Sunday, November 25, 2007

The events of the last few days have been overshadowed by rain and car problems. My car overheated again on Thursday. We (Siphiwe and I) were stranded out in the middle of no where trying to figure out what to do. We finally decided we had no choice but to drive it a little further to see if we could find a house with water tanks or something. We found a small store that had a water tank truck in front of it. Luckily they sold us some water from the truck. Those that were in the store were right there with their buckets catching everything everything that came out that we couldn’t catch or use. I had to stop one more time before eventually making it back to St. Paul’s. By the time we got back I was hot, tired and not very thrilled about my car. I SMS’d Teresa to tell her I couldn’t attend the Thanksgiving dinner, went home to shower, but there wasn’t any water. I was a real happy camper. Luckily my best friend Laura called from California to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving. It was 7:00 am her time, so she got to wake up to my tale of woe. Bless Teresa’s husband because he dove down Mbabane to pick me up so I could join them all for Thanksgiving dinner. It was wonderful even if I was hot and sweaty. Another couple brought me home. Coming down the mountain from Mbabane to Manzini it was very foggy. Then just as they reached my place it started raining. It thundered and rained all night long.

Friday morning was clear, hot and muggy and I had a car to deal with. It was clear that the person who looked at my car didn’t really know what was going on or how to fix it and it was also clear that I needed a radiator shop. However, I had been given the name of a good auto repair store in Matsapha (which is where the radiator shop is also). Matsapha is an industrial town not too far from Manzini. The guys wouldn’t take me to the auto repair place I wanted them to take me to (I don’t think they knew were it was but wouldn’t say.) but they did lead me to the radiator store. A big guy came out to look at it and said “take off the radiator cap and there won’t be the pressure on the radiator. It will be fine.” Well you can imagine I almost lost it. I didn’t, but they knew I was not happy about what they were doing and the fact that they hadn’t taken me where I asked to go. Friday was not my day of patience especially for auto repair Swazi style. Either the owner heard my response to their “solution” or happened to see a white woman at a car with three Swazi’s and decided he better come and see what was going on. Luckily he seemed to be knowledgeable, explained things that were along the lines of what I thought I knew, and he was very professional. The bad and good news is the radiator has to be replaced. I hope he doesn’t find anything else wrong.

I called one of my friends from bible study to come bring me home. I was so blessed that she could drop what she was doing and drive all the way to get me. She took me to the ATM in Manzini so I could start getting the money together for the repair bill. We forgot, the 23rd, a Friday, is a payday in Swaziland. The lines at the ATM were very long. When I finally got up to the ATM, I pulled out the daily limit from the Swazi account I am using and then tried to pull the rest out of my US account. I forgot the pin. Great. (I think I have since remembered it, but now I don’t have transportation back to the bank to try it.) My friend took me home and I just sat down and decided to read a novel that one of my friends in the States sent me. It was wonderful to bury all my thoughts into the characters lives in a book. It was almost as good as going to a movie, except that this took longer, which was even better.

It rained again Friday night. I got up Saturday morning and didn’t have even a drop of water in my place. Go figure. It had been raining and it was still misting, but I didn’t have water. The mist continued most of Saturday until the middle of the afternoon when it started raining hard again and continued raining hard into the middle of the night.

The rain provided me a good excuse to curl up on my sofa chair and read until my book was finished. It was a treat.

The bad thing about the rain is that there was a church dedication of Nsuka Methodist Church which is in the hills about 12 or 15 km from here. And of course about half of the road is dirt. Because of the rain they weren’t able to completely finish the church, but the dedication and celebration went on anyway. This church is a very unusual design. It goes with the slope of the mountain. Therefore, the inside has natural stadium seating (benches) sloping down to the front of the church. The congregation has about 200 members. The church also had more children than I have seen at any of the church functions. They were so excited. It was a great service. The food, of course, was amazing. The ladies had to cook it in the old sanctuary because of the rain. Then they quickly cleaned it out and set up tables for the honoured quests to eat. Right as we pulled out of the church grounds to head back, it started raining pretty hard. I watched the torrents of rain washing down around my cottage for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. It was amazing. I hope the lowveld received some of this rain.

So far today there hasn’t been rain and I have had water. Luckily I have enough food in my refrigerator since I don’t have transport. Please pray that my car is fixed in the morning, that the overheating didn’t cause other issues and that I can find someone to take me to the bank and then to pick up the car.

This has not been the most encouraging or heart warming last couple of days. This is Swaziland. Nothing makes sense sometimes.

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