It’s not even 9 am here and we have been at the day since 6 am! Christian is putting in the forms and getting ready to put the gate up and they are starting on the guard-house. The bulls are plowing to plant corn, Raelee, oh I’m sorry, “Lightning” the superhero, is making plans on how to kill the Crack Eye Monster and his wife because they are eating all the hot plants at the dome house. Apparently the Crack Eye Monster makes a beeping noise, which is actually a bird that does get pretty annoying, but I don’t tell her that because I know that for at least a couple of hours she will be planning, setting traps, and digging for this monster and out of my hair and not suckering unsuspecting people at the well. Some days, she sits at the well with a water can and when someone comes, she asks for help in filling her bucket. When they are done she helps them, people here get so happy to be able to help the cute, curly hair mazungu. They leave, she dumps her bucket out and waits for the next person to do it all over again. I went to stop her one day, but I saw her interacting and the joy on people’s faces, that I let her be. I just believe there is a fine line between being a controlling ego-maniac who manipulates to get their way and a leader who directs people for good. I want her to use her powers for good and not self satisfaction!
I have just finished mopping for the first time today, probably the first of a few times if the rains come today. The past couple days it has rained in the night, so the floors haven’t been quite as bad. That red mud is very hard to get off the floors.
I went shopping yesterday with a friend. I wanted to get a couple of dresses, and we were looking for leggings. Shopping is an interesting experience. We went to a dress shop, and it went okay although she wanted to sell me two dresses for 15. each, when I know she sells them to Ugandans for 3. each. Some of the dresses were not used, but I can promise you they have sat in a warehouse somewhere for probably the past 20+ years and in the states I shopped at Goodwill, or good sales and I wouldn’t pay 15. for them! I eventually talked her down to about 9. each, so I was happy and she was happy. I have also been wanting a pair of sneakers, so maybe I can keep my feet clean once in a while, so as we were walking I saw some Converse All Star high tops. They were actually my size, a 4 in boys. Let me just say here – people buy whatever is available. It doesn’t matter if it is flourescent pink and you are a guy, or if you wear a size 6 and all they have is a 4, you will wear flip flops with half your foot hanging off them. Our wash lady came yesterday with her little boy and he had an a pink tee with glittering hearts and a white and yellow skirt. So, ok, back to my shoe story. I bought the purple high tops even though I was wanting black, purple is my favorite color and the right size was available. But I had said I was looking for black ones so the guy with the booth next to that one came at me with some black high tops – size 9! I said, no, too big. He said no, just perfect! No. He came back with 11’s. Jeesh, I said no, too big! He said they would work and he needed the money. So sorry, but I had to leave him with his big shoes!
Christian has had quite the job keeping these fellows working, and doing the job correctly. There is the language barrier, the understanding barrier and the ignorance barrier. And I don’t mean that in a mean way. I mean it in the literal meaning of people who have not been privileged with an education, or exposure to anything but village life. They have their own ways of doing things and just assume the mazungu is stupid. A few finally learned when they did a job their way when Christian left them with instructions – it fell apart and they did come back and do it right without pay. I think they probably think Christian is a rough boss, but understand he is fair, and they get paid a lot of money for the jobs that they do so he expects hard work. They get paid by the day/project so if it was up to some of them, they would rather stretch it out for twice as long. Understandable, but our organization isn’t made of money, so we have budgets. They don’t get that if we go over budget every project, we may not have money to work anyone. This conversation that follows kind of sums up some of the things we come up against – in everything – and makes it very hard to get a handle on what is needed for projects.
“Hey Bakali, we have the two bulls that we are thinking of selling. But what if I sell one, and buy a milk cow. She will need to have a calf once in a while to keep milking, so we will keep the one bull for her.”
“That would be very good sir. You would need the bull to have a calf.”
THE VERY NEXT DAY
Christian is looking at the bulls, they are sick with “sleeping sickness” and have weepy eyes. “Hey Bakali, those bulls look like they have been castrated”
“You know (and he makes a snipping motion with his hands) castrated”
“Oh yes sir they have been castrated”
“They can’t make babies”
“Oh no sir (he is laughing) they can’t make babies”
“Bakali, you told me that would be good to keep one of the bulls for our cow so that she could have calves, but if they are castrated they cannot do that”
Bakali is rolling laughing like Christian is an idiot “No sir, that wouldn’t work”
See? We go through that kind of thing daily! And it is funny sometimes, but not when dealing with budgeting a project and we only get half the story. It is all a learning experience and we pray daily for opportunities to witness, to teach, and have patience! We love it here, and we love the people so much and pray for better understanding of what goes on in their heads!