Let There Be Water

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Even before the local villagers finished digging the long trench from IRD’s compound to ours, we had water running out of a faucet on our site. A real faucet! That means we don’t need laborers to haul water from the well, and Tabitha can cook for the men without hauling water as well. You can imagine what a miracle that is. Today, the doors of the toilet and shower stalls are framed and the roof framework is in place.

Our program director, Manyok, and I went to IRD, the adjacent NGO site to get Maduk the carpenter/welder who has been (slowly) building our fence. Maduk will be welding the elevation structure for our 5000 liter water tank and the pedestrian and vehicle gates, and we needed him to let us know what additional materials are needed to complete the work.

It isn’t like you can walk down the street to Ace Hardware. The closest location is Bor: four or five hours by car because of the terrible road conditions, three days by footing if you are walking through flooded land, about a half hour by plane. Right now, though the heavy September flooding has receded, the last leg of the journey to Duk from Bor is still too wet for road travel. We are hoping one of the AIM flights coming to Duk this week can land and then return to Bor to pick up the necessary materials so they will be here when the crew needs them. The coordination of these mission flights is complicated as they must calculate weights, fuel loads, and as there are no lights on these landing fields, there is no flying after dark. AIM doesn’t work on the weekends, so it will be Monday before I will hear from them.

Too much sun for me today. When I returned to the clinic I was a bit dehydrated in spite of drinking water. One doesn’t have to pee much here because you lose the water sweating.

Six of our 11 girls stopped by to hang around. Since they don’t speak English, our relations are a little awkward. I brought a puzzle of Africa—each country on the continent is a separate piece, and the outline of the pieces shows on the puzzle when the pieces are out. This was the first puzzle they had ever seen, and it was interesting watching the girls try to fit round pegs in square holes, something US children are exposed to at young ages. I drew their attention to a couple of pieces, pointing out the angles and shapes and gesturing for them to find that on the puzzle.

After that we shared the universal language—food. I gave them each a banana encouraging them to eat them now, but they insisted on taking them home, probably to share with their families.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a rarity in the village. There are coconut trees all around and many growing on our site. I’m told the fruit begins to ripen in January and coconuts are available through March. Moses tells me that the British coconut trees were planted by the British. Other fruit trees will grow here, but there aren’t any in the village now. We will plant mango trees on our site with the seeds from the mangos I brought to share with our girls and the clinic staff.

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