Thursday, July 3, 2014

     More troubles in the kitchen!  Last night I tried to cook a loaf of bread again.  No fire this time, but there's always something.  This time, the oven turned off while I was baking the bread.  I realized it because you have to keep checking the temperature in the oven to see it doesn't go too high and burn things.  It had dropped to 250*.  So we had to relight the oven and finish the bread.  Then this morning, I opened the frig door to start breakfast, and a shelf gave way, allowing a large pot of chicken soup to come crashing to the floor, taking with it a shelf in the door with all its contents.  Not a good way to start the day with a mess of soup and food all over the kitchen floor!

     My new pet peeve is little black bugs that are everywhere in my kitchen.  I call them VW bugs because they remind me of tiny little VW bugs with legs.  They are everywhere---in my sink, on my counters, on my shelves, in opened boxes and in unopened boxes!  This morning I poured some Frosted Flakes (REAL Frosted Flakes!) in my bowl, followed by milk (the kind that can sit on the shelf for a couple of months.)  When a little VW bug floated to the surface, I lost my appetite.  What to do with the VW bugs?!

     Remember the "candidate missionary"  with the missing front tooth?  We promised him we would have his tooth replaced, so he went to the dentist,  who pulled out the root and cleaned up the area in preparation for his new tooth.  Two weeks later, he went back to get his new tooth, or so we thought.  When he appeared at our door that night, he was absolutely miserable,  The dentist had ground away 2 good teeth----the ones on either side of the missing tooth, telling him it was easier to replace 3 teeth than to replace one.   ?!   Has anyone heard of a dentist grinding to stubs two perfectly good teeth in order to replace a third?  Maybe the plan is to put in 2 crowns, one on either side of the fake tooth.  Anyway, I felt so sorry for Desire.  He is in pain, on a liquid diet, and is now missing 3 teeth instead of one.  Sometime this month he is supposed to get his new teeth.  I hope.  Unless the dentist decides to grind away some more teeth!

     As part of trying to come up with a plan for a service project (Helping Hands), we went to visit a school which had been flooded in February when a huge downpour caused a nearby stream to overflow its banks.  (In fact, over 130 people were killed in this February flood, so it was no small flood!)  The school and school grounds were filled with sand and left unusable.  Recently, the sand was removed from the school shovelful by shovelful.  We went to see how things were, and I was saddened by what we found.  There are 60-80 little kids per classroom, many, if not most, having to sit on the floor due to lack of desks and/or lack of space for more desks.  There are 3-4 kids sitting at each desk.  There are NO books anywhere that we saw.

     Sand and mud removed from the school were dumped in front of the school, and this has created a mound between the two one-level rows of classrooms that make up the school.    The level of the classrooms is now lower than the area between them. Consequently, when it rains, the classrooms flood with the run-off all over again.


There is a classroom in this school that is empty, save for random bricks which are left on the floor because of parts of wall that were destroyed in the flood.  We asked if we could clean up this classroom and remove all debris from the floor, but we were told the students sit on these little bricks for class!
The windows are large holes in the walls, the blackboard is destroyed, unusable.  I don't know how any teaching or learning gets done in these conditions.  The overcrowding makes your heart ache, as do the general conditions they have to put up with.  Adding to the problems are the policies the government has established.  They have made childbirth free, healthcare to age 5 free, and public education free.  Since these items are free, and there is no birth control, families are having many children, but with no jobs, they have a hard time supporting all their kids.  The government has made education free, but they have given little or no support to make the schools effective institutions where children can receive a good education.  Schools are horrendous!!  One member figures maybe one book for every 20 students.  (What books?)  They can't even get the children off the dirty floor and seat them at a desk!  The needs here are overwhelming.

When school let out, we were just outside in the dirt area between the two buildings.  We were absolutely mobbed by happy little faces, calling, "Bonjour, Madame!"  They all wanted so shake our hands and feel the skin on our white arms.  I keep thinking they deserve a good education just like the kids at home, but it's not going to happen.  I worry about their future and the future of Burundi.  No education, too many children, too few jobs.  Sounds like a ticking time bomb to me.

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