So as I type, I am hearing the scrape, scrape, scrape of four men scraping down the insides of our swimming pool. We’re lucky to rent a house that has a nice sized swimming pool. We were unlucky enough to rent a house that had a swimming pool that had some issues with a new paint job on the inside. Unfortunately, the paint used prior was bad and so it started chipping off. We were told to let it chip and then tackle the problem when it became a problem. Well….it became a problem. On top of that, the water situation in all of Botswana has reached a crisis level and so everyone has been conserving. The pool level dropped low and really we had no choice but to let the pool go a bit.
A few days ago, Kevin and Len developed a plan to drain the rest of the mucky water out (and over 25 frogs that took up residence in it’s boggy waters) and start scraping the pool down. Now it’s November in Botswana and November brings with it some hot weather. Not just hot….oppressive, dry, no rain in site HOT! So imagine what it’s like to stand in a drained swimming pool with a paint scraper and scrape with that sun beating down on you. Yeah, not so fun. My husband likes to call this type of work “character building” work. I like to call it, “stupid work” because it’s not even remotely fun. It’s tedious and you can spend a lot of time scraping one spot only to step back and see that you didn’t really make much progress. I personally, loath this type of work. As you can probably deduce, I am not exactly a “manual labor” type of girl. I do however like the pool and all it’s benefits so I thought, “Sarah, you should get out there and do your part!” So I did and while the company was good and jokes were being made I couldn’t help but think, “Ugh, this is horrible!” I didn’t make it very long before I handed my scraper off and came inside to start dinner. Then I couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty that I couldn’t hack it. I mean it’s hard work…..it’s honest work and quite frankly I consider myself a hard worker, but when it comes to those types of jobs I struggle a bit. So I started in on dinner and pushed the feelings of guilt down. But I couldn’t help but think of my husband’s comment on “Character Building”……Oh Lord, you are forever trying to teach me about this character building. Choosing Joy and Counting the Cost.
This morning I woke up to a new crew of people scraping and before it even hit 8am it felt like it was pushing 90 degrees. I knew today would be another scorcher so I just prayed that the Lord would send his clouds to cover the sun so they could work comfortably. I then set out to do my “mommy jobs” of washing clothes, caring for Isaac, and meal planning in my head. I popped down to the coffee shop to say hello to the ladies and pick up some eggs. Normally I make myself available to help in the school on Thursday mornings as well, but was not needed as they are practicing for their end-of-school program. I came back home and found Paco standing at my back door with paint chips stuck to his sweaty face and an empty water jug. “Please momma, can you give us more cold water?” (Now for whever reason, Paco has called me “momma” since I met him earlier this year when he was hired to help with landscaping at the coffee shop. He comes and helps Kevin twice a week with our yard. He needs some “character building” but this guy has a smile that can light up a room and despite the fact that he sometimes stands more than he works, he’s genuinely sweet.) I swapped out the jug of water for some cold water and began rotating jugs again, knowing those men would need cold water throughout the day. I then popped my head out to see how they were doing and found four sweaty men looking like they were about to drop.
In that moment, I knew that I could help. I ran back inside and began to throw fruit and crackers and cookies into a bowl. I knew it wasn’t much, but I knew they needed something fresh to help boost them. Culturally, I feel like I am still learning what is acceptable and what is not, but I also knew that what I had I could give to show our appreciation for their hard work. When Kev took the bowl out, they descended on it that bowl like flies! I never thought men would tear up a fruit bowl like they did. I then apologized that it wasn’t more substantial or that there weren’t enough cookies for them to have more than one, but then Sabanda said, “No Sarah….this is so perfect! It’s just want we needed, thank you so so much!”
In that moment the Lord just said to me, “This is your part…..this is what YOU can do.” I came back inside, and put together a quick soup and rice to serve for lunch. Once again, it wasn’t much but it was a welcome site for four hungry men who worked hard. Kev said, “Sarah, no one expects you to do this, but I know they appreciate it.” I knew the expectation was not there, but I wanted my gratitude to come forth. I didn’t make it more than 30 minutes scraping and yet, they were at it all day. I wanted them to know that we apprecated their hard efforts. Also, I wanted to know that I was doing my part, even if I can’t always to the “character building” work. I guess the Lord still did His work in me, where I know my gifts are….hospitality and cooking.
So the moral of this story? We can all do our part, we just have to find it! Simple as that! 🙂