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.

Creativity and Resourcefulness go together

Alternate sources is a huge part of having enough re-sources!

Thankfully, there was a well

In between washing the dishes, playing with Deborah, helping with school, and cleaning up, I could help one of Art’s language helpers fix a computer problem!

The keyboard for his language stopped working.  But after a quick text message to Art, and changing the date of the computer back to September 2009, and it was up and running again!

And just like that, he is able to get back to work on the projects Art had for him to do in his absence!  Without the keyboard that typed the characters of his language, he was stuck.

Resourceful with Electricity

We couldn't use the solar electric system for chargingIt was because of trying to keep the resource of solar electricity in the house that I got myself into trouble today, and needed to stretch my resourcefulness again to find a solution to the problem I had caused… After charging my handheld and mp3 player using the Landcruiser’s battery via the cigarette lighter yesterday.  Unfortunately, I forgot to turn it off last night.

I wanted to go out to buy medicine for Sharon, bread for the family and a block of ice for our cooler to supplement the refrigeration. But when I tried to start the car, it wouldn’t turn over; the battery had “died”.

I asked around for battery cables

When the car won't start, you can't give upSo a few young men from the church, ranging from 8 to 13 years old, pushed me to “jump-start” the car. Because “Twila” (our Speed the Light vehicle) has a standard shift, you get some friends (usually new friends) to push this one-ton car, your foot on the clutch and the car in first gear. Then, when it is going about 3-5 miles an hour, you release the clutch with your left foot and turn the ignition at the same time. If done correctly, the engine starts right up. This does not work when you try to jump-start it backward; believe me, I learned that today!

After a few failed attempts, the Landcruiser started right up! I tried to pay those who helped me; their leader said, “No, we don’t want money; we did this for free!” The others held out their hands. I was able to convince them to take what I so wanted to give them for helping me so much.

When I got back from my errands, the leader called me aside, saying, “This is my part; I want to give it back to you.” Those are the kind of kids you just want to give a huge hug! (But that would be highly inappropriate in Chadian culture ☺)

After running “Twila” while I did my errands, things are back to normal… but I backed the car up into the parking spot for when we need to repeat this action.

How does the situation you are living in now pushing you to be resourceful?  Let us know by leaving a comment below:

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0 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Being Resourceful

  1. What a beautiful account of a wearisome day. You have to work so hard just to survive. I hope Sharon recovers well and the rest of you don’t catch it.
    Thanks for sharing.