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What’s Broken This Week?

September 14, 2015

This question is one that could start any typical conversation in Kinshasa.  Something is always broken.  For any number of reasons, things break more frequently here, and are usually more difficult to repair.  Parts of decent quality are hard to find, businesses can be hard to get to, finding a repair man is especially difficult.  I am happy to be married to an exceptionally talented one, so we are fine on that front, but that doesn’t mean he has time when something goes down.

It would be easy to be discouraged by the rate of things breaking.  It would be easy to make that the hot topic of conversation.  It would be easy to complain about how hard it is to make life feel normal when something essential is out of commission.

But, truthfully, we don’t feel that way – I don’t think most of the people who live here with us do, either.  I was thinking about it the other day, because I was taking a bath using water I heated in the electric kettle, because our hot water pipe along the outside of our house had broken open twice that week and a cold shower was not happening.  And how I really wanted cookies, but the oven isn’t working.  And the microwave caught on fire a few weeks ago.  And I burnt my hand on the exposed wire causing a short I didn’t see on the 12v fan because it was dark in the kids room, because they were sleeping, and their A/C was making such a racket that I had to turn it off because the compressor didn’t have enough power coming in…because the power here doesn’t always come in at the 220 volts it’s supposed to.

I was thinking of all of this and I still couldn’t be sad or worried.  I wasn’t thinking about how I wasn’t even stressed about it.  I had burn cream for my burnt palm.  I had electricity enough to heat the water quickly in the electric kettle so that I could bath without freezing (it’s not that hot in the mornings…not yet).  I didn’t really need an oven.  The stove top and broiler functions still work.  Okay, I was little bummed that we couldn’t have pizza for our normal Saturday night dinner, but oh well.  And so far, we haven’t even missed the microwave.

Meanwhile that same day, our first coats of awesome red paint went on the walls in the living/dining room, our curtains were en route to be delivered, we had a fun birthday party with friends to attend and we were heading out as a family to the new home store in town to buy a sweet painting and some bedroom curtains.  It was a good day – those things that were broken?  They were just new challenges to make life more interesting.

Maybe you think I’m just a glass half full person.  It would seem so, I suppose, but I rather like to think of it as an addictive gaming app.  Each level, or each week, you are supposed to go about your normal activities, but each week you have to figure out a new way, a new work around, to the way you did it last week or the week before.  It keeps you on your toes.  Okay, sometimes it keeps you a little stressed, but at the end of that level, aren’t you ready for the next one?  The next challenge, the next thought of “what do I think I can’t live without?”

I am, and will probably always be, learning to live in new and exciting ways.  I can’t be in a rut.  I can’t get into a habit…something will break and shake me out of it!  The most important thing to remember is that it isn’t about me at all.  It isn’t about what I can or cannot do, it is how I handle it.  No, the most important thing is that I remember WHO is in control and WHY I am learning to live in this new and exciting way…every week, over and over again.  Then I can relax in my lukewarm bath and wonder about how to get those cookies I’m craving.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jean Bundy permalink
    September 14, 2015 0829

    Looks like nothing has changed since my go-round in the Conge 38 yrs. ago. Except that no one had heard of a microwave. Wow! makes me old! I remember one evening my friend (whose husband was MAF) and I were bored and decided to try making marshmallows—a lot of wasted precious sugar. Lol

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