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Lisa’s Birthday!

August 11, 2012

I had my first birthday in Africa yesterday, turning the big 2-8.  It was an interesting day full of blessings and surprises.  First, let’s have a run down of our current power schedule.  Each day the power goes out between 6 and 8 am.  It does not return until 10pm or later.  One night I woke at midnight and it still wasn’t on, though it had returned by 4am.  Earlier in the week, we did get a bonus of the power randomly returning at 4pm, so laundry was done, as well as some baking.  We’ve also been having water issues as our well-controlling neighbor next door has been out of town or something, and not turning on the pump very often, causing us to unexpectedly run out of water.  But, we’ve made do by turning on the generator at lunch and dinner times to both cook and run the fridge and freezers.  I’m often out of the shower before the power goes out at 6, though not always.  Of course, it’s important to get that coffee done before then, too.

So, my birthday…I woke and discovered the water was out, though we still had power.  So, the water heater that had been on all night had actually been empty and my shower was courtesy of our gravity tank, which was still half full.  It was the kind of shower I have without power, except with the lights on.  And you should know I love my morning shower and it is not a pleasant day unless I have one.  So, I was not thrilled with how the day started, but on we went.  The kids woke extra early, too, so Matthew had to cancel my birthday breakfast, but that was ok.  (We made up for it this morning…)  So, I had two off kids and Matthew went to work.  Ah well, a birthday is special, but it’s still a day.  And the power was still on at 8am…weird.

It went off at 9, but I was grateful for the unexpected delay, though I didn’t utilize it entirely.  Then a dude came by to pick some coconuts off of our tree, which was needing done.  That is always fun to watch and I’ll make sure to include a picture or two in my next picture post.  No equipment needed and he takes an agreed number of coconuts as pay.  Perfect!  The guards at our neighbor’s house observed this and wanted some coconuts.  I told Alex they could have some once our water tanks were full.  Tah-dah.  Full tanks.

I had made pizza for dinner the night before, so lunch was a breeze, once Matthew came home to turn on the generator.  The battery on our generator died, so it now must be hand-cranked.  Not for this poor-little-weak-wristed-chikungunya-girl…don’t take pity on me, I am simply wrist-challenged.  And sometimes ankle-challenged.  Matthew finds my waddle funny.  Anyway, we had a pleasant lunch with very little work on my part, always a nice birthday treat for moms.

Now, Levi gave me a birthday present, but I always swore to myself that I would NOT be one of THOSE moms who posted every achievement of their children on the interwebs.  So, I’ll stick to that and NOT reference my recent post about how Levi has never used the toilet and then mention how he gave me a present by achieving a great first on my birthday.  Nope, I’m sticking to my guns.  But, let’s just say Levi was very awesome and it happened to be on my birthday.

The kids and I visited Matthew at work, seeing many of our Congolese friends in the process, which is always fun.  Nestor throws Levi high into the air, Papa Willy always politely shakes his hand and greats him in Lingala and French, Excellance was nice enough to run down and refill my phone credits, Papa Leopold made sure Levi did not get a bucket of cement dropped onto his head, and we got to appreciate Matthew’s building project.  Levi stayed for a few hours to help Matthew at work and was a wonderful help to him.  He now knows the names of several more tools, including differentiating a flathead and a philips.

Matthew came home from work on time (so, it felt early…ha ha) and started the generator so I could start dinner for the kids and he could shower using proper water pressure (the water problem, by now, had been fixed).  A few minutes later Alex comes into the house and says the power was on.  WHAT?!?!  It was true!  Suddenly, we had real power.  So, of course, I ran around turning on everything…A/C, fans, lights…when you have it, use it!  SNEL doesn’t charge per kwh or anything anyway, so I feel like I’d better use the power for which they’re going to charge me.  We’ve been super conservative on generator power because of the cost of fuel, so real power is awesome.  I did a little laundry and Matthew took over the kids’ dinner for me.

Once the kids were in bed, our friend and fellow MAF wife came over and Matthew and I walked down the street to the restaurant in our neighborhood, famous for its chicken.  The best chicken you’ve ever eaten.  A whole chicken.  We had eaten there on our anniversary, but it was only a few days after we’d arrived, so we were still in the fog of moving overseas, jetlag, foreign language.  This time, we were relaxed, confident in our French (well, Matthew was more than I), and simply enjoyed the atmosphere: little tables, surrounded by garden, completely outside in the perfect temperature (because it’s winter, it’s about 75F-ish), the lighting was pleasant in the dark outdoors.  We were even serenaded by a couple, with an accompanying guitarist.  They were awesome.

It was such an awesome birthday…and you know what?  It’s almost 11am Saturday morning…and the power is STILL on.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2012 0829

    yay birthdays!

  2. Debby Spann permalink
    August 11, 2012 0829

    It sounds like the “activities of daily living” are a time consuming challenge and you face it all with a great attitude. Some of us are better at doing that than others (I am not one of those). It is like every day is a “camping trip” which would be very trying to me.
    BTW: PLEASE brag about your children’s successes! Other mothers love to hear about them. Accepting the potty is a big deal (that is coming from a mother who also had a “potty-challenged” kid – and you know him!) Not to worry – success WILL come.

    Happy Birthday! I know about 6 people with birthdays on Aug 10. It must have been really cold the December before…..

  3. tifken permalink
    August 20, 2012 0829

    Happy Birthday Lisa!
    A little late but we still want you to know we’re thinking of and praying for you.
    From all of us over here….we miss you guys!

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