|Being blown away near the lighthouse but being calmed by the ocean waves|
Sunday - Sunday meeting photos and finishing up Emmanuel
We had filmed Emmanuel at his work on the previous Wednesday. On Sunday we were able to film him in his role as Branch President of a newly formed branch. Emmanuel is also facilitating a Self-Reliance group in his ward to help others have the successes that he now enjoys. We went to his home on Sunday afternoon, filmed him with his group and took some time to film his family.
This self-reliance group was full of less active and non members, which is just what Emmanuel needs to strengthen his small branch. As we arrived, they were just starting the group meeting. The film crew took advantage to film Emmanuel facilitating.
|Emmanuel is in the black shirt to the right of the photo|
The film crew than took Emmanuel into the bedrooms of his home to keep filming while I took over the facilitation of the group. I personally really enjoy facilitating SR groups. It is wonderful to help individuals to develop skills and relationships. It also gives me an opportunity to emphasize the need to report and commit in each group. The photo below is of the group working on their Me in 30 Seconds as we recognized that they had not been sufficiently strong in their sharing of their Me in 30 Seconds during the past week.
Monday - Humanitarian Chicken Projects - Domingos and Silvana
On Monday the filming was of some families that participated in the chicken humanitarian project. These projects have been funded for 10 families in the Praia Stake. An additional 27 families have been identified for another stake and district in Cape Verde. On this day we visited two of the families. Each family is given a chicken coop, 10 hens and enough feed for 90 days. They are then taught how to care for the hens and gather eggs. The eggs supplement their diet and some should be sold for funds to replenish the hens and feed. Each of these families has completed a self-reliance course of Starting and Growing My Business. Paulo, one of our SR stories, was the facilitator of the SR group and is also a participant with his own project. He also built the chicken coops for the 10 families.
Most of the chicken coops are established on the roofs of the members homes. There is room there and it is more secure. The photos below reflect the two families that we visited and filmed.
|Elder Rueckert climbing up to the roof of the home to help in the filming|
|Up on the roof of Brother and Sister Domingos preparing for the filming|
|The eggs that they have collected recently. The small eggs were the first and he is saving them to remember the beginning of the egg collection.|
|Filming from outside the coop|
|Some filming is more complicated, standing on the blocks on the roof of the neighbor|
|Looking down at one of the neighbors, not all families can afford to put a sturdy roof on, but they can put on a tarp with rocks to make sure that rain doesn't come in.|
|Sister Rueckert inside the house, guarding the film equipment|
|Brother and Sister Domingos, in their bedroom/living room. They have been members for four years and were sealed in the temple after their first year as members. Their sealing certificate is on the wall of their home.|
|Brother and Sister Domingos sharing their eggs with their neighbor (being filmed)|
|Watching the "drone" land. Aerial photos were taken of some of the activity on the roof.|
|Silvia feeding the chickens|
|Silvia with her grandson in the chicken coop collecting eggs|
|Filming from the side of her coop|
|Filming Silvina with her personal comments about the project|
|Silvia cooking one of the eggs that they have collected|
|Silvia with two grandchildren, teaching them about paying tithing on their income|
|Two grandchildren played a large role in the filming|
|Selling eggs to our visiting PSD manager from West Africa|
|More security work while filming with the stake president counselor|
Tuesday - Another Emmanuel and Kayla
|Emmanuel playing his guitar and singing for us|
|Emmanuel and his new bride, Kayla|
What a joy it was for us to see the gospel at work and to be edified by this wonderful family. We also love Elder and Sister Lunt and the spirit that they bring into these homes. They had requested to make personal visits with PEF participants rather than just making phone calls. This is one of the cases that has truly paid off.
|Sister Rueckert with E/S Lunt and Emmanuel and Kayla|
After enjoying a nice lunch with Elder and Sister Lunt we spent the afternoon with our manager Mendonça and two of his children. We went together to "Cidade Velha", the old original city of Cape Verde. There is where the first city was established in 1462 and was a stopping spot for Vasco da Gama in 1497 on his way to India and Christopher Columbus who stopped her in 1498 on his third trip to the Americas. It also became an important port for the slave trade to Brazil and the Caribbean. It's role in the slave trade made it the second richest city in the Portuguese realm.
We were able to visit the original fort (now reconstructed) and some of the ruins of the cathedral in the city.
|In front of the old fort on the hill|
|Panoramic photo of the inside of the fort. The round building is for the ammunition storage for the cannons|
|Panoramic Photo of the view from the fort. Cidade Velha and the coast line below|
|Looking down at the city below the fort, including the ruins of the first cathedral built in West Africa (in 1556)|
|Overlooking the coast and the city from the fort|
|Mendonça and his two older children in the fort|
|Sister Rueckert guarding the cannon|
|Sister Rueckert in the ruins of the old cathedral below|
|The old Pillory, sculpted of white marble in 1512. It was the place where the slave law was executed and disobedient slaves were whipped. See the fort on the mountain above.|
On Wednesday we were back on the film crew. We started out with some additional follow-up with Paulo, whom we had filmed the previous week. We wanted him with Elder Carnell, showing the designing of the chicken coops, on one of the job sites where he is doing finish carpentry work in some upper class homes and finally walking near the light house with his son, Rubens.
|Paulo and Elder Carnell, reviewing plans for the chicken coops|
|Working in a really nice home in Praia|
|Paulo and Rubens at the top of the light house. Although he has lived his entire life in Praia, the was their first time to go to the top of the light house. They loved it and so did we.|
|Filming outside of the top of the lighthouse of Paulo and Rubens|
|Elder and Sister Rueckert in front of the light house|
|Filming Fredson at his office|
|Filming Fredson outdoors with a different shirt. This was part of my contribution. I may not be in the films, but some of my shirts, my money (tithing shots) and even my ID (purchase at the pharmacy) are part of my contributions.|
|Filming Fredson and is family in the hotel|
Thursday - President Teixeira and Saying Goodbye
Thursday morning we finished up the filming with an interview with President Teixeira, the stake president of Praia. His stake has been super successful in helping their members become more self-reliant. He bears a strong testimony of the impact of the Self-Reliance initiative on the members of his stake. He is also an entrepreneur that has several businesses growing in Praia. He has hired many members of the Church, including Fredson. His thoughts were put onto a film that will feature his role as a stake president. He is a wonderful man that is blessing the lives of so many in Cape Verde.
|Preparing for the interview and filming with President Teixeira|
|More Security and more Mandalas|
|Less than half of the exercise bikes in the gym|
One morning, I walked out to the light house after our workout session. It was beautiful!
|The light house with the morning sun|
|A bit windy by the light house|
|Some of the beautiful views along the way|
Our last morning in Cape Verde we skipped the gym and walked in a different direction along the coast. The feeling was so peaceful as we listened to the waves beating against the rocks. We knew that we would miss this paradise.
|Selfie along the coast|
|The morning sun with my sweetheart along the coast|
|Elder and Sister Lunt in their fluorescent exercise shirts|
Although we spent a lot of time around the existing poverty, we also saw some of the improving conditions, which gave us great hope for the future of Cape Verde
|Some of the higher scale homes near the coast|
In the end it was with sadness that we left Cape Verde. We have visited here four times on our mission and do not expect to return before our mission finishes. We have learned to love the good people here and the beauty that comes with the isles of the Sea. Our testimonies have grown and certainly our appreciation for our blessings. Even more we are thankful for the examples of faith that we have seen amongst the individuals that we have grown to love.
We were also able to have a lunch with the Institute coordinators for Cape Verde along with the Area 70 and Area Institute Director. We were able to discuss how we can work together to bless the lives of the members in Cape Verde. We also attended a fireside for all institute and seminary students that evening before we went to the airport. Our return flight left at 2 am, connecting in Lisbon with a quick trip through the slow passport line to make our connection to Frankfurt. We finally arrived home at a little after noon.
This gave us time to shower, eat lunch and still spend a few hours in the office. We spent most of our time getting updated with our missionary couple in Sweden. That night we went to a special German dinner with our German class. It was held inside a castle in Badenburg, Germany, just 45 minutes away. It was quite an experience that we fully enjoyed. It helped us know that we had returned to our home in Germany.
|Outside the Castle|
|With our bone ribs in a bucket|
|Our German class with their partners. Our teacher, Rika, is on the right with her 10 year old daughter., Josefine.|
|A large basin for us to throw our bones in. It would have been fuller, but most of us took ribs home to finish.|