Whew! What a rush! I’ve got a lot to share from the last four days. My chemical burns are healing nicely and should be gone mid next week. I’m feeling good but still dropping weight. Tomorrow, the twenty fourth, is Zambian independence day, so Tuesday I’ll head to the clinic and take a peek at the scale. I’m feeling better and my flexibility is increasing, so I’m not too worried about it. –

On Friday my host headed to Mansa, so I got straight to work on my house. I finished the last bit of plastic on my roof and plugged the two small leaks I identified during the last big rain. Then came the hard part…I swept, mopped, and scrubbed my floors clean of lime and debris. Then I broke out my trusty can of polish and hand polished my floors. Painful knee-breaking work, but it sealed, protected, shined, and waterproofed my cement. Now the polish I bought was red and the first coat tinted my floor the same color. I’m eager to add a second coat to even it all out and get a real shine going. After polishing, I set to work makin’ this house my home. I broke out my linemans pliers, number nine wire, boxes of goodies from home, nails and set to it. From the leftover bamboo from my thatch roofing, I built the first in a series of long hanging shelves and got my books out and organized. Then, using the lashing as a multi-purpose tool I hung my bulky sweaters and jacket from the lashings to take advantage of the vertical space. I then hung my red cross shirt on my wall, a gorgeous picture of the west fork in Colorado to remind me of home and beautiful green forests, a gift from Franz and Renate Rosenberger, and odds and ends across my walls. My sitting room half completed I pushed across into the hall and then the kitchen. Using the cardboard boxes from home as material I cut and shaped shelves for my bedroom and kitchen, then getting creative I used twine and toothpicks to make use of the other scraps, wasting nothing.

Shelves made and attached by nail to my masonry, I set about populating this new found space with the incalcuable amount of stuff I brought with me… Really it’s quite incalcuable, three backpacks and a duffel full of health and training materials. Shelves stuffed full of everything from garlic and salt to electronics and sewing kits, I returned to the kitchen. I’d hung three long lines in my kitchen area, two width-wise and one length-wise about a foot out from the wall. Getting handy with my pliers I made S hooks out of the wire leftovers, then used synthetic twine, those darn usefull meali meal sack threads woven into twine, to tie stoppers into the wire so I could properly space everything. Insatiable in my desire to have everything off the floor, i used my twine to tie cow hitch’s onto my bottles and kitchen ware so that I could hang them all as well. With my pots, pans, utensils, bottles, spices, buckets, and braisers safely elevated, I gobbled some treats from Mansa – tuna and canned veggies.

After feasting I washed the cans, and cut the veggies can in half, returned to my handy pliers and put together four candle holders. I had to re-attach the lid to the veggies can, then bend in the but edges to make sure I didn’t cut myself trying to lite my candle. On a roll, I broke out my now empty polish canister, washed it, then tossed it on the braiser to make sure any flammable chemicals burned off and made another two candle holders. A couple nails and some strategic placement later, I have light to see in every room and enough in my bedroom and sitting room to read. After my kitchen and sitting room were complete – I furnished my sitting room with more junk, and a motivation wall of letters and notes from home, to keep me positive. I headed into my bedroom again. Working with wire, I put in a two-tiered clothes line, and a hanging pulley rope system for storage. Way cool!!

I finished sorting through my bags – woo yea! -The first time I’d unpacked since I’d packed in Prescott… What a feeling of settling and relief. My whole mood lightened and my day became brighter. My bedroom finished for the moment I moved to my storage room. I’d put up another series of lines-these three all parallel, all of which was done before painting, because I’d punched through the walls, secured the wire to the outside using a bamboo cross or nail, depending on how much weight I thought it’d be holding. Then I patched the walls with mortar and painted. I brought in sixteen bricks and laid the foundation outline for my indoor bathing shelter, see next post for why this was necessary, three thick bricks long by two and a half wide, at three levels. Then, I organized and hung my tools, spare and bulk goods, grains and canned foods, backpacks, camping gear etc etc. Now just a bag of charcoal, cement, lime and a box of candles remain…On the floor yes – sadly – but organized and ordered. Major settling in complete, I found myself cooking pasta and listening to music and the soft sound of rain on my grass roof on a Sunday evening so excited for what tomorrow will bring.