Winter is Coming to the Congo?

There has been a change in weather here, just as the locals predicted. During the rainy season it was hot in the morning, then in the afternoon or late evening it would rain and it would cool down. It rained 2-3 times a week, sometimes all day, and many times with great force. This year it lasted longer than normal, but the locals said that once the ‘wind’ came, the rain would be over and the dry season would begin.

They were right. One day the wind came, and it has not rained since. It seems to be fall here—at least many of the trees are losing their leaves. But this brings a whole n’uther problem: the smoke and ash. The locals rake/sweep up the leaves and burn them, along with any and all trash that has accumulated over the summer (I supposed they didn’t burn their trash during the rainy season due to the rain?). What this creates is a very thick smoke veil that hangs over the city, and when the wind blows, the black ash/soot from their fires is deposited everywhere. If you walk outside for any length of time you come home with black marks on your clothes from the ash landing on you.

We try to keep the windows clothed, which is easy as the weather is also getting colder. Who knew that it got cold in Africa? In the morning one needs a jacket to stay warm (you feel as though you could almost see your breath…but don’t), but as the day goes on it warms up and can still get hot. It makes nice sleeping weather as the nights are cool.

We continue to be very busy. Two new couples come in this week: the Mbele’s from Kinshasa, and the Davis’ from…hmm, I forget, but they are flying in from South Africa where they have been receiving training in Humanitarian Services. We have a nice home for them to stay in their entire mission. We think the Mbele’s will be traveling to Mbuji Mayi (we have a very nice home for them in Mbuji Mayi—one that we got with the idea it might become a future mission home when the mission splits). They will cover the northern half of the mission.

The McMullin’s are traveling most of the time they have left on their mission. We are staying in the office as we are the only drivers now and need to pick people up and drop them off. We also get to act as surrogate mission presidents, as we are here to welcome the new couples, as the President is on the road (he will be back next week to interview them and get them started in their fields of endeavor).

The apartment crush is almost over. Since I first came we have opened and furnished 23 new apartments! We still have one or two more to find, but things have slowed down quite a bit. At one point we had 10 apartments in one stage or another of getting ready to move into. With all the new missionaries coming out now, it was good planning to get ahead of the curve!

Terri’s work with the medical end of the mission has lessened a lot. Now that most missionaries have been instructed by her about good health, and have followed her counsel about medical issues, fewer missionaries are calling in sick. That is why she has been able to pick-up the new assignment of doing the missionary transfers—an unbelievably difficult job! To coordinate the travel of 100 +- missionaries to their new areas (figuring several ‘legs’ for each missionary), is truly the job of a General (think troop movements during wartime?). But she seems to be handling it well, in spite of the Murphy effect: anything that can go wrong will!

We all have been suffering from allergies (again, due to the change in season and the wind), and have itchy eyes and noses, etc. But c’est la vie, oui?

A plus tard!

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