In our last post about getting settled, I mentioned that, thanks to Mark, we now have access to water all over the house. That was slightly confusing. Although we technically have all the plumbing in the bathroom and in the kitchen, this does not mean that we now have unlimited access to water. Even though we are only about 2.5km out from town, and that there are water lines to our community that everyone pitched in to dig after being promised water, they are not being used. Wells are very expensive and very difficult to obtain approval for, so there are no wells in our community either. This means, we and about 50 other families, have no easy access to water. The whole community complained about this lack of basic necessity, so as a compromise, a water truck is sent out once a week to give each family one free tank of water. Anyone who wants/needs more, has to go into town to buy it. For us, that one free barrel does not last two days, so we pay extra for the water truck to come back and fill up our cistern, This is still tricky because although half the time the water truck comes on Wednesdays, that isn’t always a guarantee. In fact, today is Friday, and we are still waiting for the water truck and when we buy extra water to fill the cistern, that water comes on a different day when they can make an extra trip out. Which means, we run out of water.
Getting our tank filled.
I’ve now been on a vendetta on figuring out where all our water usage is going. Maybe vendetta is too strong of a word and its incorrect usage besides, militant is more like it. I’ve been experimenting with the laundry. I took a load that I thought would be about what a washing machine would use and kept track of how many 5 gallon buckets of water I would use to hand wash that amount. I used 15 gallons of water. That is almost the same to up to half of what even a high efficiency washing machine uses. Yup, go ahead look it up. I keep the used water in buckets that I can then throw in the “backyard” area. Eventually we hope to have the water drain into something that we are growing…eventually.
Thinking more about our water problem, and being a homeschooling mom, I thought this would be a great math problem for the kids to work out. Peter figured out that the cistern holds about 1,200 gallons of water and that we are using roughly 133 gallons a day. Now this is for our family of 10 and the caretakers family of 3. That means 13 people are using 133 gallons a day. This does not include the purified water that we buy in the 5 gallon jugs. I was feeling pretty bad that we were going through the cistern so quickly especially knowing that we can never rely on when the truck will come with more. So I looked up online, how much water the average family in the U.S. uses. I was very astounded to learn that a family of 4 (that is mommy, daddy, and two kids) uses 400 gallons of water PER DAY. Go ahead google it. Toilets use by far the most at 27%, that’s like almost 15 gallons, every day!
Not only do we conserve water where we can, but we also try and make double use of what we can. Under our bathroom sink, we have a bucket that catches the water from washing hands, brushing teeth, etc, and we use that to flush the toilet. Only every now and then do the toilets gets a real flush. When we shower, we use the three minute rule. Get in, turn water on, get wet, turn water off, soap up, turn water on, rinse off. This really does not get hair very clean, so we are going to start washing our hair using a bucket of water. The water is freezing cold anyway, so no one complains about taking fast showers, and we only take a shower every few days.
In the kitchen, the sink drains into a place where we hope to grow a few vegetables, but right now the dogs like to sleep in it. The point is, we are trying to use as much water as we can twice, and that still doesn’t keep us from running out of water.
This week, Mark figured out that he can just go to the water department and buy enough to fill up our own tank to then fill up the cistern. He made 6 trips to town and it turns out to be cheaper for us to fill it ourselves instead of waiting for the water truck to come by. That means more consistent water, WOOHOO. The water department is right on the way to town, so any time during the week that Mark is already making a trip he can throw the tank unto the back of the truck and voila, water for the cistern.
Douglas setting up to fill the tank.
Well, this makes me pretty darn proud of our water efficiency and our ability to have water all the time, until I realize that our neighbors are even better at water conservation and they have less of a chance of consistent water. They use outhouses and buckets to wash up with. I turned up my nose at how they did not rinse their clothes till the water came clean like I try to do. Well now I understand why. Besides, maybe the smell of laundry soap masks the lack of bathing???
Barrels of all shapes and sizes on a horse drawn cart (see the first picture on this post) drive by our house all day long to get their water. During the rainy season, the locals are expert at collecting water, but 6 months of the year is the dry season. Today is hot and the water truck is two days past coming, so we decided to take around some water to the poorer families in our community. Mark filled up the tank 3 times which equals about 600 gallons of water and visited 5 families. I wonder, how long they will be able to make a little more than 100 gallons of water stretch.
Stay tuned for A Wedding in Nicaragua after April 8th. I’m very excited about this!
The Family Tree
We have been here for two and a half weeks now and are so thankful to Paul and Bing Rush for hosting us for as long as we need. We are happy with our progress, but all things take twice as long to get accomplished.
Remember the days of dial up internet? Our phones were that slow. It was sort of nostalgic, except we missed the dial up sound, JK. We would pull up our email and then go and do something for twenty minutes before checking to see if it worked. Those were the good old days that I really didn’t want to re-live. Mark brought down a signal booster in hopes that it would help and happily it has. We have also been trying to figure out the two cell phone companies, Claro and Movistar. In the other countries that we have lived in before, there really are not plans per se for foreigners. The poor pretty much “top up” or here they call it “recharge” whenever they have a little extra money.
Interpreting the countless texts from the carriers in Spanish can be challenging so we may just be doing something wrong, but it seemed like we were having to recharge every few days with Claro and that didn’t seem to give us much. With Movistar, we are trying out a two week deal that seems to be working really well. Not only do we have good coverage on our phones, we can now hotspot to a computer. Of course, it only works when we have electricity.
That Bamboo sticking out at the top is the antenna for the booster.
Water and electricity are right up there in the gotta get this sorted out list. We’ve spent many days without electricity due to power outages but life has seemed to move smoothly despite. Thanks to Mark who worked on installing a pump and water tanks for the kitchen and bathroom on our first trip here. As long as there is electricity, water can be pumped from the cistern into the tanks. Our stove is gas and our fridge is smaller than normal so there is not a lot of food that will waste. I did figure out though, to keep a bag of ice in the freezer so that I can use it as an ice chest when the power is out for more than two days. Ideas are flowing on how to work on alternative back up electricity.
All our laundry is done by hand and as long as the tanks are full I can continue getting things washed. After a couple of days without electricity though, the tanks get pretty empty and I watch laundry start to accumulate. Normally it will take a couple of hours to wash and hang laundry, but after a few days of not being able to wash, we can take a whole day to get caught up. As soon as the power comes back on there is a scramble to fill the tanks so we are ready for the next power outage.
We have lots of windows in the place so light is no problem until about 5:30pm when it starts to get dark outside and we rely on candles and flashlights, so glad for the batteries we brought. Then there is not much else to do but go to bed. And soon as we have a flicker of lights everyone runs to an outlet to charge their devices. We do have this really cool solar power charger that keeps Mark and I’s phone charged pretty well, Thanks mom!
Other than that, life continues to move along with a large family. Mark and the kids worked on a couple of shelves for the kitchen, which was a wonderful birthday present for me.
Look at that large sack of flour down there, Mark found a wholesale bakings supply store. WOOHOO!
The Kids' Bedroom
40 minute walk to Mass.
From a sermon by Saint Bernardine of Siena, priestThe faithful foster-father and guardian
There is a general rule concerning all special graces granted to any human being. Whenever the divine favour chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of the Spirit needed to fulfil the task at hand.
This general rule is especially verified in the case of Saint Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord and the husband of the Queen of our world, enthroned above the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: “Good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your Lord.”
What then is Joseph’s position in the whole Church of Christ? Is he not a man chosen and set apart? Through him and, yes, under him, Christ was fittingly and honourably introduced into the world. Holy Church in its entirety is indebted to the Virgin Mother because through her it was judged worthy to receive Christ. But after her we undoubtedly owe special gratitude and reverence to Saint Joseph.
In him the Old Testament finds its fitting close. He brought the noble line of patriarchs and prophets to its promised fulfilment. What the divine goodness had offered as a promise to them, he held in his arms.
Obviously, Christ does not now deny to Joseph that intimacy, reverence and very high honour which he gave him on earth, as a son to his father. Rather we must say that in heaven Christ completes and perfects all that he gave at Nazareth.
Now we can see how the last summoning words of the Lord appropriately apply to Saint Joseph: “Enter into the joy of your Lord.” In fact, although the joy of eternal happiness enters into the soul of a man, the Lord preferred to say to Joseph: “Enter into joy.” His intention was that the words should have a hidden spiritual meaning for us. They convey not only that this holy man possesses an inward joy, but also that it surrounds him and engulfs him like an infinite abyss.
Remember us, Saint Joseph, and plead for us to your foster-child. Ask your most holy bride, the Virgin Mary, to look kindly upon us, since she is the mother of him who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns eternally. Amen