THE “LONE” RANGER RIDES AGAIN!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
We attended the Souza-Netime Branch today with Elder and Sister Herr. Following the meetings the four of us will hit the road and head for Cotonou, Benin. A decision has been made by Accra on the Ford Ranger truck, it will become the interim truck for Elder and Sister Herr in Togo until their Toyota is ready. Therefore they are to take us back to Benin where the Leavitt’s will receive their new Toyota on Tuesday. As Elder Leavitt says we have rode this horse way too long and we have titled this journal above as, for us, it is the LAST RIDE for the “lone” Ranger (the only one in Togo) for the Leavitt’s. Back to Sunday. We enjoy this branch very much and during Sacrament the Herr’s were invited to bear their testimonies. Following the meeting Sister Herr and Sister Leavitt went to observe Primary while Elders Herr and Leavitt attended the investigators class. The Primary was superb (one of the best ones I have ever seen in West Africa) very impressive. One little boy caught our hearts with his giant spirit as he attempted to answer ALL the questions during sharing time (whether invited to do so or not), such a cutie. After the block we hit the road to drive over to Cotonou. We enjoyed the ride with the Herr’s and were able to acquaint them with border crossing procedures. Once in Cotonou we headed for the apartment to get settled. We soon realized we had little or nothing to fix for dinner so, it was soup and crackers for all…but we survived.
Monday, May 31, 2010
We plan today to take Elder Herr to the bank and get him set up as the additional signature on that account. We also need to check the account as well as the post office for mail. The skies are cloudy and we anticipate some rain. We had some breakfast and then set off. While Elder Leavitt and Elder Herr were in the bank I walked with Sister Herr down the street to look into some of the fabric stores. Once back together we headed for Eravan as we desperately need some food. We shopped and they shopped and when we were done we were quite loaded with supplies so we headed home. Marv was prompted to check on the progress of the truck we are supposed to pick up tomorrow, unfortunately we did not receive the answer we had hoped for as the dealership has not received the information from Accra they need (oh what a surprise). We were told that hopefully by tomorrow all will be in place. We spent the remainder of the day catching up and taking care of business. We also have received word that one of our missionaries has been in pain with a bad toothache for two months so we had Precious call and make a dental appointment for him as well as Sister Leavitt who has a loose crown.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The Herr’s had so hoped that they would be taking us first thing this morning to pick up our new truck and they could then head back to Togo…but not to be. The bottom line is that Accra has not transferred the money into the account of the dealership and, not obtained the necessary proof of insurance. The Leavitt’s and the Herrs were back at the bank first thing to check the progress and also to pick up some cash as the dealership said they can obtain Insurance for us but it needs to be paid in cash up front. The lines at the bank were horrendous and poor Elder Leavitt sat in line for over 2-1/2 hours waiting to obtain the funds. Elder and Sister Herr and Sister Leavitt did the rounds of the fabric shops again looking for good drapery material for the new house in Togo. Finally Elder Leavitt emerged with the much needed cash. We then called the dealership and were told to come after 3pm, so we all went to lunch at Festival de Glace. Then Marv took Sister Herr and Sister Leavitt back to the apartment to wait while he and Elder Herr went back to the dealership with the money and to check the progress of the truck. Back at the dealership Marv realized that Accra had sent a promissory note for the amount due but, the actual deposit would not be in for another two days however, they would honor the note and release the truck to us tomorrow…WHEW! Back at the apartment we all decided to take a ride to the Orca Stores as the Herr’s would like to look for things for their new house. Sister Leavitt also needs some new rugs for hers so it was a win/win. Back once again and we are now firm with our plan that tomorrow, Leavitt’s will have a new Toyota and Herrs will leave with the Ranger. Had a nice dinner of tuna salad, tomatoes, avocados, and freshly baked banana nut bread. Quite a day for all four, but at least things got done.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
We have been told we can obtain the truck at 8:30am so the Herrs dropped us off at CFAO (dealership) by 8:15am and they hit the road. We have decided that once we have our truck we will also head for Togo as we need to get our new TV which is still there. We were supposed to go this coming weekend for a training meeting with Elder and Sister Bingham from Accra, Ghana on the Africa West Helping Hands Day coming up in August but, they cancelled the meeting as Elder Bingham is just recovering from Malaria and Sister Bingham has now come down with it. We will also be able to be back-up in case the Herr’s run into any problems along the way. We actually got our truck and were able to drive off the lot by 9:30am. It is a bare bones vehicle but at least we have dealer support for this one in both Benin and Togo…so feels much better. Our drive was under very dark and gloomy skies and the traffic out of Cotonou was the worst we have ever seen. Came upon one dead body and a diversion where a huge oil tanker truck at fallen over and blocked the road but, other than that plain sailing. When we got to Togo the Herr’s were safely tucked away in their house and said they had not had one problem…now they are pro’s. Got the TV and then said goodbye and headed back to Cotonou…again under very dark heavy skies and when we got to Cotonou the rain was torrential. Once back in the house we were very, very tired. This day marks the end of almost eight months of driving back and forth every 6-7 days and taking care of two separate countries and 24 missionaries in total…must say we have mixed emotions but feel a sense of relief. As Elder Leavitt said…we now make new goals for the next ten months as there are lots to do.
Thursday June 3, 2010
All this driving has taken a toll today…we are tired and stiff, stiff, stiff. But, things need to be done. Our first order of the day is to take off and pay bills and check mail, which we did. Precious had cleaned for me yesterday so that was a blessing; she has also managed to get all the paperwork in for the visas on Elders Bertoch, Geisler and Starita. Sister Leavitt had loads of laundry to do so that took up a good part of the day and, we needed to get caught up on personal paperwork. The rain was unceasing today and the temperatures much cooler…we loved it. We find it hard to get around in the rainy season as the roads are very bad and the sides roads all but impassable but, the cooler temperatures and the clean fresh air are a welcome treat for us.
Friday June 4, 2010
Today is “go to the dentist day” for Elder Andon and Sister Leavitt. Left the house very early as we need to pay a phone bill and we could not do that yesterday due to long, long, lines. So we are determined to be the first in line today and we were. A funny thing happened on the way out of the building. Because of the rain and mud Elder Leavitt had me wait on the steps into the building for him to pull up. As I waited a man dropped his wife off and she entered into the building. Then another man came and looked down and there was a wallet in the dirt, he asked if it was mine and I assured him it was not. So he then started to put it in his pocket, it was then I remembered the lady and told him it belonged to a lady who had just entered the building…he ignored me. I realized that he had no thought for the owner, so I grabbed his arm and said (in my horrible French) that he should come with me and we would find her. He had no option but to come with me…I found her going into the elevator and called to her and pointed to the wallet…she screamed and started to thank me, but I gave the credit to the man who just looked dumfounded not knowing whether to take her thanks or apologize for his planned action to keep the wallet. When I related the story to Precious she said “oh Mom, he would have kept it for sure, they never give things back here”. We then headed to get Precious and then to get Elder Andon. Our dental appointment was for 9:30am but we actually got in at 10:30am (even in West Africa dentists cannot keep to appointment times). The dentist who we were told was a white French man actually turned out to be a black woman (his wife) who was from Cameroon. She took Elder Andon first who was absolutely terrified…never had been to a dentist before. His tooth was a mess and she had to remove the nerve. He also has some serious gum disease going on due to not taking care of his teeth, so is on antibiotics now. Then it was my turn. My loose crown which I thought they could just glue back on turned out to be a deteriorated root causing the problem so I have had to have a new crown made. I have to say that this dentist amazed me, she was the dentist, answered the phone, made the appointments and took the payments…she was all over the place. She was lovely and gentle and really knew what she was doing. My temporary crown I have in now is ten times better than the one they took out…I could not have been happier with the results for me.
As for Elder Andon he has to go back when his infection clears up and have a serious cleaning and gum treatments and he is not looking forward to that. I think at this upcoming Zone Conference all our missionaries are going to get a good talking to about taking care of their teeth and a gift of a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Well today is our “P” day and, although we will be busy with the missionaries we will wear our “P” day clothes at least. We have invited all twelve of them to have lunch with us to kick off our new independence from Togo. We have elected to let them make sandwiches of their choice. We really enjoy having them with us and with Togo have not been able to do so as much as we would like. They all came and basically we went through the following:
5-Loaves of Bread 1-Jar Peanut Butter
1-Jar Jelly 1-Giant Bowl of Tuna Salad
2-Large Bags of Potato Chips 5-Avocados
12- Tomatoes 3 –Onions
5-Fresh Pineapples 6-Large Mangoes
16-Cans of Soda 4-Bags of Assorted Cookies
2-Dozen Hard Boiled Eggs 1-Platter of Assorted Cheese Slices
(And a partridge in a pear tree…just kidding)
They enjoyed being together and we enjoyed them. Elder Cloward the Zone Leader says he hopes they are not affected by transfers this time around as he has “the perfect zone” at the moment and they are working hard and bringing in many converts to their respective branches….we could not love them more or, be more proud of them.
Following the lunch they left and Elder Leavitt left with Elder Halterman and Elder Aisseba and a member of the Gbedjromede branch who has a building in Akpakpa for lease that might make a good branch building as their current one is too small. Sister Leavitt stayed behind and cleaned up. At the end of our day we made some calls to family. We learned that Marv’s sister Dorothy is very, very ill in hospital and the prognosis is not good, this has made us very sad as we are so far away. Dorothy’s husband is also fighting cancer and undergoing treatment so it is a hard situation for us being so far away…we ask that you keep Dorothy and Ron in your prayers.
Marv’s Weekly Observations
As parents we always hope that each of our children will be able to improve their lives and achieve much more than we have. This has been accomplished with our children, however as I sit and watch the mothers and fathers of the African young men and women and discuss with them the future of their children, it seems so sad that through the gospel they see so much potential but, in actuality, their country has so very little to offer in respect to education, jobs, Home ownership, etc. Most of the young people have only to look forward to doing the very same thing their parents did and that is, exist from day to day. Hopefully this will change in the next generation.
Sue’s Weekly Observations:
Normally when someone has finished a task (we have finished taking care of Togo), the question would be “well, so what are you going to do with your time now, Marv and Sue? We have the following projects waiting:
Detailed training in all Auxiliaries:
Priesthood, Relief Society, Young Women, Primary
Conducting of Meetings training.
Establishing libraries in each Branch
Village of Hope Orphanage
Sister of the Poor Old People’s Home
Missionary’s Super “P” Days
Helping Hands Day
And on, and on, and on….so busy we will be.
Till next week….Elder and Sister Leavitt
Le Couple -Benin