Sunday, July 8, 2012

Trip to Aba Temple

During the month of May we made our first trip to the Aba Nigeria Temple.  Last year we were not allowed to go to Aba because of the security risk but this year we were delighted to be cleared to go.  The temple is a beautiful oasis in the midst of some of the worst conditions we have seen.  It really is a beacon to the world here--but that has made it the target of a lot of "bad boys" here.  There has even been a plot to try and steal the angel Moroni as it is thought by some to be solid gold.  The church has built a beautiful property here and paved a wonderful road right up to the temple.  So--that compounds the problems with robberies and violence as the perpetrators can get in and out quickly.  The temple was actually closed for a few months because of the danger and just reopened not long before we came to Nigeria.
We were only allowed to fly in and be driven to the temple complex where we stayed in patron housing and did our trainng at the chapel on the temple grounds.  We were fortunate to be able to attend a session on Friday afternoon as our flight was delayed and we almost missed the last session.  It was a wonderful blessing to be able to feel the peace, comfort and familiarity of the temple. 
Enjoy the pictures!


Some of the leaders in one of  our training sessions--in a beautiful chapel on the grounds of the temple.

We were privileged to meet the very first PEF student in Nigeria, Ezihie Macauley and have a great visit with her--and hear her testimony of the PEF program and how it is blessing her life.

This is the ancilliary building on the temple grounds that houses the distribution centre and the patron housing.

The view of the temple out of our window at night.  Couple missionaries used to live here and work in the temple until they were taken out because of security a few years ago.  The temple presidency and workers are now all African.  We felt privileged to be able to worship with them. 
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Field of Dreams!

A few weeks ago we were invited to Demonstration Day at Field of Dreams Foundation for Skill Development.  That is a small school we have discovered just across the street from the Church offices here in Ikeja.  We now have 7 students there--6 in catering and 1 in fashion design. 

One of our students--and one of our favorite people here, Melissa was chosen to demonstrate how to make a Scotch egg.  That is basically a hard boiled egg wrapped in a thin cooking of sausage meat, then rolled in bread crumbs and fried.  It is a very popular treat here.

Here is the owner of the school introducing Melissa and her presentation:

This is serious business!

Maybe not that serious!  Just about finished here.
(Sorry I can't figure out how to rotate this picture!  Just lay down and you can see it!)

Now it's the volunteer's turn to try it out--and of course--who volunteers quicker than Elder Baker--no one!  Another good friend and the woman who makes my beautiful Nigerian dresses, Blessing Igolo, also volunteered to try it out--but she cheated--she makes them all the time!

Maybe he's trying out his dance moves at the same time???

Ready for frying--looking pretty proud of himself!

Another one of our PEF students and another of our favorite people, Freda Ibe, was presented with an award that day for being the most improved in our class.  Freda has already started earning money by selling banana bread to one of the markets where we shop!  It is awesome to see some of our students becoming successful--even before they finish their training.

They had 4 raffles that day--about 30 people there and guess who wins--Mark of course!  A new pillow sewn by one of the students--nice to fit in his office chair.

And surprise again--I won a fondant iced cake by one of the graduating students!  It was our lucky day!

Here is the student that made the cake.  I took it back to the office and shared it with our friends there.

This lovely woman was at the day's events and wanted to pose for a picture--she had a great smile and laugh.

A fun day seeing a few fruits of our labors!
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More Weddings 2!

Another wonderful day celebrating the start of a new life together for Thelma and Bestman (that's really his name so you can imagine the fun we had with that on their wedding day!)  This was a small traditional ceremony at the home of the bride's sister, Jennifer and Charles Adebayo.  We felt privileged to be invited to share this special day with their close friends and family.

Of course, lots of preparation took place that morning to prepare the food.  Here are some candid pictures of the women in the kitchen--no matter where in the world you are the best action is always in the kitchen!

 Much of the cooking was done outside the kitchen over the fire in the back.  It was still raining a bit--thus the lovely plastic bag hats on the ladies--can't spoil our hair for the wedding!

This is one of my favorites--moimoi--which is sort of like refried beans with chilis.  The women make a funnel shape with these large leaves, pour in the mixture, fold up the leaf and put them on a rack in a big pot to steam.  Peal off the leaf when done and YUMMY! enjoy.

The start of the ceremony where the bride's brother on the left (representing her family as both of her parents are "late" as they say here in Nigeria which means they have both passed away) negotiates with the groom's family for her "bride price".  The groom's family brings gifts and then is expected to pay the amount of money asked by the bride's family.  In this case, the groom requested the amount, then when it was brought, counted it carefully and with a very touching speech about just wanting to have his sister looked after very well, returned all but a small token amount.  This had never happened before and was looked on with much admiration and respect by the groom's family.

After all the negotiations, the bride finally makes an appearance. 

Part of the ceremony where the bride, on bended knee, is given a drink to take to her soon-to-be husband.

And then, again on bended knee, she offers it to the groom.  Bestman was so excited he quickly drank the whole glass--much to the laughter of all in attendance as the custom is to take a sip!

 A blessing and counsel from the brother of the bride.

A little dance to celebrate!

A quick kiss!

Bestman's family at the ceremony 

Thelma's Family

 "Mr. Cool" aka Charles Adebayo, Thelma's brother-in-law, showing how to move to a little Marvin Gaye music.  No one moves like these African men!

Some pictures with Bestman and Thelma 

 Trying to teach the white guy to dance!

Keep trying!

Thelma and Bestman with the men!

 And again with the women

 Another wonderful memory of good times spent with good people. 
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