Thursday, December 17, 2015
Frustration, the Name of the Game
Monday & Tuesday, December 14-15, 2015
I am glad to know that Vanuatu is in a drought right now. It was hard to tell today with the downpour all night and most of the day and flooded streets. Now to be fair, I should say that the other side of Efate really is quite dry-looking and while on Lelepa saw that it was even worse. Tanna, where they are so worried about the drought, is quite green and Jim said it rained a bit every day that they were there last time. But I heard great news from our resort owner—he said that this was a widespread rain, so much so that almost every island got a decent rain, the first in many months! This is such good news.
We dropped Jim and Mathias off at the airport this morning to go back to Tanna so that they could finish the water catchment there. We heard later that the ship that delivers the goods didn’t show up—it decided to go elsewhere first. They had no timber at all and Jim said it was a ‘journal entry day’ (not good). By Tuesday they had some of the lumber and could get a little work done. Life in these countries can be very frustrating sometimes.
Jim showing the Pikininies how to whistle using a blade of wide grass--on Tanna.
Crazy ‘chief’ working on project on Efate.
Jim and the men enjoying a giggle while setting posts in concrete for the rain catchment on Efate.
So instead Sister Leben and I are running errands. She has a list of things to do every day, but then it never goes according to plan, so we change our plan, and we get half done what we wanted to do. This afternoon she picked up 3 of her 6 children who came to spend the holidays with them. Tuesday we will still be working, but on Wednesday they will go to Santo Island. Late that afternoon the men will come back, and Brother Leben will pick up the truck at the airport and then they’ll be home again. It is working out just fine.
For the Leben children they rented this lovely home just up the road about 100 feet. It is really nice and is on the water just like Leben’s place is.
I am happy to be in a place where it is not overly crowded to drive downtown. We can always find a parking place no matter the number of people, probably because many just walk there. You can always tell when the cruise ships are in the bay because there are lots of foreigners (foreign to this place) dressed like tourists off the boat, walking around the streets and going into all the shops and eating establishments. This is very good for the recovering economy since the cyclone.
Tuesday: Just to show you a typical day—
The Plan: 1.We were to leave just before 9 AM to attend the WASH cluster, where all the NGO’s get together to discuss what everyone is doing for recovery to coordinate efforts. 2. Then we were to do one home assessment to see what damage has been done to see if they need any repairs or a re-build. 3. We would drop off the check to the building materials company, which she had signed and had in hand with the right amount, so as to pay the bill; then they could deliver the materials that are needed for the rain catchment. 4. We would come back to her place to answer the bullet points report for Hans in Auckland, the Area Welfare Manager. 5. And then she could join her children for the later afternoon and do something fun with them, me included.
Reality: 1.We were passing by the building materials place so why not drop off the check on our way to the cluster meeting. The girl said we ought to check to make sure they had everything on the list. This took a long time. They had everything except one thing. This meant that Sister Leben needed to change the amount on the check. Her husband, who is on Tanna, has the credit card, which could have been used, but he is gone. 2. So we had to go back to the house and get another check and then she had to get two signatures. Then we went back to the place but it was wrong again because the girl figured 3 boxes of nails when we had only ordered one. To save repeating this scenario, we had her add the two boxes of nails so that the check would be right! They are to deliver it on Wednesday—we’ll see. 3. It is now lunchtime and we missed the WASH cluster long ago and the house assessment we had planned. 4. Then we went to a couple of places to buy the missing rain catchment pieces. It was lunchtime and these places were closed till 1:30. 5. She ran a personal errand, we had a snack in town, and then came back to her place to get our work done there. 6. But we called the man whose area the timber and tank were supposed to be delivered to, but they hadn’t arrived as promised. So then we had to visit the two places to make sure that they were going to deliver what we paid for already. 7. We were finally back after 4 PM to do the computer work, which we did till dinnertime. 8. Sister Leben finally got to be with her children but they didn’t have any time left to have fun together. She dropped me off at 6 PM.
“The impossible we will do right away; for the miracle we’ll have to wait a little bit longer…”
Tomorrow is a free day for me and I’m not going anywhere. What to do? I made a list and now wonder how I’ll get it all done!
Onward and upward…