Monday, November 2, 2009
I Tripped Over a Rat!
i love our life in Haiti!
We appreciate every moment because everything we do is linked to everything else we do. Taking a shower, flushing a toilet or simply getting water into the house is not just a matter of turning on a tap. It requires quick pre-thought and planning. An alert, non-hesitant individual must be constantly on guard and, at a moment's notice, be ready to pump water from our underground cistern (provided either rain or a water truck have kept it filled) through our water pump, up to the roof of our second story to a 250 gallon shadadow (a water holding tank on top of our house). From the shadadow, the water is then gravity-fed to the rest of the house. Voila! Water!
i try to perform this vital duty every day (Lord willing) to avoid running out of water. Now, i used to be able to turn on our generator to provide the power to operate the water pump to accomplish this important task but the generator is sort of on it's last legs and no longer handles the major power drain. Therefore, i wait, hopefully, expectantly, for city power to come on (usually, anywhere from 8-11pm at night -- if we're blessed). Then (and if) it comes on, i dash downstairs to the water pump, sometimes in heavy rain or other less than favorable conditions, and switch on the pump.
Recently, we were already out of water and i needed to pump soon or the family would start melting-down ("No water for dishes!" "Can't take a shower" "The toilet hasn't been flushed in DAYS!").
i kept getting up to check the street light in front of our house (the most visible sign that city power has arrived). Nothing! Again, i checked. Nothing! i started to dose off. Quick, you can't sleep now! If you miss this opportunity, the whole household will collapse! i tried to stay awake but couldn't. i dosed off.
Yipes! i startled myself! The beautiful beam of blueish-green light shone through my window. How long had i been asleep? No time to check i just had to move! i jumped up out of bed, slipped on my flip flops and dashed downstairs. It was dark and i couldn't see well. As i approached the pump, i slowed down, just in time to feel something warm and hairy slither between my feet. i stopped. Tripped. Stumbled. Grabbed on to the pump house door. Ugh!!!! i tripped on a rat. But i had to keep moving and switch that switch. My life -- the well-being of my family -- was at stake! i grabbed hold of the switch, switched it up and heard that musical sound that brings joy to many (well, at least me) -- the hum of the water pump -- pumping water rapidly up from the cistern to the shadadow. i did it! We were going to be alright! i saved my family!
As i paused to reflect upon my self-congratulatory thoughts and what a good provider i was, i heard a squeaking sound -- kind of a squeaking, clicking sound. It was coming from above me. i slowly lifted my eyes up into the tree above me only to see a massive number of rats right above me rapidly scurrying about in the tree -- right over my head! My stomach churned. i hate rats!!! They are the nemesis of my existence!
For a moment, i felt like the guy in the movie "Willard" -- a B-rated horror film i viewed PC (pre-Christian) days. It was about this guy who went a little crazy and trained all these rats to take-out revenge upon his enemies. i walked away from the pump slowly, cautiously, hoping the rats would not decide to turn and jump on me.
As i made it back to walk up the stairs, back into the house, i thought perhaps i had been a bit harsh on the rats and soon found myself singing the Michael Jackson song from the sequel to Willard - "Ben."
Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I'll never be alone
And you my friend will see
You've got a friend
Needless to say, pray for me and all your missionaries in Haiti and around the world.