Battery acid and solar electric system

This post was written while we were in Chad.

On Monday, we set up the solar panel on the roof, and bought two 150 Amp truck batteries! We realizeden.wikipedia.org acid that the base for the fridge isn’t there, so we couldn’t move it over to the house yesterday.

As the sun was setting, I was wearing my old clothes saved especially for the job of dealing with battery acid. Before pouring the battery acid into the container, I used a battery acid tester to make sure the acid was of a good quality. In the past, the stuff I bought tasted watered down… but this time, the little balls in the tester all floated! So we filled up all the compartments with acid, and let the battery sit overnight.

This morning, we brought them in, and I spent most of the morning carefully attaching the solar panels and the battery to the charge controller… only to find out that the charge controller is defective out of the box. The charge controller keeps the solar panels from overcharging the batteries (which may create an explosion), or drained of electricity from the lights and appliances on the solar system (which would permanently keep the batteries from charging ever again). So the charge controller is a vital part of a solar electric system. There was a need to return and replace it, so the prospect of a quick trip to N’Djamena looked more and more likely.

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Strawberry plant, springs in the desert

This post was written while we were in Chad.

We arrived in Iriba just in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We made a big deal of it; we watched the emma plantBBC version of “Emma” while eating popcorn. Debbie barely made it through the movie before falling asleep, so we put her to bed. At midnight, we had Susan drop a beach ball to the ground while standing on a chair. We hugged one another… then went to bed.

Outside, there was silence; it was just another quiet evening in Iriba, like so many others.

Ever since we arrived at our Iriba home, there’s been a leak in an outdoor pipeline near the cistern. With so many leaks in the plumbing in the house, we only turn on the town water at the meter level for the few hours each week to fill up the barrels… but, right under the place I sit as I pray at sunset, water keeps bubbling up from the ground and flowing next to the cistern and in a place just outside our wall!

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Why do I sell dictionaries?

This post was written while we were in Chad.

A while back, my good friend Mike Washburn (who is currently senior pastor at the Full Life Church of Fremont, Nebraska) asked me, “Why are you selling dictionaries?”

It’s the kind of question Sharon would ask, the kind that makes me stop and think about why we do what we do. So for Mike, and for myself, I wanted to write a little tonight about why I do this.

selling dictionaries in the pharmacyHere’s what dictionary selling looks like: I sell dictionaries in the language I have worked with since 2003. This version was produced in 2007, before I left the country, but we will improve it over the current term. The dictionaries cost me 1311 CFA each (about $2.62) and I sell them for 2,000 CFA each (about $4.00).

The higher price allows me to sell them to other distributors like the five pharmacies and the bookstore who are currently selling them. Thus, they are able to get a bulk of the profit for helping me to sell them. After a tithe, any additional profit will ultimately go into producing more literature. I also sell them on the street, showing the few copies in my hands to anyone who looks my way. If anybody motions to me to come over, I go tell them what I have.

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Birthday clues and big rivers of greenish-brown water

This post was written while we were in Chad.

To get to church this morning, I took two taxis, one minivan, and waded knee-deep in greenish brown water in five places off and on for one hour. I didn’t actually have to go through all those streams and ponds, but I became lost a few times. Sometimes the water was slimy under me, other times it was sandy and solid.

clue in floodI saw little red dots visible to the naked eye swimming around in there, thousands of them per square foot on the surface, not to mention the millions that must have swum below the surface! A few times, I saw things floating around in the water my legs were in that you only see in toilets. Although black bags are illegal in Chad, my leg became stuck to one such bag for a few paces. I was thankful to a few strangers who lent a hand by showing me the way toward my destination.

IBRA radio has a training session going on now on production; after one week of classes, they are halfway through it. It was great to meet them at church this morning. Pastor’s wife prepared a delicious macaroni with chicken sauce for lunch; after enjoying that, I was on my way back home to celebrate Deborah’s birthday.

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Booklets and a new license plate

It’s been a busy week. I am staying in a dorm room here in N’Djaména now. I was a bit anxious about taking one; but I took the mattress from the other bed and put it on my bed. It has a ceiling fan, and the internet connection is great here! There is a common kitchen, and I think the fridge works there as well. Unlike many options available in town, these houses have screen doors, so you can let light and air in, and know what is going on outside.

I have worked on getting my visa, and on getting the car ready for its next trip. The visa part was not too difficult; I spent five minutes on three days in a row. On day one, I dropped off the application. Day two, I passed it on to the man who puts it together. Day three, I picked it up. The people there were all very nice to me.

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