Sunday, March 29, 2015

March Madness in Montenegro 2015!

The end of February, we were able to drive down to the coast to Ulcinj for the closing ceremonies for the mini clinic that LDS Charities provided for the Day Care Center.  We were able to have a pleasant day and a very yummy lunch with the Director and staff worker (translator) Arslan.

A few days later, we were finally able to finish a project in Niksic.  It involved providing the software for equipment for hearing impaired children that had already been furnished by LDS Charities.  The software and training was purchased from a company in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

This is our Montenegro "Tetons" by Kolasin.

Early in March we were able to visit a "village" in the mountains with the Red Cross.  What a trip!  The roads were only fit for a 4-wheeler, but we were in a jeep-type vehicle with six other people.  If you look closely, you can see the main road up the mountain.  We visited some very poor, elderly people who live in very, very humble circumstances.  Our lives have been changed forever because of this experience.

The Voli "grocery store" where we do most of our shopping.  Even though it isn't very big, it is on our "shopping street" and very convenient.  It's about two blocks from our apartment.  It looks like a grocery store from home, but wait until you go inside.  The good thing is - foods that were once very unfamiliar are starting to become very ordinary  items.  Interesting thing - every food store has a security guard to keep shoplifters in check.

Our Pekara (Bakery) isn't far from the Voli.  There are lots of yummy pastries in the front counter.  On the left side is pizza.  The delicious breads are on the shelves behind the clerk. Of course, nothing is in a bag.  Everything is just open on the shelf.  Our favorites breads are Razoni and Pagatca, with our favorite pasty being Visjom (cherry).

The butcher shop is four doors from the bakery.  Its' a very busy place, especially on Saturday mornings.  The counters above show lots of cold cut meats, with hams hanging in the back that have been there since before Christmas.  On the other end of the market are all the fresh meats like poulty, beef, lamb, goat, pork and lots of other eatable unmentionables.

The "little" green market where we buy fresh fruits and veggies is just a few doors away.  The front just opens up and everything is on display.  You can see watermellon, cabbage, raddishes, lettuce, onions, mushrooms, and other things we can't identify.  The "big" green markets we shop at are at are located at a couple of malls.

The Elders on the spiral stairway at the Church.  Every Sunday we have to climb these to get to the chapel for Sunday services.  Top to bottom:  Elder Bennet, Elder Poore, Elder Pantelakis, Elder Fisher.

On a warm, sunny afternoon, we spent a partial "P Day" with the Elders.  We took them to the Doklea  Ruins where Elder Nielen dedicated the country of Montenegro to missionary work in 2010.

Same day, same ruin with just the "Old People". Notice the "lawn mowers" in the background.

During March, we were able to make another trip to the coast to the city of Herceg Novi for a possible project.  Herceg Novi is on the north side of the Gulf of Kotor, which is a very big Gulf and takes hours to drive the winding road.  The alternative is a short ferry ride of about 15 minutes and 4.5 euros.  We were very fortunate and were the last car to board the ferry, which was great because we were running late.  The reason we were late is because of a huge traffic jam thirty minutes out of Podgorica.  There was a two kilmeter backup going both directions.  We never did find out the cause.  It took the police twenty minutes to arrive, then they did nothing.  We "freewheeled" between the railroad tracks and the train station to finally get on our way.  What a mess!

On March 28, we were able to travel to Niksic to make a payment for this loom which LDS Charities had provided for the Paraplegic Association.  It was interesting to see all the parts that were carried in and carefully put together.  It was fun to see the excitement of the twenty members who were anxiously waiting for the assembly and training.