Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Excusez moi, Madame. What IS that???"

Believe it or not, a pie company in Bridgeport, Connecticut is responsible for the invention of the Frisbee. A man by the name of William Russell Frisbie decided to open a bakery in the 1870's. He wanted this bakery to be a homemade pie bakery, so he had to decide the type of container he would use for the pies. William bought pie plates that were made out of tin and had the name of the bakery embossed on the bottom. This was the beginning of an invention that would be a part of history.  But, in the mid 1940's, Yale University students would use the empty pie tins to toss between themselves. The campus was not far from the Frisbie Baking Company. The Frisbie Baking Company also had locations throughout the region.

The history of the Frisbee continues with a man by the name of Walter Frederick Morrison, who believe it or not had an interest in exploring the concept of flying saucers. Flying saucers were a reality for Morrison. He would contemplate in his mind the idea of alien life and the possibility of the aliens visiting earth and other planets. During the 1950's, filmmakers were capturing this idea and creating on film. He wanted to give his concept of flying saucers more publicity and exposure so he made a lightweight metal toy disk. The Pluto Platter came to be.

Wham-O and Mattel have made THE FRISBEE legendary......except in Africa. At least here in Burundi, no one has seen one before.

When we knew the Dow's were coming from the U.S., Elder Frogley asked them to bring some Frisbees. 

Elder Frogley first used them, as an object lesson for the Zone Leaders, Elder Kintembila and Elder Moussele.

The basics in any sport such as grip, wrist, arm motion are essential to the successful outcome.  The same goes for missionary work!  After Elder Frogley taught them how and they began to have success,  he asked them, "What did you learn?"  They said, "It is harder than it looks! It takes skill.  If you hold it right first, you might have a good throw. Even when you know the technique, you still have to practice to get it right. Learning to throw is only the first part, you have to learn to catch not duck.  When you get it right, it really feels good."   Elder Frogley said, ".If you don't get that form in your work, it will flop.  The outcome will be as discouraging as the frisbee throw."

After some hilarious practices and alot of laughter, they began to pay attention to the details and really improved their throws.

Then Elder Frogley took the Elders inside to teach them from this Leadership Disc, likening it, of course, to the Frisbee.

Last Saturday, our new little Branche de Bujumbura had their first ward activity!  It was to be a Futbal Game (which, of course, is Soccer)! Soccer is huge here and they are very accomplished in the sport.

They met in a large area with three soccer fields with goal posts.  The young men (including many friends of the church) played against the Elders Quorum (plus more friends of the church)!

 Elder Badibanga organized the children to play soccer on a smaller scale.  I was impressed with his patience and teaching skills. The children really enjoyed him as their teacher.  It was great fun!

The man in control of the ball in this photos is in our Branch Presidency, Frere Johnson!  He speaks a little English.  When he saw Elder Frogley throwing the disc across the field, he came over toward me and said, "Excusez moi, Madame.  What IS that??"

Since only so many can play in a soccer game at one time and because we had no other soccer balls,  Elder Frogley decided it was time to.........

 begin teaching the "how to's" of a frisbee.  It drew many young men from a neighboring school.  They were all extremely curious as they saw the disc sail smoothly across the sky.

For some it was easy and natural, but for most it was a real challenge and alot of fun!
Learning to catch it was also a challenge !

They reached a level of skill where Elder Frogley felt he could start on Frisbee Football.  The young men along with our R.S. President, Sister Magnifique, really enjoyed this game!

After a huge downpour, which only stopped the games for a while, activities resumed and the children even had a chance to play with the frisbee.  The children's natural ways of throwing made it both dangerous and funny!! We laughed and they giggled.  It was a very successful first Branche Activity!
"....and men are, that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

THE DOWS - Representing the Restored Gospel and Blessing Many Lives

We just experienced a VERY DIFFERENT WEEK! What a blessing it was to host this amazing couple, Elder John and Sister Marcia Dow. They are Humanitarian Aid Directors for the church. They serve in 28 different countries in Africa, bringing very needed humanitarian aid. They are capable, gentle, compassionate and organized people. We hold them in high esteem.
 We gained some wonderful new friends!

 We visited with Rector Buconyori, who is the President of th Hope Africa University and President of the Free Methodist Church in Burundi who was kind, cordial and very welcoming.  The difference in the Church's approach to donating wheel chairs is VERY DIFFERENT. They focus on serving the poor.  They send in a team of Physical Therapists  from the U.S. who train other Physical Therapists from the chosen country, to know how to "fit" the individual to the chair. Then each individual is fit to the chair which is donated without cost.  When a chair actually is measured  and fits the individual, it keeps many life threateniing injuries and infection from harming the person using the wheelchair.

This is the Director General of the Military Hospital of Kamenge, Gen. Venerand, standing next to Elder Frogley., and his assistant.


We visited the Military Hospital, being directed by  Dr. Venerand.
We asked if we could see their Physical Therapy department. The Dows hope to find the best Physical Therapists to train in this church wheelchair program.

They were happy to show us around. These are patients that were using the hospital's equipment.

 These were the Prosthesis Technicians.  They were happy to show their products.

 During the week,  we had about a dozen appointments to meet with many charitable organizations who have done much to bless the lives of the people in Burundi. Elder Dow even presented his power point presentation at the Rotary International of Burundi organization.    Some not pictured were from the Ministry of Public Health, the Director General of the Ministry of Solidarity, the Energy Commisioner, CED Caritas, the Arch Bishop of the Catholic Diocese and the Medical Director of the University Hospital. That meant doing alot of waiting. Time in Africa seems to be insignificant. So we waited and luckily had good company to visit with.  We learned alot about the Dows. This photos was taken in Bumeric Hospital.

 The Coordinator of the Sub- Region of the Bureau of OPDE, APECOS
 and OIDEB was a warm ,charitable, and highly esteemed man named Athanase.  You will see him further on in the blog.  He took this picture at the dinner party he gave for us.  His beautiful  wife, Candide, is in the center front.  The meal was amazing and for dessert, the chef that you see on the right brought out the shishkabobs.
It was an outdoor dinner and we watched much lightning and thunder but it began raining right after we left.The company at the dinner table was interesting and fun! The lady in red, Denise, was also working in charitable causes. She is straight out of Ireland and proud of her Catholic background.. She has been in Burundi, blessing the people's lives for over 20 years.

 This is the office of the Ministry of Health in Burundi.  We met several times here.

 We also visited with the Cheif of Projects, Mr. Marc, at Handicap International,
 UNHCR, which is a UN Refugee Agency, sent us to CED-Caritas, to the Secretary General Abbe.  He is the man sitting right behind Sister Frogley.  We failed to get another face on photo of him, but we were so impressed with his compassion and love.  He took us to a School for the Handicapped called Saint Kizito. They found out we were coming.  They surprised us with a Drum Concert and all 270 students out in their quad area to greet us.  For me, tears flowed as I looked into their faces.
 Each of these handicapped children must interview and have certain abilities to attend this school.  There were 7 nuns running the school and they were amazing. The students receive their education here.
Secretary General Abbe , which works through the Catholic Church, kindly took us through the children's school classes and dormitory and other facilities at the school. It was very clean and efficient.  The children were obedient and content while we were there.

It was hard to believe what we were experiencing with our own eyes.
The audience and performers are all handicapped.  If you look closely you will see.
 They truly love and help one another. The Burundian Drums are traditional from many centuries ago.  The red, green and white costumes are traditional in Burundian colors.
This young man was a drummer and stepped into the limelight to dance.  This photo doesn't show it but he has only one leg.
There was much joy, applause and laughter.
 These children performed regardless of their conditions.  The drumming music is contagious and exciting.
 This boy's legs end just below the knees... but his dance was well done! The applause was terrific!!
Then all the children began to sing together, clapping to the music, as well.  It was a great honor to have the children perform for us.  It was a memory that will never be forgotten.
The next day we were invited to the the OPDE school. The coordinator, Athanase, was so hospitable and generous with his time and efforts.  He coordinates three large associations and they are of his own making as of the last 20 years.  They all service those in need.  This OPDE is a school for "street kids" who have no hope of going to school normally.  He takes them in and allows them to learn a trade.

 This is Computer class. They do have computers, about one computer for every three students in this course.
 This is Furniture making. They sell their furniture to help the school costs.
 This is the Ratan Furniture they learn to make.  More girls are in this class. They gather they materials from the forest.
 These young men are learning Auto Mechanics.
 Welding had about 25 young men in the class.
 In this class, they are taught plumbing skills.
 Food services are also taught in the restaurant they run.  It is open every day and assists in school finances.
 In 1996, the church asked Athanase to help distribute mattresses and bicycles.  This is the original container that they were sent to Bujumbura in.  Athanase still uses it today in many ways.
The school also has several large halls that they rent out for weddings and church meetings to offset costs.
It was celan and well organized.  We were so impressed.
All of the skills are taught and then the schools helps them get their first job!!! This school has been functioning well since 1996!

Athanase then took us across town to his Medical Center.  He uses it to take care of the students he has and it is also open to the public.  He took us through it. It was clean and well staffed.  In the infirmary, there was a little boy, who was 5 or 6 years old with his hands wrapped  in tongue depressors and gauze.  Athanase asked what had happened.  The little boy had tried to take 200 Burundian Francs (which equals 20 cents) from the family money.  The father wanted his son to learn a lesson and put the boys hands directly in the fire.  He wanted to teach his son to be honest.

This was a week to remember and to learn from..  All of the explorations to find a partner for this project were very fruitful.  At the end of this year, the Dows will return to Bujumbura with their team of trainers, who will meet with people from most of these organizations in Bujumbura which will bless the lives of hundreds who will receive wheelchairs that will fit their needs and give them a better quality of life.
"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor.....and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:3

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"We...are engaged in the work of Salvation"- Julie B. Beck

The newly organized Societe de Secours, (Relief Society) in the Branche de Bujumbura held their very first R. S. Activity last Saturday, 13 March 2011.  I was invited to be a part of this activity!
I was honored to share with these 15 sisters that were able to attend, words from Sister Julie B. Beck.  She said,"(In Relief Society) We don't plan anything; we don't do ANYTHING that is outside of the Lord's work of salvation."
These women in this branche are amazing!  They are very tender-hearted and deal with much opposition in their lives.  They love their Savior, Jesus Christ, and are trying to learn His ways in His restored church on the earth and also newly restored in their country of Burundi!

They are as beautiful inside as they are on the outside. They are truly daughters of our Heavenly Father.
As we gathered in the main room of the chapel, we first had our spiritual message. We continued with Sister Beck's words, "We know there are some essential things that must be taken care of if we are going to achieve eternal life." she said.  "To get the spirit and know what this is, we're going to have to read the scriptures, and pray every day, and make plans to go to the temple, fast and do the things the prophets have told us to do. We have to have the help of the Holy Ghost to take care of what is most essential."  The sisters had many questions about the temple.  This is a new concept for them.  Their nearest temples are many hundreds of miles away, and yet, this is still important for them, too!

After the spiritual message, we taught how to make "Gateau de Banane" (Banana Bread).  This is a fairly new commodity here.  So the sisters are hoping to be able to make this in their homes and sell it to make enough extra money for their family members to be able to afford to come to the Sacrament Meetings together on Sunday. There are many families who can only send one or two family members to church, then send others the next Sunday.

We then moved out onto the back porch of the chapel to bake the bread the conventional African way.  I have never cooked with charbon (like charcoal), so I was very interested to see how they bake without an oven.

The front brazier is burning charbon.  The back one has the banana bread mix bowl on top..  You can see the charbon on top of the lid as well as underneath.  It is much like american Dutch Oven cooking without an actual Dutch Oven so there is a science to getting the bread all the way cooked in the middle with the right amount of charbon for the right amount of time.
While the bread was cooking, wonderful Sister Malabi taught about "organize yourselves.....establish a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of knowledge, a house of glory, a house of order and a house of God." (D&C 109:8) She emphasized that each sister should begin to store preparedness foods as wisely as possible and also save some money for unexpected times.
The counsel from the First Presidency states," We realize that some of you may not have financial resources or space for such storage. We encourage you to store as much as circumstances allow."
"Relief Society...is established by the Lord to bless His daughters. The Lord knows who you are...  He will strengthen and magnify you."           Julie B. Beck