A Day In The Life Of

2014-10-05_04.01.27Well actually, I guess I should call it “A Week In The Life Of”. This has actually been an enjoyable two weeks for me. We have been able to sleep in our own bed every night, which is just the way I like it. I am such a creature of habit and enjoy a daily routine, unlike many people I know. I guess I could be accused of being boring but the only person who’s opinion really matters to me in that regard, likes routine even more than I do. Maybe that’s one reason why we are still so happy together, after 35 years.  Anyway, I thought that maybe this post should be about our life here in Lubumbashi, in a fairly typical week.  And in case you’re wondering, no this is not our laundery.  We have a “dryer” that takes longer to dry than hanging it on the line.  But isn’t this pretty?!!!I

I also just want to say that this post is late because we have been without the internet for the past week, but today we had the professionals come and do a big over-haul.   I honestly didn’t know people with that kind of knowledge existed in Lubumbashi.  Hopefully, we will no longer win the prize for being the slowest internet in the world – and the guy said we would even be able to Skype!  We shall see.


One of the things that keeps Brent stabilized is his morning run.  We thought that the only real danger running here was the unpredictable terrain, which requires him to constantly watch where he steps.  A couple weeks ago however, “eyes in the back of your head” would have come in handy.  He was running against the traffic, on the dirt on the side of the road, when a car hit him from behind.  The guy crossed over onto the wrong side of the road, onto the shoulder and hit Brent right by the license plate, which threw him forward.  The street was of course full of people at 6:30 in the morning and Brent said that about a dozen men came running to the scene.  Here’s the interesting part – Though the driver was travelling fast enough to hit him and throw him forward, and cause the whole street to notice and come running, Brent didn’t even hit the ground.  When he returned home, I examined the back of his legs for a mark of some kind but there was none.  I told him that he would surely be bruised and at least a bit sore the next day but again, there was nothing.  He truly came away unscathed!  Think what you will, but I firmly believe in the power of all those prayers coming our way and I am very grateful.


This is Brent’s office and where he spends most of his day, when we are in Lubumbashi.  It is surprising how much time tranfers take, along with responding to 180 letters each and every week.  Along with overseeing the mission work, he also has the responsibility of four Districts, which may soon become five.  He continues to get up at 4:00, which isn’t so bad over here because we have to be in our home by 7:00 each night.  And, as everyone knows, “Early to bed and early to rise, will make one healthy, wealthy and wise”.  Right?!


This is our kitchen, which has pretty much everything I need I might add.  We go through a lot of banana bread here, as it is one of the few things that I make, that the missionaries really like.  I think we are about the only mission in the world, with no North American missionaries.  I don’t know why this is for sure, but it may have something to do in part, with the eating habits and food here in the DRC.  Even the very few African non-Congolese missionaries we have (at least 95% of our missionaries are from the DRC) have a difficult time living here.  The Congolese eat something called fu fu every morning and night.  It is basically flour and water and sits in your stomach like the proverbial “lead balloon”.  They love it and would choose it over pretty much anything else.  As one elder told us in english, “It helps us get fed up.”

Brent and I eat very well when we are here in Lubumbashi.  They have a good number of fruits and vegetables (all are organic of course for those who care), with apples that taste like apples should and carrots that are bright orange, fresh and delicious.  I will admit that the selection of things here is nothing like at home but with a little improvisation, you can come up with food that is close to what we like to eat at home.


Okay, all of you who know my obsession with a well made bed, I bought all of this bedding before we came and had it shipped over with the rest of our things.  It is my tiny island of order in this world of chaos and it makes me happy.  We have only used the mosquito net a few times but never miss a day of taking our malaria medication.


No, this is not a halloween decoration!  It is the real McCoy!  I was rearranging the big room in the Misssion Home, when I stepped back to survey the results.  I thought it was a candy wrapper that the elders left behind and went to pick it up.  The good news?  It was dead and dry and the only spider (other than the little ones) that we have seen here.  We think it came in with a big box of bananas we bought for the missionaries.  Yikes!  I really don’t like spiders!!!

2014-10-06_03.11.33This is one of our guards in the blue and our garbage man with his wagon.  It was about 95F but as you can see, he felt a touque was in order.  You can’t tell in the picture but he is about five feet tall.  A Pygmy maybe? We pay him to take away our garbage but have no idea where he takes it to.  A few months before we came, we heard they discovered he was just taking it out of the compound and dumping it on the other side of the fence.  Hey!  That’s just the way they roll here! 🙂





Speaking of the way they roll here, this is our painter.  He, the brush and the paint are as good as it gets here.  The brush is new and was about a hundred times worse than anything you would ever find in a dollar store.  The bristles were about an inch and a half long.  The paint required about four coats to cover the blue underneath, (kind of) and if he was running out he just added water.  And the painter?… well… he nodded and smiled and bowed everytime we asked him to cover the furniture, or put another coat to cover what still obviously needed another coat, or move the rug so it wouldn’t get paint on it… and then he proceeded to do none of it.  Thus achieving the results which had prompted our concern in the first place.  Oh well!

2014-09-27_07.41.46This is a mattress store here.  Remember the Princess and the Pea?  We saw a woman going home with one of these folded up under her arm….  Really!

This is a man that was baptised last Sunday, with some of his children.  The one little girl wouldn’t leave Brent’s side and kept stroking the hair on his arm.  (Who knew they don’t grow much hair on their arms?)
2014-10-05_03.52.47These are the sisters that taught and baptized him along with two others that day.  Missionaries think they have it hard here because they have nothing to compare it to.  Last week, each missionary companionship in our mission averaged 15 investigators out to church.  Okay all of you who have served missions all over the world… beat that!

The following pictures were taken as we walked down the road by one of our chapels.



The Humanitarian arm of the Church is looking into replacing this foot bridge for them.  You can’t tell, but there is about a 20 foot drop underneath and kids, bikes and motos all cross here.


2014-10-05_04.12.51Congolese Lemonade Stand maybe?


Notice the little boy on the end in the pink Uggs and sweater vest? It is always hot here (to us) but that doesn’t stop people from wearing boots, touques, and even ski jackets.  That little girl held Brent’s hand for at least half an hour and would not let go. Men hold hands here all the time and all it means is that you are good friends.  I think North America could learn something from the rest of the world when it comes to this.


This is Justin our Mission Office manager and his family.  He is also one of the three Stake Presidents here in Lubumbashi.  His wife Christine served a mission in Ivory Coast.  They are wonderful.

2014-09-28_05.38.062014-10-05_04.06.352014-09-28_05.33.05Some of the kids at church on Sunday.  This is one of the more well-to-do neighborhoods.

Well, I touched on only a few of the things that we saw and did here in Lubumbashi in these past couple weeks but as I have mentioned before, it is impossible to know how different things are here from life back in Canada and the USA, unless you are here to experience it for yourself.  The sights here have become our new normal though, and it is a good thing that they have, as this will be our home for many months to come.







About carethomas1

Mother to six. Grandmother to nine. Dislikes bugs, camping, sitting and waiting. Likes to talk, eat, free agency, peace and order. Loves dogs, dear friends, and family (not necessarily in that order). Grateful for the trust Heavenly Father has in me, to ask me to come here and do this, with the one I love most.
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9 Responses to A Day In The Life Of

  1. Anna Jackson says:

    Once again, thanks for the amazing photos and for sharing about your life there. We just have no idea, do we? I hope you had a great birthday and Happy Thanksgiving!


  2. I’m so glad you were able to get your internet up and running better. I’ve been checking frequently to see if you had posted and was so excited to see a new one this morning. Shyla and I are frequently asked about “Dr. T.” and we give them the blog address so that they can follow. I hope you had a good birthday. It is probably not how you planned to spend this milestone but I hope it was great anyway. Miss you both.


  3. I also was so excited to see that you posted another blog! I love these pictures, especially seeing dad with the members and Elders. They look like a faithful, beautiful people. So sweet about that little girl, too. Your bed is nice!! you would never know by looking at that picture, that you are living in the DRC! and that new paint color is much better and brighter. Oh, and that spider is SICK!! I don’t know what I would have done. Has Jess seen that picture? Love you, mom!! so grateful for you and dad and your examples.


  4. M. Piepgrass says:

    I really enjoyed reading this entry. I’ll be showing my kids the pics during FHE tomorrow. In the medical centre at UK where I am at right now there are quite a number of women that work in cleaning and the cafeteria that are from the Congo. I’ve tried my best to get to know them and ask them about their lives/countries. I think of you both whenever I talk to them. Glad to see you are doing well.


  5. Sarah Thomas says:

    Love all your posts, Care, I just cry every time. I love you both so much!!!


  6. Susan says:

    I suppose it is the afternoon there now, so happy Monday! Thanks again for sharing your experiences! Your kitchen and bedroom look just like home and I am glad you have an oais to rest and relax in. We all need that from time to time and you even more so given some of the rigours and challenges you face. At the rate you must be baking banana bread, It might become the new Congolese national dessert!


  7. Tony Ma says:

    We always look forward to your posting, Caroline. I’m a bit ambrasses to admit that your bedroom and kitchen actually better than ours, so much for comparison. Love your stories and photos of the local people and wild life (even the spider). With lots of love and well wishes.


  8. Ben Thomas says:

    Love it! Beautiful people. I remember holding hands with our Congolese friends while waiting for public transportation in Lyon. KInd of weird at first, but just another manifestation of how warm and loving they are as a people.


  9. Cathy E says:

    Happy Birthday!! I hope that you put a candle in one of your beautiful loaves of banana bread and made a wish. I love your blog and the photos tell a story that words cannot. It’s so incredible! Is there anyway that I can send you a package with some goodies and a handwork or quilting project? If you have time and the internet, I started a blog too with the beginning of Daniel’s mission in July. The address is pcehlertfamilynews.blogspot.com. Love you! Cathy


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