Ok. I’m bored. I’m also annoyed. I’m experiencing wifi problems like I have never encountered and hope to not have to encounter much more after Liberia, but I very well might!
How we are using the internet here is with a small wireless hotspot that runs off of 4G towers. William Horace, the man of the house, when he got here in mid November, he says he paid 5$ USD for one month of service. When the three other guys were here, all of us were trying to share that service and basically it was extremely hit or miss and I was never able to get my computer hooked to the internet and therefore not able to post to my blog or share pictures that were not on my phone. My phone would only connect for about a few seconds at a time once every 24 or 48 hours. I adapted. It was ok. I’m glad I didn’t don’t have enough internet to scroll through newsfeeds for hours and waste time reading about stupid celebrity and reality tv trash. I’m very glad!
So, the three guys (Ron, Bruce and Jon) left Dec 13th and we immediately had great internet. Ok, good enough for my computer to connect to and reliable 75% of the time (more reliable during off hours when everyone in the city isn’t home trying to get on the net). Then on Dec 16th or so the internet died and when we tried to log in we get a pop up from the cell company saying “Thanks for using us but your data packs have been all used it up. Pay again to use the internet,” or something similar. So the next day, one of the guys (a family member of the Horaces’) went to go put 5$ back on it, for presumably one month. At that time it was William’s money. Yay. Then we used it, and about 24 hours later the internet died again. And we were like, “What the heck?!” And blah, blah, blah. The guy reassured us that he put 5$ on the sim card and blah, blah, blah. So I gave the guy 5$ again. And today he went to go put “5$ and 30 days” on it. I made sure to say “Make sure it’s THIRTY DAYS”. Then he comes back and says “I put it on there. The lady says it’s 30 days, but it depends how you use it.” Say what? That last sentence sounds fishy to me, 30 days is 30 days. Whatever. We used it for awhile, definitely not “harder” or more intensely than we had used the previous day. And not even 4 hours after we got the device back, we get the dreaded message from the cell company again: no more internet. I was like UGH! (Since then I have learned that these offers are usually a certain amount of MB or GB for a given period of time. We were never told how much data was purchased.)
So… no more internet. Sun starting to go down… I felt a bit like a prisoner in the walled in compound where supposedly a white girl shouldn’t go walking by herself. My water bin in the bathroom was out, I went to fill it up: no more water in the main barrels in the kitchen, meaning there is no more water really in the house. Great. No way to wash hands or flush the toilet. No wifi. And I was out of toilet paper at the time. Great. And no where to go. And no one I wanted to talk to at the time. I had already journaled and read and drew.
So, I opened the compound gate and went out on the road. I saw Bro. Horace on the road talking to some guys to the right about 10 yards. I walked to the left. I just slowly walked trying to calm my mind and tell myself “don’t be bored, don’t be mad, you’re happy,” while I tried to be present and intentional with each step. As I walked I saw some little kids and they were excited to see a white girl. I also saw a topless grown woman laughing and throwing water around and playing with some kids. When the woman saw me she laughed and covered up with a cloth and waved and other women and children poked their heads out and waved and said “hi”. I smiled and said hi and waved. I should have got closer and talked to them, but I was in my head and weary about wandering too far away (their house is only about 15 yards from the gate to the property I’m staying at). Next time! Maybe tomorrow.
I am scared to walk around the neighborhood much by myself. Not because I actually feel scared but because people tell me I shouldn’t. I have walked around with other people in the neighborhood a lot since I’ve been here. Everyone has been nice and I never felt scared. Everyone seems nice and happy to see me and I’m sure everyone knows where I’m staying (I’m the only white woman in this neighborhood.) I can’t imagine anyone would even try anything. We’ll see how brave I get.So I wandered back, over to Bro. Horace and told him we were out water. It was one of the guys’ (Ernest) jobs to go get water from the well. I was bored as heck and needed something to do so I said I’d help. We took a wheel barrow and three 5 gallon containers with lids. We walked through some yards and down a hill to the closest neighborhood hand pump well, for about 100 meters (I need to start saying metric units!). There was a girl in her 20s ROCKING out with ear buds in while she was pumping water. It was highly entertaining. Jumping, shaking, twerking; all while pumping water into a huge plastic bowl (I’ll guess that the bowl held about 7 liters or 4 gallons of water (I’m not converting those units, just guessing at both)).
When she was done, me and Ernest started pumping into our containers. He pumped while I held the makeshift funnel that was already at the hand pump. After the first one, I insisted on pumping the last two. I said I needed to make my arms stronger. The dancing girl was still there. There was also a goat nearby that must have belonged to the house that was closest to the pump. When we were done with our three containers, the dancing girl asked me to help put the bowl that she filled on her head. It was heavy and hard to lift up! But eventually we got it on her head. I need to get better at carrying thing on my head. The women here can do it with no hands and turn around and walk fast. I haven’t been able to carry anything meaningful on my head yet. Just some rocks I was practicing with. And I got sand in my hair.
Ernest and I hauled the water back to the house. The whole water process took about 15 min, including waiting for the dancing girl to finish her water. For 15 gallons. Then we wheel-barrowed two and carried one container up the hill. A lot of work for water.Then, I crashed on the couch and turned on the telenovela we’ve been watching “Broken Angel”, or “Santa Diaba”. We are SO into it. Lots of characters, lots of intrigue and drama and mystery and betrayal and surprise. It’s from a bootleg disc. Talk about not judging a movie by it’s cover. These bootlegs here can have a completely different cover, name and stars than what’s really on the disc. These covers show it as “Broken Angel” and describe it as a Philipino drama and has pictures of Philipino people on it. We watched a Philipino soap opera when we first got to Liberia and I’m all set for life on Philipino movies, so I never would have thought this one would be good. Luckily someone else put it in the player and I got sucked in. We’re on disc 3 now. They had 1- 3 at the house, we started with 1. I had one of the guys go buy me 4 and 5. 🙂