Sunday, August 5, 2012

Week two and I think we're experiencing some of the refiner's fire that Justin described to me when he arrived at his mission in Bogota Columbia.  He had a bad rash that turned out to be fleas and lost 40 pounds.    
One pair of pants that I brought were too tight last week, but fit fine this week.  Richard and I are struggling with how different everything tastes and I tried a rice cooker we have in our apartment to make chicken and rice and it turned out quite mushy so the struggle to get some basic meals established goes on.  I often have peanut but and jam for lunch but Richard likes more variety.  On our P-day all the senior couples who can meet up for lunch and the two places we've gone have been great.  We all do some shopping for food jon Saturday morning because the stores close at 2 pm.  We have to go several places in town where it's crowded with buses, taxis, and people.  We bought a few pieces of meat from a butcher shop named Wally's and were excited to find some beef chunks to make stew, but when I cooked it this weekend, we found it has a stronger taste and much chewier texture then the beef we have in America and will take some getting used to.   The boxed milk isn't too bad as long as it's over Our Honeynut Cheerios (American brand) we found at Cost you less  It has a few American foods and is Fiji's version of Costco.  We were going to splurge and get a large plastic garbage can there, until we saw the price $35.00 (about $18.00 in American) and decided to pass on that but did get some much needed  pillows. The store should really be named Costs you more but for the American products you can get is worth it to us.

Richard went to the clinic this week and got some antibiotics to try to help his cough.  I've noticed some church members with the same cough.  There is so much air pollution from buses, taxis, and people burning rubbish that I think it must cause health problems for many of the people here.

Three of the sisters in our mission had their washing machine break down and Richard is the guy who makes arrangements for a new one to be delivered.  The store salesperson gave him a pretty good deal, but when he asked if the delivery included set up they said no, unless you want to pay an exta $179.00!  So we will be there when they deliver and hook up the hose and plug it in ourselves !

We went driving today after church because there is less traffic on Sunday and drove around one block about 4 times until we found the right street for the shop where missionary badges are engraved.  Some of the streets are one way and tricky to manuever driving on the left side of the road.  Richard was determined to be able to drive there since that is an errand he will often have to do.  The couple we replaced said that it's easier if Richard lets me out on the corner and has me go up the stairs to the shop while he goes around the block, rather than try to find parking.

I'm getting a bit nervous about the 20 new Elders that will be arriving in our mission in September since I do much of the paperwork for each of them, but the other couple in the office (the Whitings) who do the finances and medical support have been very helpful, especially with the computer programs I've had to learn in a short time.

We went to the temple for the first time on Thursday.  Another couple the Tennis's saw us go in at 3:30 and waited a few minutes outside of the temple where the Fijian members leave their shoes, and timed it so they could come in at the last minute, knowing that brother Bahn would ask them to be the witness couple and feeling that they just were too tired, so of course we were asked and didn't mind even though we were pretty tired too.  Brother Bahn said to the Tennis's "I'll get you next time"  

 You probably can't see the mongoose in this picture, he looks like a small wheasle and lives in those big green leaf plants. He comes through the chain link fence and explores our yard also.  Our neighbors on both side of us are IndoFijian, very nice but also very noisy at the crack of dawn (talking loud banging pans in their kitchen and the sound carries and makes you feel like their in your apartment with you.  Thank heaven I brought a big supply of ear plugs, because 5am is just too early for me to get up.

This is a big open field up the street from our flat.  There are big piles of dirt on the edge of the street and an orange netting.  The grass is patchy and has a lot of mud spots but every night a group of young men start coming to the field and the number grows from about 15 to at least 30 to play Rugby, even if it's raining, because lately it's always raining.

 We drove down to the tip of Suva and this is the play area by the water. The water recedes out quite a distance when the tide goes out, as you can see there are no white sand beaches is this part of town.
These big trees are all over Suva and probably were thicker in earlier years.

 There are some young men playing rugby where the water receded.  Yes the stuff you see along the sand is garbage.

This is the Votofone Arena where the Pacific games are played.

National Stadium where Rugby is played.  One of our Senior Couples likes to run and has done some marathons.  He pays the lot attendent a dollar to come in this parking lot to run so many laps while his wife walks.

 These are hard to see, I need to learn how to use the zoom on my camera.  There is a small boat by the tree and a pink  dingy in the picture below.  We heard a great story of a member who lives in a neighboring bay to the side of this picture  in a mountainous area.  When the water recedes, he walks on the exposed sand area until he gets to town, then climbs a large hill to go and attend the temple.  It is an all day commitment.  We see many of the members here make great sacrifices to go to the temple often.  The building below has a nice design, but due to all the mositure has black mild growing on it.
 There are many beautiful plants that grow here, these are in our yard.

 Some old tires were used to create planters for this bush that has both purple and white blooms and the red plants are Poinsettas.
   This house is empty right now but is up off the ground so it won't flood.  This boy was out on the sidewalk when I was taking pictures and I asked if I could take a picture of his great smile.

We took some random pictures as we drove around today. The part of Suva we live in is not the pristine white beaches that you see in the travel brochures. There is a lot of poverty, but they have strong testimonies of the gospel and sing the hymns with such energy that it puts our congregations in the United States to shame.  When we were checking the washing machine situation with the sisters on Saturday, we heard people singing next door and they said it was for a funeral.  The people of Fiji have a great spirit about them, in spite of the difficult circumstances many of them live in.  Have a good week everyone and I want to wish my grandson Hunter a very Happy Birthday from grandma and grandpa.

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