So before I forget, because I forgot last week. 2 weeks ago, I took out 20,000 FCFA from the bank with my debit card. I had been looking around other places to find out how much they would give me for my just normal American money. I thought I had found this one place that would give me about 525 CFA per dollar if I brought in $100 or more. But it turns out they want it only in the form of $100 bills, so for my five $20 bills they were only going to give me 400 CFA per dollar. Later I found one other place for 450 CFA per dollar. But yeah, I know I took that money out without telling you, but Dad you could check to see how much money that was in dollars and stuff. Dumb banks.
Well I'm glad everyone is enjoying vacation time, especially the Big J Ranch thing, (Bar J Ranch in Jackson Hole, WY) I remember that. And the food there. (Big chuck wagon dinner) Right now its 3 in the afternoon and I haven't eaten since this morning my bowl of corn flakes with powder milk and water. So that makes my stomach hurt to think about.
But things here are good, life with my new companion is going well. But there are differences than with other companions I've had before. But amazingly, I have been able to understand pretty much everything Elder Bally says the first or second time. I would have to definitely say that Mom's and everyone's prayers have helped with that. But sometimes the Congolese people have trouble understanding him, and Elder Bally also knows it himself, so he usually slows down a bit if he has to.
But I expect that Elder Bally and I will be able to learn a lot from each other too.
So yeah, things are going well and will improve I believe, just got to make sure those amis keep their commitments above all. Oh, and so you call someone from the Ivory Coast, or la Cote d'Ivoir, an "Ivoirian". Elder Bally has already served in both Kinshasa and Brazzaville, and this is now his second transfer here in Pointe-Noire. So yeah, that's that right now.
Oh yeah, and some other big news that I'm sure you will love to hear: the new couple arrived yesterday! At 5 AM! It is Elder and Soeur Gates. They are from Orange County, California. I haven't talked too much with them yet, but last night we went out to dinner at this place called "La Citronelle" (I got a cheeseburger and fries for 4,500) and I learned they grew up in Salt Lake City, both of them, and Elder Gates is a general contractor. But they will do great, and Sister Gates especially is excited it be here. And I apologize, cuw I wont be able to send photos this week, and I don't even have one with the Gates' yet, but this stupid computer I'm on was build weird so I can't plug in my USB thing. But next week I'll have pics of Elder Bally and the Gates' and cool choses (things) like that.
And so for the rest of this transfer: tomorrow, Elder Parsons is going up to Cameroon, to work in Bonabéri, my old place. At first we thought everyone was staying in Pointe-Noire, but that turned out not to be the case. And coming down to replace Elder Parsons is Elder Lee, my old comp! Elder Lee goes home in 2 transfers, so it will just be like the past 2 transfers I had with Elder Ritchie, living with a missionary who goes home soon, ugh. And tomorrow we also will get 3 brand new missionaries that land at 5 AM. I hear most are from Utah and Idaho. So yeah, that's the transfer. Exciting.
So with the mission split, (The Democratic Republic of Congo mission is now two missions) I don't know a lot about Louboumbashi because I never went there are knew anyone that went there. So I don't know about those cities at all. But our mission is still Douala (5 companionships), Yaoundé (6 companionships), Pointe-Noire (6 companionships), and Brazzaville and Kinshasa and others that I don't know. But I have heard from Elder Bally that President started having people look in Brazza for an area and apartement where North American elders could serve, so we could hear about that and some future mutation. (Right now North American Elders only serve in the cities of Douala, Yaounde and Pointe-Noire. African missionaries serve in the other cities in the DRC.)
Ok, Dad, so that spinach-like, grass-like thing you are talking about, I'm pretty sure its what they call, "saka saka", here (correct spelling). And I just got confirmation from Elder Mbuyi that "manioc" is spelled like that. But I think Dad is talking about "saka saka", which is called other things in different parts of Congo. But yeah, that stuff is good on rice. Its basically grass, when you look at it. I have a picture I'll send next week with both "saka saka" and "manioc". And Dad, you should go to that African food store and ask for manioc, I think that is a pretty universal term in Congo, at least.
But yeah, speaking of food, I'm not a good chef. I tried to make peanut sauce this week, but it was tooooo watery. It tasted ok, but toooooooo watery. Elder Mbuyi is going to make it tomorrow for the new elders and the Gates, so I'll watch a master at work. I also need to add some more things to my repertoire. I don't know how long I can go on pancakes and spaghetti and cereal and not good peanut sauce.
Well that's my life right now pretty much. I do wish that I could be out with all the family in Utah and Idaho and Wyoming with everyone. Tell everyone I say "mboté" (bonjour in Lingala) to everyone and that I love them.
Je vous aime,