Elder Palmer (back row, 6th from left) is serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa mission for
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Eric returned home on August 27th, 2011!!!!!

He was transferred to Yaounde, Cameroon on August 13th, 2010.

Links listed on the left are from the senior couples and Mission President!

Comments in italics are clarifications from Mom.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eric's email of May 6th, 2010

Alright family, so the camera thing is not too bad. I did backup a good amount of my photos, but I did lose some more recent ones because I hadn't backed up that recently. But yes I do still have the Wolverine, (small backup device) that just stays at the apartment. But I did send home the most important ones my last p-day in Douala, so ça va. And so from your suggestions, the first one could work. (Should we mail one, should we send one with a new missionary, can you buy one from a missionary that is leaving or can you get one there?) There is a way to ship stuff here, through DHL. I'm sure Dad has heard of it. DHL. I am told that its completely reliable, stuff doesn't get stolen. And it takes just about a week, only 1 week. But, as you would expect, it would be expensive. So that's one option. Another is one day I could go to a store and see how much cameras here are. There are some real stores, I don't know how expensive one would be, but maybe one p-day I could go check it out, see how much it would cost, and tell you. So I think those would be the best 2.

And I don't think there are any missionaries heading here in May. I have been informed that there will be 20 North American missionaries coming at the beginning of July. And right now there are 6 missionaries in Pointe-Noire, and President said he wants to put 12 here at that time. The Baxters will also be home at that point, so they will just keep the whole apartment and fit 6 more in like that. The Baxters live just next door, in the same little complex. So that's what I heard the plan is. And we calculated it and that should mean the new missionaries just entered the MTC yesterday.

And to get a camera from a missionary going home, there is only one here, Elder Ritchie. He goes home in July when the new wave comes, and his camera can't hold a charge. So that's my thoughts, and the Wolverine will be fine for a while.

So we will be calling home this Sunday, that came fast... Anyways, I will call you Sunday, around 19h30 or 7:30 PM, which is 2:30 PM chez-vous, si je ne me trompe pas. So I think that should work, right? Hopefully Dad can get home in time for that. But we couldn't call much later. Its a good thing you have morning church though. So that's that, I'll be calling with the stuff I used back at Christmas. Sunday 7:30 here, 2:30 there.

So "Afasso" means "bonjour", basically, but its a little different. Its like "bonjour" and "ça va?" squished into 1 word. So you say "afasso", and you respond by saying "ka bien", which is like "ça va bien". And the name of the language is called Mounoukoutouba, I think I spelled that right. Here in Congo things are a bit less complicated than in Cameroon. First off in Cameroon, there are 2 national languages, French and English. And so that kind of separates some people, even more when you add 200+ patuas. (Local languages) Here in Congo there are 4 national languages, but its less confusing, and I'll explain why. First there is French, which nearly everyone speaks, usually at least one person in each household. Also, Mounoukoutouba is one, which is a patua here, but it is also spoken by everybody (except the missionaries...). And 2 other languages whose name I don't know.

So this week I had one experience that stuck out, probably one of the best of my mission. Or at least one I doubt I will forget. So this took place Wednesday just around noon. Elder Parsons and I were at La Base, which is the cartier (neighborhood) around the church. We had some rendezvous planned, but most of them fell through. So we contacted a little and taught a couple lessons there. And we planned (holy cow, they just showed NBA highlights on the TV here in the internet café...) Ok, anyways, so we were planning on just contacting there for a couple more hours, but we were walking and we saw this guy with a pousse-pousse with a bunch of wood planks in it, taller than me. A pousse-pousse is just a cart people use to haul stuff with. Like the verb "pousser", to push. And so this guy was stuck trying to get over a curb thing, being helped by one other guy, and girl about my age, and a lady with her baby on her back. And so Elder Parsons and I went to help, because there was no way for them. So we eventually get it over the curb, and we continued to help him up a hill. And we keep going. One of the guys and the lady with a baby drop off. We continue. Then we take a little break, the guy who this belongs to asks us if we are Jehovah's Witnesses, we say no and explain who we are. And he tells us we are going to La Poudrierre, which is a little far. We normally take a 15 minute bus ride there. So we continue, and then the girl drops off, so its just me, Elder Parsons and him. And we get it all the way to his house, we are pretty darn tired and we sit down. And I see his foot, and he is bleeding, pretty bad. Turns out, he wasn't wearing shoes, geez. So it was right between his big toe, and he's still walking trying to get us chairs, but we are trying to get him to wash it and sit down. And then, he takes one step, and blood just squirts up out of his foot. And the other day Elder Parsons told me he doesn't like blood and that he has fainted before. So I'm there with a guy with a bleeding foot, and I'm hoping my companion doesn't pass out. But he finally washes it and wraps it, sits down, and we get him to prop it up on a chair. And then his wife gets us some water, which was heavenly. And then we teach him. It was kinda weird and I don't know if we were speaking the best French, because we were tired. So we just taught a short lesson with him and his wife. His name is Fifa, and her name is Jouria. And they seem really nice and such. But that was just a weird experience to contact a family.

So that is easily the most notable experience of the week. Today we also went with one of the branch presidents to the beach and stuff. We saw some historical spots of old slave places and stuff, not good. And by the name of this city, you can tell what those old slave traders thought. Anyways, it also made me really tired, I slept in the car ride home. Next week I'll try to send come pictures one of the other missionaries took. The internet café we go to is really nice, so yeah. I can't wait to talk to you guys on Sunday, try to enjoy the week back together at the house after vacation with friends and Puerto Rico.

Je vous aime,
- Eric

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