Dennis and Dionne Newton

Dennis and Dionne Newton
Dennis & Dionne Newton

Monday, November 7, 2016

Word of the day... Zauzet!

So as we continue to work on language we recently purchased a large dry erase board and have it in our kitchen (which is also my office). Denny felt impressed that we should have a "word of the day" put on the board to help us learn a few words each week, so I'm going to try to include a few in this post.  Yesterday we had an interesting culmination to a very zauzet (busy) couple of weeks. We went to church in our little branch and upon our arrival home it was apparent someone had been in our apartment while we were gone. As we walked into our somewhat cold apartment several windows and a door to the balcony were open. We knew we hadn't left them open. It didn't appear that anything was missing so we weren't sure what was going on. We have three apartments in our building, the top apartment is empty, we live in the middle and below us are two brothers who act as managers for the owners. Shortly after we got home, one of the guys from downstairs came up with our Carbon Monoxide detector in his hand. Between our poor Bosanksi and his limited English and a little help from Google Translate, we determined that the detector had been going off. Since he knew we weren't home (because we didn't turn it off) he came into the apartment, took the detector from our bedroom and opened windows to air things out. He assured us that the detector was broken so we had no need to worry. About an hour later the second detector located in the living room started beeping. That had us a bit concerned, but we decided to wait a bit before taking action. We put the carbon monoxide detector outside on the balcony and it stopped beeping. We waited about thirty minutes then brought it back into the house and put it near the bathroom that contains the gas water heating system. Within 20 minutes it started beeping again. That had us concerned! I tried to call the gas company, but no one spoke English of course. So I called our (well he does work for the church anyway) super cool attorney and asked him if he could call the gas company and ask them to come and check things out. Within about 15 minutes we had a house full of people. The neighbor from downstairs came up, our attorney was here and the gas company had two people walking through the apartment with all kinds of gadgets. It seriously looked like a scene from Ghostbusters! I didn't get a picture with both of them in action, but this will give you an idea of what the scene looked like.
How many Bosnians does it take to schedule a vent cleaning?
Who ya gonna call?.... Gasbusters!
Initially, they kept saying "no danger" but then the tone changed. They have some kind of gadget that measures output of toxins that they used near the hot water heater. I'm not sure exactly what the units were, but the acceptable level after 15 minutes of testing is 2.1. After less than 10 minutes, our level was over 200. So they immediately shut off the gas and told us to open windows. But still, they insisted there was no danger as long as we "left the gas off and left the windows open all night." Mind you that's how the apartment is heated, not to mention is wasn't quite freezing outside but close. Another word on our "Word of the Day Board"...LUD (Crazy)! Needless to say, we opted to stay at a hotel for the night. Between the neighbor and our attorney, the water heater was serviced and the ventilation system cleaned before 10am this morning. So that's my excuse for this post being late. We are very grateful that someone in the mission department has insisted on all missionary apartments having carbon monoxide detectors. We are also very grateful that we were watched over and protected because.... we have much work to do still!

Lud zauzet! Crazy busy the past couple of weeks. We are nearing the end of the budget year and are trying to spend the remaining budget wisely. As part of our work here, we meet with potential partners to determine if they are a good fit for our humanitarian work. All these meetings took us on quite a road trip. First, we drove about 3 1/2 hours to Banja Luka. While there we met with the head of therapy for the rehabilitation hospital to discuss a project they are currently working on that they would like LDS Charities to collaborate on, the head of their finance department to discuss options for importing wheelchairs into Bosnia and then a speech therapist to discuss technology use in speech therapy. Following the three meetings at the rehab facility, we had a wonderful, relaxing lunch with Elder and Sister Bradford, the Senior Couple currently serving in Banja Luka. It was uplifting to talk to another woman in a similar situation. Neither of us really have the opportunity to chat with other women in our current situations so it was a nice opportunity. The Bradfords lived in Ashburn, VA prior to their mission so they know alot of our friends from the area, even though they lived there about 5 years after we left. It really is a small world. That evening we meet with the chairperson for an organization that is trying to raise awareness and accessibility for individuals with disabilities. She is quite a remarkable lady and we admire her efforts, which are much needed in this country.

Professor Miroslav Vrankic in Rijeka
We stayed the night in Banja Luka, then set out on the four hour drive (plus an hour at the border crossing) to the coast of Croatia to the seaside town of Rijeka. We had lunch with another Senior Couple serving there. The Grahovacs are from Croatia and have lived in Germany as well. Our seafood lunch was delicious and they took us for the most amazing ice cream after! We discussed a potential project, with church member assistance, for the homeless in the area. After lunch we met with a professor at the university who had recently presented on technology use for therapy and education for individuals with disabilities. It was fascinating to see all the advanced technology available to help those with disabilities to be part of the world around them through assisted communication devices. She is controlling the "mouse" on the tablet using her eyes. Eye gaze technology is a break through for individuals who are unable to communicate in traditional ways. (you might have to click the arrow twice to get it to play)

The next morning we got up early so we could cross the boarder back into Bosnia before our 11:00am conference call with our supervisors in Frankfurt because the data card in our iPad only works in Bosnia. Our plan was to take the call while we were on our 6 hour drive to Tuzla. Even the best of plans sometimes fail. It looked like we would make it over the board with about 45 minutes to spare, but when we hit the boarder it was backed up and at a complete standstill. We waited in line for about 30 minutes and then decided we had no chance of getting across the boarder in time for our call. We jumped out of line, went back to a shopping center we had seen on our way in, parked, ran into the mall and found a little cafe that had wifi. We logged into the call at 11:01am! Whew! We finished our call and immediately headed back to the border crossing. We got across in less than 30 minutes and arrived in Tuzla for district meeting about 3:00pm. We had been asked to switch cars with the missionaries in Tuzla because we have been exceeding the recommended miles (by more than double) so after our meeting two of the missionaries and I headed out to switch our things. As I
approached the car, there was a weird box attached to my front tire. Yep, I got the boot! We weren't aware we had parked in a pay lot so we hadn't paid. Ooops! Fortunately, a nice man took pity on the clueless American and called the booters who arrived within 15 minutes to remove the boot. I was worried it was going to be a huge fine but it ended up being the equivalent of about $8. Lucky me! We got things switched around and Denny and I headed the 2 1/2 hours home.  We have decided Europeans must like hard beds...but we don't! We were happy to sleep in our own bed.

I had the pleasure of teaching two riding lessons at Riders of Hope on Saturday and remembered why I love what I do so much. I feel blessed to be able to spend time at Riders of Hope while I am here in Sarajevo. It helps keep me sane!
Our road trip... Rijeka is way off the map to the northwest.
We submitted three projects for approval this week and are working on a few more before the end of the year. Yes, we are working here, except for a little side trip to Verona, Italy for a huge horse expo this weekend... Did I mention I was excited about this trip?! Thanks to President Grant who requested special permission for us to go and thanks to our new friends at Riders of Hope who invited us to join them. Stay tuned for more adventures of the lud zauzet Newtons next week!

1 comment:

  1. What an adventure! Love reading about it. Scary stuff with carbon monoxide detector. Prayers seem to be working. 😇 Great picture of both you and Denny. Enjoy your trip to Verona. Love you and miss you.