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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Week

Christmas in Botswana was pretty low-key. The several of the children in the apartment complex received water guns. Pretty snazzy water guns at that. (It was close to 100). In the stores there wasn't much Christmas music and people didn't seem to be buying lots of gifts. Of course, not many people have much extra money to spend but it's also not as commercialized here.

On Christmas, we had the East Bots and West Bots Zones as well as the senior couples at our house for a devotional (We had almost 40 people here.) We had a lot of fun listening to music, watching skits and reading the scriptures. After, we went to the Taylor's flat for our Mexican Feast. Yummy food. Lots of good company. Then off to skype with our children. (But first, the missionaries used our computers to visit with their families.)

We also had "snow" for Christmas. OK, at 100 degrees, it wasn't snow but thousands of small white butterflies. They were gorgeous! It did make our holidays happy.

Topping of the holidays was getting the stomach yuck." What's a good holiday with out it? One of our elders got sick during the feast and one that night. When I had chatted with the second sick elder for the 4th time and he was still ill, I prescribed "Medicine Coke". He was pretty surprised and I don't know if he got any, but the next day he was out working even though he was still throwing up.  Elder Gubler got "it" next so we missed the trip the SA. On Thursday, noon, we had lunch with another senior couple who was up from SA on business. We had actually flown out of SLC together. Anyway, after hugs and lots of hand shaking, we found out they had the "stomach yuck". *sigh* The next day I got "it". Good thing we stayed home.

Not too much exciting to tell this week, so I'm going to post pictures that have needed posting for quite awhile. *Note: the day of transfers, the elders took pictures with the Lobatse car wearing their shades and pointing out the rims.

Lobatse Church Building, in front, the chapel and in the back are the classrooms 

The is the building we meet in for church every Sunday. The main chapel (a double wide on concrete) does have two air conditioning units and several fans. The electric piano doesn't work because the power box is broken. We are going to try and replace that this week. In the classroom area, the Primary room is next to the RS room and the only thing between the two are bars (where the windows should be) and curtains. Not too sounds proof. The Bishop did say that there is another keyboard that we can use for Primary. Yea! Our facilities are much better than Molepolole, it only has a concrete rectangle with a couple of classroom and Mochudi has a tent with classroom in a back building.

Here is the infamous Lobatse car. Oh how Elder Stamp, the Zone Leader hated them but oh how the other elders loved them. We weren't too surprised to find out that everyone in the mission had heard about them. Elder Verde says that because of the rims, more non-members have noticed the missionaries and they have been able to teach more people. (I guess we'll find out what the Mission President thinks about them this week when he's down for Zone Interviews.) Greenie Mistake. What more can be said?

Elder Gubler with Pres. and Sister Omer overlooking Jo-burg
Here is Elder Gubler with the Omers. We were at the Johannesburg Temple grounds. Jo-burg is in the background. The temple is a beautiful but small building. The parking is underground and there is a security guard as you drive into the parking area. There grounds are quite small but beautiful. Here is Africa, a couple is married civilly first and then goes to the temple shortly there after to be sealed. 
Elder Gubler walking off the plane in Gabs

We arrived in Gaborone Nov 23, just a day after Thanksgiving. We had a very short flight.

Taylors, Rands and Kimballs

This is a picture of the other senior couples in Gabs.We are taking the place of Elder and Sister Kimball. They ended up leaving a bit early because of some health issues Sister Kimball has. Here we are saying goodbye at the airport. Oh wait, you can't see us because we're taking pictures!

Saw this Ence truck at Game Mall

Who would have thought we could find an Ence Truck in Gaborone? I just had to take a picture of it. Don't have any idea what they were hauling but really? An Ence Truck!

This picture is for you, Nate. The Gaborone College of Law, situated over a petrol station. Just had to take a picture for you.

Here is our all-country picture we had taken when our Mission President and Area Authority came to visit. If you look closely to the left back row, those two white heads are ours. Great photography wouldn't you say?

Our Living Room
Our Kitchen 
Our Dining Area

Me at the computer blogging today!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Things we have learned in Gaborone

1. Pula isn't Monopoly Money.  It is pretty and colorful just like play money. Even though 1 Pula equals  13 cents, and there are 100 Thebes (te-bees) in a Pula. nothing costs 1 Pula. Most of the time the prices aren't much different from the US in cost. Food is pretty comparable. Gas is sold by the litre. It's interesting to go to KFC and order a 2 piece meal for P54.00. We are getting pretty good at dividing all prices by 8 to give us an approximate amount.

2. If you read the book, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the places talked about in the book are real. Kgale (Call-ee) Hill is by the Game City Mall. Kgale Hill is where the missionaries take the greenies after transfer day to climb to the top of the hill. Yes, they have been known to anger the baboons and been chased by them.

3. Everything closes for the Christmas Holidays. Specialized Panel Beaters, the Doctors and most everyone closes for the holidays. There are only a few places that stay open. Everyone returns to their village to be with their families. Several of the grocery stores stay open, but that's about it. (The senior couples in Botswana are going to take a road trip because there isn't any work to be done here for the next couple of weeks)

4.  I can remember how to cook after all, and from scratch even! On Christmas Day, we are having all of the missionaries in the Bots East and Bots West Zones over for dinner and a devotional. We are having Mexican food. Several of the Senior Sisters are making chicken enchiladas (pretty easy to find the stuff). I'm making Beef Enchiladas (making corn tortillas, enchilada sauce from scratch). I'm also making the refried beans. I made a batch of enchiladas for us this week and they were yummy!

5. Botswana doesn't believe in mechanizing everything. For instance, the streets needs sweeping, so the people who are on welfare sweep the roads. It's a win-win for everyone. People have jobs and the streets are swept.

5. It's virtually impossible to find everything you need at one grocery store. Two or more stores are normally needed to find everything needed. For instance, I went to 3 stores to find sour cream. The other thing you need to know, is if you find something you need, buy as many as you can because you don't know when you'll find it again!

6. There really is other animals in Botswana in addition to goats, cows, donkeys, etc. Sunday on our way home from Lobatse, this is what we saw:

Apparently at this time of year we will be seeing Baboons on the way to and from Lobatse. There were about 20 or more.

7.  No those pretty little "leaves" aren't leaves. They're termite wings. We wake up most morning with wings having blown in under the door. The buildings here are made of cement because of the termites.

8.   The Cemeteries are different here than in the states. The grave is dug, the deceased buried, covered by dirt and stones. Then, a canopy is placed over the grave to keep the deceased shaded from the heat. Apparently another custom in the villages is to ask if the deceased had cows. If they did, it means a huge feast for anyone who comes to the funeral. (So before anyone asks how the person died or if they even knew them, the question is "Did he have cows?")

We love it here in Botswana. The weather have been warm but we have had rain that cools everything off. Sunday we attended church in Lobatse. The youth are amazing. They taught their Sunday School class and the laurels are the YM presidency. I was very impressed. The Bishop told us that there wouldn't be many people at church for the next couple of weeks, but in January when we have a full congregation again, he wants us to help with the youth and the young adults. We also need to see what we can do to help the Primary.

When I think of all of the capable people I know back in the states, I want to wrap you all up and bring you to Gabs to help strengthen the church here. There is so much leadership training that needs to happen. If any of you want to come, I'll put in a good word for you with the Mission President!

Fun Story:
Today while we were at a fabric store, a young clerk asked where our church building was. She wants to attend and asked if we had church every Sunday. She got directions and I'm sure she'll be there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our moving day! We are using the zone leaders bakki and trailer to move our things, and yes, that is a decorated
 Christmas tree in the back!!

 Elder Gubler driving to our apartment, notice the goats on the right side.
It was a herd of about 25 goats
We Moved!

Monday we moved into our new flat. We now have a place to call home. It's been fun to hang the curtains and to bring everything over from the Kimball's home. We have everything we need. To all our children who served missions: we have air conditioning, a washer and dryer, internet connection, 2 showers, and water and power most days. (The water is good and clean so we don't have to purify it. The food is good and we don't have to treat it either.) Life is good. It's just nice to have our own apartment.

This is our washer and dryer area. As you can see, it's utilizing the storage space under the stairs. The dryer is on wheels and pulls out (with a long extension cord) so I can use the washer and to dry the clothes. A load takes about 3 hours, 1 to wash and 2 to dry. Normally I could hang the clothes out but it's been really rainy and humid lately so the dryer it is today. If you look closely at the dryer, there are a bunch of holes in the front. That is where the air vents and deposits the lint.

Lest you think we are heathens and not doing missionary work, let me assure you that there are a few minutes here and there that we do work with the people.

We went to G-West 1 Ward this week. This is a well established ward and we needed to meet with the Stake President (our Mission Pres. asked us to talk to the SP) to find out which wards and branches he wanted help in. We got to bear our testimonies. After Sacrament Meeting we were stopped by a couple from Sweden. The 4 of us had the only white faces in the place. Oh how we have grown to love these Botswana people already, they are so eager to shake our hands and get to know us. They have beautiful children. The testimonies I have heard here are real testimonies of our Savior and the gospel. Botswana is a truly a remarkable place.

Our Stake President has asked us to work with a branch, Kanye (Con-yea) and Lobatse (La-bot-see) or as our Garmin says, Labats. Lobatse was just barely made a ward and he hopes that Kanye can be a ward in a year to 18 months.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Our post office address:

Elder and Sister Wendell Gubler
Postnet Kgale
AD 172 ADD

Driving in Botswana

Driving in Gaborone, Botswana isn't much like driving in Utah. We trained to drive in the rain the first Saturday we were here.

The passenger in the front seat has the responsibility to call out: keep right, pot hole, donkey, cow, sheep etc, or walker. Some other things we have learned are that an overpass (over railroad tracks) is a fly, a robot is a traffic light and the streets have names but we are the only ones who know those names...because the streets have NO SIGNAGE! Here are the directions to our new apartment from our old apartment: Turn right on the main street by your flat, go straight through the round-a-bout and turn left at the four-way stop, then turn into your flat complex. (Of course we didn't know that it would take us about 20 minutes to get to the 4 way stop!)

There are interesting "robots"on the major streets here. Some blink red all the time, some aren't turned on and some actually work. The yellow lights are a "suggestion" to get ready to stop. However, NEVER go as soon as the light turns green. Big mistake. Someone always runs the red light and you don't want to get smashed. Don't stop at the blinking lights unless there is someone you need to yield to. If you stop too quickly someone will rear end you because they weren't planning on stopping.

Round-a-bouts are also a kick. These round-a-bouts are on major intersections and you can see them on the map as the small circles. People really whip through them and you have to be really careful not to smack the car next to you. Everyone is really aggressive and goes into the smallest opening possible. Horns are frequently honked. When a driver gets aggravate they raise both hands above their head and shake them letting you know that you are an "imbecile". (Both hands instead of a pointed finger)

As one of our assignments we are in charge of the cars in Botswana. Sounds easy enough. Yeah, right. We have been driving the "cow car" named because of the cow wreck that put it in the body shop. In our area we also have the "donkey car". The donkey was hit by a truck, which then flipped over the truck and was hit by one of our cars. The rule is that if you hit an animal during the day, it's your fault and you must pay for the animal but if you hit one at night, you can just drive on. Not your fault. We are still waiting for the left side rear view mirror for the cow car.

OK, so Sunday on our way home from Molepolole we got a call from the Sisters. They were in an accident. They needed our help ASAP because the police were taking them to the police station to get their statements. Their car already needed a new battery, we had jumped it that morning. Imagine our surprise when we found out that they had borrowed the elders car and wrecked said car. We got to spend our Sunday afternoon at the police station. The other driver was a grandpa with his daughter and wife. Oh my, they were unhappy! They wanted their car paid for immediately or at least given some pula (money) so that they could ride public transportation (Combies--a Toyota Van filled to capacity and then about 6 or more people). Now, the man had a point, our Sisters pulled out from a stop sign and broadsided his car. (It was raining pretty hard at the time). When we all got home, we went to break our fast but dad couldn't think about eating our crock pot dinner of potatoes and pork so he took most of it over to the Sisters to share. They were pretty excited for a hot meal and some comfort food.

Now, because of Sunday, our preparation day got off to an interesting start. At 8:30am we had to meet the elders (who had the sisters car) to get a new battery. It only took us 30 min. to find the battery shop. Remember no street signs, so the elders directed us and stood out front of the store until we found it. In the mean time the Labotse elders were having a problem with bad tires. We met them to get new tires on their car. Imagine our surprise when we saw the damage that had happened to their car when a beer truck had run into them. Oops. Someone forgot to file the accident report. Anyway, we took the elders to Broadhurst elders for the day. Next we went back to the police station to see when we could get a copy of the sisters accident report. It will take 3 days from when the fine is paid. The sisters came down to pay the fine, we found the line of people that were waiting to pay fines. Just as we arrived there, people started leaving. We asked where they were going. Apparently the person taking fine money had run out of receipts in his receipt book so everyone either had to come back the next day or find an other police station to pay at. (This was all before 11:00 am Monday)

Next, we went to Specialized Panel Beaters, the auto body shop the church contracts with to do their car repairs. We had our sisters there and Albert, the man they had run into. We left with calendars and pens for the new year. (All of this would have happened faster if we hadn't gotten lost several times.....once again, no signage!)

After all of that excitement we went to clean our new apartment. At 2:00pm While traveling there, we got a call from the elders that the tires were on their car however, the rims were bent so an alignment couldn't be done. Oops. We went to Tyre World to try to find out what the situation was. Yes, indeed the elders needed new rims. We called the mission fleet manager to see what we should do. 3 of the 4 hubcaps on the car were missing. The fleet manager told us to get mag rims for the car. They weren't much more expensive and we won't need hubcaps to keep the car looking nice. Imagine our surprise when the car pulled out of the shop with shiny silver and red mag rims! The elders were more than delighted. We were aghast! Another big Oops! Oh well, a greeny mistake. Next time we will check to see what the mag rims look like. We think they gave us a deal, the mag rims were cheaper than the standard rims, so they must have been trying to get rid of them. I'm sure that soon it will be the talk of the mission.

But to top off the day, when we arrived home, we found that my computer had been stolen. Arghh. Luckily we have Carbonite so it's more of a pain in the neck that a complete disaster. Thanks Russ, for downloading my files.

Tonight after we called the fleet manager about the "beer truck" car, we called the Lobatse zone leaders to find out about the accident because the fleet manager hadn't heard about it. SHOCK! We found out that the zone leaders car is being repaired from a second accident they had. Oh my. We didn't know we had a car in the shop getting fixed!

We are flying pretty blind. The Kimballs, the couple we replaced, left unexpectedly last week because of a serious illness of Sister Kimball. There is so much we don't know but I'm sure it will all unfold in time.

We are meeting with the Stake President, President Clement Matswagothata (pronounced Mat-swa-hotata) Sunday to see which ward or branch he would like us to work with. You would like our Stake Pres. He's 32 and totally amazing. He was the bishop of the YSA ward in Gaborone before his call to be the president of the first stake in Botswana.

We are happy and loving the work.