I may or may not be dreading the arrival of fall. I may or may not be loathing the mere thought of cold weather. And I may or may not be acting completely irrational about this since it is only August and fall doesn't happen around here til like... December. I may or may not be deciding to lament the passing of sandal-wearing, beach-going opportunites rather than being mature and writing about day three of our African adventures. So I guess it boils (how divine) down to this: I may or may not be mature. I'll let you decide.
But in case you haven't noticed, all the stores are putting up autumn displays. Scarfs, closed-toed flats, boots, and sweaters are back. Weren't they just here? Must they barge their way back into my wardrobe? Surely summer isn't winding down. Surely. Tell me it isn't so! And, horror of horrors, I even saw halloween candy. It was tragic. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. My cold-natured-self cain't take it. I may or not be still writing about this. I may or may not be a broken record when it comes to passionately explaining my love of warm weather and my contempt of frigid temperatures. Yes, it does drop to frigid temperatures in these parts! Don't you scoff at me!
You know, maybe I will discuss day three. Because, as I remember it, on day three in the small village of Buloba, Uganda, it was blessedly warm with a balmy, gentle breeze coming from... well I don't know where it came from. But it did and it was delightful. Twas completely wonderful weather at the equator. Ah. A climate that knows no cold. I shall talk about such things.
In the land that knows no cold, you see things like this:
Did you spy the pineapple in the photo above???
Green, green, green...
...and more green!
So many glorious greens!
Oh green, how I love thee. How indicative thou are of vitality and zest! Thy presence indicates sunshine and pleasant temperatures.
Green, oh you wonderful hue, you.
Okay, I'm done. But if you don't believe my love of green (i.e. warm weather) is, uh, normal... well, just look at this: these guys are so happy about the abundance of green that they are jumping for joy! And what, pray tell, is more normal than two boys base-jumping off cliffs the size of anthills? Nothing, I'm sure of it.
"I have heard it is cold in America. What is cold?"
Those are sweet potatoes, my friends.
They grow here because everything grows here.
I was there.
Oh, you knew that? Just wanted to make sure you were properly jealous.
Remember the cliff-hanger(s)? No, no. Not the boys jumping off the cliff, but the cliff-hanger(s) from my last post? The one that made you bite your nails, pace the floor, and sit on the edge of your seat in suspenseful anticipation? Well the time has come for me to put your anxiety to rest, to calm your nerves, cast aside your impatience... Or something to that effect.
Our first water-harvester installation went something like this:
We arrived at the home of this dear lady.
Where I took a picture of her beautiful smile..
...and then took a picture of her expression after telling her she
had a beautiful smile.
While I chatted with her (via translation, thanks to David), the menfolk got to work on the rain-catch installation.
A vital step to installing the rain-catch (or rather, water harvester) is getting a wooden board to stand up on its own. Here is Jonathan demonstrating this crucial step:
The next step looks like this:
Oh. Uhhhh... So it seems that I neglected to take any more pictures of this house's rain-catch/water-harvester installation. David began to tell me about building techniques and brick-making techniques. Which, of course, were fascinating and totally side-tracked my water-harvester installation documentation plans.
These bricks were made from the red dirt that is so plentiful in Uganda, and stacked using a sand mortar. These bricks and mortar will not last very long due to the lack of cement in the mix... But cement is expensive, so most homes are built with the sand-mortar/ red-dirt-bricks technique. As you can probably surmise then, when it rains... the walls slowly disintegrate. And Uganda has some pretty extreme rainy seasons (we were there during a dry season).
The stuff you see covering the brick on the side of this house is more of the sand mortar mix (on the right), attempting to slow the dissolving of the walls of the house. The covering on the left is a mud mixture, actually a much more lasting building solution (more on that later).
Essentially, I bombarded David with a myriad of questions about why things looked they way they did and why this was built like this and why are there holes in the wall that look like bullet holes?? And he patiently answered every question and generously shared his wealth of knowledge with me (on numerous occasions throughout the trip!). Rest assured I will be passing along this bounty of information at a later date! Oh, and also rest assured that the holes were not caused by bullets.... termites are the ones guilty of defacing the wall of this home!)
One more thing, did you notice the lizards in the last photo? Now then. Imagine them in our guesthouse. Then imagine them on the ceiling and walls in the living room/ dining room of our guesthouse. Then imagine them in the bathroom of our guesthouse. In our shower. Next imagine my reaction to these semi-translucent creatures hanging out with us/ me. In order to not be in a continual stage of minor freak-out mode, I repeated this mantra to myself: They eat malaria-carrying mosquitos. They eat malaria-carrying mosquitos... Repeat.
After my first lesson in Ugandan construction ended, I turned around to find this little gal:
And then I found this little man.
Who then found his new buddy, Davis. Notice the matching clothing. Cute. Little Man wasn't so sure about this fist-thing...
But he caught on quickly!
Then it was Little Man's turn to show Davis a thing or two.
Little man was soon joined by more of his siblings. Who all, of course, had a blast playing with Davis. I wish I could have bottled up the sound of their giggling and shrieking for you guys to hear as you look at these pictures. Imagine it, okay? Okay?!
By the time I turned around from the impromptu classroom followed by Davis-led recreation time to see how the work was progressing on the house, the men were nearly finished!
Jonathan waiting to place the barrel after a quick test to see if the water-harvester will indeed harvest water...
Pastor Isaac waiting... Will it work?
Yes! It does work! Good job men!
And that, my friends, was a successful water-harvester installation. (Even if you and I didn't quite witness the whole process from start to finish!) I did manage to document it later on... So never fear! I will be sharing that later.
As for the last cliff-hanger... the one about the sacrificial gift that we were given? Any guesses as to what the generous, wonderful, incredible, sweet, amazing, and lovely sacrificial gift was? It was this:
I'm not really kidding about gold here, folks. This sweet lady picked every ear of corn she had. She steamed it for nine Americans and the members of Buloba Church who were doing the work (I'll explain why that is, later). She gave of her best. And she gave all of it.
Her kids watched us eat. We all knew it was a pretty substantial chunk of their weekly food that their mom had graciously bestowed upon our unworthy selves.
Wanna guess how humbling it was to eat that corn?
These last three pictures are from Jennifer's camera. I am using them without permission (her photos are still on my hard drive). Jennifer? Thank you! As you can see in the photo below, I do not have my camera on me, which means someone else (ahem, Davis) was off somewhere else snapping photos. So, thank you Jennifer for your documentation of that sweet and tasty gift we were given!
After our snack, we all, and I do mean we all, piled into the bed of a tiny, and I do mean tiny, pickup and headed down the red-dirt road to the next house on our water-harvester installation schedule. Before the day was over, we would eat a few more tasty treats. Any guesses as to what they might have been? Here is a hint: one began with a "g" instead of a "p" and the other ended with "fruit". I know, crazy. This day also included the aforementioned "Great Machete Incident". Stayed tuned. You do not want to miss out.
over and out from your favorite,
eater of gold
side-tracked water-harvester installer