Panic room

I sent everyone into a panic this morning. I had earplugs and a sleep mask over my eyes and slept till 8:45am. I usually have visitors in the house by 7am – Moses is typically first with a “good morning Mr. Rossman” said with his nose tight to the kitchen window screen in hopes I’ll hear in the bedroom; then Annie and/or Amelia ready to sweep or clean something or just sit on my couch; then somebody like Titus or a security guard to say hello. No one got a response this morning until the heavy rapping on the steel door and persistent talking through my bedroom window aroused my consciousness. A concerned Sumo had just arrived and was ready to give permission to Amelia to use her key for an emergency intervention when I peeled away my mask, extracted my earplugs, and squeezed out a “good morning” acknowledgment. Pulling on some shorts and rubbing sleep (and Liberian dust) from my eyes, I squinted like a nocturnal critter deflecting the bright sunlight as I stepped into the porch full of caring friends. “I thought you were not well. You don’t sleep this late,” said Amelia. The small crowd dispersed and the regular routines of the day were restored.

A new steel door being fabricated for the office was ready for installation so John 2 went into Gbarnga to retrieve it along with the welder and his helper. My task was to use my hammer drill with a 1/2″ masonry bit to bore a series of deep holes in the concrete door jambs so some steel rod could be imbedded onto which the steel frame would be welded into place. We marked locations and checked the door fit. I bored 8″ deep holes then watched as they began welding.

Look very closely in the upper right corner and you see a blue lick of flames from the welding coming from inside.

Called away by another person needing my attention, I returned later to find the door installation complete and Sumo satisfied with his heightened security measures. He mentioned that John 2 said there was a problem with the drill and something was “burning up”. What drill? What burning? Who used my drill? I knew I forgot to do something…take my drill away! I called John 2 and he said they used my drill to make a couple of holes deeper and it started smoking. I was not happy they used it without my knowledge or permission. How can I bore at least 8 holes and they burn it up making two holes slightly deeper?!?! I just put new brushes in and it was working perfectly for me. Somehow every power tool Liberian workers touch gets burned out. I couldn’t summon the energy to get it out of the warehouse and investigate what was wrong…I was too frustrated.

Topping off my frustration, I headed to the poultry storage to see the finished rat-preventing screened feed storage area and as I passed the water tower I saw dripping from one of the fittings I just replaced with Lavela. I wanted to put my sleep mask and ear plugs in then crawl under my covers. Disgusted by the thought of having to climb up with no good ideas for stopping this persistent leak, I walked away hoping for good news at the chicken farm. Jerome did a nice job screening the enclosure and keeping all door seams tight to avoid rodent infiltration. Check one for a project success.

I sat in on a portion of one teacher’s class and made a few suggestions for better discipline strategies. I spent the rest of the afternoon working on a grant application. I discovered the US Embassy in Monrovia has a grant program for community initiatives in areas like education, water, sanitation, small agricultural projects, etc. – all applicable to GLTC. I’m hoping to submit the application in person later this week when I head to Monrovia. I need at least one letter of support from a community and/or government leader so I drafted letters for Chief Dean and the Bong County Superintendent for Development to sign. I walked to Deanville with the letters in an envelope and a small band of boys in tow. Chief Dean reviewed the letter (I read it to him because he’s not literate) and, with great concentration, he signed “W. K. Dean” in capital letters. He thanked me for continuing to think of Deanville and for all we are doing for his community. Check two in the success column for the day.

Tomorrow I have to man up and look at the drill issue and the water leak…again. Perhaps I’ll sleep in.

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