Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our Mission Friends-the Meiers

Here is a slide show of the life and times of the Bakers and Meiers serving together in the Nigeria Lagos Mission.  Our friends, the Meiers, returned home in October.  We love and miss them!  

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Monday, December 5, 2011


October seemed to be a pretty busy month.  Here are a few of our highlights:

We traveled to Port Harcourt again.  We don't see a lot while we are there because it is one of the areas where security is pretty tight.  So, besides our hotel room, the inside of a vehicle, and the stake center, here are a few of the highlights of the trip:

We found Canada in the middle of Nigeria!
(Did I tell you it is about 95 above...but these men thought it a little cool so they put on jackets and hats!)

Just driving down the road....not out in the fields!

Sharing the road:

Our new friend, Faith Pemu and the handiwork she is working on!  She are her husband are the cutest and nicest couple.  They were wonderful hosts, driving and taking good care of us.

Patrick and Faith Pemu

Another chance to give away wheelchairs--always rewarding!

Mark had the chance to attend the burial of a young mother that worked in the bank with the church accountant that works in our building.  It was quite an experience.

Here's the graveyard:

Don't fall in!

 Not sure if this is before or after they dropped the casket......for real!

Lowering the casket.....with a few more slips!

Getting on with the work of filling......without waiting for family/friends to leave!

This is the cement mixer!

The last few months, everyone here has begun calling Mark, "Babatunde", a good Yoraba name and a compliment to his great ability to make himself at home.  While touring through the graveyard he found a interesting discovery!  Glad to know it wasn't his!
And....the road out of the graveyard!

We had a nice Chinese dinner out with our friends, Paul and Abigail Oku.  A reward for achieving 100% repayment for all our PEF students in the month of October! (Isn't it amazing that you can get good Chinese food anywhere in the world?)

Another trip....this time to Benin where we had a wonderful time.  Can you tell??
(Do you notice how white we are??  Don't get outside much....and the smog/smoke/fog/pollution in Lagos tends to block the sun!)

A little time to relax at the hotel...a bit of an oasis in the midst of the regular Nigerian world of dirt,chaos and poverty!

There really was a purpose to the trip....2 long training sessions with about 70 leaders at each session.  Then, on Sunday we presented a Perpetual Education Fund fireside the a full house......
Two great district leaders from Benin--great men!

We had great fun hosting Ike Ibe, his wife, Freda and their 3 darling boys...Alston, Nigel and Frederick for lasagne and FHE in our tiny apartment.  Just had to get my fix of boys.......

Who can resist a face like this? Almost as cute as my own grandsons!
Loving the ice cream!

Another great event in October was the baptism of our friend, Debegreat.  Mark met him one day when he was across the street buying a pineapple. He saw a young man looking at him so asked him if he would like a pineapple.  He was thrilled to be given one, a conversation about the church began, and, after quite a few visits to our office and being taught by the missionaries he was baptized.....and we were lucky enough to be there!

Of course, it wouldn't be October without Halloween!  But, they don't really know much about the holiday here.  And--they think all the costumes we showed them (on our grandsons!) were too scary (smurfs, a cute monster and Megamind??) .  Mark found a tiny pumpkin at our local fruit/veggie vendor so we had our own jack-o-lantern.  It was quite a hit in the building but no one could really figure out why we do that.  The first question from all of them was, "Do you eat it?" There are very few frivolous things in their lives here!

Our friend Richard Ojulari and the famous mini jack-o-lantern-not sure why he wanted it on his head!

More friends join the picture....still puzzling over the use of such a thing!

And so, October has come to a close.  Another chapter in our lives here in Nigeria!  Always an adventure!

So Long, Farewell

WOW! It's been a long time since I posted so I better get caught up on some of the events of our life here in Nigeria.  Two months ago today, Oct. 5, the following picture was taken:

See the big smiles on the Meiers faces? It was "going home" day for them and this was the "last supper"!  Our best mission friends served faithfully and were great examples to us.  Now they were going home......
Posing for pics

One last photo together

The Karkaris and Meiers

And off they go into the sunset.....literally........

And thus we became, officially, the only couple and the only white missionaries in all of Nigeria!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another Driving Adventure!

The road to Femi and Esther's wedding a few weeks ago was an adventure to say the least!  We went on our own and even Mark was sweating a little when we got there because of the road conditions on the way--the huge potholes filled with water everywhere!  So, at the persuasion of our friends at the wedding we made a 5 car cavalcade and were led a different way home--faster and better (or so they said!!)

Starting out it wasn't too bad--2 cars in front of us and 2 behind.  Does that make us wonder if they think we are the least capable??

It soon became every man for himself as we tried to figure out which way was the best--and all hoped and prayed we didn't disappear out of sight.  The white fan was a mission vehicle that was traveling with us ( and was behind us to bring up the rear but decided to try a different route)

Here in Nigeria everyone decides on their own where they want to drive...right or left lane...doesn't make any difference.  We were just trying to stay right behind the 4 wheel drive truck of our friend Marcus, who started out behind us but at this big hole decided to move in front in case they had to pull our poor little Toyota Corolla out.  Little did they know the wicked driving skills of Elder Baker---never even a slip or a slide...even in the deepest holes! 

And it did get deeper!

Almost through one of the deepest....water up on the hood at one point but that dear little Toyota just kept on going--maybe it was the prayers??

We did this for about 45 minutes, gently easing ourselves in and out of holes--wondering if we were really driving or boating at times.  Then, after that adventure we were led through another hour and a half of winding, crowded streets (you don't know the meaning of crowded unless you have been on some Nigerian streets--not sure the word street is really appropriate here, more like trails!)

So, after two and a half hours of driving, we finally arrived home--in the dark--tired and exhausted but another unique journal entry!! 

How Many??

A few weeks ago when we traveled to Ijebu-Ode Elder Baker spent some time between meetings trying out the local transportation. The question many people fit on a motorcyle?


 How about three??

 Add a few more, then you've got five!!

(the other white guy is a Michael who is here from SLC working on the translation of the D&C into Yuraba, one of the prevalent languages here)

That is all great for a photo op.  But after the meeting we saw the real thing!

Dad and the boys on the front.......

And the rest of the family behind.......and.......Mom has a baby on her back that didn't make it in the picture!

So--the answer to our question, "How many people can you fit on a motorcycle?"  SIX!!!! (at least in Nigeria!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wedding of Esther and Femi!

On Sept. 17, the day of Femi and Esther's wedding was finally here! Femi is the president's driver and we have been anticipating this day since our arrival.  We were excited to be part of a traditional Yuraba wedding.  Mark and I made a practice run to the location--Bamfort Hotel--on Friday with one of our PEF students as the guide so we would be able to make it on our own on Friday.  (To say the road is an adventure is a bit of an understatement--and only could be understood by someone who has been here. Another post will document our adventures on those roads.)

Here is the bride arriving at the hotel after the legal ceremony at the Registry Office

And here comes the groom

Here's a few of the guests--dressed in the wedding color of green--waiting for the ceremony to begin

The parents of the bride

 The groom and his friends must beg the bride's parents for her hand in marriage

Happily accepted into the family

Seated and waiting for the bride to arrive

And here comes the bride--modestly covered to enter

Dancing before the groom to "entice" him.  The women at the right with the gold hat is the "mouthpiece" who did most of the talking (in Yuraba) for both the bride's family and the groom's

The Happy Couple after presentation of the groom's required gifts and dowry

Celebrating together

With Femi's parents

Cutting the cake

A wonderful day to celebrate with our friends! Congratulations Esther and Femi--love, luck and laughter!