Saturday, December 8, 2012

Trinidad this and that

Today's post is not for the faint of heart!  I'm just warning ya!

Ok, so y'all know we have been in temporary housing due to my allergic reaction to the mold in the carpet in our original apartment.  So we have been in one bed and breakfast place and then moved to another.  This is a picture of water filling the bottom of our shower in our second and final temporary housing.  You might be thinking, "Why is water filling the bottom of their shower?"  Well, it is just amazing what surprising talents you discover in your spouse when you serve missions together! Who knew Elder Monson was a waste management engineer??!  Since we had previously had a problem we didn't dare mention that the minute we opened the shower curtain we were literally bowled over, (ran out of the bathroom with my hand over my nose and mouth gagging)  so my resourceful companion took matters into his own hands and rigged up a filtration system! 
Here is his engineering marvel that allowed us to sleep!  I had looked up on the internet the dangers of breathing gasses from sewage which incidentally include ammonia, methane gas and one more exotic thing all of which lead to ......DEATH......but first........ eye irritation, difficulty breathing and nausea (Duh!!) So wizard Elder Monson put a clean white wash cloth over the shower drain with a cup from the kitchen, (you'll see that in a minute) and filled it up as high as possible with water to keep the gasses down.  Pure genius!
Here's what we found in the morning when we lifted the washcloth!!!! Children beware....this picture could be disturbing!
 Here's our kitchen!  Well stocked, I'd say, since we found a trusty cup to solve our plumbing problems!!  It was in that left cupboard right up there!  We just have to add that we couldn't keep it a secret after three days and the management was amazing.  They moved us to a different room, cut the rate, and threw some kind of acid down the drain.  They said it had a HUGE reaction so it was good we told them and it would need several more treatments.  It is all very clean......just created breathing problems....AGAIN!  We are moving into our apartment next Monday and can hardly wait.  We do NOT highly recommend living out of a suitcase for a month!  In spite of that we are loving our assignment and making progress.  Suffice it to say that we feel our entire lives have prepared us for this time and assignment.  We hope we can do what we have been trusted to accomplish here in this part of the world.
 Here's a friendly Hindu man who sells some kind of peas from a stand on the roadside.  We had a conversation and he explained the various denominations on this island thus: "There's one big man up there and we are all praying to the same man in our own way."  I thought that was pretty succinct and no, he did not want us to teach him!
 One must be careful on the roadways in Trinidad!  The cars all make up their own rules and dart in and out, speeding like demons and you never know..... this water buffalo (or whatever it is) might wander out in the middle of it all!

 The cool thing is at the stop lights, which last long enough to read a couple good books, can pick up some vegetables.  Trini people are very patient!
Or.....if you are craving cotton candy and haven't been to Disneyland in awhile!
 We looked forward to living by the ocean for the fabulous seafood!  This is the neighborhood fish market.  Oil is the main industry here in Trinidad so there really is not a huge fish industry.  Don't ya just really want a kitchen knife like that one though?
 Here's the supermarket for the locals.
 What you are seeing is TRUE!!  We found a Cold Stone Creamery!!  We just had to put this in for our neighbors, the Garffs!  It is in the Trin City Mall....the schmanzy one where we had Thanksgiving dinner!  Ahhhh  sweet!
 We saw these beautiful children at the Mall.  They were on a preschool outing.  The school children all wear school uniforms.  I was talking to the young women about how they like that and they do!  I think it's a great idea.
 Have you ever in your entire life seen so much plastic???  This is the store the sisters call the Plastic Store!  We call it Trini Walmart!  It is huge and has stuff, stuff and more stuff!
 This is one ward's Christmas Party.  We are not assigned to one ward, as our assignment is mission wide, so we go to a different branch every week and meet with the youth.  We are getting to know many of them so we have been invited to two Christmas parties this week.  One last night and one tonight.  We were standing behind this table helping the RS president serve after the program.  As all the people came through we noticed the branch president coming through about 4 times with plates in both hands.  The last time he said, "These are for you Elder and Sister Monson, they will be in my office."  Such a kind, good man.  He looks about 32.  I love the Book of Mormon in the Elder's back pocket!
 Here is the Primary doing the Nativity play and singing the songs.  Notice Mary and baby Jesus in his pink jammies and Joseph with the veil on.  It was so sweet.  They did a beautiful job!

This is the exterior of one of the branches.  Look closely to find the sign that announces it in the building. It is located on a very busy street, has open windows and huge fans blowing so it is difficult to hear.  The entire upstairs houses the branch.
This branch starts at 9:00 am.  This picture was taken as the clock was straight up 9:00.  Elder Monson is talking with the sister missionary responsible for travel from the office.  Look to the left of the picture and notice the open area.  The rooms have no ceilings so you hear one class singing one hymn while another is singing something else.  It is a cacophony of acapella hymns!
This is the same meeting during the closing song.  Quite a difference in the attendance!

 This is the exterior of another branch.  Notice the barbed wire to the right and the bars over the windows.
 This is the view across the street from the branch.
The story I wanted to share this week if you want to read the small print is about a diminutive Indian woman that spent one night at our same bed and breakfast. We spent precious time with her as she was staying overnight after traveling to the temple to receive her endowment.  She shared her story, the only member of her family and the incredible joy she felt having been to the temple to receive her endowment.  She kept repeating, "I am so happy" over and over as she explained she had never traveled and was very frightened to do so; felt she was in danger to do so, but her branch president had helped her and written specific instructions at every juncture so she would not be afraid.  She described her feeling about having received her endowment thus: "I am so happy I did this because now I know how much Heavenly Father loves give me all those blessings.....I will never be the same because I know how he feels about me to bless me so much.  She just glowed and her eyes were shining.....the details of her story are tragic in many ways, but in spite of her trials, she knows her value to God, knows it with every fiber of her being and now has been empowered to pick up her burden and carry it with confidence, certain that the Lord will help lift the load with her. 
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is True!  Until next p-day..........


  1. That is such a sweet story about the women who received her endowment. How cool! I am curious what time all the people decided to show up for church considering the dance story from a few weeks ago. Were they all two hours late? I had to laugh thinking about Pa trying to listen in his classroom while you could hear every other class singing and talking at the same time. I'm sure he got a lot out of that lesson:)

  2. I just smile the whole time I am reading your blog. You guys are having such amazing experiences and meeting such interesting people! It was fun to talk to you guys yesterday!!

  3. What a great experience! I hope you get settled in an apartment soon. Those conditions were gross! Find out what the Young Women like to do so we can share it with our girls. Take care! Love you guys!