Sunday, November 28, 2010

A "More Often Than Not" Day

A.J. and Gabriel with Grandpa, Grandma, aunties and uncle.

Today was one of those typical "I'm going to get some work done" Saturdays. The difficult-to-work-with child care director had a list of items that she had given me Friday night that would only take two or three hours to knock out. So, out the door bright and early! I am gathering up a few tools and I run into my lovely wife who informs me that the dining room septic tank is backed up and running down the side walk. This is not the first time this has happened, so I know the routine: call the maintenance guys to pull the covers off the tank and we will have this fixed in a jiffy. No problem.

We just get the covers off and the gate guard informs me that there is a gal there to apply for a job. She has an appointment with Mrs. Veneman at 10 a.m. It is now 8:30 a.m. Mrs. Veneman is having Bible Study with the mothers until 9:30am, so I guess that leaves me to escort her in and get her an application.

While I am walking her to the clinic, where she can fill out an job application, some family members arrive at the gate to visit their two nephews/grandsons. These boys have been at the village for six months now, and grandpa, grandma, uncle, and two aunties want to see how they are doing.

So after I get the potential new hire situated at the clinic desk, I escort the five family visitors to the dining hall and inform Mrs. Veneman that visitors are here. Interrupting the Child Care Director in the middle of her Mother's Bible study is not a high productive move ordinarily, but there are exceptions. She is happy to hear about the family visitors.

Back to the house to get an application for the girl applicant; back to the dining hall to see if our five guests are doing OK; and then back to the septic tank, that is conveniently located in the middle of the dining hall, the clinic, and my house, to deal with the two yard maintenance guys who have been watching me walk back and forth, while leaning on their shovels. I tell the maintenance guys to get the pump and pump some of the water out of the tank so we can possibly see where the obstruction is while I go back to the clinic to check on the potential new hire.

Babs, now done with her Bible Study, is with the family visitors and calls me to please get the camera and take a picture of the boys and their family. So, back to the house to fetch the camera with a stop at the septic tank to answer some high tech questions about why the stuff is not running downhill at the moment. With camera in my hand, I head back to the dining hall and take two Ansel Adam quality pictures of Gabriel, A.J., and their extended family, and I am headed back to the house to print and laminate two award winning photos for the family to take home with them.

Back to the dining hall to deliver the pictures. The maintenance guys again leaning on their shovels is not lost on me. I am beginning to think these guys must have trained with CalTrans. The family is incredibly grateful for the pictures, and so thankful for the care being given their two precious children. We are confident that one of the boys, and possibly both, would not be alive if it had taken two weeks longer to get their paperwork through the Ministry of Health. Even after the boys arrived at the village, they scared us at how long it took for them to respond to good nutrition and meds.

As Babs and I walked this family to the gate after the visit was over, the grandfather said that if he dies now, he will be at peace because they did the right thing by letting the boys go. His wife was doing a Liberian dance, thanking Jesus that their boys were alright. All this is happening while the maintenance guys are leaning against their shovels (again), wanting me to come over and talk to them about the septic condition (again). But that is not to happen yet, as I head to the clinic to interview the job applicant to determine if she would be a fine addition to our staff. The maintenance boys look quite dejected.

The 23 year old applicant has completed her application quite thoroughly. We find that she has finished high school and speaks understandable English. Babs thinks she would like to hire this candidate for the kitchen, so that means another trip to the house for the whole hiring kit (paperwork). On the way by, I make a stop at the septic tank and the "boys" and I embark on some genius level conversation about why the stuff is going down the sidewalk instead of the drain pipe.

After the trip to the house to get the hiring kit, I am back at the clinic explaining what it means to be an employee here. Little things, like actually coming to work, and letting someone know when you need to be gone for three days to attend a wedding or funeral. The one rule that is quite precious to me is that after each pay day, an employee is expected to come back to work even though there might be money left over in his pocket.

Following our little talk of why we pay employees once a month, it's back to the house to print off her passport photos so she can get a police clearance letter. I bring the photos to her in the clinic. The master plumbers are now tired of the whole septic tank thing and inform me that they are going back to what they were doing before (cutting weeds). I inform them that if they can leave the whole area as they found it before starting on this project, they can go. They concur, but first it is time for lunch. And they leave for lunch. They will finish the septic situation after they return.

And so goes my morning. Nothing accomplished that I had on my list. This is a normal day.

Have a good, productive day!