We went to Abobo today for our 3rd Zone Conference this week. We met in the stake center there with 3 more zones. Abobo is a rough town. No Sisters or white Elders are sent there. We were about an hour out of town and it felt like we’d gone to another country. We drove through such poverty and slum areas, and today we had some more storms and rain so things were muddy and so dirty. We passed lots of markets and shanty town slums covering the hills on either side of the main road. The homes are all smashed together, low and flat. Cement block, cardboard, tin, and whatever could be cobbled together to form a shelter.
We drove through a mile or so of furniture stores lining the main road–just one tent shop after the next. There were toilets for several shops, then baby furniture and cribs, then upholstered chairs and sofas. Much of the furniture is over-stuffed and colorful. We passed so many market areas, crowded with venders and women squatting next to their piles of goods. Many have a small fire to cook over. Many sell fruit–plantain, sometimes roasted, bananas, oranges, popos. Boys hawking wares wander through the cars with bags on poles with everything from soap to cookies to toilet paper.
We drove through a mile or so of junk yards and dead cars and large trucks. So many times, if they break down, they’re abandoned. So many junk yards full of rusting vehicles. Wow.
Then we came to the stake center and we were greeted by these bright shiny clear-eyed missionaries! What a contrast!
Waiting in the chapel for missionaries to arrive.
Our zone conference schedule followed the same pattern as the first two (see previous posts). We stopped for lunch at 1:00 and had another great meal of chicken, rice and plantain, prepared by member women. Today we also had fruit–bananas, oranges and watermelon!
There was a bit seminary and institute conference going on today in this stake center, so we shared the space with a hundred or more young adults.
After the conference, we had some time to visit and get better acquainted (and practice our French).
This is Bishop Mel. He is President Binene’s driver and helper.
We gathered for a group photo:
It was another wonderful day. The best thing is meeting all these amazing missionaries. They really are exceptional young men and women doing exceptional things.