Though we don’t have snow, it is the coldest it has ever been since we arrived. I don’t even really have words. I can tell you it’s been 59 degrees Fahrenheit all day and all night, but that probably doesn’t seem too cold to you. For here, it’s unheard of. We might get such temperatures at night for a couple weeks during our “cool season,” but it always gets back up into the 90s during the day. We warm up, and then we bundle up for a few short hours at night.
This is a whole new game. We never warm up.
You see, we have no heat sources. Even in our house–the nicest house on the block, if you will–has very few heat sources. We have a water heater for our shower, which only has the capacity to heat the water about 20-30 degrees, which is absolutely nothing when your end result is a 60-degree shower. But the neighbors don’t even have that!
We can close most of our windows, but the houses are built to be open–they are built to let air through to cool you down. There are windows we can’t close, the tile floors remain frigid, and our “wet” bathroom is like standing on an ice skating rink.
And if we’re freezing in our concrete home, we can only imagine what it’s like for our neighbors! The kids are wearing all the clothes they’ve got and most of us are skipping showers.
We heard yesterday that it would be like this for a few more days, so we bought blankets for the community yesterday. Some of the houses are concrete and more like ours, but about half are more shanty-like, built of a collection of bamboo, wood, tin, plastic signs, tarp, and cardboard. We wanted to try to get a blanket to each family in these more shanty-like homes.
I was quite sick, so we sent a friend in to the market to bargain for 35 blankets. She got quite a deal at $6 each for big, soft blankets. We delivered house to house, telling them “our church in America” gave us money to buy them. We were greeted with huge smiles.
And to all those who support us to be here and support the community fund to buy things like this: thank you. Thank you for being the church!
In some ways, I think they were thankful for the practical help of a blanket. But I think in other ways it just gives them hope. When you are living on day to day labor & trying to feed your family, a bitter, rainy day is really discouraging. Sometimes we just want to let them know that we haven’t forgotten them, and ultimately that God hasn’t, either.
Today was just as cold, so quite a few kids stayed home from school. They told me they are “sick,” but it seems to be just cold. But, when you have most of the kids staying home from school due to the freezing temperatures, you have our local equivalent of a snow day!
So we invited them in to our house, where it’s a little warmer. We set out blankets on the floor so they didn’t have to sit on tile and set out toys they could play with. Within minutes, they had their own school started, practicing the alphabet, days of the week, and colors.