The Drapers arrived, rather haggard after their 60+ hour trip…without their luggage! The normal 48 hour trip the Church puts on senior couples to get here (Utah to Chicago to London to South Africa to Lubumbashi) was extended because they missed their connection in South Africa. Then they ended up taking a flight that left late at night, when to Kenya and a couple of other countries before finally getting here about noon the next day.
We put them to bed, but got them up for dinner that night (our couples dinner with Elder Ellis), then back to bed until Monday, when they would have to start work in earnest. OH, and they did finally get their luggage on Monday.
We finally got the generator going again, so for now, we have power and water: woo hoo! A power surge had blown two fuses in a secondary control box. But we are back on track, for now. And, of course, just as the generator was back on line, the power came back…
Monday was round-robin day here as we moved missionaries from one apartment to another (this was mixed up a little as the missionaries coming from Mbuji Mayi are still stuck there, and may be there for two weeks: Korongo flies from Kinshasa to Mbuji Mayi to Lubumbashi and back to Kinshasa. Well, they had over-booked the flight to the point that they didn’t even stop in MM, they flew direct to Lubumbashi—twice! So now they have two plane loads of passengers sitting in MM waiting their turn to get out, while still booking passengers in Kinshasa… And CAA (which is worse) has now only ONE flight through MM a week. So with all the passengers waiting, and no flights, or only one flight a week, we think the poor missionaries are stuck in MM for some time.
Then the Bujumbura flight was late, delayed in Kenya. Needless to say, Terri and I were still moving some missionaries until 8pm last night. Oh the joy of driving through Gecamine at night! There is simply nothing like the experience. With no police to threaten people, it truly is a free-for-all. The one major intersection in Gecamine is a T, and took us about 30 minutes to get through. When you have four lanes of cars coming from three directions on 3 two-lane roads…well, there is nowhere to go! The people coming from the other direction can’t go past you because you have four cars going their direction; and we can’t get by them, because there are cars in our lanes coming at us; AND, if that isn’t bad enough, there is the third direction coming from the side, trying to turn right or left! It is pitch dark, people yelling and horns honking…And hundreds of people on the sides of the road (it is a large market) walking back and forth between the cars! Ah, yes, Gecamine at night!
We decided to treat ourselves and go out to dinner and eat samosas.
Other than that, the transfer is actually going quite well!
Elder Atkinson is finally getting the hang of driving in the Congo. He has become a police magnet for some reason, and has been coerced into paying lots of ‘road tax’ here. But yesterday I guess he had had enough. Learning a trick of the trade, he tucked in close behind a large truck to get by a police stop. As the police could not get in front of his truck, they simply banged on the side of his car as he passed them, one policeman hanging on the side of the car (his feet on the side runner and holding on to the mirror)…but undaunted, he continued to follow the large truck as a ‘blocker’ and got through without stopping or paying! Way to go Elder Atkinson!
The rest of the week continues to be busy. We have elders going home who have finished their mission, new missionaries arriving on Friday (we hope!) and perhaps the MM elders arriving on Friday (we hope!). They could all end up on the same flight, and the new missionaries are coming through Kinshasa this time (don’t ask), which would mean we have 27 missionaries land in our laps at one time: where to put them to sleep? We have to run out and buy extra mattresses to place in apartments just in case. We do have the new ‘dorm’ apartment for the sisters, which will help.
But by the end of the week we hope all the missionaries will be in the right place and ready to start work again in their new sectors. Then the next week the new medical couple arrives to take Terri’s place, with just a few days to trade-off with them before we leave. Wow!