It was one of “those days.”
p90x is a routine of sorts in Mundri, believe it or not. It’s a good workout and with community built right in here, you usually always have some sort of accountability waiting for you to get out of bed. Wonder if Tony Horton ever imagined working out with a bunch of missionaries in South Sudan...? anyways, I digress.
So Bethany and Melissa and I are kicking some Yoga butt in the pyot (a little gazebo like building for greeting people and meetings and such - that also doubles from 6:30am - 7:30am or so as Fitness Mundri). And about 2/3 of the way into the work out, Bethany glances outside and see’s our friend Sirius running around outside. not even 8am and we’ve already got a problem...and not even 12 hours after the 4 of us spent previously chronicled hour trying to contain the silly dog and he’s out again. Clearly we have some work to do on our dog containment skills. So, Bethany and Melissa get working on trying to find the dog’s escape source and fortify it - loading wheelbarrows with cinder blocks and large pieces of plywood...while I try to reign in the cute and not-so-little-any-longer son of a gun.
|cute and still little Sirius|
He’s gone over near Bishop’s where he knows they through their food scraps into the bush and wash their dishes in basins on the ground that are great for sitting in, etc. I saw that Ferida had a tea kettle on the fire for morning tea and I had visions of the dog bounding over the fire and knocking boiling water all over her...ai yi yi...but I tried my best dog sweet talking skills (sorely lacking unfortunately - babies, got it; dogs, not so much) and very sorry attempts at the sweet whistling that seemed to coax him back the night before...no dice. So, I was back to picking up the dog around the middle and carrying him back to his pen...or at least I was back to *trying.* Let’s just avoid all the here and there and back again with my several attempts and just say that after about attempts at kneeling and letting him smell/lick my hand and then slowly reaching to pick him up, I was bitten with an accompanying growl no less than 4 times...not playful nips like I’m used to with him, but genuinely angry back lashes. Half of those times he broke the skin and I’ve got a nice half moon scar of his top set of teeth along my left index finger. Good times, good times.
|friendly nips I had the misfortune NOT to experience|
I was frustrated, and went to ask for advice from the other girls as they were reinforcing the fence... “food might work” Bethany suggested...brilliant! Sacrificing the little bit of leftover refried beans and cheese from our burrito dinner the night before, with some help from a friend, James Wani who lives next door, I got the son of a gun lured back into his pen and even managed to put his collar back on nice and tight while he ate, without getting any chuncks take out of my hand in the process. The other two finished reinforcing, the dog was collared and tied, the gate wired shut in 3 places, “surely he won’t be able to get out this time,” Melissa said. I kept my mouth shut.
Late in getting on with our days, we showered and ate breakfast in turn, all gathered around the island in the kitchen at one point talking about what exactly, I can’t remember...Melissa glanced up and out the window from her bowl of pineapple and then did a double take... “do we know this guy?” she asked. Bethany and I followed her glance and both agreed we did not as he walked briskly and energetically towards the kitchen door next to us, carrying his hoe. Our conversation paused as we all took note of the man’s strange mannerisms and body language. He walked directly towards the door, pressing his face against the screen and trying the door handle (never have I been so glad for that usually frustrating mal-functioning door handle) without success. He asked how we were in Arabic, I think. We told him we were well from inside the house (usually NEVER greeting people through a closed door), and asked him what he wanted. Back and forth we went with him: he would assure us he had just come to greet, we assured him we had in fact greeted him and that he now needed to go, he played the “I don’t understand what you’re saying”-dumb card, and Melissa or Bethany responded again, this time in Moru. He threw some English in there, so did we...now 3 languages are in play and we still have no idea what is going on with this guy...is he drunk? is he “not okay in the head?” as they like to say here...unsure, but we were in fact sure of the strangeness of the interaction. As we continued to attempt to ascertain why he had come, Bethany ducked out the back door and went over to Bishop’s where she found Joseph and James and the night guard standing by the garden talking. All three of them followed her back to the house when she them what was going on. While they are approaching, Melissa and I have ascertained that in fact what this guy wants is a wife. “Ana deru mara” was the actual statement. “I want a woman” he said. Aha. Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere. “Lakiin aniina ma deru rajil” I replied. “But we don’t want a man” I lied...every one of us would love a man in our lives, but not this one, or any other drunk AND “not okay in his head” man I might add...high standards, I know.
Turns out this guy is the night guard’s nephew and was coming from his home, on one side of our compound, and headed to his garden to dig on the other side of our compound...and I guess thought picking up a kawaaja wife along the way would suit him just fine on this particular morning. Little did he know, this was not the morning to mess with us...Sirius had already tried his luck and lost, and this guy was second in line. Thankful for the James and the night guard’s help and stern/firm words to our new “friend,” we locked the door, avoiding his second attempt to come into our house un-invited, and spite his escalating temper and hostility, they managed to send him on his way to his garden telling him that since he doesn’t know us and we don’t know him, this is not the place to greet us, that he can greet us at the office if he’d like, but not to come back to our door.
We all just looked at each other unsure about what had just happened...and laughed (what else can you do in that moment, you know?!). A drunk and crazy man we’d never seen or met before had just told us he was looking for a wife and tried to come into our house looking for one...bizarre.
We regrouped, finished our breakfasts and got ready to get on with our day - unsure of what the rest of the day might bring.
Melissa and I got on our bikes and went out to visit our friend Mary. It was great. We found her digging in the garden next to her house, she paused and started the fire for making tea for us (a hospitable welcome you don’t even bother to put up a fight about because, well, frankly, because you’ll loose). We got a couple plastic chairs from her tukul and put them in the shade near the fire. We plucked greens and chatted with her about the news of the week. The sun went behind the clouds and the thunder began rumbling closer and closer to us...Mary was sure it wan’t going to amount to anything and went to do a few more things in her garden and we continued plucking greens. Then we heard the rain in the distance... “Awadiya! Ita asuma! Motoro gi ja asa!” [Awadiya! Listen! The rain is coming, now!]. We gathered up our chairs and the fire (in a little charcoal seguili stove of sorts) and took them inside her tukul as she finished up her work. The rain came, we were dry inside her newly re-thatched tukul, and she made us slimy greens with mushrooms (!) and linya followed by tea as the rain came and went a few times. Then I got a call from the friend I was supposed to meet in town at 2pm...I was late, so I gulped down the rest of my tea with mint leaves and we got back on our bicycles and rode home in the mud and rain which had stopped and started again while we were inside eating...Melissa stopped at our compound and I continued on into town...already muddy why not just continue on.
I had made a plan with my 20year old or so friend in P6 to read after school so he had already started in on The Cat in the Hat when I got to Scott’s house to meet him. I was a hot mess, covered from head to toe in mud (bike kick-back) and wet from the rain. I took my Chaco’s off at the door and took a towel Scott directed me to and put it on the chair before I sat down, hoping not to dirty everything I touched. Tata struggles with nearly everything in life and knowing a bit about what that must be like, I love doing what I can to encourage him in those things he does manage to do somehow. Cheering him on at the end of each page, after each word he sounds out or remembers the looks of, he smiles and reads nearly 2/3 of the book before he stops and says we should continue next time. Faster than the last time we read, I’m encouraged and so is he and he grins ear to ear as we set a time to finish up. Back on the bike to head home...more mud...young guys pretending to run me off the road with their bikes, folks laughing as the muddy white girl rides by, calls of “I love you, my wife” and following laughs from another passing crowd of young guys as they repeat the line in celebration of their friend’s creativity (?!) as they walk/ride on behind me...can’t wait for the day to start anew tomorrow!
Dinner was luckily a north african soup Melissa was kind enough to help me chop veggies for...perfect for a rainy day...we sat around and reviewed the craziness of the day as we sipped from our bowls. I went back down into town (this time driving the vehicle since it was dark) for bible study at Scott’s...it was just what I needed to hear, that nothing is too big/too hard for God...heard some of the news in town, showed some pictures of Carrie’s wedding, got back in the vehicle and drove home, dropping a few guys off near their homes along the way.
When I arrived back at the compound, the light glowing from above the table in the team house welcomed me back and I found Larissa and Melissa working on a puzzle. Stopped to tell them how Bible Study went, check in on the puzzle progress, then started out the other door towards my house...as I close the team house door, “WHAT is THAT?” Melissa says, and I pause. “Oh. my. goodness.” Larissa follows. I head back inside and their both shining their headlamps on a long black skinny snake curled up on the floor next to the window seat...just chillin’ like it was entirely natural for it to make itself comfortable there. Closest to the door, I went to the choo for the panga, came back and handed it to Melissa. She’s the resident “snake killa.” Standing on a chair next to the slithering creature, she bent down and hacked away until she eventually severed it’s head and halfed it’s body length and it stopped moving. A snake. In. the. house. Seriously?! Today? What?!
|not the one, but close enough....|
Kalas. Enough. Really, that’s enough. Today has been enough, thank you. I climbed into bed, inside my mosquito net, and quickly passed on into a dreamworld where I also prefer there not to be snakes and dogs on the loose, and where I also prefer that men I don’t know not try to come into my house and prefer not to be covered in mud and heckled on the road, but when your days are like this one, often your dreams are no escape.
until next time....
PS - you should know that more than one week after the record setting bad dog morning, the dog has NOT ONCE escaped his pen, the drunk and crazy guy paid us another visit, this time on Sunday afternoon during team worship so Scott was around as well, this time also far more intoxicated than the last but somehow we managed to convince him to go by heading for the phone and threatening to call Bishop if he didn’t leave as we’d asked...you live and you learn in this life...
PPS - Today is Saturday. John and Jenn arrive back in Mundri in 5 days. So, our days as “4 women and a compound” are numbered...maybe the series title will change to “1 man and his harem” or “5 women and their sidekick” or something of the sort... ;)