Today is a good day to blog about, mostly because I haven’t blogged in a while, and I don't anything else to write about. It's as good a glimpse as any into life here, mostly because this kind of thing happens all the time. Usually I work harder to keep tasks like todays’ separate because I know they just will not go well. Today, well, maybe the heat is affecting my ability to think rationally…. Anyway, here was my day:
5:55am Already 80 degrees. Got out of bed, climbed out from under the mosquito net and sprayed myself with bug spray, grabbed a flashlight and my computer and headed out to the gazebo where it isn’t really any cooler but there is a breeze. 6am Monday mornings (10 pm Sunday night for them) I get to skype with the family. I got the update on how everyone is doing and the latest gossip. Best part of my day.
6:45 The sun is up and the temp is already climbing.
7:00 Attempted a run but got 10 minutes into it and felt too dehydrated to continue. Went home and drank a liter of water instead.
7:15 Broke a sweat doing the dishes.
8:00 Connected with the CLIDE staff with phone numbers and directions as they head out of Soroti for a spiritual retreat in Jinga that we were able to arrange for them. (CLIDE is the organization that I will be working with in Karamoja.)
8:50 Headed over to SACAB (Soroti Association for the Blind- don’t try to figure out the acronym). Angelina is the wonderful older lady who translates for me when I need help. She is blind and lives at SACAB. Back in October it was brought to my attention that their septic system was in desperate need of attention. When my dad and brothers were here they did a bit of work there and we managed a temporary fix and at that time I tried and tried to arrange for a septic truck to come but it was a hopeless case. Anyway, I heard at the end of last week that there is one in Soroti right now and I’ve been trying to arrange with the local plumber to get them to come to SACAB. He called me Sunday morning and we agreed on Monday at 9 am.
9:50 Still waiting for the septic truck to arrive. But I've had a nice hour talking and catching up with Angelina, Francis, Magdalena and other blind folks that live around there. We called the plumber and he said maybe 10:30.
10:00 I need to talk with Betty’s headmaster (principle) so I told the folks at SACAB I would come back shortly and went the kilometer or two out of town to Harmony primary school. Our meeting was good. It was mostly to communicate to him that I want to be involved in Betty’s issues so he has permission to call me if there is trouble at school.
10:30 As I’m heading back to SACAB I see a pig being butchered. Because I prefer my meat fresh (and it doesn’t get much fresher than that) and I like to choose the parts I get, I hopped of my bike and asked if they were selling. They put a chair in the shade for me and hacked a couple of kilos off.
10:40 I can’t leave 4 kg of raw meat in the front basket of my bike in this heat without consequences so I quickly went home to deposit it in the fridge and then headed back to SACAB.
11:30 Still no septic truck. Another phone call says they are coming but will still be a half of an hour. Suspecting that means 1pm, I told the folks at SACAB I have a few more things to do but will return again. Then, deciding that I’m sick of going everywhere in this blazing sun on my bike, I ditch the bike for the car. I head over to Dorcus’ house to check on the building of her brick oven. Last Friday I (finally!!) connected with the builder. I brought him to her place, dropped off a load of bricks and the steel box that a welder made for the inside of the oven, brought him into town, picked up cement and other things he needed and brought it all back out there. He was supposed to pour the slab Friday and by today it would be dry and he could nearly finish in a day. I wanted to check and see how it was going.
11:45 I get to Dorcus’s place and discover the builder left Friday after I dropped him off and he hasn’t been back. No slab poured, nothing else done. His phone is off and I can’t reach him. The up side of this trip is that Dorothy, Dorcus’ HIV positive 5 year old sister, is looking slightly better and I was glad for the opportunity to check on her.
12:05 On to Pamba Primary school where Sarah is now a student. (Sarah is Lazaro’s physically handicapped older sister). I wanted to meet with her headmaster because Sarah told us she didn’t get a school uniform but when we registered her it was paid for. Well, the headmaster wasn’t around but I met with the deputy. He insisted that because my receipt didn’t say uniform that we had not paid for it so she had not been given one. It was too hot to argue with that logic so I just asked how I go about getting the girl a uniform.
12:30 I found a tailor in town who would make it without charging me a ridiculous price. I also get a call from Beckie asking if she could use the car to help some local women get water. (The city water has been off for a few days again now. The prices at the bore holes just keep going up. It is just too hot and dry to try to be surviving without water.) So because she was just outside of town and I was already in town I dropped the car off to her. I rode her bike back to our house, got something to drink and swapped back for my bike.
1:00pm. Back to SACAB. Still no septic truck. Surprise. Another call to them. Remind them they said they were coming at 9am. They said they were on their way.
1:15 Finally! They arrive, then open the tank and tell me it is “too full”. Well, duh. That is why I called you.
2:30 I headed into town, waited in line at the bank and biked back out to SACAB.
3:00. The truck is full again. But success! We can see the “water” flowing into the tank from the backed up pipes that run from the latrines. I debated in my head a little longer, then told them to make another trip. I feel like a job worth doing is worth doing right. I don’t know when, or even if, this truck is ever coming back to Soroti and now that they are finally here I want them to do it right. A total of 5 trips seems to have gotten the tank to a tolerable level. I called it good enough.
4:50 Home and into the shower. I would have liked a cold shower but our tank is black and I think the water coming out was around 80 degrees. But I’m not really complaining because at least I have a water storage tank and I didn’t have to stand in line at a bore hole and carry my water home on my head.
5:00 Betty is out of school and arrived here. She wants something to eat and needs mending on her school uniform. Fed her, listened to her day then sent her with a bike to get some of her family’s water from the bore hole (and the rest from our tank) and then locked the gate behind her and sat in the quiet sewing the seam back into her skirt. Then that 4 kg of pork- removed the skin and bone shards, sorted out “choice bits” for cat food, began rendering the fat and dicing up the rest to freeze.
6:30 Betty is back before dark to get her skirt and I haven’t even started cooking dinner. She helped me cut all of the remaining meat and she re-sorted for herself and brothers what I had deemed unworthy of human consumption and had set aside for the cats. She happily takes the bag of pork bits home to make her family's dinner.
7:00 What I wouldn’t give for a box of hamburger helper and hamburger. I don’t even like hamburger helper. I just like meals that take less than 45 minutes to prepare.
And that leads me to now. A don't really feel like a missionary today. But what does it really mean to be a missionary? I'm glad I was able to help out the blind. I'm (mostly) happy to be here when Betty gets home from school and needs someone to listen. I'm glad to be able to check in on Sarah, Dorcus, Dorothy and possibly communicate to them they are valuable. Tonight I'm content and I don't want to over think it.
A few more pictures because I'm a sucker for pictures:
A few more pictures because I'm a sucker for pictures: