area where they could be innoculated – or so we were told as we left the park.

Tall Tails – Giraffes


The picture on the left shows a bird perched on one of the horns – sometimes there are a half-dozen birds pecking away on one giraffe.



I mentioned it before but I will again say that a baby giraffe falls about 6 feet when it comes out of the womb…talk about getting slapped on the back.