Friday, March 10, 2017

“You might be a redneck if you use a radiator hose to fix your kitchen sink.” — Jeff Foxworthy

         Repairs and replacements are just a part of daily life here in the East African bush, but we wish they weren’t.   Hate spending money just to get back to the status quo but what can you do?  The dogs dig holes under the fence when the cheap concrete we have to buy crumbles, so the dogs can get out to chase small animals then they come back, but we have to repair the holes and replace the concrete.  Water pipes spring leaks, wires corrode, commodes back up, and anything wooden can fall victim to termites.  So far, we’ve done a good job (I say "we" when I mean John and Shaban and Karen) of keeping up with everything.  Karen has a book full of things that need repairing and replacing as well as a bunch of  “it’d be nice if” stuff to make life easier for us and to make our mission more efficient.  My problem is twofold.  First, there is the cost of all this when we are running the mission (schools and projects) right at the edge of our finances, so repairs that have to be made come first.  Secondly, there is my greatest failing—it’s called inertia.  You know about inertia.  It means that a body at rest tends to stay at rest until some force causes it to be put in motion.  Mostly, I am that body at rest, and Karen and John are the force that puts me in motion.  Even if they do get me in motion, there is the cost factor—so often there just isn’t money to do some of the things that would make our life here so much easier, like a new Pawleys Island hammock for me.  
                All of this is building up to our (again all I did was arrange for the financing) replacing the old, leaking, and rusting kitchen sink.  Since I never wash dishes (one of those things I have hated since having to do it as a child), I’m not on top of how badly the sink needed repair.  I knew it kept leaking and Shaban kept fixing it with band-aids, but I really never knew just how bad it had become.  However, once my body at rest gets in motion (well, it does take naps) it’s hard to stop it.  One problem is that Tanzanians don’t like to complain, so Rachel never said a word about how much harder she was having to work because of that stupid sink.  It was tin, the drains were rusty, and there were only two small taps (one for hot and one for cold) that didn’t flow very well and it was easier for her to wash dishes outside in plastic tubs.  I had managed to save up about one million shillings for some things I wanted to buy (about $500) and that was exactly what a new sink would cost, so I did the right thing and used the money to have Shaban drive to Mwanza and buy a new, stainless steel sink with a faucet that could mix hot and cold together.  We also needed all new plumbing to hook it up, so there wouldn’t be leaks and overflows like before.  Shaban came through like a champ.  The new double sink is deeper, has an overflow outlet (John did all the assembly and Shaban installed it), and the new faucet assembly is really quality and weighs almost three kilos (over five pounds) of solid construction and is guaranteed for ten years.  Karen helped with the design of wood support and has already had new shelves built.  Now the kitchen is tiny to be sure, but that new sink is now in place and Rachel is thrilled.  It just took me almost twelve years to get this one little thing put right, but at least it is now done and dusted.  Rachel is happy, Karen and John are happy, and when John is happy, we get great new meals like the pork chops he cooked last night.  You can see from the picture at the right that the decorating has yet to be done, but there will be new pictures when the kitchen is finished.  Me, my body is back at rest which is its natural state.  Aren’t you glad you read this and can now tell others about the new sink at the mission in Bunda, Tanzania?  There won’t be anyone else talking about it, so you can shine.  You’re welcome.
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