How I know its time to bail out…
On Thursday we fly back to the UK for ‘home leave,’ courtesy of the United Nations.
I am ready.
I know I’m ready because this morning when I turned on the shower and once again the water pressure was so low that it just dripped, I sat down on the side of the bath and had a little weep.
I know I’m ready because yesterday when I visited the 4th ATM machine and there was no money available, I head butted the machine. It was a minor head butt. Not hard enough to hurt me, but it was still a head butt, and it still caused the Malawian lady behind me in the queue, to be concerned enough to actually help me get my children back into the car.
I know I’m ready because this week at a friends house, when she turned on the AC unit and it started juddering like a washing machine on full spin, and then a gecko’s tail dropped on the floor and twitched for a full 5 minutes, followed by half the gecko flopping out of the front of the unit, My friend screamed and ran to the bathroom to vomit, where as I sighed with resignation… and made a cup of tea.
I know I’m ready because recently, at 6am, when I lumber into the kitchen and head ‘single mindedly’ for the kettle only to discover there is a power cut, I promptly morph from bleary sleep eyed mummy, to dark sadistic mummy within less than a second.
I know I’m ready because I am frankly a bit of a cow when Bails pre-empts the horror that is about to evolve due to the ‘no tea at 6am’ thing, and briskly goes outside to start the generator, because frankly the eejit who decided to put the generator directly outside the back door (Not my husband, I should add) might as well have attached the wretched thing to the side of my head, because I now feel like there is a pneumatic drill, penetrating through my brain at 6am, which kind of undermines the whole ‘grateful for a cup of tea’ thing.
I know I’m ready because today, I decided to take the long route into town just to avoid facing the beggars pushing handicapped kids in wheelchairs. This in itself is unacceptable. But what was “so so much worse” was that I was actually acutely irritable with the handicapped beggars, when I pulled up at an intersection and realized that they had also decided to change their usual route, and were begging on my ‘beggar free road’. I actually told them to please stop changing their beat.
And Yes I know. I am a very bad person.
I know I’m ready because I’ve stopped noticing how beautiful my garden is, and being thankful for the endless blue skies…
During our years living in various different parts of Africa we have had several occasions where we have found ourselves in a boat, being sailed or rowed out onto water; sometimes to look at the fish eagles, sometimes to look for hippo’s, sometimes to go snorkeling, but whatever the purpose of our boat journey there has always been one common denominator. The boat absolutely always has a hole in it. And there is absolutely always a little man scooping out the water from the bottom of the boat with a pot or a cup which usually also has a hole in it… In our early days in Africa this would trouble us. Now we know that there are no boats in Africa without holes and as long as the little man keeps scooping all will be well.
I feel a little bit like that little man at the moment. I just gotta keep scooping…just keep on scooping…come on, another day of scooping…just scoop, scoop, scoop…
So this is how I know I’m ready.
I think its okay to run out of Grace for our situations every now and again, whether its circumstances or people. We all need to re-fuel, right?
I need to re-fuel.
I need to re-fuel with constant electricity, debit card shopping, chocolate caramel slices, Starbucks coffee, my nieces and nephews, Marks and Spencer’s, French wine and good cheese, my sister, my bro and my mum, The National theatre, BBC drama, A damn good haircut with highlights, convenience food, and yes, streets without handicapped beggars.
I need to refuel so that I have the head and heart space to do Africa well.
It’s okay. I’m scooping til I can refuel.
ah Babe, we send our love in bags to you, love your honesty, vulnerability and wit, cant wait to see ya Emma & Ed
Well done for hanging in there Emily! I know how you feel…I have 13 months to go so hopefully won’t reach bailing point for at least another year!
Beautifully written, Em. Hope we get a chance to see you at some point – but if not, enjoy every minute of your ‘refuelling’. Lv Angie
yes you’re ready… and hope you will refill the tanks for… another school year… I wish I could be that ATM machine… on which you’d bump accidentally some day… somewhere… somehow… still miss you , still…