It started our normally enough. I was in the city, having spent the night after our Christmas party last night. I woke up and quickly got ready - except I couldn't take a nice bath (it's cooled off unaccountably) because no hot water would come out of the tap although the cold worked ok and the toilet is broken so I have to use a five liter bottle to flush it with. But those things are fairly normal. I head out to the US Embassy to renew my passport, so I had my passport, DIRE (Mozambican residency), original driver's license and a $100 bill with me. That made me a bit nervous. But then, I got in the car and the car wouldn't start. Wouldn't click, click click or chug, chug, chug. Absolutely nothing. But the radio and lights worked.
As I was getting out of the car, my cell phone that I forgot was on my lap dropped to the street and the screen broke, but not the phone. Little good the phone did me however, as I was out of credit and out of money since I had paid the guard his "Boas Festas", a bonus, the night before.
So, no problem. I walk to the corner, very conscious of the increase of crime here at Christmas time, to use the ATM. Shouldn't have worried about the money I was to withdraw being stolen as the machine was out of money. So was the next machine. Fortunately, the third machine I went to had money, all in 500 met denominations.
Which meant, when I went to buy 100 mets of phone credit, the vendor didn't have change. After a while he comes back with change, 2 two hundreds and 1 one hundred. I decide to buy two cards, but he only has one. Not one to lose a sale lightly, he begs me to wait while he goes and gets another 100 met card. Keep in mind, I just gave him 100 mets to buy the first card. So when he returns with another 100 mets of credit to sell me, I give him the Two hundred met bill, thinking he'll just give me back the One hundred I had just given him. No. He used that so now he doesn't have change again. So off he goes to get change. After about an hour, I have some money and some phone credit. But the car still won't start and the phone screen is still broken!
We try jump starting the car which doesn't work but thankfully, after scraping the corrosion of one of the leads, it started up and I was on my way. It wasn't AAA that came to the rescue by the way, it was the guard for the house next door and one of the waiters at the restaurant I was in front of. There's no such thing as road service here, other than friendly help!
However, I was an hour late for my Afternoon Program, had missed giving Thabo and Domingos their extra meat for lunch, couldn't go shopping for odds and ends, including the paper I was intending to buy for the afternoon program! No worries though - the corner store had Coke Light and toilet paper so my top two shopping items were taken care of!
But the boys are patient and flexible and our program goes great and they make beautiful paper chains (for Christmas) with what we had.
Afterward I make a cake for a new missionary's birthday and when the timer goes off, the cake isn't done. Nor is it hot. Hmmm. Uh oh. I've run out of gas for the stove. It's five o'clock! Yikes! The kitchen area with the gas is closing. Now, it's not a simple thing to change my gas. One time, when I asked the maintenance dept if there was something they could do to keep the cupboard doors from swinging open all the time, the screwed in a board, in five places, connected to the shelf blocking the gas bottle, and the cupboard. So, to change the bottle, I have to take out all my dishes, pots and pans, etc, unscrew five screws, take apart a shelf and a cupboard door. Which went without a hitch actually. So, one of my chefes (youth helpers) goes to try and change the gas bottle. I thought about crossing my fingers but decided to pray!
I quickly head up to the clinic to bring Thabo his dinner. The clinic is locked, closed. Thabo, with his Tia, is staying at the back of the clinic. I think about banging my head on the door but opt for just my fist. After banging for about 5 minutes, thankfully, someone hears me and comes and opens the door. Another crisis averted!
And, I go home and there's Agostino with my new gas bottle! "Hallelujah!" I shout! That's unbelievable, first that they were still open and then that they actually had a replacement!
After re-installing everything but the kitchen sink, I heat up Domingos' dinner to bring him and . . . they've already fed him. Too late!
I sigh and turn around with my plate of mashed chicken and think about eating it myself. I've no energy left to contemplate cooking dinner - and I still have a half-baked cake to make!
Tomorrow's another day!