On arrival we were met by President and Sister Herrington and our 4 bags filling the car. They took us directly to our temporary apartment and we were joined by Elder and Turner. The Turners worked miracles getting the mission up and running and answering our questions before we came. They helped us get settled here in the first three days and then we were on own own including starting to drive and find our way around.
Our first P(preparation)Day fell on Independence Day and is a holiday. Glen and Elder Turner attended the Parade held on the grounds of the Historic Garrison with old buildings and cannons. Generally it is used for the island horse race track. Because they arrived a little early and were wearing white shirts and ties they were ushered into the VIP section! They didn't say a word. Later the real VIPs were wearing suits! It was quite the affair with military units, Boy Scouts, church groups, youth groups, police horse unit, and the Governor General reviewing the parade.
Then Glen and I ventured to the local beach for the first time. We haven't had time to get back. The waves are fairly large, not exactly meant for swimming. Bogey boards are a good choice. It cost BBD 30 to rent 2 chairs and an umbrella and were told it was a "special price".
BBD Barbados dollars is the local currency. Divide by 2 for US dollars. Everything is expensive here and then add the 17.5% VAT tax! It makes it difficult for the young missionaries to eat healthy.
Our first day we bought a few basic groceries totaling 3 plastic bags and it cost $113 US.
Our area headquarters is in Dominican Republic. That means we have a distance equal to Seattle to Miami. So that is most of the islands of the Caribbean with so many being a separate country with different languages and customs. It's a huge challenge in so many ways.
Barbados was at the tail end of the rainy season. June-Dec. Most of the time it only rains for 5-10 min and then is done. But it is usually a hard rain and then again several times a day and night. With the sun shining in between. Most of the buildings here have corrugated tin roofs, so you can imagine the sound. It always wakes me up during the night.
Our propane gas stove did not work for the first 3 days until our very friendly neighbor came to show us what to do. The Bajan people are so friendly and helpful. Even the children greet you and very polite. Most locals use the term Bajan referring to themselves or something local. But we have also heard Barbadian.
Almost if not all homes/buildings have solar heated water. That sounds great but in reality it means inconsistency especially in the mornings. I heat water in an electric teapot to supplement but in the evenings it's not a problem.
Our apartment is meant for the Humanitarian couple but the last ones left in Sept and the new one doesn't arrive till Feb. Thank goodness it is after we move to our permanent apartment. It was difficult to find a suitable apartment specifically in the mission price range because it is the high season(tourist) till April and the locals like to rent short term to make more money. We ended spending more because we had no choice.
The first Sunday we attended the Black Rock Branch which is our assignment for the Member Leader Support portion of our mission. It is very small with very few priesthood and mostly women. Just a couple children in Primary and a half dozen YM/YW. So the list is very long for reactivation. That day was their Primary children's program and they managed to have a turn out of 5 children. Sister Turner had helped to organize it. We are still struggling to learn everyone's names. They may be speaking English but it might as well be Swahili. But like everyone else they have welcomed us with open arms. There are 4 elders and 2 sisters assigned to the branch and they organize Family Home Evening on Mondays, scripture study on Wed nite and movie nite on Fri. They're not very well attended but we are always there to help friendship. They had an Independence Day celebration telling the history with songs, skits, poetry and food. I have already found some foods that I want to learn to make.
Thanks for the comments thus far. We miss you