Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Letter to President Mehr, Starting to Feel at Home Here

At the botanical garden

There are two green parrots in this tree.

I don't know how she caught this fish!

Some places there is a "beach" on the sea side of the wall.
October 16, 2012  Starting to feel at home here.

Looking down our street

A manatee is poking his head out of the water and the bird is sitting on him.

Things are going well here in Georgetown.  It's still a new adventure every day.  We get up at 5:30 every morning to walk.  We either walk to the sea wall where there is usually a breeze or to the botanical gardens.  Many days the clouds are billowing up along the sea.  The streets are quiet.  Later in the day they get busy.

I am including an email that Elder Beecher sent to President Mehr.  This tells all about what we have been up to.

Dear President,
This is the first time that we have accessed this e-mail account. We have been using bkbeecher@gmail.com. We have been very busy. We are getting acquainted with the country, customs, driving... We have cleaned, organized, gotten to three institute classes and had intended on going to a 4th class last night. We had a tender mercy. We got a phone call that lasted for a long time. We have a problem we are working on with a PEF student. The tender mercy was that we would have been on the road where there was a riot and car burnings... There was an alert from the US embassy this morning that the rioting might spread. The people are unhappy with the police. We are very busy. We are scheduled to go to Berbice and help with a leadership training meeting. We are helping with food, talks and break-out sessions. Sunday we are helping in the Diamond Branch to prepare for the following Sunday's Primary Program. We have met with Dr. Charles Van Dyke in regards to the Vision Up Project that is headed by Dr./President Reid Robison. Dr. Van Dyke has given us his blessing and promised help from local doctors with the project. I have helped with two auctions of vehicles that are being offered for sale. We have visited with Global Technology after several attempted calls to clear up a missing payment check. We have inputted many names in the computer so that we can efficiently contact several different groups. We are official Guyanese drivers. I have not hurt anyone on or off the road, which is perhaps a miracle. The Lord is watching over us. We have been given support from the Senior Missionaries and the local members. President McKenzie was here last night until after 10:30 helping with computer problems. We are excited for your visit, followed by Brother Negron on the 15th to do employment training, and then on the 18th a visit from Rufino and Henry Batista. I would say that we have plenty to do. We go to bed tired at night and arise around 5:30a.m. and go for walks often with the Beutlers. While walking we mostly talk about church related topics and culture as related to Guyana. I hope this fills you in as to your requested update. I will mention that we are getting more acquainted with Georgetown, were disturbed by the burned out sections in Linden, and are eagerly anticipating seeing the Berbice area and meeting more of our PEF students. I struggle with understanding people and rely heavily on Sister Beecher especially for talking on the phone. Some Guyanese have some peculiar ways of expressing themselves. We need to attend to the 21 other e-mails that were at this e-mail address. I noticed that there were some e-mails from Sister Mehr. We will get those answered. There are problems here in Guyana, but many incredible people who have strong testimonies and actions that follow those testimonies. We never have a dull day.

We did travel to the Berbice area on Saturday. It is a rural area with lots of mangroves along the coast. There are cows, donkeys, goats, chickens, and dogs on the road all along the way. On the way home in the dark there were lots of people along the roads near the small towns. We helped with the leadership training. There are six branches there. President Goodluck is a counselor in the mission presidency, and part of his responsibility is those six branches. We drove for two hours with the Beutlers and President Goodluck to get there. Elder Beecher and I did a presentation on PEF and Employment. Then we had break out sessions. Elder Beecher worked with the clerks, and I worked with the Relief Society. I thought it went well. The Treseders, a missionary couple who live in that area had us all for supper, and we got to meet the Paghwah family. We met their daughter in the MTC in Provo and she sent a letter for us to give to her family.

Along the Road to Berbice

Drying rice on the road. Do we eat this??

We enjoyed the ride in the country.

Many homes are on stilts.

The members in the Berbice area were so friendly and sweet. We really enjoyed getting to know them. 

One more quick thing. Last week when they had some trouble along the main and only road from Georgetown going south. The road was closed and some people could not get back home. On Sunday we were at church at the Diamond Branch and in Relief Society the lesson was on faith. One sister talked about how her two sons were not able to get home. They send kids as young as two to school here. She prayed and thought to call her niece. Her niece said have them come to her home. The bus driver took them straight there. Another sister and her son were talking about all the people they knew that might not be able to get home. Her seven year old son said lets say a prayer. They prayed and then he said. OK, They will be Ok. Another sister talked about being on a bus (they hold about nine people). with people of all different races. There were five children on the bus. She tried to look brave, and passed out bananas to the children. A black man knocked on the bus window and gave them a bottle of water. They passed it around the bus and everyone shared. A little girl had a sucker and she broke off pieces and shared. Many more women shared stories of faith. They turned to Heavenly Father when they needed help. It was a sweet experience. Well, I'd better sign off so we can wake up in the morning.
Love to all. 
Elder and Sister Beecher

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Trips to Linden and Kaieteur Falls

October 1, 2012  Trips to Linden and Kaieteur Falls
Missionaries on the bank of the Demerara River
A chicken pen from the Church's Humanitarian Fund.
Linden is a small town with a river running through the middle of it about one and one half hour's drive from Georgetown.  There is a bauxite mine there, but the Chinese own it and they mine the bauxite and ship it to China.  It does not benefit the Guyanese.  One of the member's homes there blew down so the branch was having a service project to help rebuild their house.  After working on the house in the morning they planned a branch social.  The Summers live in Linden.  They are a missionary couple and he is the branch president.  They are probably the only white people in town.  A couple months ago some people caused riots.  They burned down some of the city buildings including all the vital records, and the church.  They weren't targeting the church, but didn't like the owner of the building the church was renting.  The young missionaries were taken out and the Summers spent a month in Georgetown.  They are back now and things have quieted down.  We got there too late to help with the service project, but the social was lots of fun and there were lots of people there.  I made a friend, a cute little eight year old girl named Sasha.  She hung on to my hand and hugged me all through the half hour program.  What a sweetie.  It made my day.  I hope our grandson, Ruston, will be her penpal.
A cute store with balconies.

Branch President Summers and Sheldon, a returned mini-missionary

Youth singing at the branch social

Sasha, my new friend
They had rioting in Linden a few months before we were there.  Government buildings and other buildings were burned.
View down by the river

President Summers was giving some of the youth a ride home and he took us along.  He reminded me of Indiana Jones as he speedily bounced along over the rugged cow trail roads.  It was like the wild west.  I really liked Linden.  It was very rural and peaceful.  It was cleaner than Georgetown.
Trip to the Falls
It didn't feel quite right to take a vacation as soon as we got here, but the other couple missionaries had planned it and they needed to fill up the plane:)  We had hoped to make it to the Kaieteur Falls sometime.  There were four couples who went, the Cooks, Browns, Beutlers, and us.  Another sister missionary was going to go, but couldn't at the last minute so we took Sister Benn, the District President's wife.  We had to be at the office ready to go by 6:10 a.m. , then we waited for 45 minutes for the Tour Company to arrive.  We all piled into a nice little bus, and thought wow, this is going to be roomy.  Then we went to pick up 10 Chinese doctors.  We had a good visit with them for an hour as we drove to the airport.  They are here in Guyana for two years working/volunteering at the General Hospital.  They are all different kinds of doctors.  We sat by two ladies.  One was a pediatrician and one was a gynocologist.  I felt so bad when they told me that they left their husbands and children in China. The doctors will be without them for two years.  One had a five year old son, and one had an eleven year old daughter. Each year they get a month long vacation in China with their families.  They said they were happy to come to Guyana because the air is so clean, even though they work long hours at the hospital.  We talked to them about watching general conference this weekend.
When we arrived at the airport they took us into an executive lounge where we waited for them to get the plane ready.  When they led us out on the concourse we couldn't believe the antique airplane they were going to take us in.  It looked like it was from the forties!  We squeezed in and held our breath as it rattled to life.  We weren't sure it would get off the ground.   
The plane-not too roomy inside

The clouds were beautiful.  We flew through lots of them

They mine gold and diamonds here.

The view from the air was great.  It really did look like broccoli.  We could see lots of rivers, and mining operations.

We saw the falls from the air

On the runway, in the rain.

A small red carnivorous plant

Our guide, Lee

It was a jungle!

Bob on  a ledge!

Nice view of the river at the bottom of the falls.

Deep in a leaf is the inch long golden frog-very poisonous!

The falls were beautiful
Our pilot was good.   We shook some when he went through the clouds, but he landed nicely and did a good job. We crawled out of the plane and he gave us a bottle of water.  We went into the  building which was empty except for a couple people there.  Our guide and his family live there with another family.  The falls are 741 feet high.  They are the highest single drop falls in the world.  It is the end of the dry season, so they are only 1/3 or so as wide as they are sometimes.  They told us not to wear mosquito repellent there, because mosquitos are an endangered species because of all the carnivorous plants there.  We saw the tiny golden frog, and many unusual plants.  The view of the falls was great.  We were tired on the ride back because it got so hot and muggy.    We are keeping very busy and trying to get it together so we can do what we are supposed to do.  We learn a little more every day.