Thursday, May 29, 2014

     We have met a young man, a member of the Church, from Canada, who is here working for UNICEF.   His job is to help foster dialogue, activities, radio ads, and groups that will promote peace in the community.  He is working with 2 American organizations to accomplish his goal.  One of these organizations has to do with sports.  I guess you keep the young men involved in good activities and they are not as apt to run amok.  The fear is that with elections coming in 2015 and unemployment ridiculously high, there may be a tendency among the angry young men to align themselves with the party in power and to take up arms in its defense in the hopes of bettering their position by siding with the man in power.  The rumor is that the current president, who will finish his constitutionally allowed 2 terms in 2015 does not want to step down and may try to change the constitution to allow himself the right to stay and be elected for a 3rd term.  People who belong to a different political party than the president have been discriminated against, have been denied employment or even fired from their jobs, due to their party affiliation.  Some say leaders of opposing parties have been jailed or have simply disappeared.  There are also rumors of the government arming thousands of young men.  For reporting and questioning the truth of this rumor, the U.N. representative was deported from Burundi 2 weeks ago.

     Ever since we arrived here, the streets in our area have been ridiculous.  As bad as many 4 wheel drive roads in Canyonlands.  We understood the plan was to eventually cobblestone the streets, and we saw some leveling going on, some deep gutters being constructed, and big piles of paver stones being dumped in a row down the bumpy access road to our house.

One day as we were driving around, we even saw where the pavers were being hewn out of stone with hand tools.  They are about 5" square.  Then, a few days ago, we saw groups of men (about 8 in a group) standing around piles of pavers that had been dumped and throwing these pavers, one by one, into a dump truck.  

Finally the day we had been waiting for arrived.  Large piles of and were deposited on our street.

A workman approached us to tell us that they would be cobblestoning our street starting the next day (Yay!) , and that we would not be able to drive down our street for the next 2 weeks.  (Say what?)

Of all weeks!  The mission president and his wife are due to arrive here on Thursday and had been planning to stay with us, but the news about the street closure I'm afraid caused him to change his mind.  (We made reservations for him at a nice hotel.)  We have had to find a place about a mile away where we leave the truck for the night.  In the morning Gary goes and brings it back and parks it at the end of the street.  Then we walk thru the construction , me in my sandals, through deep sand that they spread over the top of the pavers.  If we are not home by dark, I get to make the walk down the street and Gary gets to park the truck a mile away and then either walk or take a taxi to the top of the street.  The mission president doesn't know what fun he's missing!  So far, the 3 nights when we have come home after dark, and I have had to walk a block to the house, I have found one of our "gate keepers" waiting for me out in the dark street.  He is a welcome sight!

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