A local tailor

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Here is a local tailor.  Most people here have their clothing made to order.  You purchase your fabric, then take it to a tailor to fashion into a shirt or a dress or whatever you’d like.  There are usually posters like the one below with ideas of the possible styles.  To the right of these posters you’ll see pieces of tape with measurements on them.  Perhaps they are for different customers or for the different styles.  They do not use paper patterns here like we’re used to.

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This young man was helping the tailor by ironing the pieces he prepared.  The heavy cast iron is filled with hot coals.

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A pocket ready to sew onto the shirt:2019-12-28 (113)

 

Sunday in the Bamako Branch with a Ouelessebougou Alliance Expedition

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This morning part of an expedition traveling to Ouelessebougou came to church with us.  We were so happy to see Judy Hut, the Ouelessebougou Alliance Director and her team.  Part of the group arriving this week was en route.  We’ve worked with the Alliance for many years–that’s why we first came to Mali.

We had wonderful Sunday meetings, then John and I joined this group and traveled south to Ouelessebougou for a few days.

 

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Daily Life in Bamako

 

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This afternoon we walked to a couple of lessons with the Elders.  Life here is fascinating.  I can watch what goes on around me for hours.  Here are a few of the sights we saw today as we walked though the neighborhoods.

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Warm bread ready to deliver:2019-12-28 (20)

Phone minutes for sale here:2019-12-28 (21)

Washing clothes:2019-12-28 (65)

Filling holes in the road:2019-12-28 (17)

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Used furniture:2019-12-28 (24)

Cooking stoves:2019-12-28 (26)

A place to shell peanuts on a comfortable chair:2019-12-28 (27)

A place to wash dishes:2019-12-28 (70)

Laundry drying:2019-12-28 (28)

Oranges for sale:2019-12-28 (29)

A front yard:2019-12-28 (30)

Women visiting by the Foosball tables:2019-12-28 (31)

Henna hands:2019-12-28 (33)

Plaiting hair:2019-12-28 (35)

Drying food:2019-12-28 (36)

Empty vendor stall:2019-12-28 (37)

Goods for sale:

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Finished laundry:2019-12-28 (45)

Jump rope:2019-12-28 (76)

Neighbor children:2019-12-28 (78)

Washing dishes:2019-12-28 (74)

Fodder for the animals:2019-12-28 (73)

Hide and seek:2019-12-28 (137)2019-12-28 (138)

Clean dishes:2019-12-28 (79)

Local barbers:2019-12-28 (81)

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Parts and pieces:2019-12-28 (90)

Homemade tin can cars: 

Washing the bakkie bed:2019-12-28 (91)

Rotisserie chicken for sale:2019-12-28 (93)

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Washing the motorcycle:2019-12-28 (96)

Woman’s work:2019-12-28 (102)

A cooking stove:2019-12-28 (99)

Shoes for sale:2019-12-28 (104)

Two boys in red:2019-12-28 (107)

Proud to have a bike:2019-12-28 (112)

Young girls bringing home water:2019-12-28 (67)

Frying potatoes:2019-12-28 (72)

Graffiti:2019-12-28 (88)

Plaiting hair while selling salad fixins:2019-12-28 (139)

Setting up the tent for a wedding tomorrow:2019-12-28 (140)

Come have a drink of water:2019-12-28 (132)

The dinner hour approaches:2019-12-28 (141)

This is real life in Bamako.  We love it here.  There is no fluff or excess, just real life.  It’s a good life.  Hard, but good.

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Saturday is a special day. It’s the day we get ready for Sunday.

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We live in a dust storm of a dessert here in Bamako.  The warm breezes blow dust in every direction, through every crack.  Every Saturday morning the church building needs to be cleaned to prepare for the Sabbath.  Members come faithfully, missionaries help.  We all work together to make this an acceptable place to worship.  It’s good work and we enjoy being together.

I tackled a few unused rooms upstairs where our supplies are kept.  If left un-swept, the dust buildup is almost enough to silence the sound of our footsteps.

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After a thorough sweeping, the floors are mopped.

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A local broom:

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The cleaning closet:

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Working with Pres Sekou after the cleaning was finished, planning tithing settlements:

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An Evening Stroll in Bamako

This evening we took a walk at our favorite time of the day here in Bamako.  Between about 5:00 and sunset, everything is golden.  Harmattan season is here, with the dust from the Sahara blowing down into Mali and western Africa.  The sky is orange with haze and dust.  Here are some of the things we saw.

A Malian nursery with potted (sacked) palm trees:

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Banana stocks growing:

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We walked from our apartment, about 15 minutes towards the Niger River, which winds through the heart of Bamako.  Here are some of the gardens that line this dirty, slow-moving river:

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This huge apartment complex is being built, boasting riverfront views.

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A shanty by the construction site:

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Construction–supporting an opening:

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Neighborhoods around us and children playing in a sewage trench:

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Watching an evening soccer game:

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Scraps outside a local tailor:

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Larger neighborhood scrap and trash piles:

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Trash accumulated along the roadside where we walk:

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This is a hard place to live and to make a living.  Things get dirty here and it’s hard to keep them clean.  But we and they are trying.

Here is a quiet reminder of why we came to this place to live.  This beautiful African Christmas tree was on the street where several embassies are housed, a nice street, with secure compounds behind high walls.  But this tree was here outside the wall for anyone to enjoy, a reminder of the Light of the World, and the beautiful star that once announced His birth.  We are here because of Him and because of His message of Peace and Goodwill to all men.

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A Gift of Christ: Often it maketh my bones to quake

jesus_and_disciples

Before leaving his disciples, Jesus promised them an incredible gift–a gift that would surpass any gift ever given. I thought about that gift in the dark pre-dawn hours on this Christmas morning as I waited in bed, listening to the prayer calls of the mosque out our window.

I thought about the reminder to pray for a long time this morning and I also thought about how LOUD that muezzin is with his microphone. We hear prayer calls several times a day, always loud and repetitive. I like being reminded, most of the time. Not so much at 4:00 a.m., but during the day it can be a nice reminder to give thanks for my blessings.

This has been an interesting Christmas season, here in Bamako. There are no Christmas lights, no Christmas trees, no decorations, no presents, and no carols being sung. The trappings of Christmas are not found here in these Muslim neighborhoods. We’ve had to create our own simple Christmas celebration.

Last night we read the Christmas Story from Luke and from Matthew. I thought about Jesus’s birth and His life and all He has done for us. I thought about how, at the end of his life he said to his disciples:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:16-18, 25-27).

He gave us this unspeakable gift, the Gift of the Holy Ghost–to teach us, to help us remember Him, to comfort us, to protect us, and to give us peace in a troubled world.  It’s the greatest Gift ever!

The scriptures describe the voice God uses. In the account of Elijah in the Old Testament, it says:

The Lord said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12, italics added.)

The prophet Nephi had brothers who would not hear. To them, he said:

Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words. (Nephi 1:45, italics added.)

When Jesus visited the people on the American continent after his resurrection, his coming was announced in this way:

And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.  And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.  And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.  And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:  Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him. (3 Nephi 11:3-7, italics added.)

The Holy Ghost communicates to us in much the same way–quietly. He speaks to our hearts and to our minds. He causes us to feel things or remember things. He cautions or prompts us to do or not to do certain things. He is our constant companion.

I love the description of the Holy Ghost’s communication to us in a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1832:

Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest. (D&C 85:6, italics added.)

This morning as I was awakened by the blaring reminder to pray, I thought about the Holy Ghost and the quiet messages I receive almost daily–Jesus’s gift to me. It’s the best gift ever. I don’t really need anything else, especially on this Christmas Day.