Friday, October 24, 2008

Rajistan Trip

October 21, 2008
The trip to Rajistan and the pictures represent a great time, a wonderful learning experience, but it came with a price. An 18 hour day and too many hours in a van and jeep. Our backs were killing us by the time we got home. The next night I was up until 11:30 PM working on another project after Sister Tanner had outdone herself with a roast beef and mashed potato dinner for the elders. Oh, and a zuchini cake with ice cream for desert. Back to back big days start to add up. But amazingly, we were up and going today with no problem. A Career Workshop was held in our group building. I had asked Elder Brown to come over and present since he is a pro at it and has experience working with the Indian members. As I listened in the workshop today, I learned a lot about the culture along with the good stuff in the workshop. We had 2 members and 2 investigators attend and another member who had to work today will be with us tomorrow. These are the real rewarding things, along with the joy of seeing people benefit from a humanitarian project like the one that follows.

One of the Latter-Day Saint Charities (LDSC) projects that we are involved with is the building of catchment dams in the Sikar region of the state of Rajistan, India. The moving force behind many of the dams being built in the region is Rotary International. LDSC has partnered with Rotary International to build 20 dams in the region. In order to get us engaged and educated on what was involved in the project, Rotary arranged for us to be present at the inauguration of one of the dams. The dam in the first picture was completed over a
year ago and has captured water from the past 2 year's monsoon seasons. The dams have two purposes. The first, and primary purpose, is to capture rain during it's brief season and hold it to allow the aquifer (ground water level) to be replenished. The second purpose is to directly use some of the water for irrigation, but this is very limited. Raising the ground water level has allowed the existing bore holes (wells) to produce the water necessary for irrigation. The ground water level had become so low that there was essentially no water for irrigation and the farmers barely made one crop a year. With the dam you see here, the ground water level raised enough to allow 3 crops this year, the difference between survival and relative prosperity.

The jeeps we changed to for the final leg of the trip to the inauguration.

A shallow lake, maybe 13' deep, the height of the dam, but a good surface area for adding to the ground water. There is enough water here that it would take 2 years with no rainfall to dry up the reservoir. Let's hope there are no droughts.

The man to the right of Sister Tanner is the chief architect for the dams and learned the trade from his father who has won awards in India and has been recognized internationally for his work with catchment dams. Sorry, I do not have his name, but met him on this trip.

After we left the first dam, which a good example of a completed project with water, we continued on to the next dam site where the inauguration would occur. The next dam serves a collection of 6 small villages which are collectively known as a panchayat. This is a picture of 2 of the village/panchayat elders/leaders and I believe the gentleman on the right is the one I mentioned earlier who is the catchment dam champion. A tent like structure was in place with the women and children seated on carpet and waiting for us to arrive. The dam is a very big deal as you can imagine and its inauguration was also a very important event. As you will see below, we received turbans, flowers, and marks on our foreheads, all a traditional means of honoring us. The "honored" guests all sat at a row of tables. The village elder said a blessing prayer in Hindi on the dam and the occassion.

Each guest was recognized, then the panchayat elder gave a short speech followed by a response from two of the Rotary officers, Sushil Gupta, Delhi, and Charlie Clemmons, Houston, TX.

Notice that most of the ladies kept their faces covered. Sister Tanner saw a couple of the women looking at her and gave a small hand wave without lifting it off the table and then the smiles began and they started passing the word and Sister Tanner had won them over. See the pictures that follow of the instant sisterhood.

What a sweetheart?

After the initial ceremony, the women wanted to dance for us before we headed up to the dam for another brief ceremony. Notice the village elder who comes in at the end and stops the dancing so we can get going.

This dam is much higher and narrower than the other and sits in a small canyon. Sister Tanner thought it was like hiking up Little Cottonwood Canyon, with monkeys.

Sister Tanner was the first woman to make it to the dam on this hike. What a trooper!

On the way back for lunch, we paused for a picture with the "sisters" who had waited for Sister Tanner. The lunch by the way, had at least 3 things that were unique to Rajistan. I'm pretty sure they must have toned the spices down and it was really good.

After lunch, the free loaders showed up as soon as the people began to move away from the wall. They got chased away by the villagers pretty quick though. Check out how long their tails are.

The young lady on the right is almost as tall as I am, but much, much better looking.

The "turbanator". Thanks Pete.

When we left, the jeep we were riding in had 6 Americans, an Indian driver, 2 more villagers in the back with Elder Brown and me, 2 on top, and one standing on the back bumper and holding on. A total of 12. And even though I was in the back, it didn't seem crowded.
This picture has nothing directly to do with the trip, but I've included it as a visual to my concluding editorial. The picture is of work on one of the LDSC funded dams that we will site visit on our November trip. All of the dams are hand built, no machine equipment. The rocks are harvested by the people, the foundation was hand dug, etc. On the way back, we were talking about the contrast we had observed between the people of Bihar and those we had just met in Rajastan. Here there were smiles, people who obviously were willing to work to better themselves, etc., and granted, they were not the victums of a flood and displaced from their homes, but we commented on the difference we had seen. Atul Dev, one of the Rotarians and quite an individual, a Punjab by birth, offered his own opinion that the Rajastanies worked for what they got and the Biharians seemed to feel entitled to the help they received and expected more, possibly because the constanting flooding situations and rescue operations have inculcated in them that sense of entitlement.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bikes, Cows, Henna, and the work

October 12 -17th
This post is mainly going to be about some of the things we see daily in India. The work moves ahead, but writing about putting together a catchment dam project tracking document or making travel arrangements for the short-term specialist team, or inspecting the elders apartments, etc., just does not hold the interest I'm betting the following may have. Monday night we traveled over to Delhi to have dinner with David and Angela McIllece and their family. David is a major in the Air Force and is in India under what could be considered a military fellowship to study the Hindi language. He is also a counselor in the new District presidency. David grew up with Jared Tanner and is one of a great group of young men that came from their Sandy neighborhood.

Anil Verma, his daughter Gauri, and neice Sonu who are good friends. They are the ones that
took us on the tour of religious festivals written about previously.

This is the standard bicycle rickshaw that is so prevalent all over India. This morning, we went with Elder Ivie and Elder Vanjarapu to a hospital to visit with an administrator about possible volunteer service. Yes, Sister Tanner and I were in another rickshaw in front of them. Since the Elders in Noida are limited this month on what they can do in "finding", they are looking to spend more time on volunteer work. Depending on their initial experience, there may be opportunities for members of the Noida group to become involved also.

Ground level view while riding in a bicycle rickshaw.

Sister Tanner is fascinated with the cows and I'm intrigued with the bicycles in their multitude of configurations and uses. The pictures give a few examples, but I have seen about everything imaginable loaded and carried on some type of bicycle structure, some to the point of having to be pushed, not ridden. Sister Tanner says I should consider something like this as a possible replacement for my truck when we get back.

How's this for hauling rebar. Those are continuous bars bent to wrap around the front of the bike/truck.

Some must push, and some must pedal ...

I was backing up to take a picture as this big guy kept plodding along. I got the picture just before he stretched out his neck and snorted at the camera. I stepped aside and he plodded on by. You definitely have to walk with your head up around the neighborhood. The market area we use for bread, etc. and for the following story is down the street behind the bull.

October is something like a Valentines Day over here. Married women fast all day for their husbands and then when the moon is first visible, the husband feeds his wife to break the fast. As part of the deal, the woman gets designs on her hands. Nothing religious involved, just a cultural custom. They apply henna using a tube with a fine opening, kind of like cake decorating, to create beautiful designs on the hands and arms. The lady at the table in the back right, dark outfit, has a degree from Johns Hopkins and speaks excellent, no accent English. Sister Tanner and I have an invitation to dinner at their home. We also visited with a man holding his young son who was a ship's captain for fuel tankers, but now consults out of Hong Kong so he can be home and be there as his son grows. He has an older son and realized what he had missed with him and isn't going to let that happen this time around. We had some great conversations in the market place today on our way home from the hospital trip.

While I was in the store in the background buying a light bulb, Sister Tanner walked over to see what was going on and struck up a conversation with the ladies and the next thing I knew she wanted to join the fun. She hadn't eaten yet, so the fasting element was there so the next thing I knew, I had a wife fasting for me and I'm on the hook for garlic chicken from Bamboo Shoots tonight. Go gal!! Here she is with the young lady who did her artwork.

Here is Sister Tanner's hand with the henna design. Can you see the peacocks and hearts?

You put a lime juice and sugar solution on it for 3 hours, then rub the dried henna off. What is left is the orange colored design in the last picture. It will take a couple of weeks to wash away.

The finished product. What do you think Mom? Will we get a call from the mission president?

Not a cow, but another Sister Tanner water buffalo fascination shot. That's a load of bricks if it isn't clear.

Sister Tanner went shopping for embroidery floss, not your usual crafts fair. Somewhere along the line that day, she got 42 flea or mosquito bites on her lower legs.

And I'll finish up with this little account. I went with the elders last evening to visit a member family while Sister Tanner remained home to finish some cooking projects. Since our group leader, Elder Smith, is in the states for his mother's funeral, I'm in charge of sacrament meeting Sunday. Now how would you like to have someone actually ask if they could speak in Sacrament meeting? Had that happen with Sister Archana last night so I've got her and her brother Ajit lined up for November 9th. Brother Ajit Singh's father lives with them and we hit it off pretty good. I'd like to refer to him as the old man, but then I realized he's only 2 years older than I am. He loved it whenever I refered to the 2 of us as the "grandfathers". He is not a member, but will be coming to church this Sunday. He also came with Ajit when he drove us home and they came in with the elders to eat some of Sister Tanner's apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. They loved it!! My sweet companion is getting quite a rep in the mission for her goodies and dinners. But if you only knew the frustration she has gone through to make things work. The flour is apparently different and I can only imagine the frustration of trying to make pie crust when the dough just crumbles no matter what you do with it. That was how we wound up with apple crisp. But bless her heart, she is the most resourceful and persevering person I know and I love her!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Work and Other Things

September 27 - October 12, 2008

Sister Tanner decided to get the elders together to sing for a sacrament meeting, so practicing together has become an activity after each Monday District meeting. Left to right, our elders are Ivie, Burton, Godi, Williams, Hawkes, and Joseph. There has been a change, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Almost forgot, the picture is the meeting area of our building. The sacrament table is out of sight to the left.

On Sunday, the 21st, Subash and his wife, Usha, were confirmed members of the church in our little group in Noida. Their daughter is living in the states and joined the church in Albuquerque, NM. When they visited their daughter, they received the lessons, but were not baptized and returning to India did not think the church was here until they happened to meet the elders. Great couple and so happy to be with our group. They even called today to apologize for not being there to watch conference since Sister Usha was sick. The following Sunday, there were 2 more baptisms, Gorantla Prabhekar and Ravi Kumar (both IT types, but only one employed right now) and I was impressed that a very humble Brother Prabhekar bore his testimony the following Sunday when we had fast and testimony meeting. We just had conference this weekend. We met at the Smiths house in order to use their large screen TV and DVD player with the conference sessions recording. We had at least 8 non-members join us for one or more of the sessions today. Watching the talks, I would completely forget it was recorded. I just loved it.

It was quite a turnaround from 2 weeks ago when it seemed people were reluctant to come because of the anti-Christian hassles going on in places here. A news article appeared in a local Hindi language paper accusing 2 of our elders of "converting" people. It contained an image of one of Elder Burton and Elder Ivie's pass along cards with their cell number on it. The English word "convert" in India contains a connotation that makes it something against someone's will, more like coerscion. The next day there was another article. This time accusing the elders of offering money and using physical intimidation to "convert" people and stated the police were looking into it. It could no longer be ignored, so Elder Smith and 3 of the Indian elders, including an AP from the mission office, Elder Dasari, went to the police and eventually spoke to the police officer named in the article. Long story short, Elder Godi described him as a "sophisticated" person. The officer said he was just following protocol on a complaint and knew of the church and the elders and their practices, in a positive manner. They drew up a document stating that we did not offer money, etc. at any time to people to join the church and signed it. Before leaving the station, they happened to run into the young reporter who had written the article and had a conversation with him. Haven't seen anything in print since. Right now is a run-up to national elections and a certain party is trying to use anything they can to their advantage. It was 3 well heeled gentlemen that put the reporter up to the story. The fallout though got Elder Burton, our district leader, transferred because it was discovered his registration in Noida had never been completed so to avoid any possible hassle with that, he was moved back to Delhi. We now have Elder Vanjarapu in his place. He is from southern India and is also a great young man. We no longer use the words convert, missionary, or proselyte in our conversations. We are volunteers with a message about families, etc. in our initial conversations.

We've been busy with projects and meetings in Delhi. We met with the country director for ADRA, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (Seventh-day Adventists), who presented a request for funding assistance from LDSC on a proposed relief project they had put together for the northern most area of Bihar, in the Sapaul and Araria area - another 7+ hours past where we stopped on our trip. It is isolated by water still and their field team had gone in by boat to make their assessment. I finally got the project request paperwork completed and submitted late Friday night and we should have a decision hopefully by Tuesday. There are so many things that merit assistance I am just glad that I'm not the one making the hard decisions on how to allocate very limited funds. LDSC did work with ADRA last year on a flood relief effort here in India and I believe we have partnered with them worldwide on other projects. I am very impressed with their accountability and organization.

A week ago Tuesday, we finally got ourselves registered with the Indian Immigration department after paying a fine for being 2 days late, so we're legal now. The next day, we were back over to Dwarka (Delhi) pick up all the humanitarian project things from the Browns. We had hired a van to haul them back and now our back bedroom is a mini-NRT warehouse with manikins, intubation heads, bags and masks, stethoscopes, bulb syringes, linens, etc.

The festivals began today, Sunday the 5th, and run through the 9th. Our friend Anil, his niece, and his daughter took us out on a tour. He said there were close to 1,000 festivals and neighborhood shrines in the greater Noida area. And after going around after dark when there was activity, I believe it. Our first stop was at a site that is associated with those from the state of Orissa. There was a large tent set up for the statues/shrine and adjacent an even larger tent complex that seated over 2,000. I was told that there would be a big production going on in there later each night. A little religion mixed in with a drama/concert was my impression or maybe just an old fashioned revivalist tent meeting. We got there just as a group of men were parading into the shrine tent with large jugs of water on their heads. The jugs were arranged in front of the statues of Durga, a female god with 7 arms (her sisters all combined with her to become more powerful) and other lesser gods. The statues were made of clay and painted and decorated with very expensive clothing, etc. Once the water was brought to them, they believe the life force then enters the statues for the festival. On the last day of the fesitval, the statues are taken to the river and let go and the one of the devil is blown up. I followed Anil inside as he seemed to know the head guys, but I was not comfortable. There were a group of men dancing in a circle with one lead drummer. It was a dark feeling environment and activities about as foreign as you can imagine for us Utah natives, especially since I had read about some of the brutal things recently done against Christians in Orissa.

Our next stop was another festival in a more upscale area of Noida. A lot of money had been spent on the facilities that housed the shrine portion and the adjacent stage and performance area. The people there were very well dressed and when we arrived, nothing had happened yet. There was another area set up with booths selling food and we actually sampled something like an egg burrito. Spicy, what did I expect? The picture below is from this location. Anil said it was ok, so I took a couple of pictures after the water arrived and the screen in front of the shrine was removed. This location was supposedly a Bengali type Hindu festival, but the same gods were involved. The one that the lion is attacking at the bottom, is the devil, the bad guy who gets blown up. I also think I heard him referred to as the king of Sri Lanka, the guy with a green face.

The next to last stop was a huge location and was a Delhi type Hindu festival replete with a huge ferris wheel, etc. We didn't spend much time here, but the drama was underway and there were thousands in the entire complex that took up acres.

The last stop, was a small neighborhood shrine that we stopped in front of. I put the window down and took a picture and one of the men attending it took fruit from the stainless steel bowl in the lower, right front of the picture and brought it to me. Anil said he was honoring me with the gift. People bring gifts and money to leave at the shrines and then those that attend them pass it on to others or keep it.

This past week we made 2 trips over to Delhi. A busy, but productive week. On Wednesday, we finally got our bill paid with the mission home, rent, etc. We then went to the 2nd and 3rd branch building to met with the Browns and Brother Beesa, the past district president, who owns a travel business. Elder Brown wanted us to meet since I had been dealing with him via emails and phone calls for a week or so. I was impressed. He was younger than I expected, but very sharp, personable, and likable. I'm going to enjoy working with him as we have a number of things coming up that will require his services. After the meeting, we had a great late lunch, early dinner, at an Italian restaurant in the Pria market area. Great food, just wish it was a lot closer.

On Friday, we had a very long day. We left in the morning on a 2 hour taxi drive to somewhere north and west of Delhi to meet with a gentleman that owns Medical Systems and Services. His company makes bags and masks and is a local supplier for us. Another case of Elder Brown introducing us to establish a working relationship. I like Sunil Monga. The building was pretty scary to enter and climb the stairs, but his office space once inside was ok. He was conscious of it and apologized for the location. Sunil has provided his father, who is 80, with an office and he comes in each day to his own space. I was touched by the caring nature of that relationship. I had been trying to establish contact with the UNICEF office in Assam, but knew I needed an introduction and was hoping Sunil might be able to facilitate that since his company did a lot of business with government agencies and UNICEF with medical supplies, etc. The "systems" actually refers to imaging equipment which he decided he could do better than Siemens, which is where he started. He and his engineers have been quite successful, except in their choice of office locations. I wasn't disappointed about the introduction request though. After expressing my need and hope for help, he used his iPhone to call the head doctor in Assam and I got my telephone introduction and spoke briefly with Dr Ajay Trakroo about meeting with him and his newborn specialists.

The next stop was the mission home to pick up some stuff and then to the Hyatt to meet with the Rotary International leaders. There were 4 of us in our little taxi and barely made it up the drive to chug into the grand entrance area of the hotel. This was beginning to resemble the states once we were past the guards with mirrors to look under the car. The official greeter was dressed in a punjab outfit and was quite impressive. Going into the lobby was a real "wow". No way could we afford to stay in a place like this, but yet we would be meeting with the man who owned it. We waited until our host, Atul Dev, came out to meet us. He is a natural PR guy and quite a character. Has a huge mustache and smiling eyes, just the image of a PR man, but seemed to be quite genuine. He led us upstairs to a conference room in the executive office area and after drinks were offered and served, Sushil Gupta and a couple of other Rotary members and hotel officers joined us. It was a great conversation, very open, and even involved some discussion of the church. We agreed on attending the inauguration of a new catchment dam, not one funded by LDSC, but one they wanted us to see. We'll go out for the inauguration ceremony and see one other dam that has been completed. Sushil has some passion about the dam projects and it was evident when he was discussing the projects. The success of the dams has been well documented as the ground water level has risen and the existing bore wells now produce enough water to allow 3 crops a year, the difference between a marginal existence and prosperity for the locals. We will be making a second trip out to visit and inspect the 5 sites that are currently under construction with LDSC money. There are a total of 20 dams in the LDSC project, so we will be making this trip a few times for both inspections and inauguration ceremonies. A second progress payment towards the dam project was due and Elder Brown had just received the check the day before. He had been sweating getting the check before the meeting. He graciously handed it over to me and asked me to present it which would help establish Elder Tanner as the man to deal with. That was an enjoyable part of the meeting when I presented Sushil with a check for 2 million rupees ($43k). Each dam runs between $10k and $20k depending on location, size, etc. The locals provide the labor to build the dams. Something we learned in the meeting that was not known is that the engineering isn't done by college educated types, but a local that has had the knowledge of dam building passed down through several generations. The dams are being built the old fashioned way with local knowledge right down to the site selection. Depending on the number of beneficiaries, the cost per person per dam runs from a very low $1 to an average around $4 a person benefited.

We took the Browns back to their area and stopped at a McDonalds and ate fish burgers and fries, the only food I'd had all day after a couple of pieces of toast for breakfast. We then headed home where I finished a project request for ADRA I mentioned somewhere up above and called an end to a 13 hour day. Not every day is that long, but with the travel to Delhi, we have had our share of long days, but it is rewarding when you see progress on projects and get to sit in a nice boardroom, etc. Besides, I know who we are working for and we are well rewarded so I'm not complaining!

I'll end this long post with a comment about my companion. Sister Tanner outdid herself yesterday after Sister Smith mentioned feeding those attending conference, Sunday, between sessions and asked for some help with desserts. Sister Tanner came back and baked chocolate chip cookies, snicker doodle balls, made a chocolate cake, and an apple crisp. They were all great. She does amazing things with her 'easy bake' oven that you can only get one 9x13 pan in at a time. The only disappointment was she asked me to find some cream, which I did at the Sector 40 markets, but it would not whip up. The milk and cream come in cartons that do not have to be refrigerated until they are opened. It might be the way it is processed that made the cream unusable for whipping, but it still served as a sweet topping for the apple crisp.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Home Sweet Home

9/22-25/08 – Monday - Thursday

Recovered or not, the work goes on. The District meeting was held in our living room since there was still uncertainty about meeting in our church building. We discussed the need to help spouses of members who did not speak English, or did not speak it well. They do not come to church because they cannot understand what is going on. There is a possible opportunity here for Cindy to take on a challenge that could really help the group/branch. The elders had ordered lunch, which we gladly paid for, and we ate an Indian dish, briyani, which had rice, meat, and vegetables, and was not too spicy. A member who caters, brought it over from Delhi.

In the afternoon, we rolled up our sleeves and got after the cleaning which did not stop until Thursday afternoon. What a job! I wore the skin off of the top of one of my toes from working on the floor scrubbing the marble base row and adjacent floor. I’d get about 5 feet and my wash water would be brown. I also wore the fingernails off on my right hand from scrubbing. I have a new appreciation for those who work on their knees.

The cleaning continued for 3 days, dawn to night, with breaks to eat. It was unbelievable the dirt and grime that had collected in a house that sat unoccupied for over 2 years. We have a chandelier in the living room and it was a light brown, just covered with dirt and grime. Once we cleaned it up, it is beautiful. It was one of the little things that collectively changed the whole atmosphere in our new home. By Thursday afternoon, our feelings about the place we lived in had completely changed and it began to truly feel like our home. We then began the final step to clinch the deal, putting our things away and emptying our luggage and putting it away in the back room.

We did have one misadventure on Wednesdy when we lost the water in our bathroom. I called the property manager and he got a “plumber” to come over. He showed up with a screw driver and what looked like channel locks, nothing else. I shouldn’t comment though, because he did get the water restored in the bathroom. From what I observed after he left, it appeared he removed a couple of small clogged sediment screens from somewhere which apparently let the water flow again. About an hour after the plumber left, we then lost the water in the whole house, and then began the comedy of errors. Knowing that the water flows from tanks on the roof, I went up to investigate and discovered that both were way low. The elders had told me they filled automaticly and I had heard a pump run very early several mornings. After another call to the property manager, I now understood that nothing was automatic, the pump to fill the tanks on the roof had to be turned on manually. I finally located the control box and turned it on. After a trip to the roof to be sure the tanks were filling, I resumed cleaning and forgot about the pump. About an hour or more later, I remembered the pump and headed back to the roof to see how the tanks were doing and found water flowing onto the roof from an overflow pipe and about a 2” deep lake. Fortunately, the roof drains took care of it once I hustled back down and turned the pump off. We were blessed to actually have the week free from calls or anything to interrupt us other than a few water problems.

We actually live in an upper class neighborhood and this is a nice home once we got the inside in shape. We live downstairs and the elders live upstairs above us. They are feeling pretty good about having Sister Tanner living downstairs. It is amazing how resourceful they are. We
mentioned how difficult it would be to make a good apple pie without the hard, tart Granny Smith type apples and we had not seen any in any of the produce stands or markets. The next day a grinning Elder Godi appeared at our door with a bag of Granny Smith apples.

Looking up our street

9/26/08 – Friday

After the putting away and arranging tasks were completed, in the afternoon we decided to venture out on our own to do some shopping. We couldn't find the Sector 40 market the elders had told us about. After walking quite a ways and deciding we either missed the street or were going the wrong way, we climbed into a pedel rickshaw and told the driver "Sector 40 market". Then commenced a tour of the neighborhood as the driver only made left turns (right turns in the states). We wound up at the C-Sector market and there was a dry cleaners there, so what the heck, I dropped off the pants I had brought along. We then took an auto-rickshaw and told the driver Atta market and we were off again. We got some groceries and returned and felt pretty good about our brave new world adventure.

This is our bathroom and shower and the "geezer", ie, hot water heater for the bathroom is in the next picture. The kitchen has a separate geezer for hot water and we have another in the bathroom off a spare bedroom that has become our laundry room. We actually have a small washing machine there that works pretty good. We bought a rack and set it up in the spare bedroom to dry clothes on.

This is Sister Tanner's kitchen and her "Easy Bake" oven. To the left is the 4 burner propane stove with the top down.

Our dinning room and table.

Living room with an air conditioning unit on the wall to the left.


Elder Tanner at work. What you can't see too well is the HP5610 printer, a wi-fi router, a small UPS on the floor that actually works, and a PC with no power cord.

I couldn't pass this up. The actual connection for the cable running into our home is in there somewhere. All in all, we have some pretty sweet digs once we got things cleaned and set up.
Getting the curtains/drapes hung was the finishing touch. I won't go into the whole story, but Sister Tanner went with Amy Smith to a fabric place and picked some great material for the drapes and curtains. The "stictcher" that we hired to sew them did a terrible job and Sister Tanner was ready to cry when she saw them hung, which is putting it politely. We went back to the fabric place and the owner came out with his top stitcher and they just shook their heads when they saw it. They also asked where the rest of the material was. Seems our first guy took us for about 10 meters of fabric on top of the lousy work. It all came out well as the second time around they came out great, just cost a bit more to have it done a second time and replace the missing material. Lesson learned, don't try to save a buck when you don't know the game. But the upside is that we now have someone we can trust and are working with him as a possible source for materials for several of our humanitarian projects. It's all good in the end.