Someone asked me what my days are like here, so I thought I'd share (without pictures; our internet doesn't like to load pictures on here, so find me on instagram if you want to "see" us!). This is a funny season of life for us, and our days look vastly different than they did a month ago when we were working at getting the clinic started. And very soon, our days will look different yet again. But this was yesterday (or was yesterday when I began writing this):
4:30am Alarm clock goes off. This is also when the rooster begins dramatic crowing because he thinks the sun will never rise. I wade out of the mosquito net and glance at the power strip: it's on!!!! We had no power or water last night (at least until 10:30pm when I went to bed), so I begin the hustle to get things done. I turn on the geyser so we can have warmish water, sweep up the inswa wings on the floor and hallway, let out the dog, quickly fill up the water filter and hand wash station, move the ice blocks out of the fridge, open the windows, start a load of laundry, heat water in the kettle for tea, scrub the toilets (no water last night=stinky toilets), start dinner so it can be reheated later, and do the dishes that were only rinsed in rain water last night (all dishes are done by hand...I think I spend my day doing dishes).
by 5:30am I try to be headed out to run with the dog. If she doesn't get a run in, she is hyper ALL DAY LONG. It does wonders for me to. Or at least allows me to eat the chocolate I hoard with less guilt. The rooster is now crowing delightedly that the sun is on the horizon!
6:30am I have gotten back, showered, and had a quick time in the Word. I start waking up the kids and running them through their chores. And the power is off...again. The rooster is frantic with delight over the sight of the sun!
7ish: Breakfast! Without power, and not wanting to start the kerosene stove, the kids are reduced to bread with peanut butter, tea, and bananas. I read to the kids while they eat. When they are done, we start going over family memory verses, hymn of the month, and memory work for school. For the next two-and-a-half hours, I try to alternate doing school, washing dishes, sweeping more floors, answering the knocks at the door, and teaching the younger two kids to read. By now, the rooster is emphatically making sure we know that it is daylight.
9:15am Get a call from a friend with a sick baby. We usually leave later in the morning, but I get the kids moving, throwing on school uniforms, packing their snack for school (really a meal, but I get in trouble if they don't have a huge container of food with them; today it's left-over rice with carrots and peas and a hard boiled egg), and getting them in the car. We meet our friend in the driveway...thankfully driving away from that rooster.
9:45am After my friend and her baby are started at the clinic, I go get the kids out of the car and drop them off at their classes. We have the blessing of being able to let them spend a few hours in class at the school/orphanage. I stay on the property and visit with the workers, enjoy adult conversation with Brandi (bless her!), and get work done on my ministry projects. Dropping the kids off, however, takes about 20-30 minutes by the time I greet all the teachers and shake hands with all the kids who want to greet me in English. Today, I drop them, ask Brandi to be "on watch" for them, and drive my friend and her baby home.
almost 11:00am After driving and encountering 4 police stops (not normal to have this many, but at least my paperwork is in order and no one asked me to buy them talk time or a drink today), I finally return to Chande. I get a chance to sit after gretting everyone again and open my textbook. And listen to a new rooster.
12:00 Elisha appears after getting to "teach" English in his 7th grade class.
12:15pm Get a call from another friend who wants us to run all over town with her. I go and get the kids from their classes (another 20 minutes) and load them up. We spend the next few hours in the car driving places I have never seen in Kitwe. I am honestly grateful for the chance to help her out and learn my way around a little more. We usually stay at school until 1pm, so the kids aren't happy about leaving early, plus they are hungry, but I bribe them with the promise of a softie. I make a stop at a place that offers solar systems for houses to get a quote since this power shortage doesn't seem likely to end soon.
3:30pm I stop at a small grocery store after dropping off our friend and find cocoa that I hope won't taste like diesel fuel (not kidding), and grab cold drinks and chicken kabobs (total cost is about $4) for the kids who are hungry, tired, and hot. One last stop to check on a book I had to order from the UK for the clinic. It's not there yet, but it's at least in the country! I stop and try to buy petrol, but the station is out. Maybe those rumors of a shortage are true?!
4:15pm We arrive home. No power, but we have water! I sit the older kids down to do more school while Gideon gets in the bath. I move the ice blocks back to the fridge and check on the food in there. We alternate finishing school and bathing for a while (feels like a loosing battle since the water here is stinky, but at least the visible dirt is gone). Bemba homework the kids bring home from school is impossible, so we give up on some of it. The rooster is right outside the bathroom window, making sure we know it is still daylight. The caretaker asks to charge his phone and use our power to repair some rebar. I can charge the phone with a battery, but the repair will have to wait.
5:30 The kids are happily playing outside on scooters with neighbors (rendering the aforementioned bathing obsolete), so I light the kerosene stove and heat up the meal I made in the morning (rice with red pepper and peas with chicken gravy from left-over chicken). We eat then do all the dishes again, including washing all the water bottles and snack containers from school, plus scrubbing the soot off the pots from the stove. I am glad we had one meal "out" today! We also need to sweep the whole house again and do a quick mop in a few places. The power went out before the washer was finished, but I decide to let it sit. If power comes on during the night, it will finish, and hand-washing means ironing it all to kill putsie fly larvae. Mourful crowing from that rooster since the sun is starting to set.
6:30 is family reading time. I am beat, so at 7:15 I let them watch an episode of "Liberty Kids" while I go around and close windows, make sure appliances are turned on, and fill up the water filter and the "flush buckets" again. I finish about the time the kids are done. I supervise teeth brushing ("Use the bottled water!"), and we "sing and pray". Then it's the interminable process of putting them to bed. I start with the youngest and move up the line, ending with tucking them securely in their mosquito nets. Gideon delights in counting how many times the rooster crows in the dark since, "I thought roosters crowed in the morning!" Only one knock on the door this evening asking for money for food (which I give, but not without reservation... I hope they really buy mealy-meal with it).
9:00pm I let the dog out one last time and enjoy the breeze. I hear that rooster once more over the noise of the generators many of our neighbors have, and think he ought to go to bed. Then, it's a last lock-up of the doors and checking on the kids. There are a few emails I need to send to our board and some quote on products I need to respond to. I write responses, hoping I can remember to send then when the power is on again. Once I am finished, I should go to bed, but I read for a while, enjoying the peace and quiet. By 10pm, I remind myself that I am too old to stay up late and still get up early...
It's about the dullest missionary life possible right now, but it is what this season looks like for me. The first few months here were so busy and hectic that our family needs some quiet and stability with yet more changes looming in our future. I am thankful for this season of "settling in" and adapting, and I am excited to see what the Lord does in the future!
PS. Andy's day basically looks like: wake up, language study, homework, sleep.