Monday, April 19, 2010

It's a Process!

For weeks I have been thinking to write this post, but one of tonight’s processes put me “over the edge” to go ahead and write it.

Those of you that have younger children, just think about putting your kids to bed at night.

It seems no matter how much time you spend before bedtime, there is often those feelings of, enough already, just get in the bed.

But think about the rituals. Going to the bathroom. Brushing your teeth, getting in the bed, tucking them in , reading a story, turning off the lights, etc. One last drink of water..

Think about your bedtime process, and we sometimes have talked with friends about how it reminds us of the game at chuck e cheese where you have a mallet in your hand and you press one down and then another one pops up. You think one kid is ready and all set only to find another one up or not ready yet.

Well multiply that for putting the kids to bed here in Zambia.

Brush your teeth. Back home, that meant sending them down the hallway and they brushed their teeth. Pulled open the drawer got the toothbrush, turned the sink on and brush your teeth.

Now, it means go to the cabinet, open the plastic box that has your toothbrush in it ( to keep roaches from crawling on them—just in case) get your bottle of water that has your name on it and start getting your toothbrush ready. But wait, your water bottle is empty, so you have to come back to the kitchen on the other side of the house fill up your bottle then go back and start brushing.

Find the right toothpaste, regular one is too spicy for the little guys, so they have their toothpaste. But they can’t reach it since it is too high up in the cabinet. Put it on then start brushing. Rinse with the bottled water, then rinse your toothbrush back off put it back in the case. Snap it tight, put it in the cabinet. Now go to the potty. One goes into the bathroom with only the toilet. So then they come out and go into the one where the toilet and sink are and someone else is brushing their teeth or they are using the toilet. “Don’t come in, I’m in here!…”

Then get in bed. Back home…just get in bed. Pull up the covers, say a prayer and goodnight!

Here, we have to decide and remember whose week is it to sleep on which part of the bunkbed, or the regular bed. Then put the net down that was tied up during the day. For one of the beds it means pulling the bed out away from the wall, sliding the net down on the side tucking it in then pushing the bed against a different wall so their pillow doesn’t fall off the bed. Then Have them climb up into bed, situate the net around them, tuck it in around the mattress and then say a prayer and goodnight. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal but trust me, with 5 kids it seems like A PROCESS!

So they are in bed all tucked in snuggly then someone has to get out of bed, go to the bathroom again, get a drink, or oh, I forgot something. Net comes up, they get out, mom or dad goes back in tucks them back in with the net around them and another goodnight!

Maybe someday we can eliminate the bottled water for brushing teeth process but have not wanted to try that out yet.

I am certain it is a mom thing, but every night before I go to bed, I check on the kids one more time. It is then that I usually have to readjust one of the bed nets, because someone has gotten twisted up in it.

Then we get ready for bed. And as James mentioned, just locking all the doors and gates is a process. Then we always gather up anything valuable left in the living room. Cameras, computers, purse, wallet, etc. to put in our room with us just in case.

When you get up in the morning same process, unlocking all gates and doors, tying back nets, same brushing teeth process…

This is just one of the many examples of everything taking longer, but not just taking longer, it’s like it is such a process to accomplish something.

Another example, laundry the past week. The water pressure has been low and so then that throws off the cycle and so one afternoon it took all day just to get one load washed, and this was for even having a machine. A luxury here, but even with that it is still a process.

Having drinking water. I am very thankful that our house helper Maureen helps with this. She was gone over a long weekend and I told her it made us appreciate her work for us. I explained how we were out of water and so I had 4 pots on the burners trying to boil all the water. Then finally they all were at a rapid boil and they are supposed to boil for 20 minutes. Well I left the kitchen and totally forgot about them and almost 2 hours later came back and they were still there all on the stove. Only much less water in the pots. Then after they boil you take them off the stove and let them cool and sit for awhile. I think Maureen lets them sit for at least an hour. Then you pour them into the big countertop filter we have. Well I wasn’t really thinking and just started dumping them in, it started to almost overflow when I realized it was at maximum capacity and quickly pulled the pot away.

Then once it is in the filter it slowly ( VERY SLOWLY) drains into the bottom part. Once it has drained, then you can fill up the water bottles. We have big bottles saved from when we were buying water, so we keep those and use them. We will pull a chair over and set the bottle on there to fill up because it comes out slowly and gets heavy. Well a few times both she and I have forgotten about the bottle while doing something else in the kitchen, only to have it overflowing and water spilling over onto the floor.

We store the water bottles in the bottom of the pantry and then take a smaller pitcher and fill that up from the bottles to keep in the refrigerator.

You can be told that everything takes longer to do, but it is only when you are experiencing it that you really can believe and know that is true. And what a process it is!

We all need patience everyday in whatever it is we are doing. Whether at work with other people, school or at home.

Patience, it truly is a virtue.

And one needed here in Zambia as well as back home in America!


  1. We keep our toothbrushes in the refrigerator. No one understands that it's near the filtered water and away from the roaches.

    It's comforting to know that you get it. :)

    ps Mosquito nets are such a bother, aren't they.

  2. Thanks so much for the comment. So nice to know you understand!