Sunday, July 25, 2010
Posted by Kriss Gates
The above picture is part of our walk... It is what I thought Africa was going to look like. This lush quiet green area is our favorite 3 minutes of our walk.
The elders daily schedule starts at 5:30 am. They exercise, eat, shower and get dressed. At 7:00 they have an hour of personal study and then at 8:00 they have an hour of companion study. From 9-10:00 they study French (or read the scriptures or Preach My Gospel in French, if they already know the language. Elder Chirwa teaches us French every day. We make our own schedule, so we try to get up before 6:30.
An important part of missionary work is to get exercise every morning. We are trying to walk every morning we can. The first day we drove to the beach and walked. It was ok, but it took 5-10 minutes to drive there and then back. The next day we walked around the streets, but even early in the morning there was a lot of traffic and it was a noisy experience. The 3rd day we decided to take off on one of our dirt roads and off on the trails that go through neighborhood areas. The poor ones are called "quartiers" (Quar-tee-ays) We finally saw the real Africa. The first day was humbling to see how they live, but everyone was very friendly and we realized that this could be an opportunity for us to be out in the areas like our elders are serving in all day, every day. Our morning walks have become a treat that we look forward to. At home we walk on the green belt. Here we walk on the brown belt.
I feel like Belle in Beauty and the Beast when we walk along the village roads saying “Bonjour”, “Bonjour” and “Bonjour”. And everyone’s countenance changes from a serious look to a big smile and a sincere “Bonjour” back to us. We have decided to quit being critical of the garbage… and be proud of those who take the time to sweep the dirt in front of their homes, and sprinkle water to keep the dust down. Early morning is a special time that we see the women cooking breakfast over their little campfires, children starting to get up and walk around, people brushing their teeth, women doing the laundry, boys carrying piles of sticks home to make the morning fires, and little old women sitting in front of the "houses" watching life go by. I don't have pictures of the people this early. I feel like we would be invading their privacy to take photos of them at this magical time of the day.
If we look closely we can see some special sights...
But our favorite part of the walk is probably the same part of when we walk at home... the time to be alone together and talk. We are enjoying each other immensely.