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Published: August 17th 2008
Everyone’s getting ready to get the heck out of dodge. Today, all we had on the schedule was to take the bunk bed parts to Dondo, assemble them, and spend the rest of the day cleaning, packing, and preparing to go.
Our vehicles were all gone, either in the shop or in use by other Care for Life people. All we had was a small covered pickup. So we had to pack the beds tightly in the truck to take them out to Dondo. The truck was way beyond bottomed out. And we strapped a bunch of mattresses to the roof. The security guard who was helping us load laughed and said that we had learned how to be Mozambicans with our overloaded vehicle.
So there were a couple loads of stuff and people out to the orphanage before I made it out there. That was fine with me—by the time I got there, four of the six beds were assembled. And once we were all there, sanding and helping hold parts as they got assembled and so forth, things went pretty darn fast. The beds were far and away the nicest thing in the orphanage, so it
was nice to get that done.
We had also brought a sewing machine and sewing table out to the orphanage with us. They had to be put together, and that took some time. While a couple guys were doing that, I played some with kids and watched them eat. It was something to see—all eating their corn meal mush and boiled vegetables with their right hands, mostly on the floor because there were only two or three chairs in the room. After they were done, a dog wandered in and cleaned up the floor where they’d been sitting.
Before we left for the orphanage this morning, I’d been in the bathroom doing my business, and realized that the toilet wasn’t going to flush. Uh-oh, that was not good for anyone. Turns out that the ancient flapper wasn’t working quite right, and so there was no water in the tank. I opened the tank, fiddled with it, and got it sealed so that the tank could fill. But the water pressure here is so low that it takes like 15 minutes for the tank to fill. So I’m standing in there waiting for it to fill and I hear
everyone out at the car, ready to go. The tank was only half-full, so I flushed it. Whoops, there wasn’t enough water to make the offending items disappear, and now the tank’s empty too. I hear them: “Where did Brad go? BRAD!” So I look around, and salvation!—a pitcher by the sink. I filled the pitcher with the sink water (that water comes from the big tank on the roof and so the pressure is much better) and got everything cleared up within a couple minutes. Whew! Being in Mozambique teaches you to be grateful for small things, that’s for sure. Like a well-placed cheap plastic pitcher.
Out at the orphanage we also fixed the swing set as best we could. I swear everything is so buggered up here that you can’t just fix anything. It seems like every project you undertake here is like getting a smashed-up car from the scrap yard and then trying to fix it with whatever you’ve got in your garage. You just want to throw up your hands. Anyway, so there’s this swing set out there made out of big logs and chain, except the chain is rusted and cruddy, one of the
tire swings is broken through, and one of the chains is also broken. The chains are assembled with nuts and bolts that are rusted shut. So basically there’s two cut-up tire parts hanging from one chain each. Not ideal. We bought some nuts and bolts and figured we could fix it up. But it was harder than we anticipated. The chain was the wrong size, and the bolts were the wrong size. We got things more or less figured out, and at least one swing is functional now with two chains. The kids seemed pretty stoked to get on the newly stable swing.
On the way back, we all crammed in the truck. Since Tucker and I are dudes, we got to sit in the back, which is not comfy to say the least. The guy driving was a Care for Life employee, and at least he had the good sense to drive fast. Another small thing to be grateful for here in Mozambique.
Ryan was supposed to leave today, but he got bumped off his flight. Apparently the plane didn’t show up yesterday (!), so all the people from that flight got the seats for the flight
today. Sure hope that doesn’t happen to us. If we make all our connections on the way home, it’ll be a dang miracle.
When we got home, we scutted out the place. It was unbelievably disgusting—more so than any college or missionary apartment I’ve ever lived in, and that’s saying something. Everything extra we gave to the cleaning lady. She was pumped. She also brought her kid so that I could take their picture together. Later this afternoon I was just sitting out on the front porch and a Care for Life employee drove up in the Care for Life truck with his wife. I guess he’d just picked her up from work or something. I took their photos, and then when I told them I’d go inside and print them, they were amazed. When I brought the pictures out I got the standard reaction: “Sheeeeeeeee!” and utter amazement. Another security guard and his wife were there too, and I took their picture and gave it to them with similar results. It’s a blast to give people pictures. They get so happy and are so surprised. It’s like watching the kids on Christmas morning.
Tonight we ate at
the home of a local church member named Marta. She is about the kindest person ever. She has several children who she has adopted. Adoption is exceedingly rare here. She fixed us a dinner of shima and fish, and it was wonderful!
We’re out of here tomorrow, and I am looking forward to being home like never before on any of my other trips.
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