Monday, April 1, 2013

Extra! Extra!

I have always wanted to have a neighbor
   Just-- like-- you!
I've always wanted to live in this neighborhood
   With you, so,
Let's make the most of this beautiful day!
   Since we're together,
   Might as well say:
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
    Won't you be my neighbor?

Hello, neighbors! It's another sunny day in good ol' Jequié and the air is rich with the sweet fragrance of garbage, horse manure, and acarajé.
   Speaking of Mr. Rogers, there's a little white boy here with a long bowlish haircut who looks just like Rebecca in her Mr. Rogers stage of life, complete with gapped teeth and goofy energy. I'm determined to teach him and his family tomorrow!

   This week's headlines include such themes as "Jequié's Well Runs Dry!", "Sister Attacked By Dog!" and "New Beginnings!"  We'll take this email one headline at a time.

1. Jequié's Well Runs Dry!
    After a long day of sweating under the scorching sun, having dirt and who-knows-what-else blown over us, braving unsanitary "bathrooms" and playing with the dogs of our investigators, we Sisters made our way home Tuesday night in our usual itchy, grimy, smelly state anticipating a cold shower and the relief of soap to brake up the shell that was suffocating our flesh. The Brasilians were the first to shower. Their showers were short and when the last of them emerged, clean and fresh, she apologetically announced to us, "Agua acabou," (the water ran out)! Ran out? What do you mean it ran out? We turned every faucet in the apartment. Nothing. Not a single drop to ease our caked skin.  And so we slept in our grime. 
    For several days, Jequiézinho (the barro in which we live) was without water. The Elders gave us some keys to the church so we could fill up some water bottles there and have something with which to at least wash our dishes. The next night, we learned that the woman who lives at the bottom of our apartment building had water, so we filled up some pots, pans, water bottles and buckets and hefted them up the 4 flights of stairs to our apartment to bathe with. I couldn't help thinking of Rebekah  in the Bible, hastening up and down the stairs of the well to draw enough water to satisfy several camels. Oh, it felt heavenly to pour a bucket of water over my head after 48 hours! Thankfully, we were blessed with three days of rain after that and our water is back to normal (we hope).

2. Sister Attacked By Dog!
    Poor Sister Freitas, one of our Brasilian roommates, hobbled home with blood dripping down her legs on Friday night after several hours of hopping from one hospital to another in search of a vaccine that no one claimed to have. She was attacked in the home of an investigator when she went out back to use their latrine. The dog bit both of her legs before the owner pulled him off and the bites, though small, are deep and didn't stop bleeding until Sunday morning! Sister Freitas and Sister C. Silva took several pictures, excited by the mission experience, but also super nervous about infection. Sister Freitas is on the mend now, ready to get back to work tomorrow, and I think the investigator came to church on Sunday.

3. New Beginnings!
     Sister Ellis has a gift for drawing, and this gift was put to use in designing a huge temple to decorate the wall for the Young Women's New Beginnings activity. We got to help prepare for the event and oh, how it made me miss my YW days! It's so fascinating to see that some things are the same, despite where you are in the world or what language you're speaking.  The Young Women here are super strong, and many of them are the only members of the church in their families. It was so fun to work with them for three nights in a row!

Well, that's all folks. I hope y'all are well, happy and healthy!

-Sister Whitaker

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