Monday, May 27, 2013

Rain, Lightning and More Sweat

Happy Memorial Day everybody! 

This is how people have to carry their water! Since not everyone has running water, most people have to go to a place that does have running water and move buckets of it to their house. There are even people you can hire that will do this for you all day (there's one lady I know who walks all over our sector moving water for people... she's super skinny needless to say!). But yeah... I don't have any water, but it's going to happen one day. Because it was getting late and we had another appointment, we didn't have time to do it, but I really want to just because it would be pretty cool to carry something on my head. 

Things have been going pretty slow out here in Togo. It's been raining every once in a while, but one thing that I've realized in being out here is that rainy season really just means "same blistering hot days with more rainy days mixed in between". I was expecting it to cool off a little bit because of all the rain, but that doesn't really happen... still hot... still hot. And you know, people would say I would get used to the climate here and wouldn't sweat as much... what a LIE that was!!! It's been four months out here and I still sweat like a "pregnant fish" according to Elder Owusu, whatever that means. In any case, I still sweat like crazzzzy... even a member, whenever I greet him he always says, and I quote, "Elder Hawkins, always sweating." What's really funny is that after it rains, it does cool off but the humidity sky-rockets. So, all the Togolais are "cold" and they see me still sweating up a storm! They're very stupefied because of this.

So this week has been really slow compared to the past few weeks... with the falls last week, all the mission conference stuff the week before... and then we're having Elder Dickson coming this week so that will be cool. Guess I'm back to having no idea what I'm going to talk about so we'll so how exciting this email will really be!

Elder Dickson speaking at General Conference April 2013, 
he speaks of West Africa about at about 5:35 into the talk. 

Gotta say that I have seen some of the coolest lightning of my life out here in Togo. We had a pretty huge freak electric storm hit us while we were at two recent convert's parcelle. All of a sudden you just hear what sounds like buckets being poured down onto the tin roof of their house... we didn't even realize how strong the storm was until the roof of their house starting being picked up because of the wind! It scared the daylights out of Christine and Florence (our recent converts) when that happened... It was kinda scary to think the tin roof could get ripped off and hit me in the face, but I thought it was pretty cool to see all the lightning! To this day, storms still fascinate me! 

(found a sample of the lightning in West Africa on YouTube!)

After the storm finally cooled down a bit, we were able to walk back home. Even though  the rain stopped, there was still lightning surrounding us... but it was sweet! The lightning was basically making these cool spider web patterns in the sky and they would light up the whole sky at the same time, almost like daytime really! 

Though this past Saturday/Sunday night, the lightning was not so nice as we were trying to sleep. Every time it rains, we have to go out to our porch and pull in all our laundry stuff, shoes, and patio furniture. So, after we did that, I was trying to go to sleep but the lightning was going crazy around us! My eyes were completely closed but the lightning was so bright that my closed eyelids basically did nothing... and the thunder was LOUD! Imagine someone cracking 1000 whips at the same time right by your ears and you'll get the idea of what it's like.

Let's see what else, what else... I think this might be the "winter" of Togo right now because just about EVERYBODY is sick right now. Yesterday, at church our Branch President's wife at to be carried into a taxi to go to the hospital after church ended. Honestly, the only reason I could think that people are all getting sick is that people are just malnourished here. Even though they eat tons of pate to satisfy their hunger, it has almost no nutritional value whatsoever, especially when it's not eaten with meat or vegetables. Other than that I'm not really sure what the deal is.

Maybe it's the bugs from the rain? Hmmm...anyway, our HUGE can of bug spray we bought to kill out all the cockroaches in our kitchen. Had tons of small little baby cockroaches come out and three HUGE nasty ones come out. Thankfully Elder Shearer did all the dirty work for the apartment... I also got a kick at how huge the can was because I don't think this would ever fly back in the USA!
The French is going good... I'm definitely feeling pretty comfortable in the language and can follow the lessons really well. Even in Church I'm doing a pretty good job in keeping up with the talks they give and the lessons during Sunday School and Priesthood. Don't get me wrong, it's still tough but I've learned how to deal with it! 

The prayers are helpful as always! I'm not really sure what to ask for this week in terms of specifics, but I'm always looking to better understand the people here and have the strength to work every day.

The inside of the Cocoa bean. Honestly, you just take the beans and lick 'em and suck on them... it's really good. It tastes like sweet yogurt with a little more of a bitter taste. Apparently, Elders Kunz and Welsh were able to make chocolate with their cocoa beans, so I'm on the hunt to find more in order to make some chocolate! 

Alright, got to get going now! Love you all and thanks for all the support. Hope everyone is partying it up today celebrating the awesome country that America is and all her heros! 

Have a superb week!

Elder Hawkins

Note from the Fro:  Emailing back and forth this week from our Ward Memorial Day picnic.  Lots of people saying Hi to him, which was cool!  He also mentioned that he would be moving to a new apartment this week.  Said it is still not a great apartment and will never win awards for cleanliness, but that it DOES have a banana tree in the yard which is has REAL (as opposed to...?) bananas growing on it that he's real excited about!  He also asked for updates from his Aunts, Uncles and cousins....wondered how you all were doing!  Please try to drop him an email this week or send something handwritten, he'd love to hear from you!  Leaving off with his fav song for Memorial Day.  


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