I’m frustrated. Not at this very second, but wait just a second… It’s very possible, likely even, that during the time I am writing this post, our electricity will go out. Which means that even though there is an ‘auto save’ feature, I will lose some of what I am writing. Grrrrrr!!
Life in Niger is wonderful. Mostly. Usually. But there are those days. I am writing right now mainly to vent. I may not be of sound enough mind right now to actually be writing. In fact, it might be wise for me to not hit the ‘publish’ button on this post. Did I say I was frustrated? Why is it, when it’s 150 degrees outside, our power gets cut. A lot. And when the power is cut, the water goes out. I’m trying to give myself a bit of perspective here because I’m all about perspective. It’s not really 150 degrees, it’s only 115 or 120. Or so. It could be worse. I’ve noticed I said ‘our’ power gets cut. Like we’re the only ones around. It’s a conspiracy. But that’s not really true. Everyone else in the city is facing the same thing. No one really knows why. There are all sorts of theories floating around, and I have no idea which one is true. And frankly, it doesn’t really matter because no power is no power. No matter what the reason. Though it would be helpful if we could prepare for it. Mentally and otherwise. No power and no water means very little can get done. Not good when I have bed sheets and towels from our team of 10 to wash, dry and iron before our next house guests arrive tomorrow. Water can be stored but I haven’t yet figured out a way to harness electricity. I know it can be done, but not by me.
It’s hot season and this means that our house is hot. Physically, the walls are actually hot to touch. Inside and outside. My bedroom, where I am writing from, is the coolest room in the house and it’s 93 degrees in here at 5pm. The kitchen? I don’t even want to go there. But I will. This morning, at 6:30am, after the ‘coolness’ of the passing night, my kitchen was 94 degrees. I heated up a cinnamon roll (yes, homemade) for Tobi and slathered it with peanut butter (for protein of course), and gave it to him with some fresh mango. The boy said he was too hot to eat the cinnamon roll and could he just eat the mango! And these are some good cinnamon rolls! Well look at that, I see something to be thankful for. Mangoes. We are in mango season and can have fresh mangoes day and night.
In the midst of our power cuts, the water people decide that we don’t have the right size meter so they came to change it. How nice of them. They came, they worked, they left. That night, our guard notice that our water was gushing from ‘our’ side of the meter. So he turned the water off – right as I got into the shower. Of course I was showering by candlelight so I thought the water had just been cut because the power was out. By the way, lest you think that showering by candlelight sounds inviting, let me be clear. It’s not. At least not when it’s 100 degrees and the candle is adding to that heat. And even if you had water – which is typically what’s required for a shower to be effective – that water would be hot. It was a high point of frustration for me. But alas! We figured out that it was just Mohammed outside that had turned off our water to save us money. We turned the water back on and I had my hot shower. When the meter guys changed the meter, they broke a pipe, thus the gusher. We called them back the next day to fix it but they said it was broken on our side of the meter and was therefore our responsibility. Scouts honor, that’s what they told us. Neal spoke ‘persuasively’ and they finally said that they would have to come the next day. The next day someone came but said that they would have to talk to their supervisor to approve the repair. All this time, we have a mini geyser happening. That brings us to today. At this very minute, our water is off because we have hired a plumber to fix ‘our’ side of the meter. It was either that or wait until we have watered the entire neighborhood before we got any help from the water guys.
Monday night Neal & I, his Dad, and Don were on our merry way to the Bible School for Module II orientation. We could see the bridge in the distance and it was not a pretty sight. There is only 1 bridge that takes us from one side of the city to the other. (But not for long – a new bridge is being built -another thankful moment). When traffic is backed up on the 2 lane bridge, one may never know the reason for the go-slow. It could be anything from a broken down truck to a sick cow that refuses to move – and lots of reasons in between. We were late for orientation but finally made it through. Of course there was no electricity so we met with the students outside. By candlelight. There are 18 students ready to be discipled and what was ironic to me was that most of them came from villages where they never, ever have electricity. And they are happy. How’s that for perspective!?
This morning I left at 7 to take the kids to school and teach at the Bible School. The car wouldn’t start. Yet another reason to be thankful. We have a 2nd car!
Right now Tobi is next to me counting his massive collection of bottlecaps, Tanika is at an orphanage playing with children, Neal is teaching at the Bible school, Trae is probably in class at ORU and though you can be sure we’re all sweating (except for Trae), I am sure that God’s grace is sufficient. I may not always be gracious about it, but I know it to be true. And life, well, it’s good. Frustrations and all.