Monday, May 13, 2013

It's the Small Things that Count!

Mother's Day!

It's all about saying Hi to Pixie!

It's that time of week again! 

Wow, how the time flies by when you're having, I suppose anyway. We had a ton of meetings this week, with our Reunion de Zone, Conference de Zone, and then we were able to watch the Priesthood Session of Conference at the new chapel in Kegue... it's the first chapel in the whole entire mission (so both Benin and Togo). It's super, super nice and has been in the planning for over a year so it's nice to finally see it completed. Like I was telling my family, there are a lot of American things they put in it, so it kinda made me feel at home, with just a little African flare! That was pretty sweet. I'll be sure to send some pictures for you guys.

The new building! Really pretty with the grass (even though it's crab grass looking) and the wide open space like that. It's pretty awesome. Also, it's built with real mahagony so the wood work they did looks really nice with the dark stains they put on it. At least, Elder Kunz (he does tons of woodwork) was really content to see how they used it. 

The new chapel! It's like the ones back home huh? And the chairs are actually the same ones that we had back home too. I'm not sure why they don't have benches, but the padded chairs are so comfy. I'm fine with that! Really wish my branch used this building! 
Unfortunately... we don't... *sad face*

Oh yeah... forget to announce the big "news"... SIX MONTHS! To be honest, it doesn't feel like too much of an accomplishment, but it's the small things that count! Can't hit your year mark without hitting the six month mark, right? Of course, the tradition holds that you're supposed to burn a tie to commerate the event, but we'll see if I actually do it! I know that on Wednesday, we're going over to Soeur Neguassan's house (our RS president... pretty much the Fro of our Branch) to have a little celebration. She's gonna be making me some buyabob (spelling is way off I'm sure) but it's this like juice mixed with powdered milk... doesn't sound great, I know, but it's really good when it's cold! So there's no need to fear, I'll be having a good time come Wednesday. 

Elder Hawkins, Elder Kunz, Elder Seidl
Look at all us! Got a good 6 months under our belts now so we're basically pros now, right? Right?!?! Oh gosh we have no idea what we're doing do we?

The rain has been coming down more frequently the past week... So don't "bless the rains down in Africa" because we don't really need them anymore. Really! We're good... thanks! I know one of these days I'm going to fall into one of the giant rivers that form in the streets, I just know it! My goodness I just cringe of thinking about what's in those puddles. At night, the bullfrogs/toads are SUPER loud. Sometimes you can't even hear the person next to you talking when you're next to a puddle/lake full of them. So, the loud toads, the toxic mixture of whatever people pour out into the middle of the streets, and large puddles of water... definitely don't want to be falling into that.

I also have another thing to add to my African Food Journal... fried termites! Yum! We got them from another apartment of missionaries. They really weren't that bad but weren't terribly good either. They needed some salt for sure. The gross part was when their little wings/legs get stuck in the back of your tongue/throat... that's why water is so essential in Africa! Not because of the constant sweating, but really because of the crazy stuff that missionaries "get" to eat... you know, for swallowing purposes and such. 

You know what the funny part about eating the fired termites was? The missionaries we got it from were the ones who caught them and cooked them. The termites come out when it rains, so what they did was left a bucket of water for them to fly into. Then they drained all the water and fried them in oil. They ended up giving us over a pound of these things... I couldn't believe how much they actually caught.

Mmmmmmmm... nothing like fried termites for lunch! 
I don't think the picture does the grossness much justice unfortunately. 
(Fro begs to differ.  Eeewww!)

Things have been going alright in our sector. Lately, the kids have been really getting on my nerves each time they sing the Yovo song or just call me Yovo... my goodness, that gets old too quick. I find it really rude when older people call me Yovo too, though I've been trying to look past it as of late. I know that it's really not going to change for the next year and a half, so I realized that I can keep letting it get to me or just let it go and think about something that doesn't get on my nerves. So now, every time I hear the word yovo, I'm going to think of something awesome... like ice cream sundaes. Honestly, who doesn't like ice cream sundaes?! So now, whenever I hear Yovo, I just think people keep saying ice cream sundaes  It's kinda weird that they keep saying ice cream sundaes every time I walk by, but it makes me happy, so no big deal! ;)

The work in our sector has been going a bit slow too, now that all our amis have pretty much been baptized and confirmed! We've been getting a few contacts from our Branch President, but other than that, we just visit our recent converts. So, that's going good. We've been talking with a group of teenagers and they seem somewhat interested... we actually had a interesting thing happen with them. One of them left in the middle of a lesson because a friend came over. He eventually came back (was only like 10 minutes) but after the lesson, he said goodbye and then bolted out of the house and disappeared! Turns out, his mom wanted to beat him for missing part of the lesson! Errr... yeah so we had to make sure she didn't do that... it's pretty crazy how beating kids up is still very normal here, but the people here are slowly moving away from it thankfully.

The French has been going good too... it was really cool to talk to Dad for a little bit in French yesterday! It will be pretty awesome for Dad and I to annoy Adele in two different languages when I get home! I never thought that would be one of the benefits of coming on a mission! 

Missionary transport! What do you do when you're too lazy to pay for transport!? Ask the APs to take you home! Yeah... that was the bumpiest ride in my life... especially since I was sitting on top of the AP's cots too... never realized how many pot holes and red lights Lome had until that car ride home.

I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer and nicer weather back home now. I asked Fro yesterday to ask people to send some handwritten letters to me out here in Lome! That would be super cool... along with some pictures too... that would be great... like I said back in the MTC, getting handwritten letters from home makes missionaries very, very happy! So please and thank you!

Well I better get going now... thanks to everyone for the love, prayers, letters, and support. I hear that the following on the blog is pretty good, so I'm glad that my random ramblings actually make sense to people! 

Alright, take it easy everyone... let's hope the next 6 months pass by just as fast as the first 6... okay, I would be lying if I didn't say I wanted them to go maybe even a little faster! 

Love you all,

Elder Hawkins

Note from the Fro: It was SOOO fun to see and talk to our boy yesterday!  His camera was a little fuzzy, but it was better than nothing.  We talked for about 2 hours which was fantastic.  Of course no one wanted to say goodbye and he told me today that he could have talked with us for 10 hours!  Awwww.  (me too!)  I'm just glad that it all worked. As for sending letters to Lome, you can do that two ways.  You can send through Dear Elder (which one of his friends did and it WORKED!), you just have to pay for postage on the site.  OR you can send via USPS to this address (it will probably take 2 wks to get there, the long number at the bottom is actually a phone number, I think it's only needed if you're sending a package, not a letter): 

Eglise De Jesus-Christ Des Saints Des Derniers Jours

Elder T.Hawkins
c/o Elder and Sister Leavitt
Rue 94 Maison EWF 1149BP
Lome, Togo. West Africa

Last but not least, I thought I'd leave you with an excerpt from our chat yesterday.  It fits nicely with the termite story!  (notice what he labeled our hangout in the upper left corner. funny kid.)

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