Marilyn Tangey: Making the most of opportunities

Carting the rice
The volleyball coach asked me to drive his team into Maliana for a game on Wednesday. At the agreed time I arrived at the school to find my services not required. Not to worry. There were other jobs to do, including taking spectators into watch the games. First day I ferried bags of rice to the milling machine and then continued to Maliana to watch volleyball.(We are the blue team.)

Friday’s departure for Maliana was delayed to put rice into sacks and then take two loads of bagged rice to their destination in Moleana village. The boys expecting a ride to Maliana cheerfully assisted with bagging and carting rice. The job finished, we then could continue our journey to watch some football, leaving behind many more students who also wanted a ride in.   It’s a bit like how do you put an elephant in a fridge? There’s no way I could take them all.

Speaking of fridges, the big excitement of the week was that the rat that has been visiting for a number of weeks has finally met his maker. Last night he decided to rest in the old fridge that no longer operates as a cooling devise. Marg was here and this morning opened the fridge, that has been propped open, only to see a rat looking at her from the shelf on the door. She quickly closed the door and called for assistance. I was in the garden with four boys doing a little bit of fence repairing. The fridge was moved outside, Nata put two layers of gloves on, Luis stood armed with a machete and I moved a bucket of water closer in case immersion was possible. As Nata opened the door, the rat made a run for it along the veranda but was stopped in its tracks when Luis delivered a blow to its head with a machete. I have been dancing around all day saying, “No more rat!” Thursday night when there was no electricity to see properly, I believe the rat ‘slept’ in my room because in the morning there were splinters of wood on the floor where I allege he had been gnawing at the door.

This week I also have been teaching three people to drive – Natalino, Luis and Nando. Very amusing trying to teach people who have rarely been in a car!  The roads are quiet so there is little traffic to deal with but when a vehicle does come it means moving right off the road because it is only wide enough for one vehicle in most places.   At one point Nando almost crashed into a steel bridge,  a little unforgiving,  but we all survived.

Tomorrow I am driving to Suai with Nando, his wife and child and a student who lives with Nando. The purpose is to meet with people to discuss implementing an English teaching program for the community, based around Nando’s small village. That’s another chapter…

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The future of every community lies in capturing the passion, the imagination and the resources of its people. - Ernesto Sirolli