Death by Papercuts

Sometimes in life a major crisis can push you right to the limits of your endurance….or over it. But just as often, (and I suspect it is MORE often) it is the accumulation of many little problems, irritations or mini-crises that can be what overwhelms you.

In spite of various curfews and general political unrest, the CBTS campus has remained very quiet, so we are fortunate enough. But here’s sampling of the last 4 days of little stuff, that sort of made me think of the children’s book…” Alexander and the Terrible, HorribleNo Good, Very Bad Day”- only it has been going on for the greater part of the week. My neighboring missionary, Amy Moline, she described it as ‘death by papercuts’, and it seems an apt description.

For the last few weeks, I have had an ongoing issue with both inflamed Achilles tendons. Again. For the last 10 days. I have had an extremely tender ankle that most often woke me at about 3 am.
As of last Monday, my typing class finally has enough working computers with the correct program, installed  for all the women, but class has been cancelled all three days this week as there was not power on campus.
My rooster keeps finding a way out of his pen. When he is back in there, he and the hen are starting to break some of the 14 eggs she has laid. I think it is time for him to become soup.
Wednesday night Jeff was lethargic during and after his soccer game, and I was too tired to shower, so sponged off and went to bed.
Thursday the power went off again around 1 pm while meeting with Cal Hohn, and I wasn’mt paying attention and ran my computer down to 0%. It absolutely poured rain, and some hail, and the as-of-yet unrepaired roof panels meant that I had a lake in my ‘parlor’, and another leak issue on the veranda meant I had a river in my kitchen.
In the kerfuffle, I forgot to turn off the data and mobile tether on my phone all day, and I ran my cell phone data bill right up through the ceiling.  We did manage to cover all the items we needed to discuss, so Jeff goes to bed feeling a bit sick, and Cal retreats to the Molines, as he is also coming down with something.

Friday late afternoon Jeff figures that maybe he DOES have Malaria, so we decide to start him on a course of treatment.  With my generally scattered frame of mind, I was not up to trying my very first  malaria test in the dark. He is running a temperature if about 100.3 fahrenheit, so nothing staggering, just miserable.
All my extra ice reserves to keep my freezer cold are melted.   Meat and veggies starting to defrost.
My company,  joining us for a shared dinner, show up 90 minutes later than agreed, albeit for perfectly reasonable reasons. The student electrician arrives at the same time as my company, so I divide my time between hostessing, supervising, and discovering that there is something majorly wrong with my generator.   Water pressure is low, and the water remaining in the tank is stone cold. So no shower, and washing dishes in cold water, with a little water heated on the stove for rinsing.

Saturday the power comes on at 7 am, but for some reason, not in my house. Freezer contents about 70 percent thawed. A period of texts and phone calls bring Tim Moline over to help- he shows me a different exterior trip switch, which no one has every chosen to do. This problem is rectified, and I have power. This has taken me til after 9 am.  Shortly before this, I had to go to my room, pick up my Bible, read and pray a while, as I can feel my stress level rising. I also took some B vitamins (stress ones)

Jeff goes to the health centre, where the malaria test comes back negative, but since I had him on Coartem for about 12 hours, it may have masked the malaria, so that hasn’t been helpful. The doctor suggests he take vitamin c and Tylenol for the mild fever, and we decide on consultation with a few others that he will finish the malaria medication anyhow.  A half course of the medication is useless to us after anyhow.

By 11:30 am there is water for a shower- which I desperately need after almost 4 days. Low pressure, but I am clean.

Saturday after lunch we take a trip to Banso without Jeff ( the trip is getting longer again – about an hour plus now for vehicles, as are some of the roads are affected by the rain!!)  to visit Ibrahim and Bilkisu- and to pick up some materials for the repair of my living room (aka parlor) skylight. I contacted Doctors Brian and Mary Cairn, and they invited me up to discuss the ankle problem. Suleymanu spent time with our friends Ibrahim and BIlkisu.  About 3 hours later I have had an a xray, (which after being examined by 4 people results in a diagnosis of a stress fracture) and have a pair of crutches, and a cast.  Very glad I got the shower before this, as I am not sure how that is going to work for the 3 weeks in this cast.

Suleymanu and I find each other back eventually, and we head back to Ndu. We spent an extra 20+ minutes waiting for heavy equipment working on the road.
‘Yay duck; here is that the road work is continuing all along the way to Ndu- the plan is to pave in all the semi large towns along the way.  (Not in between the towns, mind you, but since there’s an election next year, and there are more votes to be had in town and the money is limited, that’s where they pave)
Another Yay Duck- Cairns blessed us and sent me home with some delicious left-over quiche, so there was no need to cook. Also, Molines brought me over a bag of scrap fabric which I have numerous plan for.  I found a cut off denim pant leg and quickly sewed in some elastic to put it over my cast to protect it somewhat from dirt. Very necessary, as the floors are never actually clean for more than 30 minutes after they are washed. Better cast cover designs to follow.  Also very glad I took the shower before I went to the hospital….

Student electrician has spent 3 hours on my generator while I was out, and it is still not working.
I went to bed to the sound of thunder, and put all the buckets out in the living room.
No rain, so Sunday morning did not include mopping up the parlor. Phew.
Church was out of the question, so I had some personal worship and song on the piano, and then Suleymanu and I read from the book of Mark (me in Fulfulde, and he in English) and did some language practise.  Jeff is finally up and dressed around 11:30 am- we’ll see how long that lasts.

2 pm Sunday- things seemed to have levelled off, and although Jeff is not yet showing many signs of getting better, he has been up for over 2 hours.  I am finding out how many things I cannot do on crutches. So glad that Suleymanu is around to help out, and looking forward to my house help Irene coming on Monday.    I’m going to have to cancel some classes, as there is no way I can do the up and down between the academic block to the primary school on crutches.

Very grateful for all of you who are praying for us.  Hope we don’t have another week like this anytime soon. I am trying to engage in the spiritual warfare of “giving no opportunity to the devil”- like trying not to  run my mouth off when I feel the irritations related to all of this piling up and making me short tempered.

Update as of Thursday, March 1.  Jeff seems to have recovered from what we are assuming was malaria, and now fighting a cough and cold. I have resigned myself to only getting to about half of my classes that I usually teach, and am making some arrangements for some work to go on in my absence.  We got roof panels, and the roof is repaired, and today we had power for the better part of 24 hours, which is better than the last 10+ days. Although it is off again now that I want to post a blog….ouch…another paper cut!!



One thought on “Death by Papercuts

  1. Hi Sonya and Jeff,

    Reading your blogs , it is easy to see why you have been having a terrible, horrible vey bad week! Our hearts go out to you and we pray for strength for you both to endure and be fully recovered soon. From Jeff’s message today we are glad to see there has been some improvement.
    We are very concerned for your friends on the plateau and pray for their safety and conditions to be peaceful there soon. As well, that your area remains safe for everyone.
    We are well here and looking forward to Tricia, Grant and Jaden’s visit for part of Spring Break mid March.

    Love and hugs to you both.
    Marilyn and Phil

    Sent from my iPhone



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