Monday begins another work week for us after a wonderful and interesting weekend. As always, it starts out with breakfast and a little soccer ball slamming against the magnificent gate to Amazing Grace Guest House as we await our ride to Bright Hope School. Today we shall carry on our work of moving rocks. We carried bag after bag of rocks from one pile to another, closer to the ditch for the wall. We worked on this all day, minus the two hours or so for our normal “bunna” (coffee) break and lunch. It was like the five loaves of bread and two fish. Just when you thought there was only a few more bags worth of rocks left, we just kept filling up more and more. Where were the rocks coming from? We were like ants walking along, back and forth, on the same path, “yIqrta” (ee-qer-ta) “excuse me,” till all the rocks were moved. Tare and Jossie made us practice counting in Amarhic so we could tell them how many shovel scoops to put in our bag.
I feel a little bad distracting the kids. As you walk by, they holler your name out the window. Kids are hanging out the windows and the stairwell of the tall classroom building; two or three of them hanging out one window. You think if you wave to them, they will stop and get back to their work, but no. They just keep calling you. You can wave 20 times and it isn’t enough. They swarm around; want to know “what’s your name?” write their name on your arm and write yours on theirs. I had a notebook I wanted to get the correct names of those who talked with me often so I could learn their names, only EVERY kid wanted to write their name down. Just as every kid wants to take a picture or be in a picture. And they all want to take a picture of you, not that you need a hundred pictures of yourself! I now have a sheet of paper with a ton of names on it that is just as confusing as them shouting their names out to me. Soon an adult comes after the group with a switch or rock. The kids want to be around us, and help us, or maybe just have us “dance, dance, you dance like Michael Jackson,” and then they get in trouble and chased after by the adults, or even some of the other older students. So what do you do??
Some of the older kids, around 13-14 yrs old, are hanging out the windows by the rock and sand piles; “you, you, you..I love you.” The workers Aweke, Mamaru, Mechale, and I joke around now, “you, you, you, I love you.” Denkee grills me with Amarhic words while we carry cement. Even they like to see themselves in the photos! They call for me, in between my rock runs, to come haul cement. I feel blessed to be able to work with the workers, we joke around and dance and laugh, all the while the wall is moving along. Very impressive.
What a treat we got to go to the market this evening. The moment our van arrives, street vendors mob us. Because, of course, we want maps and necklaces and whatever! (Ok, so I did buy a map of Africa.) We all spent time walking up and down the shops, fending off “very good prices,” in search of our perfect buys. Bargaining for a price becomes the challenge. Back at the van we compare our goods and prices for confirmation of a quest well done. Ending the day with dinner at a wonderful restaurant (we all got home-cut French fries!), we got to experience electricity coming in and out (pretty much a norm); captured, of course, with a photo that showed nothing but a pitch black screen…gee, who’da thunk?