Daisy whimpered, tap dancing her toes on the porch, wagging her tail excitedly. “Awww, did you miss me baby girl? I missed you, ohh yeah, I miss you baby girl!” The more excited Chelsi made her voice the more excited her puppy became. “Come on, let’s go inside, come on, let’s go!” Chelsi laid her bags down on the concrete bench of the porch. Over at the door, she twisted the combination lock, right, right, left, right, and it clicked open. Chelsi loosened the bolt on her door and pushed it open.
“You have got to be kidding me,” the words escaped her mouth as she looked around the room.
Water pooled, puddled and flowed between the various angles and dips of her floor. Looking to her left she found that her table had been turned in to a bird bath. The press board top, saturated, bowed down towards the floor, collected water in to a little pool, all I need to do is let the birds in.
Needing to let her eyes refocus, Chelsi looking towards the back wall. The pots and pans rack had fallen again, no doubt the ka pushi knocked it down again, trying to jump up onto the back wall. Her eyes followed along the back wall, till it stopped at a crack in the mortar. That new though. Chelsi picked her way through the puddles to get a closer look. The new crack started a brick layer from the top of the wall and followed the mortar down, like a stairway to the land of broken hopes and dreams. It let the traveler off in a muddy pond that covered the toes of Chelsi’s shoes. “And now my socks are wet.” She said turning around to look at Daisy, who only wadded in to water to follow fish, and otherwise avoided it at all costs.
Chelsi sighed, walking back to the doorway. She removed her shoes and peeled off her socks, hanging them over the cross beam of her porch to dry. With her broom in hand, she followed the back to the deepest part, and with nothing else to do, began sweeping it out. Chelsi thought back to a story Rolla, a volunteer of the 2014 – 2016 class, had told. After breaking her collar bone and spending six weeks in South Africa, she said she home to ‘a mosquito breeding ground of epic proportion. Water as far as the eye could see.’ Her next step was to close the door and tell her host family that she would be living in their house until they cleaned it up… Chelsi didn’t have that flare for dramatics, and was nauseated by even the idea of staying in her host family’s house. It was better built, but dark and musty, with no spare space. And after six weeks, sure, I getting it. A little bit of water added every day from the rain. But I’ve only been gone for ten days maybe. She continued to push the water towards the door.
There had been a heavy rainstorm a few day previous, in town. And it wasn’t unlikely that it her village, with rain that heavy it could have slid under the door, and there is a leak over the table, but the counter top? There’s never been a problem there. She swept and swept the water towards the door, and like the waves she created with her broom, anger, disappointment and sadness swelled, then subsided, swelled and subsided inside her.
When the floor was clear, though far from dry, Chelsi stopped to stretch out her back and survey the damage to the table and counter top.
Chelsi brushed the water from the top of the table. The finish, once again fully hydrated had become yellow and sticky. The forward left leg was warp, and little bits of black colored mold were creeping out of the joint. Chelsi wiped it away with her finger. “The only thing left to do, is to hope it dries okay,” she said to Daisy, who was now taking a few uneasy steps into the house.
Chelsi was most puzzled by the story of the counter top, which she now scrutinized. The wood itself was a lot sturdier than the table, but everything on top was saturated. She began by moving everything to wipe it down. As she worked her eyes drifted back to the wall, to the crack. She followed it up this time to the corner where the roof met the wall. “Ugh…” escaped from her subconsciously, and the mystery was solved. She dropped the rag she was using to clean and walked out the door. Slipping into her flip flops she rounded the house to view the suspect corner from the outside. And there it is….
What she was confronted with was a collapsed support beam. The beam the held up the frame of her roof had fallen to the wayside, pulling the frame apart with it. A large crack now ran up the seam of her roof to the top. She hadn’t noticed it inside because it was covered by plastic. Now that same plastic acted like funnel, dumping any water that fell on the south side of the roof right into her house.
Chelsi dragged herself back inside, unsure what to do. If it had just been a rip in the plastic she could have covered it with tape. A crack in the wall? Fill it with mud. A collapsed roof? A brand new roof? Not nine months old? She picked up her phone and dialed the number of her volunteer leader, Laura. She listened to the phone ring, ring, ring….
“Hello?” the voice of her friend sounded through the speaker.
“Hey,” Chelsi responded. “I think I have a problem.”