This was written about a month ago, but the feelings associated with such predicaments are sometimes all too real on a regular basis...
There are a lot of things I like about Tanzania. I actually do usually appreciate the creativity that is forced on you when living here. But then, there are some things that just seem like way.too.much. to deal with.
I remember when the newbies (now more than a year-in families) arrived a year ago last July. Suddenly, I was reminded of all the things I’d struggled with upon my arrival. Dads feeling inadequate and unable to provide for their families in the simplest of things… like not knowing how to turn the light on, or where the bathroom switch might even be. Not knowing how to flush the toilet. Not knowing what’s wrong with their kiddo who has a fever but won’t get better.
It’s usually not even the biggest inconveniences that give me trouble. I expect the power to go off at the most random, most unhelpful times. I’m used to crazy traffic.
But the little things – the things that shouldn’t be a big deal? Those are the things that add up and end up driving me bonkers if I let them… or maybe that’s to tears. Depends on the day I guess.
Today it was tears.
Sometimes, you just want a house you can call a home and feel comfortable in. Other times, you just want to be able to leave said house, without getting sores on your arms and metallic scrapes and frustration boiling over and tears running down. After the last couple of days (apparently our door has been warping over the past few months) I’ve spent about 30 hours (ok, maybe minutes) trying to wrestle the grill on our front door (through the little hand-hole) into a position where I can lock it.
Why not lock the inside, wooden door, you might ask? Well, that door has warped too.
And the back door? What about that? Did I mention warping? This one requires a hammer to get it shut.
I should go ahead and state clearly here that my roommate and I have by far the best (in our opinion) house in Musoma of anybody (at least as a place for two singles to live!). It's comfortable, feels homey, and usually, most things work. So generally I can't complain. But there ARE times at which I'd like to leave said environment and mix with the outside world, and at such moments, locking the door behind me becomes a necessity.
So yesterday when I texted my roommate in frustration as I tried to leave for school (late already, of course), she granted me a reprieve by crossing the street from the office to help me “lock myself out.”
*Have I mentioned what an amazing roommate I have?*
I didn’t come back till I knew she was there. Though I might have been otherwise tempted by a dinner with my adopted family as well!
Today, same idea, except my roommate was far away helping someone move. This time I was finished. Yesterday I kept it together, today was supposed to be a relaxing Saturday, and this was just too much. I called my friend who I was supposed to meet, told her I wasn’t coming, closed (carefully, I’m sure) the door from the inside and collapsed at my computer. To write this. A few minutes later some friends drove by who had heard about my predicament and between the two of them, managed to wrestle the door into submission.
Have I mentioned what an amazing community we have here?
I left, WAY more frazzled than usual.
The thing is, I know it’s stupid. I know the door has nothing against me, I know that it’s a little thing, but sometimes the little things add right up to make people feel like they’re not competent, and the lies of “you’re not good enough” and “something’s wrong with you” and “why do you even try” start filtering through. I’m getting better at zapping them with my light-saber flavored Truth, but it’s still easy for the frustration to cloud the view of the silver linings and start to let raindrops start coming down.
The acid kind, that burn. Not the cool refreshing ones.
A few days later, we got a fundi (expert/specialist of some kind) to come out and re-solder the door… and for the time being, at least, I can once again leave my house in peace and safety. Oh, what a relief it is! But in all honesty, as frustrating as some things are here sometimes, I’m so blessed, encouraged, and amazed to see how the missionary community that surrounds me is willing to help one another with the big and little things every day!