Saturday, June 04, 2011


There's a saying here, "Pouco-pouco vai longe". Its English equivalent would be, "Slow and steady wins the race". That saying is used a lot here because speed is a luxury we simply often don't have in the developing world. Speed, one can generally live without. Persistence, on the other hand, is essential. Because without persistence, you have nothing.

These were the thoughts going around in my mind yesterday as I watched the backhoe at work. Let me state at the outset that work with the backhoe has far outpaced moving soil a shovelful at a time, which is the way we were doing it before!

This is how it used to go. A group of guys, each with a shovel in hand, would loosen dirt then swing it a shovel full at a time up onto the truck. The soil would then be driven to the training center site where it would be unloaded in like shovel full at a time. It was a bit like ants moving a bowlful of sugar one grain at a time. Not ideal, but you can get the job done if you keep at it.

With the backhoe, things are moving much quicker. Even if not "speedy" by some standards.

Imagine the work and time the backhoe saves here.

Dumping the load of dirt.

Returning for more soil.
(The "sugar bowl" empties a lot quicker when you have a scoop!)

Here, the guys spread the dirt as it gets dumped.
The goal is to fill with dirt to the floor line (at the bottom of the doors).

Future classroom currently being used to store roof tiles.

With more roof tiles up, and plastering in place, it looks more like a "real" building.

Sometimes though, we're happy if something goes slowly here. Like the speed with which a Puff Adder moves toward you. They're poisonous, and there are plenty of them, so it's good that they're not a fast snake. It would be nice if they moved out of the way a bit quicker, but then, you can't have it both ways :)

A puff adder that was found on the road leading to the airstrip.

Dwight discovered him just minutes before Mushu (our little dog) and I came waltzing happily along.

In strike pose.
(Photo credit for Puff Adder photos: Paul Middleton of Mercy Air)
They may not move fast but they do strike fast. But first, they huff and puff in warning (hence the name).

I mentioned in a previous post that there have been a lot of snake tracks around here of late.
This is on the airstrip. It was only one of about 6 snake tracks I saw.

A bit more news:

Francisco and Mateus stopped by the mission the other day. They both receive sponsorship so they can stay in school. Here, Mateus (who is blind) reads a note from his sponsor done in Portuguese AND in braille. He was very pleased!

It was such a busy week I didn't get to go see my friend Robert for dressing changes. But the health workers say he's doing well. "He even brings the grass mat out himself now for us to sit on for dressing changes. Usually a family member would bring it out for him." He's been getting home visits for about 3 weeks now and soon won't need them anymore. Slow and steady wins the race.

Mushu agrees.
Slow and steady. And how about a bit of soft too, please?

Happy weekend everyone.

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