Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Typical Week in Samoa

I thought this week that I would run through how a typical week looks to us.

Back of Rack - Mess of Wires
This Monday, we walked to the chapel next door to our home, Lotopa, (lo-toe-pa) to work on the satellite rack.  Theron and Chris (the ICS Manager) want to standardize these racks at all the stake centers, so we are beginning that project.  I look at the wiring diagram and Theron pulls and unplugs, untangles and winds up wires.  There are about three pieces of equipment not needed so we take these back to the Service Center.  Because we are in a small room, with only a fan and a few window slats to open, we sweat - I mean, we sweat.

We usually leave for the service center (where our office is located, which is right behind the Temple) about 8:30 a.m.  We start with e-mail and see where the problems are this week.  Sister Tolman alerted us that the missionaries at Solosolo haven't had e-mail capability for the last two weeks, which means that the ward clerk hasn't had internet either, so the donation information hasn't been transmitted.

If there are no crises then we settle in and keep on writing the Samoa STS Training Book.  At noon, we come home for lunch and stop at the coconut stand across from the apartment and buy our daily coconuts.  It's 2 tala (80 cents) for a cold coconut.  Theron drops me off, Stella our coconut stand girl chops the top off the coconut and digs a hole in the top for a straw and I walk them across for us to drink.  Sometimes, we buy one for the guard who controls the gate at our compound.  After lunch, we return to the office until about 4:00 afiafi (early evening).

Mission attire for the afternoon
This week we had a chance to travel with Elder and Sister Jacobs to the east side of the island where we "needed" to check out the beach for the senior couples beach party on Saturday.  It's rough duty but sacrifice.  We received two fales (fall-ees) for Saturday and well, we had to check out the water and make sure it was in good shape.

This put us driving back to Apia at dusk.  Every village about 6:30 or 7:00 afiafi ring a gong and all of the people in the village need to be off the streets and at the public or family fale for prayers.  If you stop your car in a village during prayer time, some of the men will come and will not let you start it to drive on until after prayer.  The streets are always packed with people walking to the village fales at dusk so it makes driving a bit hazardous on the narrow roads.

We worked in the office in the morning and then traveled about hour away to Solosolo to check out the internet problem.  We saw the missionaries on the street to the church so they rode with us to the chapel.  It didn't take us long to diagnosis the problem, there was no firewall router in the cabinet and the modem was not working - it was an ISP problem.  We called Maaie (a worker in the ICS department) and asked him to call this in to BlueSky the internet provider.

On the way home, we needed to stop and get some tala (money) and some groceries.  I wanted to buy a lava lava for the beach so Theron dropped me off at a corner and he went to the bank.  I found two right away.  You have to buy the very stiff ones because these are hand painted and then wash them a couple of times to get the sizing out.  These are usually just two colors and are the prettier ones anyway.

We then went to the Lucky Foods where we can get a better selection of American foods.  We also needed some bananas and I wanted to buy a squash so we stopped by the outdoor food bazaar.  We found some pulsami and breadfruit - I was excited, so we got that also.  Now, lest you think you do this quickly, this took us about an hour and a half to go to three places and we are only about 15 minutes from our house in downtown Apia.  With traffic and needing to go to different streets, it takes a long time to get around.

Theron wanted to work with the DVD/DVR in the satellite rack so we could write the instructions for use. So he stayed home to play with it and I went into the office to get some files, write some e-mail and schedule a training meeting for the coming week.  Yes, I drive and it's easier here than Jamaica.

It's the start of a 4-day holiday here as Monday and Tuesday are Independence Day celebrations.  People were scarce at the office.  At noon, I went home and we spent the rest of the day writing how to use the DVD player.

On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at 6:15 is the English session at the Temple and we try to go once a week.  We went to the Temple Friday this week.  Now the week is over.

This is senior beach day.  We wanted to go early so we left at 10:30 a.m. and the drive is about 1.5 hours to get to the east beaches on the south side of the island.  It was raining when we left but that's typical weather.  It stops.  We drove our car and Elder and Sister Mangum (the dentist) followed.  Dr. Orchard, the other dentist rode with us.  They had been to the Togitogiga Waterfalls on the South side, so we stopped and took a look for future outings.

Notice the size of the fronds 

The rest is beach day.  We had six couples and Dr Orchard who is a widower and the mission nurse Sister Cassita,  Sister Cassita brought a family from Kiribati who were going to the temple in Samoa.

Church is at 9:00 a.m and the 5.8 earthquake was at 6:00 a.m.. The quake didn't last very long but it definitely woke us up.  We haven't heard of any damage, however BYU TV is off the air so maybe it moved the dish!  We attend the English speaking ward Pesega (pronounced Pe-sen-ga [reminds me of Sheldon's word Bazinga on Big Bang]).  All six of the sacrament talks were from one family and all were about family history and were wonderful talks!.  This was a fifth Sunday and the bishop's message was about family history.  The Area Presidency has a goal for everyone to do "15 in 15."  Counting you, your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents there are 15 names in your family chart.  They want everyone to finish this much research this year.  The bishop wants a ward picture in a month or so of everyone holding their charts.  They are really great here and enthused about this project.

When most of you read this, it will be your Sunday, we are just finishing our Sunday and getting ready for the next week.  We have a new mission duty on the first and third Mondays of each month.  We will be delivering water, money and mail to missionaries on the east side of the island. 

 Tomorrow we will travel with Elder and Sister Hammond to learn the route.  They will be leaving in a couple of weeks.

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