Keeping busy! October 19, 2011

Gonna try and eek out a post… With my left thumb. Whew! What a trip. Three days of hard work and a lot of waiting. So. Started liming on Sunday. Worked through the day and got two rooms and all my hallways done. Then I ran out of lime! So I spent Monday waiting on my ingenious transportation plan to get me another bag… Well… Yea. It was supposed to arrive early Monday morning with the returning agriculture agent, who was also making a trip in for work… Woot for piggy-backing and avoiding hitching sixty km each way a with a 25 kg sack of lime on the way back.

Well, so much for the best laid plans. My courier got a flat and remained in Mansa, I spent the day making shelves to hang out of tall grass and rope… Put together fLrom empty sacks.

Tuesday I finished the first coat of lime on the walls and burned three holes through my index, ring finger and palm… Worthless gloves discarded, I bathed and hit the sack. Wed. I started bright and early. I donned my new surgical gloves, yay forearm length gloves!, and mixed the second coat of lime whitewash. Well equipped I set to work and got a second coat on the house. Unbeknownst to me, my right surgical glove had a small puncture! Lime and salt water was pooling along my wrist. Stopped at my palm by the gloves, it sat and ate holes through my wrist, about four inches of the skin all around with minor chemical burns, and three big burns on the inside of my wrist, two longer burns on the side, and a lot of healing to do. After expressing my anger and pain upon peeling back my glove, I can assure you I’m very thankful my neighbors know limited english. On the flip side…Definitely worth it.

My house is now the proud owner of a luminescent white interior. Aside from being wickedly fashionable, light reflection and diffusion in the rooms are around ten to fifteen fold. Instead of the dark burned orange brick and charcoal mortar soaking up light and gloomifying, every nook and cranny is now a reflective white, uplifting and beautiful!

Not to mention lime has that wonderful disinfectant quality. It also acts as a sealant, and judging by what it did to my hand and arm, probably acts as a latent pesticide. Plus! Now, I can clearly see all the creepy crawlies in my house! … Wait a minute… What is that? Oh man, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea! Just kidding… But… no really… The bugs here are enormous!!!

With the house painted I’ve just got to break out my trusty chunk of flour sack, scrub the floors clean, then break out my handy… Clean… Chunk of sack and apply some cobra wax to help seal and protect my newly cleaned cement floors.

Then it’s off to the furniture store for some shelves and chairs… Oh… Well… Off to the river for some sturdy thick reeds! Free furniture! Who’d a thunk, a little elbow grease and I’ll be settled in by next week.

Whew, you’d think with liming my house, cooking, heating bathing water, hand washing my clothes, doing construction of some basic in-home necessities, biking and hauling water, then treating that water and scavenging for who’s selling veggies and where, I’d be pretty hard-pressed for time right? Ha. You wouldn’t be wrong. But with visiting my catchment, assisting in immunizations, remember those seventy odd kids, meeting headmen and important community members, and socializing, observing, taking notes, and then on Tuesday and today observing and recording observations on a unicef sanitation training- taught by my host the EHT, I feel my community entry is progressing quite quickly…

Oh, I almost forgot studying bemba so I can understand what’s going on, and constantly translating everything… Giving my intellect one hell of a workout. I also introduced myself to the area development commitee. That was a very informative meeting. Then there’s sweet bed time in my mosquito-netted cave… Although that’s a good looking, much brighter cave as of today.

I’m reminded that my counter – part is pushing hard these first weeks, because after rainy season starts nothing but growing and rain happen.

I’ve got to say, I’m loving it, and I’m definitely enjoying the chorus of alien and familiar bugs, frogs, birds, and… Well…. Other things that sing me to sleep each night, and wake me up around five. There’s a crazy quiet hour, about fifty three minutes exactly… Yes I timed it… When there is total silence and stillness in the air… It’s a little disconcerting. It starts at two thirty seven and nature’s music starts back up again at three thirty. It was about thirty minutes earlier in Kabeleka… It remindes me of the glory, beauty and plan of nature… Ordered chaos?

Well, better hit the hay… Thankfully not literally. Have a big day tomorrow!






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