Sunday, November 06, 2016

Building the arc
It has been two crazy days of giving in the rain. The plan was to meet Federica from Brooks running company and give out the shoe donations in the tents of the Red Cross with Glory, my 17 year old Nigerian student of Italian, as our guide. Glory came early and Federica got held up on a different project so I tried to lug the bags of shoes and clothing down all our stairs by myself. I had spent the morning in a very Italian meeting which was designed so that all the English teachers who work at our company can not say that they didn't know the rule about accepting private work offers of students we meet through the company.This seems like a no brainer, but it actually is fraught with ethical and logical inconsistencies that for economic reasons need to go unchallenged for now.

Anyway, Jeff was downstairs asking for money in front of the ortofrutta; and since I suspected he was bitter because of being romantically thwarted in some way by Glory, I thought it best to offer him a new pair of shoes to get him on board with the day's project. While he was searching for shoes, all of our gang assembled and had first pick of the men's shoes in the larger sizes of which there were few, despite the high demand for them. In less than ten minutes, there were only really ladies' shoes left and that's when some new guys from the tents showed up barefoot, wearing only flip-flops. It was a bad feeling. Glory had left me for a walk around with her new boyfriend, and Jeff was stuffing a bunch of stuff for the women him his pockets because he wanted to have presents for what were seemingly going to be his new girlfriends. The men started speaking poorly of Glory. I put a stop to that because she is only my daughter's age and unmarried and can have whatever boyfriends she wants, as it is a free county, no matter how much money Jeff spent on her in presents. However, I am now more worried about her than ever, and have thrown my fear that she will get pregnant into the mix. By the time she came back to me and my scattered on the street bags, F had to run off to work and couldn't really escort us to the tents, where she said there were no women left anyway after the transfer. I just made her a bag of women's clothes and shoes for her to take with her to distribute as she saw fit. And then went back up the stairs wondering how I could have handled all of those transactions better. I did get the barefoot guys phone numbers and decided to check out the used clothing stores the next day to see if I could get them some better footwear. 

The very next day in the pouring rain we set out for both used clothing stores who operate on a date system, by which after two months have passed, one can get a considerable mark down discount. One of our best donation sources had told me you could find coats for only four euros, but she must be a better shopper because we only saw ones for 10 and 15 euros so we couldn't get too many. The nicest one I wanted for Emmanuel who is always going about in a very thin jacket. We picked up some warm shoes, too. It was a full on cloudburst by the time we reached the guys in front of the Red Cross tent by the fairgrounds. There names are Moro and Albie and the come from Gambia and Senegal, respectively. They were most appreciative. 

new friends

Then we set off for Tina and Job's house to pick up the work receipt for the leaky window we had repaired in their kitchen. We need to send it to their landlords, in part as an explanation for why none of them are paying rent this month against our advice. The main guy who is on the lease had heard gossip that we were trying to get his name off and put Tina's and Job's names on. He wanted to have a house meeting to discuss it. He refused to do it without F present, which I kind of respected, even though I kind of went off on him and did all of the talking anyway. F made a nice speech at the end about the trouble with gossip, and DeWill seemed to hang on his every word. I pointed out that we have gone to his church and that I would have to be pretty brazenly evil to try to hurt his life situation, while helping others. He is a paranoid dude, and he can't understand what motivation we have to keep helping people if it is not for economic gain. I am understanding to a point, but then I had to shed light on how much cash and blood I have poured into his house, as well as the fact that we never did change the contract because it was too expensive to do it and Tina managed to get a welfare card for the baby, using just her hospitality letter. 

I got to have a long chat with Peace, which was nice.

F, in the meantime, set out for Cool's house where he picked up Stanley and his other brother Ehis and went out to buy supplies to fix the baby wardrobe donation that was missing doors. The missing doors and the missing mattress for the baby bed were absolutely torturing Stanley's pregnant wife who is way into nesting mode and so he had called me several times during the week to ask for help. It ended up that it would cost more money to do the repairs ourselves than to buy a new one so in the end we half drove and half sailed to Ikea to pick her up some new stuff with our basically imaginary money. 

Jennifer's house

Clearly the sister-in-law living together situation is stressful on everyone. I had trouble being in that atmosphere, plus the mosquitoes in that house are demons. Stanley's wife was also stressed by a list of recommended things for the hospital bag that her doctor had given her, most of which were ridiculous, and none of which she claimed to have. Jennifer, Cool's wife, was balancing a grumpy post-vaccine baby Wisdom on her lap while getting her hair done by another woman. He is enormous and I can hardly carry him anymore. I came into the room where the wardrobe was getting put together to find four men with their pants hanging off them, F included. We were late to make T dinner and to get home, so I finally just got in there and put the drawers in myself. Their drawers are another issue, for another day, but enjoy the photo of them from behind if you can.

droopy drawers

We got home at 9 pm to T who was completely starving and without whom' she putting-sweet potatoes-in-the- oven-ability we would not have had dinner at all. I couldn't sleep because the lightening and thunder were the strongest I have ever experienced, and I had the full on realization that our new friends are living in a tent. 

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