Monday, April 8, 2013

We finally found a zebra crossing!

Happy Easter!  The most glorious and significant event of all eternity celebrated in Trinidad.  It was notably different from previous family memories, but a sweet experience, nonetheless.
 The Trinidad stake production of The Savior Of The World/The Resurrection was performed on Friday of Passion Week.  Seriously, when we were told by the stake president that he wanted to have it done locally, we thought there was absolutely no way! 
 It was performed with pvc pipe and metal rods across the chapel to which black fabric had been attached to make a curtain and hide the podium in the Arima branch.  The performers stayed behind the curtain and  came around in front for various scenes. 
The entire cast at the end of the production!
President Francique was Jesus.  He has the deepest, most resonant voice! It was awesome!  I have to say, although none of the voices were trained, or less, the spirit was amazing!  They had practiced soooo hard and their testimonies were evident in their sincere portrayal.  It was an amazing experience.  Much more moving than professional productions with less passion and spirit.
We love Pres. Francique!  He did a great job! He is the branch president.
The audience!  Thrilled with the production!
The performers! Out of character here, but very pleased with the result of all their hard work!  We love them and were so impressed!
 Who knew Jesus had rasta hair! The Stake REALLY wants him to cut it, but we are secretly embracing his cutural perogative! 
We had all the senior missionaries and President and Sister Mehr over for Easter dinner! Soooo fun!
 The Easter Egg rolling contest! Elder Linton won the prize!
We are responsible for all the missionaries in the northwest....... so we had a clean-the-cars day with lunch afterward.  It was fun and the missionaries had a blast!  We held it in front of our apartment and unlike youth car washes, it did NOT break into a giant waterfight!
The car cleaning assembly line!
Even the mission president joined the party!  Maybe that's why we avoided the huge water fight! Ya think???
Ready for lunch with all the cars cleaned!
Here we all are before going in for lunch! These are all our missionaries.
Feeding the 5,000 in our apartment after the car wash! Not enough chairs, but we made it work!  The Elders were raving about the feel of our tiny rug under their bare feet. They were all, "ahhhhh sister Monson, this reminds us of home!!"
Aren't they so adorable!
Lingering and enjoying the fellowship among the wonderful missionaries!  Great young men and women!
Just had to record the surging waterfall that I call my daily spit bath!  This is a good day, on bad days I call it tears!  Yeah, Elder Monson took off the shower head to see if it was worth replacing.  Nope, the water stream itself is......miniscule!!
See that bump??  It doesn't look so intimidating here but if you are going over 10 miles an hour, it can take your head off!  These are everywhere except the major roadways.  Thank goodness!  Otherwise they would all drive 120 kilometers on EVERY road!
Trinidad has aptly been described as the land of Zebra Crossings, but no Zebras and humps (see previous picture), but no camels!
This was a rather strange vehicle driving down the road! On the front it said, The Love Bug.  hummmm
As hard as I tried to avoid it, my birthday came again this year! 
We actually found an amazing restaurant!  They gave me the chocolate souffle on the house for dessert.  The spoon has berries in it, and the candle is in clotted cream.  Yeah, I'll pretty much be savoring it until next year!
Somehow, I summoned up enough air at my advanced age to blow out the one candle!  I must say that I took the entire day off work and read and re-read my gift from my family.  They sent me a book that had been made with 60 reasons why my family loves me, with pictures from the trail of our entire lives and individual letters from each one of them.  No words can describe how much it meant to me.  They had presented one to Elder Monson when we all went to Alaska, before our mission, for his birthday, so I have been waiting in great anticipation for my 60th birthday- which thing I NEVER thought I would do!!  It was soooo worth getting this old.  I can die fully satisfied now that my life had a meaning and purpose that was worthwhile. I love my family so much!
We had an amazing experience!  We traveled together as senior missionaries to see the Leatherback Turtles.  Trinidad is one of the top nesting areas in the world including Matura and Grande Riviere.  Tobago also has important nesting beaches. Each year, 3,000 nests on Matura Beach,are protected by Nature Seekers, improving the chance for survival for tens of thousands of hatchlings. 
Here we are before going to the Beach location.  We had a picnic dinner and listened to the tour guide tell us all about the Leatherback turtles.  This was the first time since we have been here that I thought, wow, this is worth traveling here on vacation to see!  It was INCREDIBLE!
Those enormous front flippers and the powerful back flippers were used to excavate and camouflage an amazing nest in which to lay her eggs.  We watched the whole thing while we were right next to her!!  These turtles are from the dinosaur age!  She weighs 900 pounds!  They tag the turtles and she was not tagged, so had not been seen there before.  She picked her spot and then used her back flippers to dig a perfect upside-down traditional light-bulb-shaped nest.  We watched those flippers dig down, scoop up, and smooth the surface with mind-blowing efficiency.   They would shape like a scoop, lift out the sand, and then flatten and smooth, alternating one side to the other in exact precision.  It was musical!  With the stars and the Caribbean warm breezes, it was dream-like! 
As we approached her, the guide had only red lights on, as she dug and prepared her nest.  After she began laying the eggs, we could turn on our flashlights, take pictures, touch her, (that is my hand and my crazy hair on the right) because she is in her trance.  I could relate.  The guide described it as being unaware of her surroundings as she buried into herself for the laying process.  Sounds like transition labor to me!  It looked like she was crying as liquid dripped from her eyes.  The guide said the salt water from the sea comes from her eyes during the process, but I believe she was crying.

 My first introduction with the white lights on.  I fell in love!
Isn't she beautiful?
You can see the eggs that were larger than ping pong balls, but a little smaller than baseballs and perfectly round.  She laid 80-100 eggs!  She will do that again in 10 days and repeat the process five times a year during this cycle.  After she was finished laying, we had to turn back to red lights and watched her fill the nest with sand, patting it down with a thud that we could feel through our feet!  Then she began moving forward and throwing sand with her front flippers over and over to disguise the spot.  It was truly awe-inspiring!  I was led to say in my heart, "All things testify there is a God!"
She made her way majestically back to the ocean as we all escorted her to the water's edge!  I felt privileged to observe a sacred event! Have a great week!


  1. Love reading your blog! Miss you..

  2. Skyler: I think the turtles are awesome!
    Thais: The turtles are so cool! It reminds me of the big turtle we saw at the zoo!
    Danielle: I didn't know Leatherback turtles existed until your post. She really is beautiful!
    What a cool experience to see her lay her eggs. Speaking of eggs, your Easter celebration looked like it was a blast as well. I love that when you host parties at your place everyone gets excited about the carpet :) When we were in Brazil NOBODY had it, it must be more of an American thing. You guys are the cutest mission couple ever!