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Friday, July 9, 2010

The Life & Times of Louis & Amber - Camping Out

On Monday, our container arrived from the US.  It had been delayed due to a workers strike here in South Africa, something that seems to happen on a monthly basis.  You can see from some of these photos that there is a big job ahead of us, unpacking and resorting everything that came over.  Fortunately we have two other containers that are only partly full.  Our container will get everything for The Village, such as clothing, dishes, and household furnishings.  The Niehoff's container will get all the construction supplies, tools, etc...

Meredith couldn't wait for the container to get here, since many of her things were packed away on it.  When she finds out a goodly portion of those things are school books and supplies, we'll see how happy she is!

On Tuesday we spent most of the day unpacking and reorganizing.  We had to pull lots of things out of our containers, then start tearing into the RHI container.  DJ and Brilliant were there to help, and a huge help they were.  By 4:00 in the afternoon we started to dread the job of putting everything back into the containers, only to pull it back out again the next day.  You can't leave anything laying around here or it will grow legs and walk away in the night.  I suggested that in order to save some extra work, we could just camp out at the property that night.  DJ jumped right on that idea - apparently it's been a long-time dream of his to go camping.  Brilliant was a bit more tentative, but warmed up to the suggestion pretty quickly, once he cleared it with his father.

My plan was to lay out some bags of joint compound powder for a more comfortable sleeping surface.  Brian started telling us we should sleep on top of the containers.  Since I have a habit of talking in my sleep, I figured sleep-walking isn't too big a step (no pun intended).  Sleeping 10 feet in the air with no rails or safety harness didn't exactly appeal to me.  But then Brian said he would camp out with us if we slept on top, so I had to agree.

About 5:00 we wrapped things up and headed home for showers.  It hasn't rained here for well over a month, and the dust is something terrible.  I gathered our little grill and cooking supplies, then ran to the store for hot dogs and chips.  We had left DJ and Brilliant at the containers to guard everything.  When I got back I found out the guard from the abandoned store across the street (yes, the very same store from this story) saw us leave and then saw the boys still inside the property.

He came walking over to the property and came just inside the gate.  He yelled to the boys to come over and DJ waved and said "hi".  He said "Don't you talk to me from over there.  Come here now."  DJ and Brilliant started walking toward him and he pulls out his gun.  Apparently he thought they were tsoties (gangsters) who were getting ready to walk off with some things.  Once they got close enough to recognize faces, he realized they were the two guys that had been helping us and they made some small talk together.  It's nice to know that someone is keeping an eye on things, at least a little bit.

We had a great time.  Ben played some guitar, we sat around and talked.  Brilliant told us about a Boogyman movie he had watched once.  The boys asked us some questions about sharing the gospel in the township, and then we called it a night.

On top of the container we laid some plywood, since the metal is corrugated.  Ben slept on two bean bags, I slept on an area rug and blanket, Brian and Brilliant were in sleeping bags, and DJ rolled up in a winter coat and comforter.  When we shipped over a container last time we had a whole bunch of old hotel comforters.  Each of us used a couple of these folded up a few times - since it is winter and all.  It probably dropped into the 40's with a light breeze.  Every time I moved in the night it opened a little crack in the blankets up by my neck, funneling that light breeze right down into my cocoon.  So needless to say, I woke up a few times during the night.

After talking to everyone the next morning, I wasn't the only one who woke up several times.  Brilliant had brought the leftover potato chips up with him, and every time he woke up he grabbed a mouthful of the chips.  Ben woke up thirsty, but we hadn't thought to bring the water up.  We did thing to pull the ladder up after us, you know, just in case.  Ben didn't want to wake anyone up so he shimmied down the  side of the container using the door for handholds, then shimmied back up ninja-style.


But the night passed without event, although the fact that Ben could climb over me, down to the ground, back up and over me again without me ever waking up says something about my watchdog skills.

The next day we got everything picked up, packed away, and the containers all locked securely.  I'm not sure I want to make a habit of sleeping on plywood.



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