Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adjusting to life in the Congo

Today is P-Day. Ed and the Elders got up at 5:30 a.m. to play basketball. This is my best time to have an hour to myself. I just want to report that we are doing well. This week, I thought about home a lot more! The Bodell family reunion was being held at the ranch. I love those nieces and nephews, and my siblings... and it was an emotional thing to miss being with them. However, we are glad we came when we did. Our elders really do need us to be here.

I thought we were going to be together 24/7, and that we were going to come in at night and relax and watch movies and read books together. Not so. First of all, Ed is serving in an "executive priesthood" position. Secondly, women are not as "emancipated" as they are in America. The combination leaves me a bit humble. As you can all imagine, I have to bite my tongue at times. However, when I look at it as I did when he was serving as bishop, I am fine. I just look at the many ways I can help him behind the scenes and help the elders and the members, and I know I have plenty to do in my own roles.

Our evenings are very busy. The mission president's wife said to bring lots of movies and books, because we stay in, in the evenings. We have been busy almost every single night since we have been here. This week we had the opportunity of visiting a "humble, humble" member family home on Sunday night.

On Monday night, we went to a Family Home Evening with a couple of member families and some neighbors. It was very special to hear this father talk to his neighbors about how special and important Family Home Evenings are. He talked about the fact that Monday night, families all over the world were meeting and doing the same thing and making their families a priority. I had been assigned to be in charge of an activity for 7 people. I took Rook cards and spoons to play "Spoons". There ended up being 16 of us! YIKES! I know lots of games... but not in French! I was inspired to play "Mathew, Mark, Luke and John". I could put a French twist on those names, and then assign the rest a number from one to twelve in French. It was a big hit.

On Tuesday night, we had date night. We went out to eat, which enabled us to check off one more restaurant that we don't need to visit again. Then we went to the one and only clothing department store in town, for our first time. I was hoping to find a pair of black plain flat shoes, to wear with socks when I walk in the Grand Marche streets (sort of icky). They only have sandals. I will keep looking. We ended up in bed eating a wonderful piece of coconut cake with whip cream for frosting... and being glad that the Africans learned how to bake from the French.

Last night, we went to a funeral sitting for a young man in the ward who had passed away. It is like a viewing, but without a body. We just sat there for an hour and a half, and then gave his older brother our condolences, and left. The funeral is today.

Malaria mosquitoes only come out at night, so we were told it wouldn't be a problem for us. The joke is that every night I keep spraying my mosquito spray all over me and then I say, "OK... It is Malaria Mosquitoe time. Let's go." We take Malaria pills every day faithfully, so we should be fine.

Our food is ok. We are finding a few meats we like, and we can get several fruits and vegetables. Dad is learning to be a good sport about what is available. His overly sensitive nose has learned to accept the strong smells of the area... and all is well.


  1. What a beautiful, humble post. Thanks for sharing your intimate thoughts with us. Poor dad and his nose...and sleeping w/ mosquito spray? Funners! So how is dad doing w/ the language? Do enough people speak English? Or do you translate? Tell me more!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post. Ashley and I laughed at you crossing restaurants off of your list.

    I do want to know more about the women not being anticipated comment. Does that mean the Relief Society President doesn't have the authority to work with the Branch President on welfare issues like the manual says? Or just that you have to "hearken" a lot more than you are used to?

  3. Oh, I changed the title from "Miscellaneous" to "Adjusting to life in the Congo." I thought it appropriately summed up the post.

  4. What an adventure! This week we are starting our own adventure to see if we are up to a mission some day. We are moving to Texas on Wednesday and leaving behind the children and grandchildren. Hopefully, it will be about 18 months and then we will be back. Luckily, I can come home where you can't. Love and best wishes, MJ

  5. I just found your blog on one of your girls blog. I love that they helped start this up for you. It definitely is something you will always cherish and a great way to connect with your family, but I'm sure you know all that.

    Your mission looks so exciting, humbling, challenging, but yet all rewarding. It looks like you guys are wonderfully positive with everything. Keep up all the hard work.

    Reading and skimming your blog got me so excited about wanting to serve a medical mission with Jon when we are older. We too want to go to Africa more specifically S. Africa where Jon was born and raised, but again like yourselves we want to be told where we should go.

    Can't wait to check up on your blog every so often.

    Andrea Dell
    Wayne's Sister