Today was hot, so the 20 minuted downpour was a welcome addition to the afternoon as it seemed to cool things off a bit. Most of the rains here are accompanied by strong winds that blow sheets of water in any windows left open and under the doors despite 10 foot overhangs on most of the roofs on the property.
WATER UPDATE: Thank you for your prayers for our water situation. In the past few days our water needs have turned around. The water pipe from the city was flowing with good pressure for the past couple of days which allowed all of our tanks to fill. We are off of water restrictions but still convinced that we need to try to drill for water once more since we are highly dependent on the city’s ability to supply an adequate amount of water. It seems likely the city could be unable to provide enough water for our use during each dry season and in the case of a extended power outage.
While the new structure in our backyard is nicer than what many call homes here, this is not going to be where grandpa and grandma stay when they visit. It’s going to be a chicken coop and we’re hoping to have it completed before the rains come in full force.
Today felt a bit like we were just trying to manage urgent issues. Our water shortage reached a dire level today. In fact, we had to make the difficult decision to turn water off to certain parts of the hospital and compound in order to keep from completely running out of water. Alain drove the tractor with a tank on the trailer to his house in town and filled it up a couple of times in order to help fill our water system. This evening the pressure from the city’s water was back up a bit but it seems to fluctuate between almost a trickle and a good supply. Pray that God would make clear to us if we are to once again pursue drilling a well on the property and if so, that He would also make the funding for this project available. Ironically this afternoon we experienced our first torrential downpour which lasted less than an our but sure cooled the day off and reminded us that rainy season is about to begin.
Have you ever heard of the “22° halo“? During lunch today Aden came in saying he saw a rainbow. While it sort of looked like a rainbow, it was actually a circle around the sun. So after telling all the children who were having their lunch outside that they shouldn’t stare up at the noonday sun, I got my camera out and tried to take a photo of it. Over lunch aunt Megan googled it and discovered it’s formed by ice crystals in the atmosphere.
Tonight as we gathered as a team to celebrate Easter we included a short video of some of the missionary kids. You can see that by clicking here. Something that has become a bit of a concern is the water situation here at the hospital. You may remember that despite a very expensive attempt a few years back, we have not been able to reach water and have our own well. So right now we are dependent on the city to provide us with enough water to keep this place going. This past week we’ve been seeing many days of critically low water levels. It seem the main problem is that the water coming from the city is not coming at the volume we need so that we are just barely keeping enough water in our system to meet our needs and have not been getting enough to get any sort of reserve in case of an electrical outage in the city. Part of the problem seems to be that since we are in dry season and the Oti river has less water, the city’s large pumps that pump water out of the Oti river are no longer touching the water so the city has dug out a deeper area farther out in the river and put a smaller portable pump there surrounded by sandbags. With the whole town needing water, and our line also supplying the new military camp just beyond us, we do not have good water pressure and can’t get the volume we need to replenish our reserves. So while part of this problem is solved with the arrival of rainy season, we also need a better long-term solution. We will be continuing to talk with the city, but we are also needing to pray and consider the possibility of once again trying to drill for water in the location on the property that was proposed by visiting hydrologists.
Today following breakfast we took a little trip north to see old cliff dwellings. It took about 2 hours to get there and once you arrive you have to find a guide who will unlock the caged ladders that you must descend to view an area that was once a refuge for the local peoples. There are many storage pots where they could keep their crops safe from being stolen and store water so that up to 300 people could live here for months when there was unrest or danger. They were especially used by local tribes when they needed to escape from raiding parties that came to steal people to be sold as slaves. It was amazing to see the remains of this refuge and to think of families living perched on these cliffs thousands of feet above the valley.
Another school project involving an egg… This one soaked for a few days in vinegar.
One of the perks of working just a couple of minutes from the house is that I can return for exciting things like helping with the egg-drop school project.
It’s hard to believe the boys have just 8 more weeks of school left. Aunt Megan will be returning to Boise for a couple of months before returning for her 2nd year teaching in Mango.
Once a week Melissa is the on-call doctor at the hospital. This means that she heads to the hospital around 7am on her call day in order to round with the doctor coming off call and learn all about the current patients. She is then at the hospital for all new admissions and handles any patients that need extra attention. She remains on duty until she has finished rounding with the doctor taking over call the following day and usually is back to the house by noon the following day. Now, if things are calm sometimes she gets to zip home and get a few hours of sleep. However, in our bedroom we have a telephone that is a direct line to the nurses station so most on-call nights that rings multiple times and while sometimes directions can be given over the phone and she can go back to sleep, many times the calls mean she needs to make a trip back to the hospital.
Today Melissa was on-call during a Saturday, so towards the evening the boys and I headed to the hippo pond for a bit of a hike with aunt Megan and Jonathan (he is an IT guy here until June). We saw the hippos in the distance and heard them and generally enjoyed a cooler evening and a great sunset.
Well a cooler overcast Sunday morning meant three of the boys and I took a quick drive out to the Hippo Pond where we tried to catch a glimpse of the hippos. We didn’t see any hippos but we saw some hippo tracks.
Saturday mornings are a time we all look forward to. While most mornings during the week we make a big pot of oatmeal for breakfast, Saturday mornings are waffle breakfast mornings (with eggs, applesauce, and lots more). In addition to our family (including aunt Megan) we usually have 4 or 5 others that join us for breakfast. The American nurses that are just getting off after working all night usually stop by for waffles before heading back to the minister’s house and most times we have a couple others drop in. We enjoy this time and recently aunt Megan has been doing some school planning after breakfast for a few hours and has offered to watch the boys so that Melissa and I can get away for an hour or so for a quick moto drive. Today we took some new trails and roads and ended up stopping for a drink at a small village where we quickly gathered a crowd.
Here’s what 6AM looks like at the hospital entry on the second Monday of operation of the clinic and hospital. Before the clinic opens to see patients for the day a couple of nurses will try to sort out the more urgent cases, determine how many can be seen today, and encourage the others to come back when we’re not as busy.
On my Saturday morning moto ride with Melissa we discovered a house that was built by the father of the current president of Togo. He had this house built as a hunting lodge when he was president but it’s been unused and falling apart for many years. The guard gave us a tour of the home which had a great view of the Oti river from the roof.