The Lost Art of Being Resourceful

How to use your resources to their maximum potential

Mongo (October 14, 2010): We are writing you from the middle of the country.  We are staying at the home of our friends who are working to develop one of the languages here.  While here, we are stretching our resourcefulness to the limit. We are learning how to be resourceful as we try to live in this new, challenging situation.

Being Resourceful is using the resources available to you to their greatest potential.  It’s what you need when normal channels are no longer available to you.  As things get more difficult, it means learning about new resources we may have overlooked.

Our time in Mongo during the dry season has been a University Course in Resourcefulness for us all.

Being Resourceful with water

Resourceful with water for Showers, etc.In the four days since we have been on our own in the Aviles home, the town water has only run once, at 4 AM, giving us about 25 gallons (100 liters) of water into one of two plastic barrels in the kitchen. Such conditions push you to use the water to its greatest potential; we are re-using the water for rinsing the dishes in the morning, to wash them in the afternoon. Then we re-use the water for washing the dishes, to flush the toilet. In fact, we are gathering water in basins from the bathroom sink, from our showers (max 2 gallons per shower) and from washing the dishes to flush the toilet. So we use the water 2-3 times before we finish it.

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Waiting patiently, but waiting in vain

How to make our moments of waiting more profitable and exciting

“Wait patiently” doesn’t mean the same thing in Africa as it does in the United States.  In America, we might decide to come back later if the line has seven people waiting in it.  We might call back if the waiting time is longer than ten minutes.  Even 5 minutes microwave cooking time can seem like too long to wait!

Waiting in line to go to a concert in Germany

And yet, when we wait in line in America, we hope that our patience is rewarded in the end.  One of the features of life in the Third World, or where a disaster strikes, is that our patience isn’t always rewarded as we would hope.

How can we learn to make the most of the times we spend waiting for something, even if it ends up being waiting in vain?

Back in September 2010, our family needed to find a place to live in eastern Chad.  We had just arrived back in Chad and were living in the capital city of N’Djaména, 14+ hours west of Abéché.  A friend in the capital promised that we could rent his home in Abéché.

To start moving in, all I needed to do was to pick up the key from the Sultan, his brother.

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The boy who jumped over the wall for food

This post was written while we were in Chad.

I got up very early this morning, thirty minutes before the Fajr prayer time (which is one hour before sunset). Last night, the winds and the rain were violent, and the lightning and thunder were fairly close together.

Garibou boys; photo by Mary Newcombe

photo by Mary Newcombe

So I shut off the solar system, and read a book or two on my handheld and fell asleep.

As I worked at my desk this morning, there was a tall twelve-year-old boy, walking around in our yard! YIKES! This isn’t supposed to happen!

I fearfully but loudly yelled out the window, asking him what he was doing here. With a pleading voice, he told me that he was at the Madrasa (Qur’anic school) up the road; they hadn’t any food for a while. Their Qur’an Master was visiting the fields, and had left him and his fellow students to fend for themselves. He was told that there was a “nasara” (foreigner) in the home here, and that he would give him food.

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Bothersome interruption

This post was written while we were in Chad.

I have been fixing Sarah’s desk from Guéréda, and it is coming along well. The wood glue that Steve Banks terapeak.com swift rivers puzzle no interruptionrecommended is really working well! Now that I’ve finished the 500 piece puzzle of Swift River, this has become my latest puzzle to try to assemble! The result will also serve as a model to show to our carpenter friend in town for the other desks for the girls.

Our first interruption began earlier in the day. While we were having church, I looked out the one-way window in the living room, and saw two boys about 9 years old, wandering through the yard, looking around. So I quietly went out the front door, and started chasing them. They were terrified! they ran into two directions, so I kept pursuing one of them. Up to the road, he ran and hid behind a young man who pleaded with me on his behalf. Of course, as a Christian, I couldn’t severely punish that boy. I just wanted him to never jump over the wall again. I think I got my message across.

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Fish Distribution Center, or Fishing Classes?

The Parable of the Lonely Fisherman

Once there was a successful fisherman in a remote village.  At that time, no one else knew how to fish. Consequently, there was no danger of him losing his job.  He was the only one with “fish stories” to tell.  It didn’t matter how small his catch was.  ITraditional Icelandic Fisherman (source: Wikimedia)t was always the best catch of the week.

He was the hero of the village, because he was the only one.

However, as time went on, the fisherman felt lonely.  He missed his wife, and his kids hardly knew him.  Everyone depended on him to provide fish for the village, so much that he was always out in his boat, no matter how bad the weather.  Whenever he was sick in bed from being out in the boat so long, he would always have to work even harder to catch up afterwards.

Finally, the master fisherman could stand it no longer.  He chose several young men and brought them out on the boat with him.  It was a struggle, but he paid for their fishing rods and nets and other essential equipment.  Then he taught them everything he knew about fishing.  He didn’t hold anything back.

No longer lonely

His students were quickly able to pay him back for the fishing rods and nets from the profits they were able to earn from their new skill.  And from that day on, though newcomers to the village didn’t know his name, the master fisherman was never without friends.  Everyone who could fish, and their relatives, would remember the day that he sat beside them in his boat, teaching them the secrets of the deep.

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