Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The 1906 Lava Flow

On the way to the ferry Saturday morning, we had a few minutes to stop and see the lava flow that destroyed an LMS (London Missionary Society) Church.  In 1906, a volcanic eruption on the northeast side of Savaii destroyed a community and this church was totally consumed by the lava flow.
 Lest you think that nothing grows in lava, take a look at this one hundred year old tree that is growing just inside the walls with one of the roots escaping out a door.

It is fascinating to see the concrete walls totally surrounded by lava.  The lava flowed through and took out all the windows and at one point the corrugated roof fell onto the lava and cooled there creating a corrugated shape in the cooled lava.

Theron had a very great time, they let him fly the drone around the lava field and he ventured into the interior of the church.  There was a New Zealand family, two couples and grandma who was in a wheelchair.  We had a great time talking to them and grandma loved seeing the video Theron took of the Church as she could only down to the Church - disability access is limited at tourist sites in Samoa.

This is a favorite picture.  The people at the lava field have built a small fale on top of the lava and it just sits there by itself.  It's an interesting place to build and a surreal take on life in a lava field.

I think we'll try to upload a small video clip with this blog.

Saturday's are wash day at the laundro-pool.  It is so fun to watch the women standing in the freshwater, spring fed, pool, on the edge of the ocean, pounding the clothes in their 5-gallon buckets and then rinsing them.  They then take them to their homes to either hang them on a line or lay them out over the rocks to dry.  It's a community pool and a community effort.  The men are bathing and kids are swimming in the round pool.  Laundry is in the pool on the far side.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Many Have Wondered If We Do Any Work

For those of you who sit up nights wondering about us and looking over the blogs may have wondered if we do any "technical" work, wonder no more.  These are the daily task pages from our latest trip to Savaii; the last one on our "vacation" in Samoa.  These trips to Savaii are killers for us, we work 10-14 hour days, sweat profusely at each install, and always run into problems.  But, it was a wonderful trip and we always meet such great priesthood leaders at our training sessions.

Just so you know what you are looking at:
  • The blue highlight is new computer installation = 7 (We found two that had already been replaced last year.)
  • The red highlight is firewall installation = 9
  • The yellow highlight is copying 188 gig of Church Videos to the computer harddrive = 10 (This takes about 2 hours each computer to copy it over--that's 20 hours right there.)
  • 4 Family History Center installations = 9 new computers total
  • 3 Training sessions
Now, for the details of the work:
Saturday   At 9:00 a.m.,we attend a Coordinating Council meeting and teach 5 stake clerks.  The meeting is on the far west end of Upolu island.  Our scheduled ferry time to Savaii is 4:00 p.m.  That evening when we arrive in Savaii, we check into the hotel and travel to a chapel that is close and install a new computer.  All is going well until the new monitor goes blank; one monitor down.  We did not bring extras!

Sunday,   We were supposed to meet Elder Fata at noon for another Coordinating Council meeting half way up the east side of Savaii.  On the way, we attend a sacrament meeting, and install 2 new computers and one firewall in the building.  We arrive at the Coordinating Council meeting just about noon and no one is there.  The councilor in the Mission Presidency shows up and we wait for another 45 minutes and no one else shows.  Finally we make some phone calls and find that Elder Fata wasn't able to get on the ferry.  This weekend was Father's Day and everything was full.  Meeting cancelled!  So we continue up the east side of the island and install 3 more firewalls and 3 FHC computers.  We travel toward our resort, Via'Moana on the north/west end of the island and stop just before there to start one video copying.  It's now about 5:00 p.m. and we are hot, sweaty and tired.  Dinner is at 7:30 p.m. so a little nap is in order!
 We always have quite the audience when we arrive at a site to work.  They love to watch us palagi.  (Their parents tell them to behave or the palagi will come and take them away)

Monday  We are working this week in the Savaii West Stake and the Savaii Sagone Stake.  These are both located on the west side of Savaii.  It's a fair distance down that side and the buildings are not close to each other.  Today it's installing 2 new computers, videos on two other computers and a stop at the Savaii West Stake building (Neiafu Village) to check on the satellite and sound system.  There was no internet at the stake building for us to test the computers.  The satellite rack didn't take as long for Theron to complete so we went further down the road and installed videos on 2 other computers.  We have 3 USB harddrives and start one copying, then move on to another, etc. Then go back and collect the harddrives.

Tuesday   Install 2 FHC computers in the Savaii West Stake and a couple of firewalls.  We have training at 4:00 p.m. with the stake presidency, clerks and STS.  Found a computer with a virus and will be taking it back with us to wipe it and then re-install all the programs.  We are still finding some problems with wiring of power to the internet cabinets and I plan on doing a flowchart of all work that is done and needs to be finished when we return to Upolu.  (Always planning ahead, got to keep myself busy for 6 more weeks.)  The training was great and they fed us tuna and cornbeef sandwiches.  STS training is scheduled for 10:00 in the morning.

Wednesday   It took most of the day training the STS.  Theron had the STS and a ward clerk come and they were young adult age.  So, they had a great time.  The STS's mother made us cornbeef on crackers to eat.  They always think we are big eaters, she made a full plate (probably 10-12) for each of us.  The people are so, so, so generous and giving. Elder Smith, one of OUR missionaries from Pago showed up so we got to visit with hi for a while.  After the training we traveled to the next ward building and installed a new computer.  Then we decided to head back to the resort for some down time - a little snorkel and kayak trip.

When you travel as much as we do you always get good shots of other vehicles.  A public work truck at the garbage dump.

Thursday   It was training in the Savaii Sagone Stake at 10:00 a.m.  We arrived an hour early to start installing 2 new FHC computers.  As we were finishing this up, the stake president comes in and asks if we can delay the training for a half hour, he has two weddings to perform.  Great, we get to attend a wedding.  The two couples were going to get baptized this weekend and needed to get married first.  One couple looked like they could be grandparents and they were just now getting married.  The other couple had a couple of young children and were really shy and cute about getting married.  There was a song, a talk from the Bishop, the ceremony with both couples standing in front of the pulpit and the Stake President giving the marriage ceremony, then another song, a prayer and then dismissal to our training.  We had a full group because the Stake President had invited bishops and clerks.  Now realize, it's 10 in the morning, how can they be there -- these guys are all farmers and can come and go as they please.  Interesting life!  The FHC Director was also there and we trained her on the computers - well as it goes - one of the new CPUs would not power up, so we are bringing it back to the office.  As we were talking after the meeting with one of the bishops, we found out that he had seen our Christmas lights in NSL.

There is no STS in this stake - the stake president told us he can't find anyone qualified.  So there will be no training tomorrow.  Great, we can finish everything else up.  Oh, by the way, earlier that morning the stake president told his wife to prepare lunch for all of us.  How's that for planning.  She prepared fried chicken, a macaroni salad and rice.  It was very good.  We left around 1:00 p.m. and went to a couple of buildings to install firewalls and a new computer, but we found the computer was already new so we just did the videos.

Friday   This was a super day - do everything that is left over.  That means a total trip around the island.  Install a new ward computer, finish installing firewalls, install several video packages and finish one FHC.  Theron wanted to get some drone time in so we planned on stopping at the blowholes.  We arrived in early afternoon, the tide was high and wild, a perfect day for filming here.  The woman that went with us to toss the coconuts, was cordial all the way there as we collected a box full of old coconuts.  Theron then went about setting up the drone and told her he was going to fly it and take pictures.  Here reply was, "That will be 500 Tala."  Theron said, "What?!"  She said "Yes it's my land."  Theron said, "Okay then, I won't fly the drone,"  She countered with "How about 100."  He was mad at her and so finished putting the drone away.  We watched a couple of coconut launches and then Theron said let's go.

Now, the ward we were working at was about one mile away.  Yes, you are with us, he went back to the Church and flew the drone one mile to the blowholes and got some pictures.  He had to keep it high to get signal so the pictures aren't the best, but he will not be deterred, just re-adjust the plans.

We arrive back at the resort at 8:00 p.m. just in time for dinner and sleep!  Week ended, tomorrow time to go home.  Time to have a hot shower at home, also.  Yes, it was another week of cold showers.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

All In a Day's Work

Week before last, we traveled to Savaii and installed 5 new computers, trained two stake presidencies (Fagamalo and Pu'apu'a Stakes), several clerks and two STS.  We also installed the 200 gig of Church videos on several computers.  That's all in a week's work.  These trips help us train the technology specialists and audit the meetinghouse technologies in Savaii.   We found a new restaurant on the west side of the island with a resident cat that invited himself to dine with us.  We are sitting in the garden, in the sand, surrounded by coconut pillars.  The waiter was barefoot but elegantly served us a very appealing meal of grilled tuna sandwiches, chocolate cupcake and a cheesecake.

Yup, it's a hammock to enjoy yourself while you wait for your food.  Behind the hammock is a large white cooler that is the table for other customers.  Just stop at the scooter rental place to enjoy.

We could have done more work, but the FM, who have had a year to complete the cabinet and wiring setup for firewalls, has not completed their work.  So, back we will have to go to Savaii.  Now that's rough duty.

The weather wasn't that great so the drone flying was limited to the area by the ferry as we were waiting for our ferry ride back to Upolu.  Lloyd, one of the members of our ward saw him flying the done and now he wants to buy it. Lloyd is the personal trainer for Karl Malone - arms like WOW!

Now, lest you think we just go to the beach all day, look at our office this week.  We (Elder Schaefermeyer) imaged 48 MLS (clerk) computers.  He had a steep learning curve - Win10, cloning software, making the image exactly like we wanted, etc.  Note the screen saver on my computer.  I love looking at our family every time I boot it up!  I think they are adorable.

Now, we have 27 Family History Center computers to image.  I worked all week and haven't been able to complete even one!  Guess I'll wait until Tuesday to contact the GSC.

Saturday we went to the South side of the island and installed two new computers and spent a couple of hours at the beach.  I swam out and Theron Filmed me with the drone and then I came in while he went out snorkeling.  He was very excited when he came back because he had swum for several minute with a VERY large turtle, just after seeing a 5 foot long barracuda,  and spending several minutes with the first octopus he has seen in Samoa.  I didn't see any of it, so I think it's a lot like Todd seeing a shark in Cozumel.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Sunrise Service

Mosiah 2:6 "And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple . . ."

Our monthly Pesega Lima Relief Society activity was a sunrise service and family history workshop. This was a special activity that really touched my heart and made the above scripture live.

The sisters gathered at at 6:30 a.m., which is sunrise for Samoa.  The setting was at the Pesega Fou Chapel front lawn located directly across the street from the Apia Samoa Temple.  (Our group is seated just to the left of the Angel Moroni.)  Sister Anderson gave a talk about her family's experiences at the Temple and the importance of those experiences in in holding her family together and holding her close to her husband who died at a young age.

Theron was asked to take pictures and so he decided to use the drone.  These pictures help you to see the beauty of this setting and how we watched the sunrise make the Angel Moroni sparkle in the sun light.

After the talk, we walked over to the Temple and stood down both sides of the fountain.

Then we walked back over to the Church and had a wonderful time working on FamilySearch.  When the call came from breakfast, no one wanted to leave.  I know that several family names were found that day and their Temple work will be completed for them shortly.

For the last 16 months, we drive by the Temple each day on the way to the Service Center.  Each week we attend an endowment session or sealing session within the Temple walls.  When we drive into Apia from the west and turn the last corner, we see the spire of the Temple rise above the palm trees to guide us home.

It is my desire to live with our family home door always open toward Temple.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Pesega Lima (5) - 5K

I've never run, walked, or even in any way participated in a 5K.  Well, I'm at sea level, the track is paved, there are no hills, and we are in winter time, so it's cooler.  Okay, I'm in.

The Pesega Lima Ward that we attend had a 10-week "build the kingdom challenge".  Each ward member was supposed to read the scriptures every day, exercise for 30-minutes three times a week, submit one name to the Temple, and participate in the 5K.  We did all of those things and the big day, July 9 arrived too quickly.

 This is Theron with Sam Williams in the middle and Ian Seiula (We work with him in ICS).
 Lani Smolic and Mariama Ah Hoy were the organizers.  These are great sisters.

Theron and I had just been to the Cultural Center and made palm headbands, we wore those for our sweatbands.  We arrived at the Pesega Campus at 6:00 a.m. to do the 5K.  We proudly hung our numbers on our shirt.  The first ones to leave were the runners, the next group was the fast walkers, the last group the 'walkers.'  Theron was in the fast walkers group and me, Sister Ellsworth and Sister Spencer were the last of the walkers to leave.  The three of us stayed together for the entire 5K length and we were among the last to cross the finish line.  The story behind the story is that Sister Spencer has some health problems and can't walk very fast.  Sister Ellsworth and I stayed with her for support.

This really was fun, we passed in front of the Temple three times and circled the whole school and service center grounds three and a half times for a total of 5K.  It was fun, I love walking at sea level.  I never could navigate the hills of Eaglewood.

These are all the wonderful folks of Pesega Lima.  We will always love them.