Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good People Everywhere. LDS in Nigeria, 1989-1991

After writing in the March 1989 Ensign, Ann Laemmlen wrote another article discussing her time in Nigeria in the Nov 1989 New Era -- the Church's youth magazine.
When I was first asked to go to Nigeria, I was under the impression that I would be going into the bush of Africa to save the dying children. My colleague and I arrived on the scene with our cases and boxes of supplies and comforts and equipment and stuff. And in our books and materials, we thought we had all the answers to the world’s problems. We were ready and willing to find and point out all of the problems of the Nigerian people so we could proceed to solve them.
It didn’t take us long to realize that we were the ones that needed help. We were the ones having a hard time surviving. We were the ones having a hard time coping with life in Nigeria, not the Nigerians. I began to realize that differences are relative. Slowly, as the months went by, I began to see that I was just as different from Violet as she was from me, and I discovered an equality in our differences.
She goes into modest detail about the differences between her life and the life of her friend Violet, starting from her morning's rush when her compound has electricity while Violet is out gathering water to the Saturday preparations for the Sabbath.
Heavenly Father’s creations show that he delights in variety and in differences. I want to delight in the same. As I am home now, among my own people, I try hard to appreciate differences in people and in experiences, and I try hard to learn from them. As I do this, I find my abilities are increasing, my life is becoming fuller, and I am understanding more about the one thing I hold in common with every other person on this earth: I am a child of God.

Gospel Pioneers in Africa, 1960-1980

Dale LeBaron, a professor at BYU, was the mission president of the only LDS mission in Africa when the 1978 revelation was received, allowing all worthy male members of the church to hold the priesthood. He got funding to go back ten years later to record some of the oral histories of people who had since joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this article, he confirms the efforts of Pres. McKay to send missionaries to Nigeria as early as 1960, but the Church was unable to obtain visas at that time.

He records a number of remarkable experiences that I haven't shared here yet, in addition to that of Brother Obinna that I already recorded here in detail.

In Ghana:
Joseph W. B. Johnson ... was converted after prayerfully reading the Book of Mormon in 1964. He relates that following his conversion “one early morning, while about to prepare for my daily work, I saw the heavens open and angels with trumpets singing songs of praise unto God. I heard my name mentioned thrice: ‘Johnson, Johnson, Johnson. If you will take up my work as I will command you, I will bless you and bless your land.’ Trembling and in tears, I replied, ‘Lord, with thy help, I will do whatever you will command me.’ From that day onward, I was constrained by the Spirit to go from street to street to deliver the message that we had read from the Book of Mormon. ...

Welcome to the Neighborhood 1

What does Yola look like? Here are some shots taken from different cars as we zoomed by over the last year. I notice that most of my pictures were taken early in our time here, while the grass was green. I'll do another post with some of the drier, dustier Yola I know now. The grass is just beginning to appear. 

Nearly all pictures are along the road from my home to AUN.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday, the special day

I got Joy out of the house for a few hours today. She's at a thing learning how to make Thai food in Nigeria. We three are having our fun own style. (Prince is in the background dancing but you can't see him.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I have a new game

I really like getting into clothes drawers and boxes of clothes. I pull the clothes all out and show them to mommy. Today, I reached into the drawer, but it was empty! I felt around a moment, then pulled my hand out to show mommy the "dress" I wasn't holding. I laughed and reached in again. I pulled out dress after pretty, imaginary dress for her to laugh over. It was a good game.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Little Princely Moments

During scripture time, he writes. Often, he
writes numbers and letters over and over.
In addition to some stories, I recently figured out how to upload iPad pictures to my PC, so now everyone else can enjoy some of the pictures I've taken throughout the year from the kids and Yola. Here are pictures of Prince throughout the year.


Prince got his second Student of the Month scholarship award from school. He is very eager to go to the Club to get his chocolate reward.


We have a little family-Primary for Prince each Sunday. We're teaching him the songs the regular Primary is learning every month. That is probably his favorite part. Every time it's his turn to choose the song for family time, he chooses one of the Primary songs we've learned. He wanders the house singing "As a Child of God," "Choose the Right," and "Stand for the Right." This month we're working on "To Think about Jesus."

Another wonderful development this month is that he has vaguely discovered different pitches. His voice actually moves up and down notes when he sings, usually anyway.

Prince playing with a lot of friends who just wandered by.
He was playing with one, then the others came to get him
to come home ... and stayed to play.

During Primary, Joy mentioned the possibility of catching an insect. Prince was worried that we would need air holes or the animal couldn't breathe. He had learned about that at school.

Well, Saturday we caught a lizard.

"Inside our house!" Joy emphatically adds. "Well, we didn't go hunting outside. We didn't have to." I caught him in a paper towel under a suitcase.

Enjoying a rare car ride to the Austins for
church in October
We put a little water in a Nutella jar and poked some air holes. The lizard didn't do an awful lot, just stared out at us. Prince named him "Boy" because Austin the Backyardigan named his pet dinosaur "Boy." He was a little concerned that Boy didn't drink all his water that day. We let Boy go free last night after Prince was asleep. He knew this would happen and was okay with it).

LDS in Nigeria: New Area Authorities

Among the men called to the Quorums of Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the last general conference are these Nigerian gentlemen:

Aniefiok Udo Inyon, (right) 56, Uyo, Nigeria; university lecturer, University of Uyo; former stake president, bishop, and branch presidency member; wife: Nse-Obong Aniefiok, five children.

Adeyinka A. Ojediran, (left) 44, Lagos, Nigeria; SNR-Psc budget coordinator, Shell Nigeria E & P Company; former mission president's counselor, bishop, branch president, and stake president; wife: Olufunmilayo Ojediran, one child.

Also in Africa, brethren were called from the DRC, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. A complete listing can be found here. More posts on the LDS Church in Nigeria are here.

Of all the things I've lost...

Last week, the AC (power) adapter for the iPad AUN gave me died. We can't find a replacement in town, of course. I can still recharge it, very slowly, by plugging it into the computer for 24-someodd hours. Overall, we have lucked out greatly. The electric supply is not only unpredictable, it is erratic in how strong it is. There are surges that can easily fry electronic equipment, even when it's plugged into a stabilizer AND a surge protector ... like my AC adapter. So far, we've only lost that and two AUN cords for my computer and the latter AUN replaced.

... I miss my mind the most
Labor is cheap around here. So it would have been totally possible for us to repair Joy's shoes. But someone seems to have thrown them away. I don't ever keep track of her shoes to know when one needs to be thrown away and she wouldn't have. Our only guess is that the maid threw them out... but that means Joy is down to only a pair of sandals and a pair of church shoes that haven't broken.

Our camera died. No idea how since it's never plugged into the wall. It just won't work anymore. So the only pictures we're getting now are on my iPad. Or the DS, but we're having trouble transferring DS pictures to computers or Facebook.

But the thing I miss the most is my Eagle project. [As I type this, I can hear my mother gasping.] I've been working on that for half of my life. It's a cross-stitch/needlework project of an eagle soaring over mountains and forests with a rainbow. I started it after I got my Eagle Scout award. I work on it off and on (mostly off, clearly). I took it with me to Ethiopia in February to work on during flights and at the hotel. I know it made it out of Ethiopia. I'm almost most positive it made it to the hotel in Abuja.... But we can't find it anywhere here. We spent the whole time between general conference sessions looking for it, but I can't find it anywhere.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How Hot is It?

No I am not going to give you any statistics or even any numbers, but I thought it was so funny what happened the other morning.
Derrill came to talk to me after his shower and said “The water was cold. Quickly take a shower if you want to have the water cold.” He explained that the rain in the middle of the night had cooled things off enough for the water to cool down. Just as amazing Derrill said that he took advantage to the cold water (he usually just wants hot). It is hotter than it was in my hottest area in Costa Rica on my mission where we bathed twice a day to cool down. We bath here to get clean.
Prince hates hot water, but by the time we want to give him a bath the water is too warm for him to stand it. Luckily the water in our bathroom is not as warm in the heat of the day, so we have been giving him showers.
After a bath it is really hard to dry off. I do my best, but I am constantly forgetting which parts of my body I got dried already because of sweat accumulation. Infact I am getting so used to sweating that I do not always turn on the AC, feeling that it doesn’t make that much of a difference (it has been some better since Derrill has been doing his magic). If I really want to feel like the living room is cooler, I need to spend some time in our hot kitchen then it feels really great in the living room.
What has helped a lot if to hang out with princess in her room, it is smaller and there is less work that needs to be done by her AC which now actually works for the first time since we moved here. Yeah for getting it fixed.
Please come and visit us any time, we have plenty to drink Open-mouthed smile. Love you all (I am really hoping to acclimatize to it one day)
Good to go to the kitchen for awhile, relative heat. Often coller outside because there is air movement.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Prince paints Easter eggs

Lacking all the typical decorating devices, we pulled out some washable paint and let Prince have at it. He enjoyed it so much, he was actually willing to try an egg today at lunch!

Unlike her brother, Princess eats eggs heartily and happily. She has about an entire egg for breakfast every morning. The other day when Joy commented on how much Princess likes eggs, Prince said, "Well, that's convenient." *lol*

Our good friends in Russia have a wonderful post about our mutual troubles dealing with brown eggs. The main difference is that instead of buying eggs in packs of ten, we buy them in flats of 30, also handed to us in plastic bags. Our neighbors are conscientious about cleaning the eggs before selling them to us, but there are the more-than-occasional egg with feathers glued on by chicken poop. I am very envious of the wonderful egg wrappers they have. Prince, however, looking at their pictures, said he most liked the cheesy American wrappers.

The Zen of Air Conditioner Maintenance

We are blessed with 5 industrial-grade air conditioners in our home. There's the normal-looking AC unit inside, and a large fan outside connected to each. We are blessed that we don't have to pay the electric bill either (either for the national electricity, when it's on, or for the two generators that keep the lights on when it's not).

As the dusty season finally draws to a close and the hot season begins, we've needed to call on our air conditioners a bit more than previously. We've also needed to get used to our faces being rivers of sweat much of the day. My shirts are discovering new sweat lines I never knew I had.

We also seem to remember that our ACs used to work better than they do now. We call in maintenance, and they just tell us that it's on and there is at least modestly cool air coming from it, so they won't do anything. Grrr.

But one time when a guy was here, he did something! I watched. He took up the outlet hose, where the water is supposed to exit, and he stuck it in his mouth. He sucked on it as hard as he could, then gagged and choked out the yucky thing that he extracted. Water then flowed out of the outlet hose and the AC worked.

Lesson Number 1: When you are sucking the marrow out of life, you sometimes get a hairball.

I asked him, "So the next time we have this problem, should I do that?"

He looked very uncomfortable. It was part 'I'm a professional, you're not'; part 'this really isn't pleasant, kid', and partly something I had recently read in a book: the working classes in Britain hate to see one of the aristocracy doing any real work. That last is a look I've gotten to know fairly well. "Um ... no, sir" was his eventual answer.

I have since learned that when I do this, I also clamp my teeth shut. It increases the chance that whatever gunk comes out gets trapped between teeth and gums instead of going straight down to my lungs.

Lesson Number 2: "Stuff" Happens. If you grit your teeth, not as much of it will get in your mouth.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Maid Stayed

We finally hired a maid. She makes our home so much more like a heaven. We started looking for her in January, interviewing and testing the ladies that we interviewed. The doctor we see for the children suggested that we have our maid take a test for HIV, Tuberculosis, and Hepititus B so that our children would be safe or safer Open-mouthed smile.  I had not thought HIV would be a problem, but he said that if their immune system is having that much problems they could have other health problems that would be bad for our children.

We interviewed 4 ladies. Two passed the tests and two did not. It was really sad telling one lady that she had HIV. [DW - Joy did a real service for her, not only giving her that sad information, but helping her learn about where to go for free medical attention and some help.]

[DW - I'll also add that the hiring process was odd. In a place with so much unemployment, you would think it pretty quick to find help when you're offering more than the minimum monthly wage for 1/4 time. AUN's HR department sent us a person or two to consider, and we otherwise talked to locals to ask if they knew someone who was looking. The silly answer is: OF COURSE they know someone. Everyone knows someone. One of our guards was actually modestly offended that we didn't ask him if he knew someone because he knows someone. On the other hand, all these referals and we only ended up with four people who took the time to show up for the interview in the first place over a period of three months, and only ONE of them who would return our calls in a timely manner. But, back to Joy:]

The first lady who passed the physical tests never got back to me about them. I thought I would hear from her by the weekend. That weekend I spoke to my contact about her and he said that she had gotten the test results, that they were possitive, and she was waiting to contact me. I texted her and told her that I needed to hear from her by Monday if she was still interested in the job. I didn’t hear anything. Two or three weeks later she sent me a text to call her. That was weird. We were already well on our way to finding the woman that works for us now.

From the same contact, a bus driver at Derrill’s school I met Zainab who thankfully passed the tests and is now working for us on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Our home is so much cleaner and I am so grateful that we can have her help. We started her one week probation period before we received all of the results.

The day before she was to get the last result I told her I was praying that she would pass the test.  She responded that she was fasting about it. Heavenly Father has really blessed us. She does cleaning that I just wasn’t getting to and I feel much less overwhelmed with the cleaning and happier when I do some cleaning. Also Derrill doesn’t need to pick up so much of the slack. I just wasn’t doing any cleaning (only laundry) it was a mess.

Yay for wonderful Zainab. My children are getting to know her and we hope to keep her around for along time to come.

[DW - Because we've been discussing Jesus' death and resurrection this week, Prince has been very concerned about the possibility that he or we will die. He had decided, though, that if Mommy and Daddy died, Zainab would take care of him. So, yes, she is already becoming a favorite of the children. We explained to Prince that we had better plans for him than that and explained some of them.]

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Princess on the move

Princess is starting to point. She has learned that if she waves her hand a certain direction she can go where she wants to go or get something she wants to get. The first time she did that was this week. I was starting to notice it at dinner in the middle of the week. She would point at a food and then not eat any other food until we gave her the one that she was pointing to. The next morning she reached up to me, then after I picked her up she waved her hand toward the door. She gave me a short tour of the house and then I took her outside. It was fun.
She is also starting to be able to stay standing for a few seconds when she lets go of something or  is leaning against something. Walking is really just too close I think.
She reaches out to identify which parent she wants to be carried by. A great victory for daddy that there is even a choice.