Monday, November 28, 2011

Rabies & Balloons... Except Not

Over dinner just now our family discussed just how wild a day we have had, and Kent asked, "Are you going to blog about this? Because if you don't, I will!" You see, I had a peaceful, quiet extra Sabbath day of rest in mind. Today is national election day. Voters are out in large numbers and exit polls seem to sound positive about the experience. None of our regular folks were coming here to work all day and the house would be quiet. I thought I might even wear pajamas all day!

Except not.

Very late last night one of our friends came by on a motorcycle taxi in a frenzied panic because his 7-yr-old daughter, Deborah had been bitten twice by a rabid dog. By the time he told us the whole story the dog had been on the loose in his neighborhood 'across the tracks' 12 hours, and had bitten 16 people! We sent him to the hospital and told him to return right away if they didn't have treatment in stock. He was so scattered, he forgot his daughter's middle name. I would have too. It sounds like one of the little friends she was playing with on a placid Sunday afternoon was bitten in the head and was already showing dangerous signs of rabies. Who knows for sure if it was panic or rabies, but neither are good. And the dog is still out there.

In case you hadn't thought of rabies as anything other than a shot at the vet for your pet, it is alive and real, killing 100% of its victims slowly in a matter of days, weeks or months. I am not a huge fan of vaccines, especially for non-essentials like chicken pox, but rabies?!! I praise God for the science that created that vaccine! It saves countless lives. Unfortunately, it costs about 10 times the normal family's monthly rent. Take your monthly rent/house payment and times it by 10. Pay that 'out of pocket'. Would you do it? Of course you want to save your child's life! But how do you pay that off when cash is required, there are no banks or credit cards? Congo has a friends-and-family network for such a time as this. Works beautifully! Well, we hoped as they didn't return last night that he found treatment at the hospital.

Except not.

He was back with little Deborah this morning. The hospitals don't stock it. It is not a very stable vaccine, needing to be kept cold (nearly impossible here!) and is therefore expensive. We were able to make some calls and verify that there was indeed a supply in town that would be available tomorrow morning. Deborah will get her shots. We are all thankful. My Mama heart was very proud of my kiddos all praying for her and for the medicines to be found, and then making her snacks and drinks while she listened to the men calling all over town, working for her life. The teeth marks in her upper arm are very real! Sadly, by the time they left the dog had been on the loose for about 20 hours and had bitten 23 people (that they know about) - many of them children.

Without any workers today, we had hours of handwashing dishes, cleaning floors, etc.

Except not.

All these tasks require WATER! Our water tanks are empty today and we are using large bins of water hauled over from a friend's house. The boys pitched right in and we finished most of it before 9am - in time for school! Meanwhile, James discovered a large rat we trapped in the pantry. While we are thrilled to kill another one (8-9" long without the tail), we overlooked his passing for probably 24 hrs and had a stinky trap to deal with (to be fair, the boys in the family had a stinky trap to deal with...) =).

SO not a lazy day off! It was time to teach school.

Except not.

We still had to eat! In between instructional moments, I cracked 41 eggs, chopped 6.5 onions, baked a double-batch of raisin cookie bars, baked 2 quiches for tomorrow, made 2 salads, brewed two cups of coffee, heated up leftovers, gutted and sliced up a huge papaya from our backyard, made a thermos of tea for our night guard, and a pot of rice and meat for him as well. How ever will I do it when they are teenagers?! It's probably not more than most busy Moms, but I felt a bit like I was on a roller coaster. Or maybe one of those funky carnival rides where you don't know which way you will turn next...

We tried to decorate our tree too. We got the lights up yesterday and were looking forward to pulling out a few favorite ornaments...

Except not.

We took them to the US last Christmas, and the best ones didn't make it back into the right storage box, so they are MIA. Mommy fail.

This evening Joel was on duty as 'dinner helper'. In searching for a replacement bottle of gummy vitamins he found a huge bag of skinny balloons stashed away from Kent's balloon-making days. You didn't know I married a balloon artist?? It was Kent's introduction to missions - making balloon animals for kids. He's pretty good too! So Joel convinced Kent to make him a 'light saber' balloon. Anna quickly ordered up pink poodle.

Except not.

After the 4th attempt popped, we resigned ourselves to the fact that these balloons sat in a box for one year too long and were basically worthless.

Except not!

Anna discovered that by tying 8 long pink balloons together at one end, she could make an 'octopus'! And the rest of the evening was spent making various octopi, sting rays, and jelly fish in various balloon colors. Maybe we'll hang THEM on our tree! =) Anna's two favorites were white and pink, and at least one was named Princess. Why not Princess the Pink Octopus?

When life gives you popped balloons... make an octopus!

So our not-at-all-lazy day at home today turned into some kind of carnival ride full of twists and turns. And I'm so proud of my kids taking all those left-turns in stride! Two months ago, a day like today would have included hours of emotional meltdowns. Today we rolled with the punches. We took the left turns. We hauled our water. We helped our friends. We were content in every kind of circumstance. I'm just so thankful.

Got any old balloons? You know you should make an octopus! And smile.


Linda said...

OH, MY GOODNESS! Bless your heart for your sweet, flexible spirit! I could hardly believe my eyes while I read your post.

I've been praying for the children bitten by that rabid dog and am so sorry to learn he has bitten even more since yesterday.

Also praying about the elections. Keep us posted.

Hugs and smiles,

Janine the Bean said...


Keeping you in our prayers.