We wanted to write a quick note because of the unpredictability of things down here. Our power and water has been off 2 days and heavy rain and a cyclone are predicted to move in soon. Church has been canceled and our much looked forward to meeting with the Kings on Tuesday is now in jeopardy because that is the day the cyclone is supposed to hit. We still have water to use but no where to refill now that the power is off unless we went to the village which I guess isn't so bad. Hopefully we will be able to recharge the computer from the kindness of the corner store man. Plenty of food but obviously the frig has limited time. We have a baptism to go to in a bit that will be done in a rather brown river. We were down there a couple days ago scrubbing off the muddy chairs when we were preparing for this Sunday. It will be memorable for all I am sure.
Now we have time to relay more of the "rest of the story":
Power and water have become such a factor in how we accomplish our day's tasks. Is it on or is it off? Just when we think we are safe and can quit planning around the possibility of losing either one, we find ourselves back at working without the basics. I'm not sure which is more unsettling to be without, but both at the same time is less than desirable because every household need and personal care task is altared or not possible. Yes, we like and admire the simplicity of pioneer life but we're having second thoughts about the realities of what it meant day in and day out to live wondering where your water would come from, is it clean, how shall we store it, are clothes dirty enough to put in the dirty clothes bin, and how will we accomplish a task for which we do not have the means to power. It gets dark early, food spoils much faster, clothes need washing and sweeping just doesn't do the same job as a vacuum at picking up all the tiny bits of dirt, bugs and whatever else we are constantly cleaning up.
As we tromp up the muddy trails and swollen creeks to visit families, we smile thinking that a few months ago we could not have imagined ourselves doing this. Missionaries wear nice shoes and have clean feet and walk on sidewalks, right? Not here! I was on the phone with a friend from Suva last night on our way to an appointment. As we stepped out of the truck into the mud and 8 or so inches of water, holding a flashlight, an umbrella and my filled bag, I tried to keep my mind on the conversation. Hearing the splashing water, she asked, "Are you doing the dishes?" "No, I giggled, we are just headed to our next appointment." When we got to the home, they offered us a bucket of water to wash off with and then we were ready to begin the visit. It's only been 4 months since arriving in Fiji but life seems extra fine these days when we can turn the spigot and get water and flip a switch and have power. In the last 2 weeks, about 80% of the time we've not had these luxuries. The weather reports have been ominous speaking of more flooding and possible cyclones but in reality, we a have had only days and nights mixed with rain and clearing in between. This has allowed ongoing clean up from the flood to take place and lives are being put back together.
In preparation for our Sunday services that were to be held in a church member's borrowed industrial garage, we gathered together some willing hands to retrieve some of the chairs from the church. That sounds like a rather simple task until you experience the setting, think several inches of VERY slippery, stinky mud. Just two weeks ago we had spent hours with the ward members cleaning and shining up the building to give it a sparkle, now here we are skidding across the same floor in several inches of gooey mud.There was some joking about all the "chocolate" we were surrounded in. Imagine iceskating across the chapel and loading chairs from quite some distance. We formed a fire line and passed the chairs one to another so the treacherous walking was more limited.
|Practicing for the Fijian mud skating Olympics|
|Bishop Ratu and Lusi|
You may recognize Lusi from the chair cleaning activity
|A quick congratulatory hug from Mataiasi Ratu|
So tonight the power is on and we are getting a very small trickle of water. Our clothes got washed albeit taking hours to fill the basin, we vacuumed, the frig is cold and I even heated some water for my "bath". Life is good, we're just hoping the cyclone keeps heading south out into the South Pacific and away from us.