Still frame / Still life – December 1

So much has changed in the past month!

1. Last month we were snorkeling. Now we are swimming in dust.

2. Last month we were with my parents. Now they have left us for the cold country.

3. Last month our house was lit by candles and our computers were charged at the office to give us a few hours of computer fun (i.e. Korean drama watching) in the evening. Now we have 4 solar panels and 2 batteries to give us more power than we know what to do with (um, perhaps more Korean dramas?).

4. Last month our drinking water was warm, our yogurt eaten in a hurry, and our vegetables sweaty in the heat. Now they are all in a solar-powered fridge. Chilly.

Things have changed. Another change is the on-set of the dry (read: dead) season. So our routines have had to shift as we adjust to this new season. Before we could get water from the rain barrel when wanting to wash clothes. Now, with each pail of water carried by our own sweat and blood, we have decided it makes more sense to do smaller, daily loads of laundry. Our morning routines are influenced by water.

Soon after we wake up we put water on to boil. Then we grab a pail and head to the pump (in Dinka they call a hand-pump a donki. It is easy to remember because of the sound a hand-pump can make). We use the first pail of water to rinse the clothes that have been soaking overnight. Then we get water to fill up our water filter, make oatmeal, fill the solar shower (and put it out in the sun), and wash dishes. We have a reserve of water too, so if we don’t have time or energy we don’t have to get water every morning. With the left-over washing water we water the few flowers in front of our house.

The weather here has been unusually cool here during the nights and early mornings. On December 1, 2011 we …. SAW OUR BREATH IN SOUTH SUDAN!!! What?!

Mornings are also the best time to use the internet. We have two ways of getting the internet here and both of them only work some of the time. Option 1: a large phone that plugs into your computer’s USB port and you dial-up. Option 2: A little modem stick with a green light. The little modem stick is definitely sexier but definitely not as reliable. The large phone is faster and more reliable, except that it is controlled by the north and doesn’t work for days/months at a time. Then it isn’t as reliable. Also, the Mac does not like the phone. It only likes sexy things.

Now that dead season is upon us it also means sweeping multiple times a day so we aren’t walking on a layer of dust. Joel has jumped on the sweeping train and now does the whole area in front of our place. So it looks like a proper Dinka home.

After all these morning things we go to the office. On December 1 we had a very important meeting with potential funders for some peace and justice programs. I think it went well. We will hopefully know soon whether we will actually have some money next year to do things. That will be a change as we have been working on a (pretty much) $0 budget for the past two years. We are hoping for the best. Please hope with us!

After our meeting we swung through town to check out the AIDS Day festivities, which seemed to focus around a fire truck.

Later in the day, after we had returned home, we did a bit more work. Then we sang, yoga-ed, and started the water collection again.

Upon returning from the pump I realized the hibiscus were in a very beautiful state. So I took a lot of pictures of them. And then some pictures of lemon grass.

Later I lay in the hammock and watched the leaves fall from the trees – another sign of dead season.

Our neighbor-with-connections had had some carrots delivered from Juba and gave us two. Wow.

Carrots don’t really grow in this part of South Sudan and they are rarely imported into our Rumbek market. So we ate them for supper with Luke and Kaitlyn and they were delicious.

And did I mention we have light bulbs now? Yes? Oh, well. It is still exciting for us.

So I think the lesson we learned from December 1, 2011 is that we are definitely more productive in the mornings.

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