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- We constantly run out of water (or within 200-300 liters of it), despite the fact that we’re on city water. In a typical week (if there is such a thing), water from the city is turned on for four hours, two days a week. So depending on our water usage (and whether we have visitors — equals extra showers, more dishes, etc), I could easily spend 4-6 hours of my work week getting water myself or having it delivered. And getting it myself requires time spent by Carson or Calvin (as they have means of moving large amounts of water, and I don’t), eating into their work days as well.
- Being without electricity can obviously change one’s schedule a great deal.
- There’s no such thing as running to the market, or into town, for ten minutes to pick up a few things. If I go near their stalls or storefronts, there are at least 7 or 8 vendors I am expected to go and greet, and many people along the way want to stop and chat. Only a short conversation is needed, and I consider this a real benefit of living in small town Africa — but it easily turns ten-minute trips into 30.
- There are many goods which, in order to be obtained, require trips to other cities (oats, canned vegetables, coffee, frozen chickens,* etc) — and others which are much cheaper in those other cities (almost everything, from bulk toilet paper to soap to nearly every food item, etc). Mwanza is the nearest city, and (now, due to a new paved road and an extra ferry across the lake,) is about a 2 1/2 hour journey, one-way.
- Car repair is also in Mwanza, as are many of the government offices we might need to visit. [Geita, however, has just become its own region, and is the capital of that region, so these offices will “soon” be coming our way.] Our insurance office is in Mwanza, and even our post office box is there (none available in Geita right now, and there exist zero large boxes at our post office anyway — for our team to share).
- A meeting time is not a meeting time. It’s usually a suggested time at which you might think about starting to go where you’re going. So if I’m told someone will meet me at 10:00 am, I have begun to expect them after 11:30. I used to try and find something useful to do during that time, while waiting at the specified location. Now I just show up a little late myself (still always first, though, no matter how hard I try). Not only does the waiting take time, but it prevents me from scheduling three meetings a day. Literally, two one-hour meetings can take an entire work day.
- We make our own bread, process our own meat, and almost all food is cooked from scratch. In the states, I always had an option to stick a frozen pizza in the oven or eat a bag of chips. Here, if there are any frozen pizzas, it’s because Christie made them Monday because she knew she wouldn’t have time on Thursday because of Bible study. If there are any chips, they’re homemade tortilla chips (from scratch, which is quite a process).
* Interestingly enough, frozen chickens in Mwanza cost the same as live local chickens in Geita — and have more meat on them. I kind of enjoy slaughtering animals and processing meat, but if buying frozen chickens yields more meat in less time (if we’re already in Mwanza with a cooler), I’m going to choose that option.
** A “work day” for me is (when possible) seven hours (instead of eight), and I wake up a lot earlier than I used to. I’ve not (and am not willing to) cut family time. And my exercise, study, and rest times have stayed about the same.