OUR HOME: Home is where the heart is!
Written by: The Bridge on Friday, May 9th, 2008
Hello to everyone! It seems many people wonder about our living conditions here in Palmgrove, so I think it’s time to write about it.We get questions and comments about electricity, our house, our rooms, our water and cooking, so I’ll try to answer some of your queries.
First and foremost, yes, we DO have running water and flushing toilets in our house- most of the time.The only time these will not work is when our water tower is empty.When we don’t have electricity for too long a time, maybe a week, then we will need to start our big generator to get the pump that fills the tower going.The water tower empties faster during the dry season than during the rainy season because the women all use hoses to water their gardens of pineapple and water leaf every morning and evening.They use lots of water during this time.So, as we now get into the rainy season, I find I worry less about running out of water.I can pretty much tell about the condition the tower is in by the water pressure coming out of the tap.Lots of pressure is when the tower is almost full, but it just runs very unenthusiastically when it’s getting lower and lower yet.Once it’s empty, Ed Vetter will call one of the puem, and they will run to start the generator and it has to run quite a while to fill the tank enough so everyone can use it, maybe an hour.Also, once it does get empty and we just don’t have diesel for the generator and the boys have to drive to town to get fuel, we get a pail of water from the stream and we use that to wash our hands and to pour into the toilets so they flush.Nice, huh?
Yes, Palmgrove is blessed with its water tower; the water is safe to drink, unlike anywhere in the near vicinity.Here we use the same water for cooking and drinking as we do for showering and for the toilets, also for washing our clothes, but when the tower is empty, we just go to the stream to wash and bathe.In the surrounding jungle, there is no such safe water.There is only the stream, and while the black people can drink from it, they seem to have some sort of immunity to the impurities in it; we whites should not drink it unless we boil it.It is a very good source of Typhoid and all sorts of other sicknesses if we drink right from it!The water tower is filled from a deep well right beside it – 190 feet deep.This is our trusty washing machine, but when clothes pile up too much and there’s no electricity, we wash by hand, in the tub.
Most of the time we cook our food with propane, on a countertop burner.We cook at home because, while there is always (if there is money to buy) breakfast, even on Sundays, there is not always lunch and supper.During the week we have breakfast and lunch and on weekends, Saturday- it’s breakfast and supper and Sundays’ it’s just breakfast.So when there is no food in the dining room, everyone cooks at home, and the women therefore each have their own garden plot from which they can cook or they sell their produce to get money to buy foodstuffs.
When there is NAPA, electricity, we use our electrical stove.Then we can bake too, but it’s happened a few times already that we had buns or rolls rising in our little kitchen and uh oh!NAPA goes off, and our poor buns rise and rise and start draping over the sides of the pans but there is nothing you can do about it!Actually, come to think about it, last time Judy started the propane burner, got some water cooking, put a little steel frame, you know the ones that come with a microwave, inside and placed one pie pan full of love knots inside.Then she put the cover on tightly and let it cook for an hour. It worked!It is called steamed baking, but takes a lot of propane.The other houses use firewood and cook with small fires behind their houses.You can go back there anytime and someone is always cooking something.
The house the white people live in when they come here is called the Missionary house, Decker house, or guest house, whichever.It is a very large house with 14 rooms and three bathrooms and two showers.Sounds huge, right?We had 6, now we are down to only 2 people living in it!Most of the Palmgrove members live in houses that are too small for their large families and we felt guilty and wanted to take one of the families to live in our house.We asked them if they wanted to, but they declined, making excuses like, it would be too lonely once we left, and so we figured they weren’t keen on the idea.All the families are very friendly with each other and roam freely from house to house, so maybe they are happy to be crowded, I’m not sure.Judy mentioned that this was only the second time, the first being when she was here with Lance and Talitha, that she lived in this huge house with only white people.Previous years there were always families, single boys and children occupying the rooms.
I was searching through the ‘index to notes’ in the back of my study bible for verses on home and house.One I found was from Romans 12: 13 which read …. “distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”I read the notes on this verse and found it quite interesting and fitting and so I’d like to share it with you.Sometimes it seems that we are kings living in our huge house while other people have lesser dwelling places, and so here is how I found a way to make it up to them:
from the notes in my study bible… “Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining.Entertaining focuses on the host – the home must be spotless; the food must be well prepared and abundant; the host must appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guests.Their needs- whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance – are the primary concern.Hospitality can happen in a messy home.It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup.It can even happen while the host and the guest are doing chores together.Don’t hesitate to offer hospitality just because you are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain!