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Thursday, August 12, 2010


I suppose a lot of relationships are this way.  Ours with Bundi certainly was.  Heidi's recent post with the blanks implies the same.  And it's no different here in the good old USA.

What I love about America:  
WASHING MACHINES.  You can do laundry any time.  Six people can have clean clothes in an hour.  Or less.  Amazing.  And the machine does not have hang-overs that make it miss work, or go to burials of great aunts, or get into sulky moods, or need morning tea.  (an hour after I wrote that and never sent this post . . the washing machine flooded, inexplicably, the whole extra-large wash and rinse water in a spreading lake through the kitchen and filtered through the floorboards into the basement, what ironic timing).
SHOWERS.  We actually have a pretty good system in Bundi, thanks to Scott, a roof tank with a pump so we have pressure, and an ingenious solar-heating panel that allows the sun to make the water very very hot.  On a sunny day, that is.  By evening.  But here one can have instant hot shower, any time of any day, any length of shower, for multiple people.  And I have not seen a single roach scurry across the tiles, or any mushrooms growing out of the cracks in the walls.  Nice.
CLEAN MEDICAL INSTRUMENTS AND PAIN RELIEF.  Just back from the dentist again.  So organized, sterile, and humane.  Very confidence-inspiring.  In Uganda mostly dentistry consists of pulling teeth which are past the point of repair.  Instead our extremely competent dentist keeps patching mine up, and his numbing techniques are an art form in itself.  
FRESH SALADS.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, lettuce.  Mounds of it.  Every day.  No more buying fresh and then having a two-month pause between the next trip to Kampala.  And BERRIES.  All shapes and colors, so tasty.  One hardly knows where to start.  After five days in CA with gourmet cooking by Ruth and Sonja we are quite spoiled . . but managed to pull together an exceptional meal at my mom's last night too.  

What I have a hard time getting used to:  
ABUNDANCE WITHOUT ACCESS.   Movies on the plane are pay-per-view.  The luggage carts in the airport have to be rented.  There is wireless internet everywhere, locked.  Every book I've searched for in the library has been checked out.  Several people have offered to loan us cars, but the insurance/liability technical issues lead into quagmires.  We will manage to get what we need, by God's provision, but I sense the frustration of seeing it without being able to reach it.  In Uganda there is a lot we can't get, but that's mostly because it's not actually THERE.  Once you see it, it is not so hard to reach it.
EVERYONE IS SUPPOSED TO KNOW THIS.  Everyone plans, far ahead.  We should have known that to take Caleb on a campus tour of Stanford, one must make a reservation.  On line.  Two weeks in advance, minimum.  Maybe they do background checks (see below).  In spite of this, we did a self-tour, and using techniques gleaned from movies I managed to get into a key-car-only dorm so we could even see a room.  Or take activities.  And all this stuff costs money (see above).  My kids are already too old to enter any new sports I think, people start young, and have played their whole life.  Community soccer leagues for the Fall closed registration on July 25 (I'm still investigating).  This is a culture where it is hard to just walk in, be spontaneous.
SECURITY, WHICH IS REALLY MARKETING.  To buy Luke a phone we practically had to donate an organ.  He's not 18, so Scott had to answer a zillion security questions.  I begin to see why right-wing militias hole up in Montana off the grid.  It's incredibly invasive.  All those details, to keep someone safe?  Or to gather marketing data?

I'm sure that's enough for today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The exact same thing happened to me- after spending a month in Honduras, I told someone the thing I was most looking forward to was having a clothes dryer. When my Dad picked me up at the airport he told me the dryer broke the previous night.

Saying a prayer for you all! I think of you often. Claire, Laura and I got together a couple weeks ago and reminisced about Bundi :)

meredith blount