January 3, 2011
Well, I'm still alive here in Cabo Verde. And it's 2011! That's really weird because I always associate the new year with snow or at least a couple days where I'm in need of long sleeves! The weather here is incredible. Pretty hot and windy, but very nice. You should all be jealous. But just remember: It's still winter and sooner or later I'm going to experience how hot Cape Verde really gets!
I'm glad to hear you listened to the conference announcement [about the Lisbon Temple] in Portuguese. If you think it doesn't sound how you expected, know this: I miss that Portuguese so much! The Portuguese here is...well, not the Portuguese I learned. To cite “The Best Two Years,” "What language was that? I'm in trouble because that's not what they taught me in the MTC!!" Bah.
I miss the kiddos so much! I can't help but laugh at all the stories about them.
My suitcase got here!! It had a million little tags and stickers on it, but it's here and I have stuff. Well, more stuff. Haha. And I can't complain about my clothes anymore since I lived in the same shirt and skirt for eight days. :)
Okay. New Year’s!! I went to sleep at, like, 4 o'clock Utah time. Haha. But don't worry, Sister Pinto woke me up about a dozen times to tell me how long there was until 2011. And then at midnight...oh, my gosh. I've never heard such loud noises! The whole island was screaming and honking their horns and blasting music and there were fireworks (that we heard but couldn't see). Yeah. And there were still parties going on when I woke up. But we had to be back home at 6 pm on New Year's Eve because everyone drinks. And when Sister Almeida was asked by one investigator why we had to stay home she answered, "Because of the violence," and they just nodded their head like that made perfect sense...dun-dun-dun.
But things have been great/really hard. Not hard in the ways I expected, but hard. I still don't understand much, but I've been able to teach more in the lessons. Two teenage girls that we've been teaching agreed to be baptized! But then they didn't come to church. That's one of the biggest problems here: laziness. No one likes to wake up at 9 o'clock and come to church for three hours on Sunday. And if they don't come to church, there's not much we can do for them. Though I got to watch Sister Pinto wake up one of our investigators on Sunday. Haha. Probably not totally acceptable, but really funny.
We've been teaching a lot. Every day we have lots of appointments, which is great. But a lot of our appointments fall through because the people don't show, which is not good. We also have to spend a lot of time with less-actives and recent converts, which is too bad for a couple reasons. A) A lot of the less-actives are recent converts and B) the missionaries don't get a ton of help from the active members. They like us, but there's not a whole lot of fellowshipping going on. But the members are really great. And our branch is huge! Not Utah huge, but Cape Verde huge.
We found one man this week named Emanuel. I'm really excited about him because right as we were leaving the first lesson with him (we just told him about the church, our purpose and prayer), he stopped us at the door and asked why there were so many churches and how can we know which is the right one. Remind you of anyone? Yeah. I'm excited. We'll teach him again today.
After the whole culture shock wears off, I'll be able to say more about the people, but there are too many other things I have to tell you first!
Okay. So if you've never heard a pig scream, you don't want to. It's the most horrible noise ever! And we've had three pig slaughters this week during our lunchtime. It's so loud and so horrible and literally right next door to us.
So it's pretty windy here and really dusty. Most of our area is concrete 'conglomerations' and dirt roads. We've taught lessons on cinder blocks and stone walls. Most people have one room where they sleep, eat and live, which probably explains why the roads and fields are full of all sorts of garbage and...refuse. It's not like we could form a youth service project and pick up trash. It is literally everywhere. It's very sad.
When the house floors aren’t dirt or concrete, they're tile. There is a TON of tile here. Everything is tile. Yup.
It also gets really dark here at night. (Duh, Emma, that's sort of what happens when the sun goes down.) What I mean is there aren't a lot of street lamps and half of them don't work. I don't think I've ever been scared at night before, but I get a little nervous here. And I feel like a creeper when we contact people on super dark streets. :)
So I tried to make brownies the other day. We don't have measuring cups. Our oven and stove are gas and in Celsius. And all the ingredients are a little...different. But they were only a little burnt! And almost tasted like brownies. Almost.
Cape Verde has really good yogurt. There's your surprising fact for the day.
This morning we played futebol with the missionaries here in Praia, by which I mean I sat around for 45 minutes while my companions got ready and then watched the Elders play, and then the Sisters got to play for about 10 minutes and then the Elders kicked us off. SO FUN! Haha.
That's about it. Here are your words of the week:
Garfo = fork
Maluco = crazy; crazy person.
Love you all!
"Do not judge your potential by what you are today, but by what you can become under the guidance of the Lord." Elder Scott