Its Thanks Giving Day for the McCabe’s in N’Djamena Chad. Its a good place to be. Absolutely zero advertisements about how many shopping days till Christmas. We are somewhat in the minority here, Americans, that is. The SIL / Wycliffe group here is very international. Still, there will be 16 of us at the Thanks Giving meal in a few hours. We will pack into one of the larger apartments. The different families will be sharing the responsibilities. I was set up, so I moved tables and chairs this morning. Judy helps with meal prep and among other things, cooked a chicken in a solar oven this morning and this afternoon. I’m going to have to build one at our Tucson home. They are great. Yes, it can take significantly longer to cook, but that depends on how much sun and how intense it is that day. But, if you plan ahead, don’t want to heat up your home and like saving the energy cost, its a great way to go.
Yes, I have been REALLY BAD about updating the Blog lately. I guess losing my photos to write about has been a de-motivator. I like pictures. But, its not your fault and those who want to know what is going on with the McCabe’s, will read, regardless if there are photos or not. So, I bite the bullet and just write. You are so patient to keep reading my ramblings. OK, apology made and accepted. I will attempt to be succinct and intelligible now.
I, Jim, have been busy as usual. A lot of ,my time is spent organizing the work load. I created a job priority notebook. I place the job requests in a priority from front to back. As the job tickets are removed from the notebook I insert the new job requests as needed. I always place water leaks and gas leaks as the most important. Security lighting is next, followed closely by interior lighting and human comfort items. Then I have to keep an eye on all the infrastructure items, water, electric and sewage flowing. Then the generators are so important. If we don’t have electricity, a lot of stuff comes to a grinding halt, very quickly.
I have started a major plumbing project. Our first apartment complex built about the year 2000, was a learning experience. The plumbing was installed by a good Chadian plumber. Well done but an expected short life span. Its life span has ended, several years ago. We have done patch after patch after patch. We have roots growing in and clogging the fresh and filtered water piping system. Sewage is, well, where it is not suppose to be. The quantity has completely outgrown its storage tanks or seepage tanks, that no longer seep. We are pumping our sewage into ditches along our inside walls. We use to pump it outside the walls, but the neighbors made such a stink about us pumping our sewage in the same ditch as their sewage, we now have to pump it inside the walls. We just have to keep the kids from playing in it, until it soaks into the ground. I am not a plumber, I have received some good advice and will follow it to the best of my abilities. I wish I could get a team to come and do this job. But haven’t been able to make that happen during the past twenty months. So, now I am attempting it before we leave in March, with the same good Chadian plumber and a good ditch digger. Hopefully, it will be at least as good as the first installation.
The generators and electric system has taken way too much time recently. Thanks to the many of you who have been sending me good advice on getting them back on line. I just wish I had the time to implement some of the advice. I do village team work as well. Right now I’m building a steel frame for solar panels. Judy and I will go to the little village of Melfe and install the new system just after Christmas. Just before Christmas we will go to a different village and finish a solar battery installation. We’ll be spending Christmas in the village. Should be fun. We had hoped to be able to drive a Toyota Land Cruiser out to the village, but, that’s not going to happen now. We get to take a bus or a bush taxi instead. It adds more flavor to the whole experience. “oh my achy backside”
Judy is the housing Queen. The best hostess there has ever been. But, it keeps her incredibly busy, day and night, seven days week. Just like my job. Someone will call her and ask, “How do I find a taxi or bread or vegetables or?”, Its 9:00 PM and someone will call and ask if they should pay their bill now, as they are leaving at 5:00 AM. Sometimes the correct keys don’t get put in the proper place and when a new resident arrives, its Judy who gets the late night calls for help in finding keys. Could we use some more help here? Several more bodies would be wonderful. My boss, who is also Judy’s boss, is actually doing three different full time jobs. As you can imagine, none of them could possibly get all the attention they need. At times, due to lack of personnel, we have had to call in a village team to come into town do administrative work, instead of translation work. Bible Translation put on hold, due to the lack of a manager, administrator, secretary, handy man. But, this is life in Chad. Are you feeling motivated to come to Chad yet?
We do have fun here, its a matter of attitude really. We just finished the installation of a mini soccer field. Goal frames with nets, a rope boundary line and I finally found some white lime powder to mark the goal box and center line. The field is all sand and dirt, classic Chad. We just put in a little tike’s tree fort with a sand moat all around it. The kids love jumping into the moat. I have most of the materials for a zip line from the fort to a tree, 50 yards away. Still need to get it installed. Overhauled the Table Tennis table and its good to see people using it. We have a very nice sand volleyball court that is used regularly every Sunday at 4:00 till dark. Come on by and enjoy with us.
God has blessed us, its been a wild ride and a blast being here. We do look forward to getting back to the states, seeing our kids, grand kids, parents and friends, but know we will miss this chaos once we are gone. At this point, there has not been any replacement possibilities found for either one of our jobs. Even just some short term replacements would be wonderful. You have to be strong, healthy, a great attitude and have a stubborn streak stronger than the challenges you’ll face. What’s that God is saying to you? Really? Wilder things have happened. Stepping outside our comfort zone can be a very good thing… Could be the time of your life.