We ran out of gas for cooking for a couple days and water for a good solid 12 hours and the world officially ended. You don´t realize how much you appreciate those things until you are trying to smash charcoal into small bits and to give yourself a "bath" with a cup of water. The water wasn´t running where we normally get it from (the bar next door) and our housekeeper was sick. She may steal a bit of charcoal from us, but I´ll overlook it any day if it means we don´t have to cart water or wash dishes/clothes. The energy has been inconsistent the past few days too. Call me lazy...and you´d be right. It´s harder work here to do household chores here. You have no machines or modern conveniences, like running water or kitchen counters.
I´m considering the idea of building kitchen counters in our house. It´s just so annoying that our furniture in our kitchen, beside our table and chairs for eating, are a couple of old desks from the school that have been converted into a stand for our stove. I have made a list of possible improvements: a bench on our front porch, coconut candle holders for our walls when our electricity decides to go on the fritz, a shoe rack (frivolous, I know), maybe some shelves in our kitchen and possibly a bar to hang my clothes on. It´s all just talk and it will likely remain just that.
I had a chance to spend a couple of nights in Ilha last week and it was great. The place is just steeped in history so I love it. The buildings are still all there from the old days and there is, as Katie, the PCV on the island, puts it, a "Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" type of effect. You look through a doorway expecting to see a house or some kind of family set-up, but the building is in such a state of decay, that you can look straight through it into the ocean and there are trees and grass inside. She said she went to go visit a friend of hers and she walked through the door and there were huts set up inside. While I was there, I went to one of Katie´s friend´s birthday parties and I went to a beauty pageant on the island. I use "went" loosely because it was supposed to start at 8 and it was 9:30 or so when we decided to leave and nothing had really happened. Imagine that. Something not starting on time. Shocking. I did get to see my banker from Monapo at the pageant shaking it on the dance floor though. He´s an excellent dancer. During the dance break, he even managed to inform me that my debit card is now fully functioning and I can take out money from the ATM whenever I please. Good to know. The machine in Monapo ate my card 4 times, much to the chagrin of the large line of people waiting behind me to take out their money each time.
In other news, I´m starting to learn Makua more now. I can tell children to go away. I can say "where are you going?" and "I am going to the market." There´s also "dog" and "liar." It´s definitely not in the same realm of portuguese in language learning so it´s difficult but the locals love it when you try. My students are so excited to teach it to me, even though I think the school might not allow them to speak it. I´ve never really been clear on that rule. They call out "ehali?" and you call back "salaama!" and they explode in laughter. People constantly laugh at the little things we say so that we feel extraordinarily funny. We will surely be let down when we get back to the US and discover that this is not the case. I told a colleague that my dog won´t behave and I said "I´m going to kill him." I got a really concerned, solemn look from him. "Irene, don´t do that." Apparently, some phrases we throw around in the US just don´t translate. But now our colleague gets it when we joke that we had "Timba Frita" (fried Timba) last night for dinner.