The Life of Liz

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Friday, April 1, 2011

1,188 Boxes of Food on the Wall...

On My Job:

Glory to God in the Highest! And on earth, food. Yesterday was a banner day: the food finally arrived in Loma Linda. I peeled myself out of bed at 6:30 so I could eat breakfast before everyone started showing up. On a completely side note: I am convinced, deep down in my soul, that any day that starts with eggs is going to be a good day.

Anyhow, a few people started trickling in - alarmingly few, might I add - and around 8:00 up rumbled the semi loaded with 1,188 boxes of fortified rice. The truck driver, who showed absolutely no inclination to help unload his vehicle, did seem in a hellacious hurry to leave. I had originally hoped to have enough people to make a kind of bucket brigade from the truck to the warehouse, which is located at the far end of the church complex (and possible kept getting further away as the day wore on). This was obviously not going to be possible as there were only 11 of us in total. We stacked the boxes in the courtyard in order to get them off the truck as fast as possible, and then began the arduous process of getting them up the hill into the warehouse.

I’m going to do a little math for you, so you understand why today my arms look like I’m in an abusive relationship. Each box weighs 33 pounds, times 1,188 boxes giving us a total of 39,204 pounds of food to move. Twice. Meaning eleven people moved a total of 78,408 pounds, or roughly seven tons per person, using nothing but brute force and a few wheelbarrows. I know I didn’t do anywhere near my fair share or I would be writing this from a hospital, but even so, holy crap I hurt everywhere!

Only five of the fifteen churches sent people to help unload. I must admit there were several moments there, hauling boxes for five hours in the blazing sunshine, that I was sorely tempted not to give any food to any church that didn’t help. But I did manage to discard that unworthy thought and settle for being eternally grateful to everyone who did help.

And in case you were wondering, yes, I did remember to apply sunscreen and at least don’t have any burns to add to the misery that is my muscles and bruises. Yay?


On Language:

I think I can honestly report that my Spanish is improved. I’m nowhere near fluent, or realistically even passable yet, but it’s a heck of a lot better than it was when I first arrived. I can hold whole conversations with one or sometimes even two people at a time, particularly if said persons are nice and don’t mind repeating or rephrasing as necessary. I also discovered, much to my delight, that I can occasionally eavesdrop. This is particularly fun because no one knows I can! *Twirls metaphorical mustache in mischievous glee*

The next step in my linguistic development is to be able to understand what people are saying when they’re mocking me. It’s really hard to make out specific words when people are laughing whilst speaking. And though I do not know what they are saying, I am always aware when its happening. I find this incredibly unfair and want to shout, hey jerks, go pick on someone your own size!

Of course, I don’t say that out loud, because I can’t! Actually, I find that I speak more slowly and carefully these days, which is frankly all to the good. Besides patience and child care skills, I am also finally being forced to learn tact. It’s an odd sort of miracle, but appreciated nonetheless.


On Games:

If there’s one thing that really binds us together as Americans, it is that - young or old, rich or poor, republican or democrat, boxers or briefs - we all know how to play solitaire. I think it’s fair to say that American efficiency has allowed us to rise to the forefront of time wasting activities.

Much to my surprise I have discovered that hardly anyone at all knows how to play solitaire here. I was trying to teach Spit to no avail. Quite early on it became obvious that I lacked the necessary vocabulary to explain this game (what is the Spanish for “stack,” “pile,” and “ascending order by suit“?). I plowed on anyway till, about half-way through I realized that the game wasn’t being understood because it’s largely based on the rules of solitaire, which, as mentioned, are unknown. Weeeeiiiiirrrrdddd. I shall stick to Go Fish, which is easier to explain!

3 comments:

Maeve's Momma April 1, 2011 at 1:39:00 PM MDT  

On eggs for breakfast: Protein first thing does wonders for your energy! :)

On Spanish: Good job! :) All those People en Espanol paid off!

On food: Hooray and hooray!

On card games: Have you tried dominoes?

Kath April 3, 2011 at 9:31:00 AM MDT  

Good news about the food!!!!!

Good news about the Spanish ability!!!!

Good news about your new skills!!!

Who knew you should have invested in a Hoyle in Spanish before you left?!

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A brand new mom trying to navigate the crazy world of mixed families, babies, and working full time. Phew! Just writing that makes me want to lie down.

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