Greetings from Mama Arlene for September, 2009

The month has been such a busy one. The weather has been the expected weather for the dry months. This is the first totally dry three months since I arrived in April, 2006.

We have been carrying water from the “Swamp”, which is really a spring that has been developed by the International Red Cross. At least that is what the sign says and the water is free. Getting the water is another thing. It is at the bottom of a very steep hill. Emmy, my assistant and driver, took me there and I walked down the hill to the water source and back up to the road, not carrying a 20 liter can of water on my head. Truly I don’t know how the guards do it, but they do.

We thank God for the four wheel drive Surf Toyota. The back window does not come down and so the door back there does not open. We removed one of the back seats so we can load the cans through that door. Removing the seat also gives us more room for the tubs and Jeri cans full of water limiting the number of trips we must make. We are able to get enough water in two trips to supply water for a day. Others less fortunate carry their water on their heads and on foot. It is miles from where we live over very bad roads. The Surf is a gas hog and has problems but it runs. The new motor we put in works well but the gear box is too small and so it has limited power. When we get the motor paid for we will check in to how much it will cost to have the gear box changed. The motor cost much more than we expected. The man who owns the garage is letting us pay the bill a little at a time and use the car. This is not common practice in Rwanda. He said, “because you are caring for children and helping our country my wife and I want to help you. He is charging no labor only what he paid for the motor. A man from Scotland named Mike Hope put us in contact with this man. Mike and his partner Scott Houston are demolition experts. Working here with implosions to break up the lava fields in Congo. Dangerous work. You never know where your help will come from. God in Charge.