Thursday 24 April 2013
On Thursday last week we met with Brother Acosta from the DR. He is going to be over welfare in the Area. He also is also going to be over employment temporarily. He was meeting with us to let us know some things that are changing with PEF and Employment. He was a nice man and it was an informative meeting but I left feeling less than positive again. We now have a lot more responsibilities that I am not comfortable about. We came home and got started on them immediately but I don’t know where it is going to go from here because we need to coordinate with District Employment Specialists. So many unknown things make me tense.—Poor Bob!
Saturday we had a wonderful outing with the senior couples. We took the mission van to YS Falls. It is sort of in the south east inland area of the country. We drove a couple of miles into the country and then paid our fee and got on a covered trailer pulled by a big tractor and went farther inland along a quiet river. It is a really beautiful green pasture type area with lots of moss and fungi covered trees. There were beautiful big healthy looking red cows in the pastures as well as some beautiful horses. This apparently is a working farm owned by one family. They have opened up the falls area as a side line.
The falls really are quite lovely--Not particularly tall but cascading into a series of pools and the thick verdant forest with vine draped trees and natural philodendron climbing everywhere. There are also lots of broad leafed banana type trees and Red Ginger bushes to add a little contrast to the green of the forest trees and bushes.
This kind of shows the cows, the trees and the beautiful pasture.
The water was not deep so people walked across the river in many places.
This is a tree that is leaning out over the river. You can see all the other bushes and fungi and vines growing all over this one tree.
This is the upper falls. None of the falls are spectacular by themselves but together they create a beautiful picture. --and a lovely play spot.
You may not see what you are looking at here. The tree on the right looks like it is just growing down into a rock but if you look closely at the bottom half of the trunk the root has started out above ground and is about 3 feet high. You have to look closely because it looks like a big rock at the left of the tree but it is actually the tree root.
This is another picture you need to look at closely. On the right side of the tree you can see the vine growing up the side of the tree but can you see about every 2 inches on the vine there is a tiny runner wrapping around the tree. That tree will never get away!
We hiked up the steep steps and watched as many people played in the various pools and then sat on a bench and watched people take a zip line first across the river then up above the falls and then down all along the river and falls to the bottom. I’ll bet their view was beautiful—if they had time to see it as they zipped along among the tree tops.
Here you can see the guy in red on the zip line above the river while the people play in the water below.
There was a really lovely play area below the falls with two big swimming pools, a gift shop, a large grassy area and several cabanas out of the sun with tables for eating our picnic lunch. It was nice to see a lot of people there and still not have it be crowded. We did not have all our senior couples with us—only four couples, so it was a little more intimate and comfortable deciding what everyone wanted to do.
Such a beautiful place. Everywhere you look is beautiful and peaceful.
This is in the grassy picnic area at the bottom of the falls where the swimming pools and the gift shop are. That tree in the back is huge if you can't tell.
Bob, Larsens, and Evans
We really had a wonderful time but we had a little accident in the parking lot as we were leaving that sort of put a damper on the day. Elder Larsen always has to drive. He is the dependable, steady, serving, caretaker for all the rest of us. Everyone always sort of looks to him to take care of things—not necessarily to be the leader but to take care of the rest of us. The cars obviously get very hot sitting in the sun so he usually reaches in and turns on the car so the air conditioning can start cooling the car off before we all get in and settled—so we don’t have to sit in the hot car.--A very sweet thoughtful thing to do. Well everyone else was already in the van and the Evans and Bob and I were still putting our things in the back. Elder Larsen was waiting for us and reached in and turned on the car forgetting that this is the only standard transmission vehicle in the mission. It started rolling back and those of us behind it had to scramble backward. Bob was in the middle and was really stumbling, I was able to move off to the side as was Elder Evans but Sister Evans was knocked down and was actually under the back of the van by the time Elder Larsen realized what was happening and turned the key off and stopped the van. I saw that Bob was actually okay and rushed to help Elder Evans pull Sister Evans out from under the van and get her on her feet. I was afraid the wheel was actually going to go over her(she is quite little) but I think she may have been a little to the side when we actually got to her. It all happened so fast it is hard to remember what I actually saw and what I imagined. In my head I kept telling Bob to jump into the back of the van, but I am not sure where I was even standing. I do know I saw Sister Evans go down and saw her lower body disappear under the van. She says he pulled her from under the van but I remember him saying “Oh Doll, Oh Doll”—that is what he calls her, and I got to her while she was still on the ground. I was not sure she should get up until she had assessed her injuries, but I helped her up into the arms of her worried husband.
Thankfully she was not too badly hurt. She skinned one knee and got two goose eggs on her head, and hurt her hand a little. But mostly she was shaken up by what could have happened—as were the rest of us. I think the one who was hurt the worst was Elder Larsen. He is so good and kind and was only trying to make others comfortable and caused an accident that could have really hurt someone. He was very upset though of course no one even considered blaming him. And because he was so upset Sister Larsen was upset.
To make things worse—or maybe better—when the van rolled it also hit and took the mirror off the car parked next to us. The good part was that this helped distract Elder Larsen. Elder Mortensen was wonderful too, he was a great help working with the car owner after he was located back at the falls and brought down to deal with his car damage. Thankfully he was very good to deal with and did not cause any more concern. But after dealing with him for what seemed like a very long time we had to find a police station in the next little town to report the accident. So from the time of the accident we lost probably an hour and a half before we were on our long way home again.
Going to the police station was an interesting experience. It was up what seemed to be a rural side road. We were told it was a blue building and that was good to know as there was no sign to identify it. There were tons of crashed cars in the parking lot so it looked more like a junk yard than a police station. But there was one patrol car present which was our only hint. We pulled into the parking lot and then pulled out again and stopped and asked a woman on the street who of course sent us back to the same place. There was a dog barking in the parking lot also which would have deterred me from getting out but Elder Mortensen braved it. Elders Larsen and Mortensen went in to make the report while the rest of us waited. Apparently everything had to be hand written so it took a long time.
Anyway that was our adventure—Sister Evans ended up with a really ugly black eye, but she has an incredible quiet, positive attitude. They are the missionaries I have referred to before who were arrested in Guyana and had to spend the night in a horrible filthy jail. She never seems to get ruffled and never lets anything turn into a big deal. I love her—both of them.
On Sunday we had a Job Seminar at one of our local branches so we did not have to travel. This also made it possible for us to attend a training from the Area Employment director. It was good training and the employment program is really impressive but I still have reservations. I am determined to let the local employment directors—newly called—do their best to implement as much of the program as they can without any negative input from us. There are many things that they should be able to use to help the people here but there does not seem to have been any attempt to adapt the program to a “branches and district” situation instead of 'wards and stakes'. We will work with them and help as much as we can—and I hope keep our mouths shut as much as we can. I also sincerely hope we are dead wrong about how this program will work here.
Our job seminar went okay but we did not have as many people as we expected for such a large branch. We have actually made about 10 sets of mini resumes for people in that branch already because they have heard about the Job Seminar from someone else.
Monday we met with Pres Brown for a few minutes to discuss all that is happening. Tuesday and Wednesday we barely left our computers and phones—sometimes not even to eat. I did leave long enough to meet with Kerry but came straight home and back to work. We are trying to get one of the tasks the Area gave us to identify branch and district leaders who are unemployed so they can be targeted first for employment help. We are trying to establish it so the District Employment people can take it over even before we leave.
We took a break Thursday morning to run out to Yallahs with the Larsens to deliver a couple of bundles of clothing to be distributed to the branch members. A couple of times a year the Humanitarian department sends big bundles of clothes (so heavy neither Bob nor I could budge them!) to the branches so we just helped deliver them. We had planned to go on an overnight outing with the Larsens since they will be leaving pretty soon but we decided not to go and just have dinner in the evening. When we got home from Yallahs Bob started working again and I started writing my journal. At about 4:30 we got a couple of messages that sent us into high gear trying to solve problems and communicate some important things. So I had to call the Larsens to tell them we would be late. But we got there and had a nice Chinese dinner with our good friends.