Encountered one new issue a day
Aug 16, 2010
It has been one week since I arrived in the field. Assigned to live in a tukul that is facing the volleyball court, when someone is playing, the door has to be locked otherwise the ball will easily be hit into my room. Tukul is a kind of African hut which walls are made of mud, with a roof in couch grass, usually with one door and one or two windows. My tukul was used as the stockroom and everybody is used to clean the ball with the cloth at my doorway; so I just generously encourage them to continue with that practice. In this compound, NINE of us, either gender, are sharing one pit toilet and one cold-water shower-room. Good timing is sort of important. It surprised me a little that our cooks work from Monday to Sunday, preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is much better than I expected and I like most of the dishes, except I miss Chinese greens. When I look back at the past week, I smiled since I encounter and more-or-less solved one new living issue every day. A little proud of myself 1. I had to leave 1/4 of my luggage in Juba since the all stuff limitation of WFP (World Food Program) flight is 15kg but not 20kg check-in luggage for international flights, including my dark chocolate, towel, flash light, umbrella and small daily carrying bag. Obviously, I underestimated the raining season in the field. Each time restrained by heavy rain reminds me that I am waiting for my umbrella and other stuff; still not sure when the truck is coming. 2. Fortunately, we have running water from the tape in the field, although the color of the water is light brown and tastes a little bit of gasoline even after filter. I decided to save my white long-sleeve coat from wearing and washing. 3. Since the team is growing, I spend two days looking for a towel in both compound as I did at other missions, but finally gave up and bought one at the street market on the way to the hospital, 15 US$ and made in China. 4. It took me about half an hour to try to plug my laptop charger into the only socket in my tukul. Asked for help from one of our logs and he found me a multiple sockets plate and plugged it in. In addition, he discovered someone removed the electrical fan in my tukul before I moved in and found me one the next day. It was very kind of him. 5. The generator in our compound is off from 11 pm untill 8 am. I realized it on the first night since we came back from the hospital at 10:30 pm and after our late dinner all of the light went off suddenly. I knew that I could not orientate myself in dark in this totally new environment, so I borrowed a flash light from a teammate. The next morning when I asked our log if I can get a flash light, he asked me to fill out a request form. I changed my plan and bought one at the street market in the afternoon. 6. One night I was woke up by noise on my roof. It was heavy rain and the drops were hitting the plastic sheet on the roof of my tukul. It was so loud that I could not go back to sleep for hours. Now, I am getting used to the noise and can tell it is drizzle or shower, will still having some difficulty in sleeping. I was told later that my tukul used to be leaking everywhere, so the plastic sheet was put on the top. 7. One afternoon, when I came back from the hospital, I found thousands of ants moving across my room. One troop was carrying white larvae, marching from the doorway, right underneath my bed, to the window and disappeared at the corner of the wall; the other troop marching back without larvae. My steps disturbed their work and some of them run disorientated, come into my slippers by mistake. It hurts and is itchy when they bite me feet. I asked for help from the log again; he could not find where the supply of spray was stocked and lent me his own and told me it is available at the street market. I bought one today and sprayed a lot in the doorway, window and wall corner. 8. Today I made very nice Chinese tea as a Sunday treat to myself. Two days ago I failed since the water was not hot enough and wasted some tea I brought all the way from China.