Wednesday, March 14, 2012

African hiccups...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dear Family & Friends,

Speaking of hiccups…  Last night Jim thought his cough was due to the weather conditions this time of year in West Africa.  They are called the Sahara winds, which leaves the sky full of dust, smudging the otherwise clear view from our hotel, atop a hill.  He thought his headache that wouldn’t go away was due to jetlag, and normally he has headaches, not a few. He had a very restless night and then realized that he was sick.  I am still coughing sometimes from the lingering flu/cold I had for the two weeks before we left.  He had to leave today anyway armed with a pill to mask his discomfort so he could finish looking at the refurbished wells in Waterloo.   As it turned out, Turay was sick too, and felt worse than Jim did.
Today you could either say I was stuck again, or I escaped a hot, bumpy journey.  They told us last night that we could have a room (they weren’t kicking us out tonight after all), but that we had to change rooms and go one floor below.  We liked this room despite the double bed, which made us have to readjust our king size sleeping habits—but the mattress was comfortable, the pillows fluffy, and the shower was exceptional.  Even though these rooms all basically look alike, they are never really the same because, well, it is Africa.  These things cannot always be explained.  At any rate, I had to stay back so that they could get the other room clean for us so I could pack our bags and supervise the transfer (not that we don’t trust anybody).

The dozen wells Jim saw today he was pleased with.  Not only was the concrete work good, but some had fences.

But then another hiccup--around noon is when I discovered that they didn’t have a room for us after all and I had to leave.  I didn’t have a phone.  I didn’t know Jim’s number, and I was not sure what to do with myself.  I finally decided that the hotel did have some LDS phone number and they did—it was Sahr’s.  I had him call Jim, and Jim tried to get them to do something but nothing could be done.  They were kind enough to let me stay in the room but with my bags packed I had nothing I could do.  Jim had purchased a can of Coke and some chips.  That was my lunch—didn’t very feel good.  Luckily Jim showed up just after 4 PM, showered, and we finished packing and departed.  We were to have dinner with the Randall’s and they were kind enough to tell us we could stay in the apartment next to theirs.  So we had dinner and then we settled in for the night.  Tomorrow we leave for Kenema anyway.

It is late now and I find the pillows hard and the three inch foam mattress on a hard box spring a little uncomfortable.  I tried taking a shower and it came out like a spit, so I took a spit shower, not daring to wash my hair. 

Turay said that next week is typically the hottest week of the entire year.  Ghana is hotter than them all, and yet I didn’t think it was as hot as it usually is.  Maybe I’m getting used to it.  And in Freetown at the weather is always cooler.  Kenema will be very hot.

While visiting with Randall’s we caught up on the Schlehuber’s and I felt terribly sorry for them.  The entire house had to be rewired because it was not enough to take care of the daily electricity usage.  That means they have been living almost exclusively without air conditioning (how do they breathe at night), hot water (cold showers), washing clothes by hand, and using dirty water from their water tank on their roof that is open at the top and the birds use it.  How can I complain when these people are really having such a terrible time of it! [We visited them on the way to Kenema today (Wednesday) and they seemed surprisingly okay.] 

We love the people we work with.  Jim learned that Turay’s wife Dorien is expecting their third child.  They are very happy and have of late been feeling especially blessed. 

                                                                     Another good well, with a block fence.

Jim took this picture, which is really not allowed so I’m not sure how he got away with it.  This is a ‘female secret society’ place…rite of passage.  There are also huts for the young men. 

Love, mom & dad, Jim & Karen, E/S Greding

No comments:

Post a Comment