Thursday, June 25, 2009

2009 06 28 - End of Term Exams/Youth Convention/Interview Loop

Dear Everyone:

Steve's been on his interview/mini-training loop this week. It's a good thing the assistants do the driving - it's about 1000 miles all around. In addition to interviewing all the elders in the districts, he keeps in touch with the elders in the Durban area, too: he called me one night to say he was sending 4 elders over to watch the USA vs Spain soccer match on TV and would I make a cake? One of the elders needed a bit of a lift, and it turned out to be a great one: USA unexpectedly won, 2-1. It was fun to hear them singing the national anthem and cheering... (I find it very odd that I am suddenly, at this stage in my life, getting into sports! I even watched the South Africa vs Brazil game - and I've never watched soccer! That's what comes of serving in a sports-mad country!)

Hunter went to youth convention (stake youth conference) this weekend. We were hoping his friend Jubz could go, but his mom said they had to go somewhere. That may have been a nice excuse because she didn't want him to go to another LDS activity - it's hard when the youth are interested and their parents aren't, but at least she lets him come to Youth (Mutual) every week. It took us forever to get to the freeway - we went through Pinetown, just as the taxis were coming in to pick everyone up to go home. Taxis do whatever they want, so they were sliding into tiny spaces between cars, and turning at the stoplight through multiple red lights. We made up for it on the N3, though: I know it's kilometers, but a 120 speed limit feels really fast!

Estcourt, where the youth convention was held, is 2-1/2 hours from Durban. The conference center they used, outside of town, is next to a game reserve - and the center locks the gate at dark because "the animals come out". Cool, huh! Hunter got a few new numbers from the girls he met there...I just hope they live closer than some of the ones he likes to hang out with now!

Morgan stayed home so he could go to the end-of-season rugby team braii (barbecue). He has been working frantically on his latest computer projects: team photos for those who went on the Parktown tour, plus a dvd of the last game with a photo retrospective. It was a major hit, and everyone wants copies. I'm looking for alternate ways to expend his energy now that the rugby season is over. I came across two companies that sound good:

Charlie's Garden Service: Treefelling and Stumpgrinding;
Atomic Demolishers.

I'd like to see Morgan grinding a stump --- I've already seen him demolish things.

Our Indian neighbors down the street had a wedding this week...all week! The house and yard were decorated with white and blue lights, and 30 or 40 cars were parked on the street for 4 nights running. It was fun watching the women arriving in saris and other traditional Indian wear, as we drove by. There is an Indian Bridal Fair here every year - I guess I'll have to go next time, if I really want to find out how it all looked inside. The Indian outfits at the mall are all very fancy, glittery and colorful. I'm always tempted to take "local dress" home from trips - but I always look ridiculous in them. You have to be Indian to carry these off. And African for the braids and head wraps and bright colored kaftans! I'm just too pale...

Thursday morning at 6am, while it was still dark, I took Langa and Sthe home to Wyebank and New Germany, then met Elders Kitili and Nyamombe in Pinetown to check Elder N. into the clinic to have his wisdom teeth out. It was really interesting driving through the area so early in the morning. By the time I got to the clinic I had seen hundreds of people walking: students of all ages on the way to school, people walking to work or to catch taxis. Having just finished reading 3rd Nephi, I was reminded of the people struggling through the night to get to the temple to see the Saviour.

Then after 7, when it was light, the vehicular traffic increased as the people with cars headed for school and work. This, of course, brought to mind the idea of relying on our temporal possessions to get us places, and waiting until it's easier (lighter) to get there - maybe a Parable of the 10 Virgins kind of analogy. Anyway, if you read this and think about it, you won't need to come to the Swaziland District Conference in August, because I think it may be the basis of my talk.

Elder Nyamombe wasn't our only medical item this week: we had 2 elders needing special glasses, a banged head (he's ok) in a car that was broadsided, a swollen ankle (you guessed it, soccer on preparation day), 24-hour flu, a case of psoriasis, a knee surgery that needs "re-surging", a broken wrist that needs more attention, and a boil! What sane woman would have 107 sons!!!

But of course, they're all wonderful. And hardworking. And sweet. And hungry. And anxious to do a good job. And eager for emails, letters and packages. And excited to be here. So I guess a few bumps and bruises are worth it.

And on that note, have a fun 4th of July this week - if the USA soccer team wins today, we'll be even happier to wave our flag...


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