I saw the ugliest bug I’ve ever seen today. As Kathy will attest…I hate bugs. I love snakes, but I hate bugs. This one was about 3 inches long and looked like a mix between a huge shiny black beetle, a horseshoe crab, and a lobster claw – and they fry them up and eat them! I’ll add this to the list of “no thanks, I’m full” types of food I’ve encountered here. I’m sticking with PB&J.
On the bright side, our landscaping is starting to take shape. Sumo and some Deanville community members have been putting in all sorts of plants and flowers just below the drip edge of all the buildings’ roofs both for beauty and to prevent erosion, especially during the rainy season. They’ve been back filling soil by the buildings to build a sort of berm against the foundation, just behind the plantings. The gang of boys has been planting “carpet grass”, a very low spreading grass that doesn’t get much taller than a golf putting green but will also help stop the ubiquitous erosion found wherever land has been cleared. It’s looking like a beautiful place to be educated!
After a morning ride to Gbarnga to pick up supplies and John 2 (who’s taking medication but still looks wiped out), I discussed some drawings with Lavela pertaining to the restroom stall doors and light inside each bathroom. Here’s a sampling of the many drawings I give to Lavela which are sometimes totally rejected in favor of the Liberian method of achieving the same goal.
I then redirected to see if the leak repairs held on the reservoir tank. As it filled, it was clear that one repair worked well, the other still dripped…so back up the tower with another experimental gasket salvaged from an old sink drain. Unfortunately, with a full 1,500 gallon tank of water I had to make the repair with water gushing from the 1″ fitting while trying not to look down at the thirty-foot abyss below me. The retro-gasket seems to be holding with just a minor occasional droplet. I also suited up with a makeshift haz-mat suit consisting of rubber gloves and a kitchen towel for a respirator in order to address the most significant (and potentially hazardous) leak at the chlorinator. I enlisted Sando to wave a large fan using a zinc roofing scrap to keep fresh air entering the pump house as I shut all valves, drained the chlorine loop, and extracted the chlorine tablet cover like a robotic member of the bomb squad. I was happy to find that the stack of 5 tablets had not turned to mush and were still totally intact, saving me from my fear of a toxic chlorine sludge oozing out as I removed the cover. The smell was intense so I quickly escaped for fresh air before reentering to find the suspect large o-ring gasket misaligned. Fortunately, due to the wisdom of Doug Larson, there was a handy replacement in a ziplock bag accompanied by some Vaseline for ensuring a good seal. With the cap securely back as it should be, I kicked on the pump and viola! no leak!
With that victory behind me, I moved on to the guesthouse kitchen where I’ve begun constructing kitchen cabinetry. The “red wood” used by furniture makers on the streets looks like mahogany to me and is said to keep the bugs from eating it. I bought some planed lumber that I had the sawyer rip on his circa-1930’s table saw (I think the blade is also original!) and began piecing things together. I brought along a Kreg pocket hole jig which I use all the time for building cabinetry and furniture for my clients at home. I showed Lavela how it worked and offered to leave it with him when our job is finished. The planed lumber is still a bit rough, especially the width cuts they made for me, so the kitchen will have a “rustic aesthetic”. Sando has been interested in learning pretty much everything I’ve been working on, with cabinet making no exception. This was the first time she’s ever used a hammer and her swing is better than most newbies I’ve mentored during our youth mission trips in Appalachia. By the time I reached the end of the day, there were many more “helpers” getting in my way as I tried to screw, nail, align, and install each piece. Each boy got a chance to nail some of the cabinet floor.
As has become the daily tradition, all the kids jump in the back of baby Foton for the ride to drop off John 2 at Iron Gate, then back again to Deanville. Dusu and Kou are always very excited and just too photogenic. Here they are being extremely cute lounging in the spare tire propped up in the truck bed.