Sometimes I wonder why everything takes so much time. But then I remember convenience stores, and I know why I feel like I can’t get much done in a day, even though I’m working hard.
Here’s how our first Sunday in our new home looked:
Wake up at 5:20 to J climbing into our bed. He squirms instead of calmly cuddling so Mike gets up with him and begins the day. I decide to get up too because I have a hard time sleeping if I can hear them. I try to decide what to have for breakfast…we’ve had different incarnations of eggs for the last three days…because even though I knew we needed it, at the last minute I forgot to buy oatmeal. So it will be another 2 weeks before we get to the bigger town to buy oatmeal. And I never bought baking powder because we didn’t make it to the store that sold baking powder before we left…so no pancakes. And we are all a little tired of rice for breakfast.
I vow that I will be much more prepared next time we come up here.
Then I remember the couscous that I still had miraculously stashed in our stuff from a care package. Couscous on to cook. Raisins, powdered milk, and honey unburied from the mound of un-packed but still un-arranged stuff. Glad I at least have that. Water on to boil for coffee and for drinking water. I’m happy to have my gas burner again (kerosene is a lot more time consuming), even though it is still stacked on top of two totes.
Eat breakfast with the boys while perched on stacks of wood in our living room.
Get ready for church. I can’t find my black shirt to go with my skirt so I decide its time to take our clothes out of our suitcases and stack them in the armoir (we don’t have enough hangars to hang them)…spend about an hour doing that, while getting distracted, and dealing with the cranky boys.
Michael is told by the family living next door that they want to have a short church service and that we should come and read to them. So he sits and thinks about what he will say.
The boys are still cranky and now Michael and I are too.
In come four neighbor girls to hang out. I feel like screaming for the first time since we arrive. I invite them to sit on the porch. Then I run in to get something for Ju….they follow me in again. I remember something I need from the kitchen…they follow me in there. I decide its to much for me so I tell them we are heading to church and that I need to lock up. I lock up. We sit in the house for awhile. I feel better. We decide its time to head over for “church.” We walk in and sit on the cement floor and wonder what we should do since the majority of the audience doesn’t speak the national language. Our friend tells us to start sharing. So Michael shares.
Really good stuff.
He finishes and then the kids all play with my wash machine box that I had brought over the day before because I noticed most of the people were sleeping right on the cold cement floor.
I decide its time to go start lunch. I clean the fish. I’m still not that great at cleaning fish so their eyeballs end up all ripped out…sorry fair reader. And their skin all jagged. But they look decent after frying them in coconut oil. At the same time a neighbor girl and I cut up carrots and potatoes for a soup. I walk around distractedly trying to remember where I stashed the bouillon, where the noodles are, what I was walking over to the fridge for…Finally the fish are fried, the soup is mostly made, and the rice is on to cook in the rice cooker so we make the fresh salsa like thing. We chop up the garlic, shallots, peppers and tomatoes and squeeze in a little lime juice. We set out a stack of plates and spoons. We pour the water that I’d boiled earlier into a pitcher. And then we call everyone to come eat. I forget how many people eat…we’ve had something like 10 every day. I wish I knew how to invite the family that looks very malnourished. But I’m reliant on others since they don’t speak the national language, and others aren’t inviting. Maybe they aren’t sure if we can feed everyone. We probably can’t.
I ask one of the neighbor girls to wash the dishes. But she can’t get any water from the newly hooked up sink. Its not the sink’s fault…without a water pump we are susceptible to water pressure. The sink is a steepish climb for the water so we lose it if the pressure isn’t great. So the neighbor girl hauls water inside from the faucet outside…at least its not all the way from the river.
Michael starts the laundry. We’ve been washing laundry by hand for the last couple of days, and it is a real work out. But Michael just got the wash machine set up so he decides to try it. I think most times I forget that wash machines need three things: electricity, water, and a drain. We ran an extension cord from one of the two outlets in the kitchen to the wash machine. Electricity, check. We ran a hose from the faucet outside, through the open window, to the wash machine to get water. I just have to run outside to turn it off and on. Water, check. We tried to run the drain out the same window, no dice, water doesn’t run uphill. Then we let the water drain into a bucket. Drain, check-ish. We will still have to play with it. I’d love a faucet inside that just gives water at the flip of a handle. I’d love to run the drain hose into a hole in the floor and then never think of it again. But at least I can wash my clothes, sort of. Michael finishes the laundry, and we hang it out together.
I tell everyone that the kids are going to rest so thankfully they get the hint and all evaporate. Michael and the boys nap. The power goes out so they sweat through their nap. I start a project of tidying something or other up. Maybe it was organizing something. Finally I decide to sit and chill and read. Michael wakes up. And wakes G up. They decide to take the car to the river to wash it. They can’t wake Jude up so I sit in the peace and write. It’s lovely.
They come back from the river. J wakes up. They are all hungry. I re-heat the bean soup from yesterday. G doesn’t want it. It is super duper salty, oops. So I mix it with the leftover couscous…then G REALLY REALLY doesn’t want it. I feed J a little bit.
A guy stops by. Michael is bathing so I talk with him for awhile. Then I get the coffee ready. They talk. I entertain the boys and the people out on the porch. J falls asleep on the couch. Then the guy leaves. So we go in. I decide I’m not hungry. G and Michael eat. It’s 8 pm.
We put G to bed. G wakes J so I lay with them while Michael finishes the dishes. I almost zonk with the boys so, I bathe, and talk slurrily to Mike, and then lay down in my own bed and fall mostly right asleep.
Wake up at 11, J is crying. Wake up again some other time. Sleep.
Then Monday starts. And Monday is market. Monday is processing vegetables and fish from market. Monday is a myriad of other tasks.