While we were contemplating what to do, and in very short order, the troubled bearing bade a final and destructive farewell . We knew there was trouble when the lights went off at 7 pm instead of 9 pm. We grabbed our flashlights and headed up the path toward the generator shed. We met the guard half way there. “There’s a big problem! The generator started squealing loudly, then shut itself off...I wasn’t even there...I didn’t even shut it off...It just made a loud noise and...”he managed between breaths. He’s rather excitable and when he has adrenaline surges he talks very fast. He was talking very fast then! We arrived at the shed to find columns of smoke rising from the machine and the ‘excessive speed’ warning light lit. Hmmm. This can’t be good!(see the metal pieces at the bottom of the ring? Yeah, that's NOT good.)
The following day we spent half the day pulling the alternator off of the diesel engine. This is no small task. The thing likely weighs a couple hundred pounds since it essentially consists of a thick metal casing and bundles upon bundles of tightly wound wire inside. Think: lead. With the help of a block and tackle, 2 tire irons, assorted tools, some serious pushing, pulling and grunting AND, let me not forget, my handy 'this-is-serious-business-leather gloves, we got it apart! One small bearing having ‘trouble’ led to many small copper wires being torched, which brought a large powerful unit to a screeching halt. Now that it’s apart, we’re faced with the same old challenge as always...getting it somewhere to someone who can do something with it! And our trusty old back-up generator isn’t performing at the moment either. *sigh* For now, our nights are just a little darker.
On a more positive note, this week a tetanus vaccination campaign was held at both the mission-run health posts. Ernesto is given the duty of administering the shots as well as the campaign staff from Chimoio. One lady who was a little aprehensive about the whole affair asked, “Is it going to hurt?” One of the campaign staff replied with, “Not much...it’s just a small needle.” In this case, small may hurt but it helps too. For me, the event was rather exciting to witness. This is what makes the bumps in life worthwhile. Helping people.
Several days ago, I decided it was high time I go check on the progress of a widow/orphan’s house whose hut burned to the ground a few months back. I was impressed with what I saw. A job that somehow I figured would take months took a mere week. Her family will help her put a roof on it now and voila! She and her family are very happy with the new house.
We popped in on the school one day last week to take pictures for a thank-you to the care-a-thon (Heimdal) that takes place each June. This event helps to keep feeding these children a great lunch each day! School visits are always a rewarding event because the kids willingly share their beautiful smiles and love hamming it up for pictures. We’ve known most of these kids and their families for about 10 years now, so we feel very much a part of their lives. And they are a special part of our lives as well. And last but not least, there has been some progress on our house. Believe it or not, these are just the foundation walls. We’re building on quite a slope. This front corner still needs a few more layers of bricks, and that’s just for the FLOOR of the veranda. Wow. You could practically sky-dive off of there! We’ve decided that rather than try to fill the huge cavity inside with dirt, we’ll do the Canadian thing and build a basement! It’ll be more of a crawl space, but boy will it ever come in handy. We can store all kinds of stuff in there: garden tools, bikes, broken generators...