Saturday, February 21, 2015

24 Hours (A Day in My Life)

This was not an exciting day.  But I chose to write about it because it represents a fairly ordinary day of my life here.  

Friday, February 20th

6:15  Wake up.

6:30  Wake kids up.  Make peanut butter toast and kefir smoothies.  Begin making lunch for kids.  They come to the kitchen and beg to buy lunch from the snack bar today, and I relent.  So instead of making sandwiches, I hunt down exact change for three snack bar hamburgers.  Cut up apples for snacks.  As I'm working in the kitchen, I holler out reminders:  Grace, did you fill the water bottles?  Lily, did you find your library book?  Josiah, do you have your shoes on?  

7:15  Everyone piles in the car.  Drop off kids at school.  Gil and I head to the Reach Tanzania center, where he is finishing his class on Worldview this week.  Drop off Gil.  I take the car back home.  

7:45  Eat my breakfast.  Pile dishes in the sink for my house helper.  Strain kefir.  Get on computer and finish up some projects that need to be taken to the printer today.

8:45  Head to HOPAC to help in Grace's class.  I love this; I get my teacher fix and get to know the kids in her class.  Today it's all about using descriptive words.  

10:00  Off to the main task of the day:  Find a printer who will make business cards.  There's a big company in town I've used for printing before, but I really don't want to drive that far today.  I know there's lots of little places that advertise business cards, so I decide to give one a shot.

I drive to a place not far from our house and find a little print shop.  It is approximately the same size as most American's closets.  The shelves on the walls are crammed with paper, folders, and other office supplies.  There's barely room to move, but I see a computer and a couple of large printers that look as if they are in working condition.

I ask a few questions.  Yes, they print business cards.  How do you cut them?  She pulls out a contraption that looks like a business-card hole punch.  All righty then.  Let's do this.

I choose the paper I want.  She sits me down at the computer; I pull up my file.  I click print; I can hear the printer whirring and.......the power goes off.  

I sigh.  She laughs and shrugs her shoulders.  What to do?  We exchange phone numbers and I ask her to call me when the power comes back on.

10:30  I start off on my other errand of the day:  Find powdered sugar.  Yesterday, I had made a cake for Gil's students, and a batch of cupcakes for Lily's kindergarten aide's birthday.  Then I realized I was out of powdered sugar for frosting.

So I head out to look for the sugar.  First shop:  No luck.  She points me to another shop.  Do you have powdered sugar?  I ask in Swahili.  Yes, he says, but it's ngumu.  Hard.  I take it anyway. 

11:00  I get home and discover the power is out at home as well.  So I fuss around at home.  Read my Bible; do some chores, answer some emails, eat some lunch.  I fret about the fact that nothing I had planned is getting done today.

12:00  I really need to make the frosting now so that I can deliver the cakes on time.  But the shopkeeper wasn't kidding when he said the sugar was ngumu.  I'm not going to be able to mix this up by hand, and the power is still not on.

I ask our gardener to turn on the generator so that I can use my electric mixer.  Even then, it's like trying to turn chalk into frosting.  I pound away at it.  By the time I'm done, the kitchen and myself are covered with powdered sugar, and it still has lumps in it.  But it will have to do.  

The lumpy frosting gets stuck in the decorator, making the cupcakes look like they are covered with piles of.....yeah.  Oh well.  At least kindergarteners only care about sprinkles.  

1:00  I head over to the ministry center and deliver the cake.  I head back over to HOPAC to deliver the cupcakes and help Lily's teacher with the party, since Friday afternoons, cake, and kindergarteners are not really a calm, quiet combination.  

2:20  School is over.  I visit the library; I visit the office.  I know that Gil will be getting home soon and will be exhausted, so I decide to let the kids play at school for a while.  

4:00  We head home.  I stop at my favorite fruit stand.  I buy 5 pounds of onions, 2 pineapples, 5 mangoes, 1 papaya, 6 apples, and a large bunch of bananas for about 10 dollars.  

The power is still off at home.  Gil is lying on the floor, trying to get cool.  I help Grace with some homework.  I start dinner by blanching 5 pounds of tomatoes to get the skins off.  I turn half into tomato soup for dinner, and the other half into spaghetti sauce for another day.  The power finally comes back on at 5:00.

6:00  Dinner, baths, kids to bed, and Gil and I watch The 100 Foot Journey.  

Saturday morning (now):  My task for the day?  Get business cards printed.  Hopefully today will be more successful than yesterday.  Except the power just went out.  Literally.  Just right now.  

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