Wednesday, October 8, 2014

24 Hours

Monday, 6:00 pm:  Literally minutes from putting dinner on the table, I turn on the faucet and nothing comes out.  I run to another faucet; still nothing.  I go out the back door and check our tanks.  Nothing.  No water.  Not a drop.

Gil and I examine the situation.  We figure out why the city water has not been coming in and fix the problem.  Water starts coming into the tanks, but it needs to be pumped into the house.  Unfortunately, since the pump had been running with no water, now there is air in the pipes.  Thus, still no water in the house.

We eat dinner.  I grab a couple of our (filtered) water bottles and run them over our sweaty kids' feet before they go to bed.  That will have to do.  The toilets fill up and we can't flush them.  Ugh.

I put the dirty dishes on the floor and allow our Jack Russell to clean them for me.  Hopefully that will keep the cockroaches away from the dishes.

7:30 pm:  Our small group comes over. One of the electrical phases in our house goes out, which means that 1/3 of our outlets/power sources don't work.  I have never understood how this works, but I just go with it.  I take an assessment of the various lights/fans/outlets that are not working, get out the 25 foot extension cord, and use it to plug the fridge into an outlet that actually is working.  We go on with our small group.

10:00 pm:  I use two more water bottles to attempt to wash myself.  One electrical phase is still out, but thankfully not the one for our room air conditioner.  We'll be able to sleep.

Tuesday, 6:00 am:  I wake up;  I wake the kids up.  They complain that the toilets aren't flushing.  Josiah refuses to use the toilet and I ask him what he would like me to do about it.  We use drinking water to wash hands and faces.

Make breakfast; make lunches.  I take the kids to school at 7.

8:30 am:  I call Everest.  Everest is the best electrician/plumber/painter/fix-it guy in the ENTIRE WORLD.  We would be lost without him.  I ask him to come and get the air out of our pipes so that we can have water again.

9:00 am:  I have cancelled my Swahili lesson for today.  Instead, my midwife friend, Lyndi, and I are going to visit Esta.  Esta has worked for me for 7 years, but now she is on bedrest in her 5th month of pregnancy.  The doctor had barely told her anything except to go on bedrest, so Lyndi agreed to go with me to check out the situation.

Esta had gone to a government hospital, but all the doctor's notes were in English, which she can't read.  Lyndi looked over the paperwork; she examined Esta, and determined that she is fine, the baby is healthy, but she just needs to take things easy.  That was happy news.

But the best part was when Lyndi brought out her little machine that allowed all of us to hear the baby's heartbeat.  Esta cried.  I cried.  She had never heard her baby's heartbeat before, even though this is her third child.  Lyndi explained that often the nurses will even turn the ultrasound screen away from the mamas, so they can't see.  In a culture where knowledge is power, the patient isn't told much.

10:30 am:  I am back at home, and Everest has arrived.  Unfortunately, while I was gone, all of the power went off.  He can't fix the water problem without electricity.  He tried to get our generator going, but found a problem with it.  Now we have no water and no power.  Thankfully, now the outside tank has enough water in it that we can draw some out with a bucket.  We lug in enough water for my house helper to wash the dishes and clean the floors.

I take Everest to the hardware store to start hunting down the part for the generator.

12:00 pm:  I meet Aishi for lunch, one of our former students.  She tells me about how college changed her and her dreams for Tanzania. It made my day.  I love her.

2:30 pm:  I bring the kids home from school.  Still no water, still no power.  Everest was not able to find the part for the generator.  But he shows Gil how to get the air out of the pipes once the power comes back on.

4:00 pm:  Power comes back on!  Well, most of it.  We're still out a phase, but who's complaining?  Gil manages to get the water flowing back in our pipes.  Well, except that the pressure pump is connected to the phase that is out.  He climbs up the ladder to that pump and rearranges the electrical sockets, and finally, we have water!

6:00 pm:  Gil feeds the kids dinner; I go out to pick up a baby-sitter.  When I get back, power is off again.  It's getting dark now, so we start to set up the baby-sitter with candles and head lamps.  But wonder of wonders, right before we leave, the power comes back, and this time, all the phases are on.

Gil and I leave for dinner to celebrate our 14th anniversary.

Thankful for this guy who has spent 10 out of 14 years with me in Africa doing this crazy life.  Here's to the next adventure of the day!
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