Update 21 April 2010
Firstly my apologies fo missing last week, the pace has been hectic and with a shortage of people it means you finish the day feeling like nothing but sleep so we are normally in that state by 9.30. We have another man coming soon so will be able to share the workload more especially the boat driving as after 6 weeks of it for 4 hours a day it becomes tiring. The Transition home for the older kids needs finishing so I have to do a lot there and also show the workers how to do some of it.
Our hopes for getting back to using the road this week were dashed as the river has risen rapidly again all week and is now only about 6 inches below the peak of a few weeks ago. It seems to have slowed today and with it being so late in the wet season we are expecting it to start receding again otherwise we will be looking at evacuation again. It is a dry flood also as the only rain we have had here has been storms that bucket down rain for an hour ( normally when you are in the open boat) then clear up. Many of the local villages have been moved into tents on dry land and have been living that way for the 5-6 weeks now.
Marg has been busy as always helping anybody who asks for anything and the children and staff have got to rely on her to help with many of their problems. She loves the involvement especially being called on to nurse the children and fix many of their ailments. She has also showed them how to do beading, cooking meals and had one girl making a long dress. A couple of the boys have had minor operations so she has had to spend hours at the hospital with them and then we have had them stay at the house with us while they recover enough to return to the other kids. One of the teenage boys was asked when getting ready for his op to go to the bathroom and change into the surgical gown. An hour later they had to send someone to find him as he had locked himself in a toilet because he was frightened of what was happening. He has recovered well.
10 of the older children have started vocational training in either joinery, bricklaying or sewing and they are enjoying learning something different and practical. They are always keen to help when Marg or I are doing different jobs around the village although one boy helped me lay tiles for a day and the next day Marg showed him how to make cookies and he says he would rather make cookies as tiling is too hard.
Marg had her birthday this week and shared it with one of the girls. The older girls always bake a cake for each childs birthday and they made one for Marg as well which made her feel very special, then the 50 kids all sang Happy Birthday to her, she was even game enough to tell them how old she was. It was a nice moment and I loved to see them show their appreciation for her after the time she takes with them.
Our keen little fisherman has caught his first two fish, I was away in the boat at the time but Marg heard a loud yell and guessed what had happened. The fishing has slowed down with the rising water but the boys are still trying. One of the local men from the hardware store caught a nice one tonight out the front of the home. I managed to find a few minutes one night just on dark to throw a line in from the back of the boat and I had no sooner cast out then a hippo surfaced about 6ft from me. That made it the shortest time I had ever spent fishing as I was backing out of the boat and reeling in at the same time. You can actually tell when one is under the water as if it is close to the surface it causes a small distinctive wave on the water.
Marg bathed the smallest child yesterday and had finished doing the local thing they do to their babies ( rubbing all over with vaseline) and started powdering him on his backside when the other small kids laughed at her. She asked what was wrong and they said you don't put powder on the back only the front.
One of the security guards asked me for a bit of petrol last week, said he needed it to fix his tootache.
Many of the children are excited this week as they have school holidays next week and they often go to stay in a village with their nearest relative. It is a good change for them and also gives them the experience of village life.
To finish off I can say that we are settling in well and are now getting along with the children and staff. It does take a long time to understand how the locals interact with each other as it very different from our culture and you learn something each day, despite this being out 4th trip to Africa. One difference is if you go and ask anyone to do something they don't react immediately,might nod their head or say OK but you don't get a real reaction for about 5 minutes. Another one is that if someone makes a mistake that damages a tool etc they just say a couple of words to each other and then dismiss it and forget it. We are getting to know several local people, especially Marg with the hospital staff, and you often get a stranger come up to you in the street and address you by name which puts us in an embarassing position of asking who they are.
Hope all is well with everyone at home, will "try" and write again next week.