Saturday, February 2, 2013

Food and Fun in Trinidad

For awhile I have felt the need to do a food-in-Trinidad post!  Ya know, food is a daily part of our mission! So here ya go!  First, let's start with this guy who was right in front of us at the stop light.  Remember that about 8 cars go through every light AFTER it turns we could tell by his body language that his life was on the line!
Notice his hands at the ready!
 Peeling out the instant the red clicked on....... we began praying for his life!  Whole body into the motion!  Get that leg up, son!  Luckily, he survived to brave another day!
 Remember the Pricemart?(Costco) Yeah, they have the food court too.  Pizza, Trini style, is very unique though! 
 I became friends with this nice girl and asked her if I could take a picture of her pizza for my grandchildren!  She thought the request a little strange, but said, "sure."  Seriously, this is a very moderate amount of ketchup!  They put gobs of ketchup, mustard, tons of other sauces all over everything!  Chicken, potatoes, macaroni, curry, fish, etc. etc. etc. At YW combined activity this week, I was laughing with a darling YW about this and asked if she was going to put ketchup on the cookies. She said, "Oh, Sister, not on EVERYTHING, just on EVERYTHING that is savory!"

Here's the other crazy thing!  In Naperville, there used to be a KFC just at the end of our subdivision and around the corner.  We went there to eat, in seventeen years, a total of five times!  KFC is truly King in Trinidad!  No kidding.  When we first got here, we were like, what is up with KFC?  There is one on every other corner, it seems! Drive a few blocks in any direction and you are there!  Huge lines down the street for the drive-through at the Mall.  We're thinking, ok there has to be something different!  So we decided to go to the one at the Trini Mall that always has about 30 people out the door waiting in line.  We paid the price, did our time, poured the obligatory ketchup all over everything....... and was just the same......forgettable!!  We talked with a man that works here about this phenomenon and he said that KFC derives more profits here in TrinidadTobago than anywhere else in the world!!!  Go figure!  By the way, the ketchup is different, watered down or something; different texture!  (We did not get the Spicy Lime variety though, maybe that's the ticket!)
 So we had been noticing that many locals live; I mean, breakfast-lunch-dinner.....on DOUBLES! All the missionaries love them and said we had to try them, but every doubles stand is not the same!  Our first venture was at this stand in the True Value grocery store.  We were starving and thought, what the heck?  So we ordered our first doubles!  It was like two soggy crepes, one overlapping and to the side of the other, (hence the "doubles" name) with chick peas and some other sauce and some more sauce.  Yeah, not my favorite.  We were thinking, we tried it, and that's good for our entire mission! Then someone said, no, you have to try this other stand.  It makes all the difference! Soooo........
Coming home late one night, (they are out there every night), and starving again, we ventured once more to test them out at the more highly recommended spot on the street to the side of the shopping mall just around our corner. Elder Monson ordered the spicy variety.  This one had much more texture in the fried crepe thing and more chick peas; also, shredded cabbage on top. I ordered the tame variety and LESS SAUCE!!
 Isn't this girl adorable?!  This family probably prepares all day and works late into the night!
 Here are her babies sitting in the back of the truck next to her doubles stand, waving goodbye to us!
 This week we taught early morning seminary so we got to see the school kids, all of them in uniform.
The vast majority of the students have to stand in the rain and wait for either a bus or a maxi to take them anywhere; that is the case with church attendance, too.  So attendance by all members is drastically affected by rain.  The teacher did not make it the first day we taught so we ended up teaching these two students in our van! A third arrived after this picture was taken.  We visited with the teacher after class the next day and got a little clearer picture of the burden she carries.  She has three children, works full time in two jobs, a janitorial business and a bakery, and is trying to teach early morning seminary every day!  She goes to bed at 3 am every morning (baking for the bakery) and is to be at seminary at 6:15.  She shared the story of her conversion with us after class on Friday.  She was raised a catholic but her spirit recoiled at praying to Mary.  She said it just did not feel right to her.  She described that she was in an abusive situation as a teenager and needed to depend on God to endure her trials.  She found a Pentecostal church and was very involved. She had some experiences with fellow members where they would shout and sing praises at church, but would be dishonest, distant or even heartless during the week.  One day she was given a pamphlet by Jehovah witnesses and while reading it, she was struck by a reference to “the word.” She said the thought struck her that she would find her answer in the word of God.  So she started reading the Bible voraciously. After she had read the entire Bible two times and felt that she knew God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, she decided to hold a feast in her home for them.  She chose a time when she was by herself, prepared a feast of fruits and vegetables, opened her door, and literally invited God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to come in and sup with her and guide her to the true church.  That week the Elders knocked on her door!  They taught her son the first discussion and invited him to come to church that Sunday which was a fast Sunday.  She said the lesson was directed to her son, who had invited them in, and the invitation was to him; the Elders did not think she was interested because she sat where they could not see her listening, and she did not participate.  She said Sunday came and her plan was to go to the Mormon Church at nine and then go to her church at 11:00 am.  When she got there, she found it was a meeting to testify!  So she walked up to the pulpit and testified!  She spoke of her love for God, her love of the scriptures, her search for the true church and the characteristics clearly laid out in the Bible of the true church of God.  The mission president happened to be at that meeting and turned to the branch president and said, “Who is that woman?”  He responded, “I have no idea!”  She and her son were baptized soon thereafter.  This woman radiates the certainty of finding the true church of God and being led to Him as a specific answer to her personal prayer to find His Church. With tears in her eyes, she said, “It is the peace of the Lord that I felt here and nowhere else.  I know for myself what His peace feels like, and when I came to this church that day, I felt it fill every corner of my heart.”  Needless to say, the seminary students are in good hands, but she needs some help, a team teacher, or a new calling. 
 Look closely at these CEPEP people. They work for the government and take care of the government property that edges the streets etc.  They cut whole blocks of grass on the parking with a Weed Wacker.  They have about three people stand there and hold a big piece of netting while they are cutting the grass.  In this and the next picture, they are sweeping the sidewalk.  How many government employees does it take to sweep a sidewalk?  You count! This picture is a bit atypical because usually there are 4 superintendents sitting nearby supervising!  In fact, it seems every worker has their own personal supervisor!
 On our morning walks, we chat with all the CEPEP people.  They are very friendly and very thorough.
 Here is the friendly garbage truck.  When we first arrived we asked what day the garbage should be put out.  Oh, we were told, just whenever you want; they come whenever they want!  Guidelines, just guidelines! The garbage is just stuck outside in front on the parking in open pits; grated, non-lidded containers and free to the dogs that tear it apart all over the place.  That is awesome!  The poor areas are just buried in garbage, and there is no pickup. We have heard from the missionaries that there is no garbage pickup at all in Guyana, and there is garbage everywhere.  People just drop it outside anywhere, and the rats are a huge problem.  We are so excited to go to Guyana!
Here's a little friend we found to show our grandchildren! 
 He wasn't too chummy and did not like his picture taken!
 We see the Trinidad Tobago flag flying everywhere.  We thought we would show you the proud flag of our mission; well, one of them.  The missionaries collect little pins of the flags of all the countries in the mission where they served.  We are going to carry on that tradition.  So far, this is the only one we have.  We are slated to go to Guyana soon, but have hit a snag on our multi-entry visa, so we are still waiting. 

In this mission, the young missionaries write their testimonies when they first get into the mission field and when they come into the office the day before leaving, they write their return-with-honor farewell testimony.  I was randomly reading through some of them in the office one day and this one struck me.  “I came out as a child, I want to go home as a man with a child’s heart.”  Elder Suard
I had to record that thought.  Until next week...........................

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