Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You can run but you can't hide (from Google)!

Here we are in Sousa, a small city in Brazil that is 6 hours by car from the state capital and what did we see? A Google Street View car, roaming the cobblestone streets, snapping pictures of everyone and everything. These pictures will soon appear on Google Maps and Google Earth.

We saw the car a couple of days previously in Cajazeiras - an even smaller city in the state of Paraiba. If they are here, they are everywhere in the world. Amazing!

We spoke with the driver and the technician and learned some interesting facts. The tower on top of the car has 15 cameras that take pictures automatically as they go down the road. The cameras fire automatically and the number of pictures they take depends on the speed of the car. The car is loaded with technology: multiple computers, ultra-precise GPS and massive data storage. They told us the pictures will appear on Google Maps in about 2 months. There are 2 cars like this in this remote northeastern part of the country.

If you see one of these passing your place - SMILE!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ouch! Sousa Bites Carol!

We enjoy taking an early morning walk every day through the streets and neighborhoods of Sousa. We often end up at a great bakery where we pick up some freshly baked bread, cheese and ham that we use for quick lunches - and to feed the missionaries.

On the 5th of January we took a different route for a change as we didn't need a bakery stop that day. As we passed a derelict old house behind decaying walls and gates we heard barking and growling dogs. As we walked past the broken gate, 4 or 5 dogs burst through the gate onto the sidewalk. One particularly mean dog bit Carol on both legs. Fortunately she was wearing fairly heavy pants and socks so only one tooth made it through to the skin, leaving a small puncture wound.

Carol didn't think she had been bitten at all, but when we got home we could see the wound. After conferring with the church physician in São Paulo he said that it would be necessary for Carol to go through a course of rabies vaccinations. So we were off to the hospital to get the treatment. 

After waiting in the emergency room for an hour and a half Carol was seen by a young doctor who said he didn't think she needed the vaccinations and sent us to a nurse to have the wound cleaned and disinfected. I spoke with the senior nurse there and told her our doctor insisted Carol receive the vaccinations. The nurse concurred, countermanded the doctor's orders and Carol got the first of 5 injections she will receive over a period of 4 weeks. The modern injections are very simple and not painful at all, unlike the stories we have heard about the early treatments to prevent rabies.

We returned to the house later that day and found the person that lives there. She is very old - pushing 80 - and has lived there all of her life. She has no family at all and the house is in a state of extreme disrepair. It actually looks abandoned. She assured us that the dogs are not sick, and we don't believe they are. We have learned that this isn't the first person that the dogs have attacked, so we're going to talk to the appropriate authorities next week to see what can be done to prevent further bites to passers by.

We went back later - and let the sleeping dogs lie!
We feel blessed that the incident was not more serious and that modern, effective treatment is available here to assure there won't be complications.

And we'll stay away from that house on future walks, for sure!

Carol at the hospital - all is well!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas in Sousa - Part 2

Christmas in Sousa for us started on January 23 and January 24 with parties at the church for the Sousa Branch and then the Estação Branch.

We began the evening on the 24th by going to the outskirts of town to pick up several members for the party. We had to figure out how to get a dozen people (plus a lot of food for the party) into our minivan that is designed to hold 7. We designated several of the youth as 'baggage' and stuffed them into the back for the 15 minute ride to the chapel. On the way, we taught them to sing Jingle Bells in English. By the time we got to the chapel they were doing a pretty good job. There certainly was no lack of enthusiasm!

We had been recruited to be Papai and Mamãe Noel at the party. We had a several people, old and young, who wanted to take a picture behind us or on our laps. Everyone had a great time at the party that included a dinner and music for dancing.
Sisters Bee and Haygood
When I asked one young girl who is about 7 years old what she wanted for Christmas she responded, "I won't be getting anything for Christmas." I asked, "What is the most wonderful gift of all at Christmastime?" She answered, "Love!" I then asked, "What is the source of love?" She wisely answered, "Jesus." 

I then said, "The greatest Christmas gift of all is from our Heavenly Father who loved us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ so we could feel His love." Her response: "Yes, that is the greatest gift of all and it is for all of us. We all get the same love from Jesus." It was a wonderful insight from a girl whose family can't buy gifts, but reflects the love of the Savior which is more precious than any material gift they could give.
On Christmas day we were invited to lunch with the missionaries at member's home where we enjoyed their love and a delicious meal. In the afternoon and evening we hosted the missionaries from Sousa at our apartment. They used our computers to Skype their families at home and then we enjoyed a great dinner prepared by Sister Petrie. It was atypical Sunday meal we would have at home and the missionaries loved a dinner that didn't include rice and beans.

We were able to Skype all of our family as well. It was a thrill to see and visit with all our children and grandchildren on this most special day!
Elders Walton and Jay, Sisters Bee and Haygood