Wednesday, December 14, 2011
It seems the short rains are over. A sure sign is the number of people who start making bricks because more rain will just wash all their work away. Just when I thought I had all our money stuff in good order, we lost the battery that starts the generator. It only worked perfectly for four years, so I guess we got a good deal. New ones are expensive, though. We needed to help several with school fees I hadn't counted on, and we needed some concrete repair in several places. When we got here seven years ago a bag of cement was $10, now it's $22. The price of sugar has tripled, the price of rice has doubled and the little store that carried much of what we used here in Bunda went under, so we have to drive to Musoma (a $50 trip) or to Mwanza (a $100 trip), but we are still getting by. I remember thirty years ago in Fayetteville thinking that if we just had $500 more a month everything would work out. So when we got that extra $500 turned out we needed another $500 on top of that. I think most of you can identify with that and we brought it with us to Africa. Except that here we are tied to Social Security and retirement and they don't send us increases. The real culprit is me for not allowing extra money for emergencies and giving away more money than we should each month, but it is so hard to say no. We have been paying $350 a year for Edina's daughter, Paulina, to finish her college prep in Mwanza and she has finished that and came by to thank us. The smile on her face was all the thanks we needed. She is starting a diploma course in nursing in another week. Two years of that and then she wants to become a doctor. We have been disappointed by some we have helped, but that girl is something else. If she was a public stock, I would buy shares in her. We will continue to help her as best we can. Her mother, Edina, helped with the first building we erected here by carrying water to keep the cement wet. She worked harder than most of the men. Since the place had been a furrowed potato field, she came to me one day and asked if I would pay her to smooth out all the land for $15. I didn't think she could, but I agreed. She did it in three days and I paid her $40. She was the first one I offered a full time job here and she has been with us ever since. When groups come, she augments her pay by washing clothes for the group. A devout Christian, she only asks for time off to attend special church services. She is 56 years old and has successfully raised four children. Her husband died the first year she worked for us in 2005. She is one special lady and has done all the landscaping for the grounds. She is in the video that John did of the Mission Grounds on our website. I have posted a picture of her at right. You can see her joy.