Waiting patiently, but waiting in vain

How to make our moments of waiting more profitable and exciting

Waiting outside the Sultan's palace, but waiting in vain

“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

Photo by Valeria Rodrigues (pixabay)

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

suterra.com blue bottle fly

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

A Seychelles fisherman and his catch of fish (source: wikimedia)

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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How Much Solar Energy Do You REALLY Need?

How much solar do you need?

This post was written while we were in Chad.

How much of a solar energy system do you need to satisfy the needs of your village home?

The answer depends on a lot of variables, the biggest of which are where you live and what you want to do with it. Some of us live near the equator and want to just run a few lights, while others of us live outside the tropics, yet still want to run a hot tub while they microwave a bag of popcorn as they watch satellite on a large screen TV, while they wait for their clothes to dry.

To run a few lights, all you need is one 70 Ah battery and a 50 to 120 Watt solar panel. I read about someone who was in the latter group, and three arrays with 25 120 Watt solar panels each could not satisfy their need.

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