Thursday 1st November 2007
A lot has been happening over here in the last week or so, and I am in the process of writing it all down, but it’s an ongoing problem involving Alan’s orphanage, some serious abuse and neglect of children, and what exactly we’re going to be able to do about it.
We’ve been meeting with people all week, from community police officers, to other orphanages and all sorts of other problems and potential solutions have come up.
It’s such a long and involved story that I’m going to have to wait a bit before I tell you all about it, as the situation has literally changed every day this week, so I can’t type fast enough!
In the meantime, I’m going to tell you all some random little anecdotes to keep you amused, although the next few emails will probably be long and involved – don’t say you weren’t warned!
I was watching “Jurassic Park” with the kids the other day (I’ve bought them a DVD player now that their telly’s been fixed), and I was sitting on the bed, with most of the kids on the floor around me, when the bed started jiggling.
It was that rhythmic jiggling that you feel when you’re sitting on the same sofa as someone with an irritating nervous tic and joggles their leg incessantly (Yes Bryn, I would be referring to you!).
Anyway, I was looking around, and kept asking the kids “Who’s kicking the bed?”, and suddenly Priya ran in and started shouting at everyone. We all looked at her a bit confused, and one of the kids turned the telly off and they started slowly filing downstairs. I asked her what was the matter and she said “Didn’t you feel the earthquake?”
So we went outside, although it had already stopped, and stood in a big huddle in the middle of the garden. Aamaa was eyeing up the house suspiciously and obviously waiting for another one, but it was such a small one it couldn’t have possibly done any damage.
All the neighbours laughed at us all standing in the garden, from their roofs or windows, as no-one else had even bothered to go outside, but I thought it was really quite sensible of Aamaa all in all.
So, my first earthquake, although I didn’t realise it was one until it was all over!
Also this week my parcels arrived en masse!
I’ve been waiting for various parcels from friends and family for almost two months, and suddenly they all came at once!
It was really fun opening up so many boxes, and I got loads of lovely books and games for the kids, some great worksheets for school, lots of medical supplies (Aamaa was particularly ecstatic about those) and some nice girly stuff for me – lots of nice lotions and body washes etc.
I’ve been feeling partiucularly filthy recently, as the weather is definitely a bit nippy in the mornings, and the ever-elusive hot water seems to be even less available (I don’t think the sun is strong enough during the day any more to heat the solar panels that heat the water properly).
So, I’ve been managing a VERY brief shower almost every other day (I can literally stand the cold water long enough to get wet all over, but that’s about it).
I can usually wash my hair on a Friday, as we stay in a cheap hotel for our night out and they usually have hot water, but it feels awful having manky hair for days on end!
Anyway, the other morning I was downstairs washing the rice and the water was hot!
I raced upstairs to jump in the shower and wash my hair, but there’s a lovely, very sick old man who’s been staying with us, and he was making his way, painstakingly slowly, down the stairs from his room towards the bathroom, with his toothbrush in his shaky hand, – he’d already put toothpaste on it and everything!
I couldn’t bear to go in front of him, so I waited, but then it became clear he was going to be a while, so I went back downstairs and carried on cooking. I kept going back upstairs to check, but after that there was ALWAYS some kid or other in the bathroom washing!
I finally made it at about 7.30, (I’d been up since 5.30), dived into the bathroom ahead of a couple of ten year-olds, whipped my clothes of and spread all my shampoos etc out, only to discover that by then there wasn’t any hot left!
I was SOOOOO gutted!
However, the very next morning, I saw Aamaa in the bathroom washing her clothes. I thought it was a bit odd and asked why she wasn’t doing it outside like normal, and she said there was hot water again, so she was using some of it to wash her clothes in.
I was so excited and begged her to let me go in and wash my hair as soon as she was done before any other kids could use it all up (callous I know, but I really needed it!).
Aamaa duly finished up and called me, but then started some complicated explanation I couldn’t understand at all.
Eventually I realised that she was saying there actually wasn’t any hot water left in the tank, only what was in the bucket (they have a big plastic outdoor-bin in the bathroom filled with water for the kids to wash with).
I looked, and the bin was only half full, and the water in it was only tepid.
Then Aamaa kept going on about taking a bucket of water, so I thought there wouldn’t be any left at all. I really didn’t understand what she was driving at, but eventually she took an empty bucket and left me to wash.
After the icy cold showers I’ve gotten used to, the tepid water was actually quite nice, and although I had to stand and pour the water over myself with a jug rather than a proper shower it was still warm enough to risk washing my hair. Then about halfway through washing there was a knock on the door, and Jake was standing outside with a bucket about a third-full with boiling water!
I realised that Aamaa (bless her) had gone downstairs and boiled the kettle for me (I bought her an electric kettle a couple of weeks ago), so I now had more than enough hot water to properly wash!
I basked in my hot water, and used all my lovely new scrubs and shower gels, and wafted out of the bathroom later smelling of fresh clean hair and mandarins!
It was AMAZING! You have no idea how ecstatic I am these days about hot water and proper showers!
Plus it has only just occured to me that from now on, anytime I want a proper wash, I can just boil the kettle myself!
So, am well chuffed with my clean hair, and the lovely lotions and bath-stuff I’ve received, as well as everything else – thank you again to everyone who sent me lovely things!
That’s about it for now, but stay tuned for the slightly grimmer news to follow shortly (although hopefully we’re getting close to finding a workable solution).
Anyone who knows of any people/corporations who’d be interested in sending a regular monthly donation (50-100 pounds) would be VERY helpful, but even without I think we’re getting somewhere at last.
tons of love
(who’s also still a veggie by the way)