Thursday, September 27, 2012

Waterloo well check day 1

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What a fix I am in this week.  If I were ‘stuck’ at the Country Lodge it would be considered not only a nice break but a vacation.  I would work out in the gym and swim in the pool, come back to my room and enjoy a warm shower; get ready leisurely and work on my computer, take a nap, watch TV, do genealogy, etc.  However, I am not at the hotel, I am stuck here at the house at least through Friday. 

Yesterday they went to Waterloo, meeting Jonathan and Amarachi so that Amarachi could check out the hygiene training mess and so that Jonathan can fix the other mess--the wells.  These are all rehabs.  Thus, there was no room in the truck for me because I am the only one that really does not need to be there.  I am not altogether unhappy about this.  Yesterday they were gone for 11 hours!  Sister Burns said that if she had to do this every day she’d be so beat up she’d never last her mission. I know the feeling. It is so hot and dirty and no bathroom, not fun!  And this is the truck that has almost no air conditioning so you can’t cool off.  I added verses to my song in her honor (see below).

There is a wall around this well, which became a dip well when the technicians removed all the pump parts.  Instead of repairing the well they said that the community did not bring sand and stone for the repair so they took the parts away.  The community was organized enough though to build a wall.  We might help these people anyway.

Amarachi laughed when Jim said he wanted to see 60 working wells, so what did they do on that first day?  They took them to 15 wells, 5 of which were Living Water well rehabs!  I guess somehow they thought this counted!

The two animals on the left are what they call grass cutters.  It is the finest, sweetest, most tender meat you'll  ever eat.  No, it does not taste like chicken.  It takes like the very best cut of beef.  The animal on the right?  I have no idea but it looks like a cross between something from the cat family and a monkey.

Finally, a good well, repaired nicely, one of ours.

When they reached Waterloo, Amarachi, who always says it like it is, had verbal altercations with one of the site monitors and the guy Turay hired to look over the job.  We asked that he not be involved because he has proven to be quite lazy, but Turay hired him anyway.  When Turay realized the job was not going well he fired two technicians and kept the one who did better work and asked him to go and repair all the bad concrete work.  Fixing the concrete is good, but if the technicians did not dig the wells deeper or if they did not replace the old cylinders, putting a pretty apron around the pump will not do anyone any good.  It was not this technician’s fault, nevertheless, that is why Jim brought Jonathan along so that he could go back and dig a well deeper or replace pump parts as needed.  Turay is no where to be found, each day telling us how his political campaign is keeping him from being here.  This may be true, but I also suspect he doesn’t want to feel the ‘wrath of Jim’.

Jim had asked to see 60 wells that had been fixed.  Amarachi laughed because 5 of those yesterday were wells Living Water fixed!  Were they counting those as wells we had agreed to do?  So, I told Jim that they really only took him to 10 wells, because those were wells we had fixed!  There is such a mess down there and it was so frustrating to Amarachi.  I discovered that the hygiene reports had been doctored.  When I alerted Amarachi she went to investigate and fired the head guy.  Amarachi lives in Kenema, 5-6 hours away from Freetown so she hired a team in Freetown to do the hygiene training.  She found out that the team, instead of reporting the problems, just faked their documents.  She found that villages were mad if no one came to fix their well or if they just put a bandage on it and knew it was not fixed properly; therefore they would not even let some hygiene teams in some of their villages.  Sometimes they trained in villages and no one came to fix that well.  This is going to be a mess to straighten out—which ones did we agree to fix, which ones did we fix, and which ones did we sort of fix! 

So, what am I doing here at the house?  Yesterday the power was off all day so the generator was on, the steady drone keeping me company.  We were running out of fuel, so when they got back they paid our young adult guard named Santos to go get some.  He has to do this by walking—this is no easy walk out of here so I can’t imagine hauling the fuel back by hand.  One of our fears was running out of fuel, so I was more than grateful yesterday that we didn’t.  This morning the city power was on most of the day.  Santos, the young adult guard, has some kind of light he looks at to see when the city power goes off so he knows when to start the generator and when to turn it off again.  He even does this in the middle of the night.  So, one of my worries has been put at bay.

Last night when they got home (we ate dinner about 8:00 PM) Elder Burns said that he checked our water levels again.  They were down by half from yesterday.  That means we have about one day of water left.  In talking to the landlord he said that the reason they turned off the water was because of some repairs the city was doing (not that someone hadn’t paid their bill so they cut the line), and that they would be worked on today and it would be turned on again.  [They didn’t do it yet.]  Why do I not believe this will happen?  Because we’re in Africa, and they could not do this repair for 6 months and it wouldn’t surprise me.  I jokingly (or maybe not so much) told Elder Burns that if we had no water I’d be jumping ship and going back to the Country Lodge!  We can have it delivered because that is what our preventative maintenance group does for all the missionaries—they deliver water in this big truck.  Elder Randall said he would get us some of these large buckets filled to bring back here and we can then take bucket showers—he doesn’t know that’s all I’ve done since being here?  Eventually they will send a real water truck to fill our tank but they are hard to come by on a moment’s notice.
Our guard Santos said he is working to get the pipe fixed.  We’ll see.

What I did yesterday: washed our clothes, fixed the dinner, made the lunches for the others, swept and mopped [I was sorry that those splotches were embedded in the tiles and mopping didn’t make them go away—they tend to paint, stain, then clean up the mess later], emptied baskets, did dishes, filled clean water bottles (took all day to do only 5), stripped the blue film off the front door, computer stuff, tried to fix Sister Burns’s computers (found the problem, but can’t fix it myself), e-mailed, took a 15 minute nap, set the table, & served the dinner.  That was yesterday when I had lots to do.  Today I couldn’t do their wash because of the water problem, but I cooked two dinners, and washed dishes. I was trying to save water by not washing dishes but found that was impossible.  There aren’t enough dishes, pots, pans, and bowls, to make more than one meal.  So instead I was trying to save water by not showering for two days.   I hate to think that the dishes are cleaner than I am. 

More lyrics in honor of Sister Burns:

This travelin’ makes you dirty;
This travelin’ makes you sweat;
One of these days I’m gonna get
A real warm shower yet!

I’m seriously waiting to be published…

I wish you could have seen the sunset last night but Jim had my camera—the reddest sky I’ve ever seen—spectacular!

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

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