Sunday, February 27, 2011


On Tuesday I was in the shower when the water started sputtering. It began to come out slightly muddy, and then after a minute it stopped coming out at all. A slight annoyance, but it happens often enough that I wasn’t too surprised. The water never came back on that day though which was strange, usually it comes back on within a few hours. It never came back on and I found out that the whole mission was having problems. Ronnie apparently has some background in construction and plumbing, and he was running all over the mission trying to figure out what had happened and fix it (because of course there are no blueprints or anything, so nobody knows where or how anything is connected). We are lucky he is here because if he wasn’t, who knows how long it would have taken to get everything fixed (remember when I didn’t have a toilet for a couple months?). He eventually got it all fixed…almost. My room is in the same building as Ronnie’s and another room, but apparently on a separate water circuit, because when the water returned for those two rooms it didn’t return for me. Apparently my room is on the circuit with the guest hosts behind our building. So when the rest of the mission regained its water, I got only hot water in my shower (my sink only has one knob and it’s for cold water, so no water there). Scalding hot water. To take a bath that day I had to fill a large basin with hot water, and then wait two hours until it was cool enough to use to bathe. And it is just a bizarre irony to complain about having only hot running water in a country where few people have running water, and nobody has hot water. While Ronnie was investigating the water situation he saw many aspects of the mission he hadn’t before, and he expressed to me his concern about how low the quality of workmanship was at the mission. In general in this country, things aren’t built to last and the materials are poor quality. It makes me nervous watching men build classrooms out of unbaked cement blocks that I myself can break—what is going to happen in 10 years when they simply disintegrate?
At English club last week we were explaining how I am from the U.S.A. and Ronnie is from Canada, and they are neighboring countries. One student asked who a famous person from Canada was and I immediately replied “Justin Bieber!” and all the students said “ahh! Justin Bieber!” I think Ronnie must have died a little inside.
A few weeks ago two white South African guys started chatting up Ann at the gas station. They must have been particularly enamored with her because apparently they showed up at Erin’s house the next day (we weren’t there) to see if we were interested in joining them for coffee. Apparently it really is that easy to find out where the white person lives.
One girl from the orphanage watching me embroider asked me how I would get it back to the States, and I told her by mail. “What is the mail?” she asked. Turns out the mail system is a fairly strange and difficult concept to explain to someone. She was completely mystified by the fact that every single house in America has its own number and address.

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