I have been given several jobs to do here in the Congo, related to construction and maintenance: I am to work with the local LDS Project Manager, Fernand, who is the local rep for the several new chapels being built in the area; I am to work with Emanuel, who works out of the Mission Home, inspecting missionary apartments (including new apartments), to make sure they are completely functional (water, power, safety, etc.), and to aid in the repair of anything that goes wrong; and finally, to teach construction techniques to return missionaries, who will then use the training in helping to build local chapels (this job will come a little later on)
So I went out with Emanuel to help him in moving some furniture and inspecting an apartment being set-up for new missionaries coming in a few days. I thought I would give you an idea of the type of apartments the missionaries are living in here– they are very nice, and usually hold 4-8 people.
Each apartment (that I have seen) has a protective wall around the house, with razor wire on top and a steel gate. Once inside, it is usually a 2-3 bedroom home, with other large rooms. Each one varies a little in the amenities they have– some have electric stoves, while others cook outside, or on portable gas stoves (like what we used for two yrs on Tinian).
The biggest problem we have is water– getting clean water to the missionaries for washing and drinking. Often there are problems getting ANY water at all (Like in Laputa– where they often have to carry water in bidons, like the locals)
During a break in our workday, we happened to be near where Emanuel lived, and he invited me to lunch! I readily agreed, and he called his wife to prepare some Foo Foo for us (ah, my second attempt at eating F0o Foo!)
They lived in a very nice little home, with a large garden in front. The only negative I saw was that they lived very close to the local copper mine– not sure how the noise and dust affected them…
They were one of the few people I have seen that had a well on their property for water, and they had an LDS water filter system in their home for additional help in having clean water to use.
The house is a work in progress, with additions to come as his family grows larger
He has a beautiful wife, and young 18 month old daughter named Perciary. They met just before his mission to Uganda, and married about a year after he got back (she waited for him!). They have a great picture layout of Emanuel on his mission, their wedding day at the Temple, and a few other pictures, hanging on one wall.
The food was very good, and I actually liked the Foo Foo this time. Emanuel said they used a different flour than in Laputa. The Foo Foo still had little flavor, which is why you eat it with kasaba leaves (like spinach), and in this case, some fish.
We washed our hands well before eating (as we eat with our hands, and out of a common bowl). You take a clump of Foo Foo (like dough) work it in you hand, then use the Foo Foo to ‘pinch’ some fish or kasaba, and then eat them together. Like my last experience, the Foo Foo was very filling, and I could not eat much of it.
We soon had to say goodbye so we could go back to work.
Like most daughters– Perciary was not quite ready to see her dad leave again! It was a great experience for me, and a great memory to hold. Emanuel has a wonderful family, and should do well for himself over time.
After finishing for the day, I was dropped off at the mission home, and will go out with Emanuel again tomorrow.