I think that one of the things that I continually struggle with, and I do believe I have mentioned this before, is remembering that what we think is normal here, is probably not normal back in Canada, or lots of other places for that matter. This is my excuse for not having updated our blog since whenever we last updated it. Thank you all for your patience and understanding and not rolling your eyes too far into the backs of your heads.
A couple years ago we bought three new gas stoves in Canada to send here to replace the three old ones that were in the houses here on the compound. We thought, lets get quality, lets be patient and wait to get what we want and they will last a really really really long time. I mean when you pay for quality you get quality, right!? Am I right? Who goes out and knowingly pays for junk and expects quality? Soooo we bought good Canadian stoves from a good Canadian store and guess what happened for two whole years? Nothing, they worked fine, well sort of, they worked fine when we had power to run the glow plugs to light the oven, but that's a whole other story, maybe even two stories. That's right! They worked fine...until last Friday...when all three of them packed it in at the same time. Literally, within minutes of each other, makes cooking seven pizzas a little problematic. Oh well, we are in africa, where necessity is the mother of invention. The next day we hauled out one of the old ones, because we sold the other two, because why in heavens name would we ever need them again right!? It's not like we bought junk or anything to replace them. Well it turns out that the one we kept is missing a part, not a big part, it's just a little part, a little teeny part, a part that normally minds its own business and does its work without calling attention to itself or asking for any glory. It was however, missing, and guess which part in a city of over a million people you can't find?? You got it! Our teeny weeny little part, our part of no consequence, except for the fact that our stove absolutely will not function with out it! So maybe I underestimated the importance of this part, what can I say? I'm just a pilot! It's not like I know how to fix stuff, like gas stoves or toasters or vacuums or clocks or computers or solve complex algebraic problems! Cut me some slack I'm just an old-ish pilot...of sorts. At this point our gardener comes over and says, "hey, I think I know where we can get one of those teeny little inconsequential parts." Or something to that affect. We hop in to our truck, the gardener and I, and head off down the hill to drop off the toilet at his house. Don't worry about not understanding that, it's a whole other story, it just puts us further along in the stove story. After dropping off the toilet he starts to give me directions to where we are going to find our part. We head down from his house and cross the road into one of the bairros. A bairro is where people live and where there has been no city planning in regards to house and street location, as well as absolutely no development of any supporting infrastructure. We were passing a relatively nice place and I asked Ze if this was the place? He said no, it was around the corner, so we continued around the corner. Around the corner was a track leading across a "stream", a stream that replaces the lack of infrastructure. I seriously contemplated lifting my feet as we crossed it and thought about how to sterilize the truck later. I actually thought, "My poor truck!" After we crossed to the other side Ze tells me to stop, which I did, because I am trained to follow the instructions of the person who regularly occupies that seat. Ze gets out and heads over through the tall grass back to the "stream". I was thinking, "What, now? You couldn't wait till we got back to the house to use the bathroom?" In the end I figured if you gotta go, you gotta go. At that point he jumped the "stream" thankfully, and picked something up off the ground, in the bushes and weeds beside the "stream" Really? Seriously? are you kidding me? It was a controller from an old broken gas stove that the local kids had been recycling into its various elements and guess what was on the end of it? Our little teeny piece of no consequence. At that point what else can you do, but nod your head and go, "Of course that's where we would find the part to fix our stove, beside a "stream" in a bairro."
*please note that this story has not been edited and therefore any grammar or spelling errors are the sole responsibility of the author and do not reflect in anyway on the intelligence and beauty his wife.