031: A New Start

Chelsi began to stir from a restless night of sleep.  She stretch out, trying to remember where she was.  On the floor, she knew. Under my pashmina, in my tent. “Back to the village.”
She remembered now. Late last night the cruiser dropped her and her things back at her house in the village.  Finally, she felt relieved, two months she had been gone, but it was coupled with the stress of all the things that were left to do.  Last night she hadn’t even the energy to put her bed together; sheets, blanket mosquito net. So opted for the floor, and the tent to keep the mosquitoes at bay.  What little time she had the previous night she spent piling all her things together, but off the ground and under her tarp, in the even that it rained that night.  It takes a few good rain storms before thatch roofs situate themselves into a water resistant layer. That and the fact that her plastic roofing liner still remained to be hung, a nighttime rain storm could have spelled disaster.  That’s the first thing that needs to be done, she thought rolling into an up-right position. The plastic needs to be hung.
Because she hadn’t lit a fire last night for diner there was no coffee for this morning.  She stood for a moment thinking whether it would be worth lighting one now, staring at the mountain, which were her things that needed to be organized and put away.  “If I don’t I’ll have more time in day to get all this stuff done,” she said to the puppy wiggling about her knees.  “Ooh, yes. I missed you too.  And look how much you’ve grown! You’re almost twice the size as when I left! How is it my darling Daisy that you’re always going through these growth spurts when I’m not around? It’s all the nshima from the neighbors, fattening you up!”
She propped open the door to take a look at the yard in the light.  The door also needs locking mechanisms for the in and outside. The air was muggy but the landscape was green and crisp.  Rain season had begun while she was a way, which had result in a new crop of grass.  Some of which already reached up to her waist.  Not a bad thing, she thought.  This way when it dries out in July I can apply it to my chinzana, which she looked at sadly, still without a roof.  With the chinzanza, which was supposed to be her cooking area, the way it was it really was a necessity having the house expanded. As she thought about how silly she would look trying to light a fire in the rain, the morning sun began to peak at her through the trees.  “The porch that’s what’s different.”
Mike, the previous volunteer, had built a cement slab just off the front door with an iron sheet roof.  “That’s where he cooked in the rain.” The villagers had widened the slab to accommodate her bigger door, “a nice touch. But the iron sheeting needs to be put back up.” She sighed.  She knew what she had to do next.  In the dark of the previous night she had gotten a glimpse of what had become of her garden while she was gone and now in the light she was afraid to look.  Stepping of the slab on to the ground she shielded her eyes.
Between her fingers she could see jungle grass growing thick on the beds. Beds that had taken her six weeks to dig and nearly broke her back.  The fence, which had taken her her first three months to build, had blown over completely. Grass, wire, fence posts, all up rooted and lying limply on the ground.  “I’m really glad now I waited to plant. But a thing it’s still salvage able.” She wanted a garden more that almost anything, but it was certainly turning out to be quiet the investment.  “What do you think Daisy?” Carefree, her puppy walked over the fence and on to a bed. She looked up at Chelsi and wagged her curly tail.  “Yeah, a new fence is definitely going up first.” The dogs are worse than the goats and the chickens! She thought. 
She turned to get a view of her new house from the outside.  The out and new portions of the house stood out starkly part from each other.  Though it was pitted and chipping, the old portion of the house had a thick coat of plaster and lime; compared to the new portion which had been left bare brick.  The whole house is going to need to be re-plastered and limed¸ she thought. Inside and out.  The crumbling looking old house might have been fine for Mike, but she strongly felt that just because she was living in the village that didn’t mean she couldn’t have her house looking nice. For a moment her mind toyed with whether she should start improving the outside or the inside of her first, when the roof caught her eye.  The thatch glittered as the sun rose over her head. She smiled. So much nicer than the old house. Waiting for it was terrible, that could easily be the bar for bad experiences during my service, and it still needs a lot of work, but like the rest of this place, it has so much potential to be really, really nice.
The new house was even adorned with glass paned windows; three of them.  They were part of the rising house standards for volunteers in Zambia.  Not a requirement for her house, but they were a nice touch.  On closer inspection she found them to be nailed shut from the outside, but she felt confident in her ability to apply hinges. Maybe I should start a list of things needing to be done. As she thought about where amongst her things they might be her host father and a neighborhood boy approached her from the rest of the family’s compounds. 
“Good morning!” She greet them.  Daisy gave a few happy barks to the arrivals.
“Hello, how are you?” the neighborhood boy Menace asked, with a big smile holding out his hand.
Chelsi grasped it, “I’m fine, and how are you?”
“Now me, I’m fine.”
“And your mother? And her sister? And the kids?”
“They are fine.”
“I am very happy to be back,” her excitement to be home exploded out at the sight of one her village friends.  His smile grew in response.
“No, that’s good. I am here to help hang the plastic in your house.”
“Fantastic! I’ve got nails and pre-made the cardboard squares.  And that was the first thing on the list to do… Here come in, come in. Let me move some of this stuff around and we can get started!”
Before living to have her house fixed, and even during her stay at the prove house, Chelsi had felt frustrated, stresses, unhappy.  But her time away helped her understand what was important to her happiness and success as a volunteer. Having an actual size house was one of those things, doing more for the people she felt really shined in her life was another.  Coming back and seeing the people and animals and the parts of her life that she had missed really brought in the feeling that this was the place she was meant to be, this was her home. 

Categories: DIY, Drama, Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “031: A New Start

  1. Sandy

    Yay ! Glad you are “home” with Daisy 🙂
    Good luck with everything there. Hope you can get even a small garden going.


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