Well, we have been two weeks in Samoa now and we are really growing to love it here. Everything is so green and beautiful. The people walk everywhere. Today Bob and I walked to McDonald's for breakfast, which was a traditional activity when we lived in Mesa. There were shops along the way where we stopped to see what things they carry. We have had a little bit of trouble finding the American food that we like. I cooked some chicken soup last week with chicken breast. The breast was really stringy and tasteless. One of the other couples, the Hansen's, have advised us to buy dark meat because it tastes better. They have been very good to us. They are here as health missionaries and they are actually from my home town (Payson) living out by West Mountain. They have missionaries come visit them for various health concerns. One of the Elders is going to Hawaii to have an operation on his kidneys because they couldn't treat him here. I guess he wasn't drinking enough water and developed a bad kidney infection. A couple that was here have had to return home because they were having health problems as well. We count our blessings that we have had pretty good health thus far. I have had a sinus infection, but am getting better.
I drove today for the first time, which was a new experience because they drive on the left hand side of the road. I drove up towards the mountain in a rain storm. The water was in puddles along the roadside, so I made a bit of a splash on my first drive. The roads are narrow, so I had to slide over when a vehicle was approaching. We found some Parmesan cheese today, it is fresh instead of the kind we are used to, but I think we will enjoy it.
It is quite an experience to get out among the people. The Samoan people are good fearing people and the children grow up in a protected envirornmet. The people build their lives around their religion. Like for example in our ward we had around 100 people show up for choir practice. There were about 30 young men that showed up plus the young women and parents. The choir director drills them for a couple of stanza's and adds notes to accommodate their language. They sing with gusto and stay quite willingly for choir for over an hour. This week they had three practices because they are preparing to sing for Easter.
We love working in the mission office. It is really neat being able to rub shoulders with President Leota, his wife and the assistants. There are several senior missionaries serving here with with various responsibilities. We have the Weber's who are from Elk Ridge. Their calling here is to treat the dental needs of the community. We also have CES Missionaries, Humanitarian Aid, Public Relations, Seminary, Member Records, tranportation and housing. We are in a family home evening group with some of the other couples. We have been invited to dinner on an average about twice a week.
The sister that takes care of the cleaning and cooking is named Afulua. I have had a hard time pronouncing her name until she explained she was named after her grandmother that was born by two water falls. Lua means two. She has shared some of the things that she has baked for zone conferences and new missionaries with us. The bananas here are small and come in a big bunch. They bake them in the oven when they are green or eat them in banana breads or fresh when they are yellow. She made some banana muffins and cookies that were fabulous. They don't have margarine here or shortening. So, we cook with butter and oil. This is really a fun experience for us, we are learning so much.