Tuesday December 11
Well we miss our truck but the car is actually working out very well—I am a little less worried about hitting street vendors between the lanes of traffic.—It is working much better for Elder Evans so I suspect this will be our car for the remainder of the mission though the senior couples trade whenever anyone needs a truck or whenever the Larsens need to service a car.
Sister Pugmire and her truck.
We were invited by one of our participants to attend the Institute class on Friday night. When it started there were 11 people including us by the end of the evening (2 hours) there were 22 or 23. Pres Brown was the teacher and he is very good. There was wonderful participation and the comments were most often very insightful and even profound. Talking about scriptures I was very familiar with but giving insights I had never considered. Like how when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples it was a symbol for the Atonement. It was a really good class—we want to go again.
We went up to see how Brother Dakins is coming on the roof of his house. When he took us to visit all the Humanitarian Projects it was evident he has had a hand in nearly every one of them in terms of building the foundation upon which the chicken coops are built. And he has helped repair them as well.—sort of a Wesley Miles type of good man. I was impressed with his involvement with so many different people, but Bob did something about it. He offered to buy the materials to replace the zinc roof that blew off his house in Hurricane Sandy. I am always pleased with Bob’s good heart and his generosity to others. So we went up to see how they were coming. We took Bro Dakins on Thursday last week to buy the materials and he said he could have it done by Saturday but of course when we got there the roof is on but not completed and he was off helping someone else! We had a nice visit with his wife and met some of his sisters and took pictures of some of them and made lots of friends when we handed out granola bars to a small group of the relatives. Fun experience except that one little boy saw it happen and came and asked for a granola bar and I was out –all I had was a mint candy piece in my purse.
The new roof.
The back side of the house where the bathroom is.
Sister Dekins' wash tub still in the yard. She usually has 3 tubs--two rinses after the wash. You can see on the left where the pole is holding up the clothes line.
This is the side door into the kitchen area.
This is the cooking area, just outside the kitchen door. This is where Sister Dakins cooks her "peas and rice" rice with red beans to us. The corrugated "zinc" on the top is what she had propped up when it was raining while she was cooking. Some people use a car tire rim to cook on, which looks like it might work pretty well.
Austin Dakins and his cousin. Most of the people in the complex are relatives of Bro Dakins.
Then on Saturday evening we had another interesting experience. We were invited by the District President, President Medley, to a birthday party for his wife. The other senior couples were all invited. We had an adventure getting there—thankfully we borrowed the Larsen’s GPS (they were not able to go as their Branch, Kingston, was having their Christmas Program and she was organizing the kids in a “pageant”). We ran into construction and that in addition to the rough, very random, unnamed streets we never would have found it. But we were actually the first there—the others had the same problems. Anyway, we were invited for 5:00, President Hendricks was invited for 5:30, Pres Medley was not there when we arrived and did not get there until around 6:30 or 7:00. There were several branch members and several young single adults also invited. We arranged chairs on the driveway that ran along the side of the house. At around 7:00 Pres Medley started things by an opening prayer, song (lead by his 9 year old daughter) and a spiritual thought. Then he asked each of us to tell something we had observed in terms of the growth of the Church in the past year. (They were cooking chicken and hot dogs when we arrived.) Around 7:30 he said so let’s eat and walked into the house. I thought we would all follow but no one moved and pretty soon the kids and some neighbor women brought us all a hotdog in a napkin and handed catsup around. Then a drink (and we were told to keep our cups). And then we were each brought a plate with chicken, fish, rolls, and salad. By this time I was deep in conversation with Sister Veronica Bonilla, (more later) so I did not really eat anything but my salad and a roll, one of the Bonilla children ate one of my pieces of chicken. (I felt bad about the waste but I really could not eat the chicken and fish.)
Sister Medley in the pink and Sister Hendricks, the Mission President's wife.
The Pinocks in the blue were married last month so it was a big deal for a lot of the mission as they had a ceremony here and then left the next day to go to Panama to be sealed in the Temple. They took some family members also and did some temple work while they were there. The woman in white is Patience, a young woman from Africa--can't remember which country. She is here in Jamaica studying medicine. She has two more years and then will return to her country. On the right is Ariana Segree my special friend whose hair I often photograph.
Part of the Bonilla family. They are from El Salvador and he is in the Branch Presidency of Constant Spring Branch where we are assigned. They have 4 daughters with a fifth on the way next month.
Brother Bonilla, Sister Medley and President Hendricks.
You can tell we are outside in the evening in the middle of December!
Not long after eating the missionaries started leaving, but Bob and I were visiting with some of the young adults (some were PEF participants) and so we did not leave until 9:45—after the young people enticed Bob to participate in the dancing! It was cute and they got a kick out of him.
It was not like a party we would have at home but it was a nice experience. Though it was not really set up for it, Bob and I did a lot of visiting with more than the missionaries and so I felt good about that.
As I said I visited with Sister Bonilla. She and her husband are from El Salvador. They are quite young and have 4 little girls with the 5th to be here next month. He is here for his employment. In El Salvador he was a Bishop and is an outstanding young man. He is in our Branch Presidency and so we have heard him speak several times. He really is a good leader. He is also a PEF participant. They are setting a wonderful example for the people here. They talk a lot about Family Home Evening and blessings from paying tithing, and Family Prayer and all the things they are trying to do as a family that many of the people need to learn here. I think I have mentioned that there are relatively few priesthood holders here in relation to the number of faithful women—women raising children alone often times. Anyway, Sister Bonilla’s English is almost without accent and she is obviously very bright. I asked her one day if she would teach me Spanish. We have not been able to arrange any time yet but this may be my perfect opportunity. She is going back to El Salvador to have her baby and her Mother is coming to stay with her other children. She is looking for a nanny for her children when she returns and I am going to keep my ears open with some of our PEF people who are not finding jobs.
I was a little distracted during Relief Society in Linstead.
Sunday we went to Linstead. There is a great little folk song about taking Aki fruit to Linstead Market—I hope I will learn the whole thing before we leave—that is how I remember the name of the town—by thinking of the song. We used Larsen’s GPS again and again it was a good thing. The drive was absolutely beautiful--All along a windy little river with huge dark green leafy trees and tropical type trees and vines in the very close forest. The road is very narrow of course… But we had plenty of time and it was a wonderful hour drive. Unfortunately—or fortunately—we turned in a little town called Bog Walk before we even got to Linstead. We thought we were turning in the right place but we weren't. This road took us winding out into the orange and lime orchards and then the sugar cane fields. We did not see another car for several miles and it certainly did not feel like we were getting close to a church. But finally as our time was now running out we started to see another car or two—always going the opposite direction. And then finally we started seeing houses and people walking to church and all of a sudden we pulled up in front of the Church, with only a few minutes to spare!
Again the chapel is really lovely—another upstairs chapel with classrooms below. Ours was one of two cars in the parking lot but the chapel was nearly full (it is less than half the size of our chapel). Many of the women were in their Sunday hats and everyone was shiny clean and crisp. It was a good meeting as was the Sunday school class, a very good teacher. We met with Pres Barrett after –after many branch members—but while we waited we visited with one of his counselors, Denito Ford, a returned missionary (served in Jamaica). He is engaged to a girl in our branch so we have met before. We talked with Pres Barrett about PEF participants and our Jobs seminar we are planning to take to all the branches before we leave. He told us a little about what he is trying to do with his branch to help them be more self-reliant. He would like to buy some land for the people to farm—raise food and animals I think. He is also exploring ways people can be self-employed as there are very few actual jobs available—so they can market their own personal skills and products. Bob and I have been very impressed with both Pres Barrett and Pres Britton of the Spanish Town 2nd Branch who really seem to be assessing the needs of their people and addressing them directly and aggressively.
Monday we went with Pres Singh, our Branch President to check out one of the chicken farms to see if he had any chicken that would be ready for dinner this Saturday. It was interesting to hear them sort of haggle. It almost sounded as if they were irritated with each other but of course they weren't it is just a tone of voice common to these people. And they do indeed say ‘Yea Mon’ often, just as we would say yah.
Wrights came again to look at the changes we have made on our jobs power point presentation. They have been a great help. Then we all went to the office to have our PEF Council meeting with Pres Hendricks and Pres Brown. We talked a little about what DR is expecting of the Pugmires in regards to employment and then Pres Hendricks advised us to be cooperative and do what we can but not get uptight if we are not able to do all they want. We all, but Pres Brown, hurried to the missionaries favorite Chinese restaurant where we all met for FHE dinner together. It is good food and fun to be with all the senior missionaries.