Bats in the belfry

Published February 5, 2012

Hopefully, my posts don’t sound like I’m whining. Life here is so different that it seems like describing the most visceral experiences we’re having might sound like complaining. I prefer the term “coping” or perhaps, “coming to terms.”

Marianne and I are sharing a hut at the Grace Chapel Church compound about 6 miles from our school site. We have dubbed our home “The Bat Cave.” The roof peak is home to a very well fed colony of fruit bats. Though we didn’t experience any close encounters, the noise in an otherwise quiet room was really loud as they squeaked, landed and clawed the tin roof. The bed slats are spaced about 1 foot apart and the mattress is about 2 inches thick. This creates rock hard pressure points and bottomless sagging all at the same time! By all accounts, we have the best accommodations in Jalle.

We attended a small church service this morning. We greeted the community and were thanked for our work here. We were also told that the Arch Bishop of Brazil is coming tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I’m going to meet the Arch Bishop of Brazil in Jalle Payam tomorrow. Would not have planned that. I’m thinking I should bathe…

We woke up this morning and all of the workers had already started walking to the site. Denis and our driver, James, had to drive to Bor for more supplies so we’re here with our cook and security guards and about 14 kids that watch our moves with endless fascination. We have yet to meet with the community elders who will all need to voice there opinion as to where exactly the school should sit. This is important because if anyone asks someone can say, “go ask that guy” and not be pointing at me. Not sure when this is going to happen, so until then, we sit and wait and learn how not to think so linearly.

-Blake Clark, Executive Director

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