A partial list of Things the Ants Have Gotten Into Lately: the peanut butter, the water filter, an unopened bag of sugar, the water filter, a pot of leftover rice stored inside the stove for safekeeping, the water filter, the trash, the water filter, the dishes in the drain rack (which resulted in a bleary-eyed Joel getting a bowlful of anty oatmeal this morning), the laundry on the line, our bed (when I rashly brought in the aforementioned laundry without shaking it off first, and dropped it on the bed)...and, last but not least...the water filter, again.
Eric got up in the night to use the toilet and couldn't find his crocs to slip on, so he went barefoot...and stepped on a cockroach.
The college carpenters have now installed screens on almost all the windows. They're still missing the east one in the living room (which would catch a great breeze if we could open it in the evening), the kitchen one, and the toilet and shower rooms. The screens they have installed are very crudely constructed, and Eric spent an hour today stop up gaps with crumpled plastic bags and duct tape. He is NOT a happy camper when this topic comes up in conversation. He strongly suspects the carpenters are actually leaving their workshop to avoid him when they see him coming. So today he went in to Lilongwe to get supplies to build them himself, using tools Moses will lend him.
Eric was on the way to town to pick up the kids from school. As he was driving through campus a couple people flagged him down to hitch a ride, so he stopped. Then more people dashed over and hopped in, so he had five passengers in our four-passenger Polo when he arrived at the first police road block. This is where he discovered that having five passengers in a four-passenger car is illegal. He somehow talked his way out of trouble and narrowly escaped a 10,000 kwacha fine. Then he told the passengers someone would have to get out, because he wasn't going to keep on that way and get stopped at the next road block too. He said he had to wait for some long moments until the last two girls who'd gotten in reluctantly got out and went to wait for a minibus.
No water since early this morning. We think they're cleaning the tank in preparation for the students' return Nov 4. Last time the water was off, this is what it looked like when it came back on:
We ate lunch with Maliros this past Sunday, and got Moses talking about his barefoot boyhood in a small village. He decided early on to go as far in his education as he could. He is the last of six siblings, and only one other brother even finished secondary. School fees were a problem for his family; they sold what they could, including a bicycle, and were helped by an uncle who had some income from being a carpenter. In return, his uncle asked Moses to give his treasure, his beloved Viewmaster toy, to his own children. He still recalls what a wrench it was to give up that wonderful toy, even for an education, and joked that maybe he should see if they still sell them. Moses commented that he thinks growing up in a village engenders a certain fortitude or endurance - or does sometimes anyway, as he doesn't see that in everyone. I asked him what part of a village childhood he most regrets that his children don't have, and he mentioned things like spending time in the bush, going hunting...time in nature, is how I might summarize it.
The Maliros' baby Chrissy Andrea is often a pretty serious little girl with a thoughtful expression - but she always has a big smile for Emma. She's named Andrea for one of their Australian friends, and Chrissy because she was born close to Christmastime. She's 10 months old now - it's fun to have her recognize us and be happy to see us.
October 15 was Mother's Day here. Eric and Moses Maliro conspired to have our families and Julie together for dinner, and told us women not to cook anything because the men would do it in honor of Mother's Day. This actually meant that Moses picked up pizza in Lilongwe on his way back from an errand. It was a fun evening. We usually eat with the Maliros at least once each weekend; we really enjoy each other's company and always end up laughing a lot. (Julie, who is living in a room at the college guest house, eats there most nights. Did we ever introduce Julie Lourenz? She and her husband Clyde became friends with the Maliros while Moses was getting his doctorate in Australia. Clyde was here for a month and had to go back to work, but Julie is staying on for a while longer. We have really enjoyed getting to know them too.)