Before breakfast, I walked into the living room and found Jared, Arianna, Ben, and Jessica each absorbed in their own electronic gadget. When Celia entered the room a moment later, I drew her attention to the sad state of affairs with a sweep of my hand. Her reaction was even stronger than mine had been:
“I know, right? What is up with that?!” We exchanged a look of empathy. “Do you want to walk down to the store with me?” she invited.
As I mentioned earlier, small stores nestled between houses or other businesses provide quick access to some grocery items. One such shop resides on the corner of the Duncans’ street, so our jaunt in the bright freshness of the day ended almost as soon as it had begun. Celia exclaimed when she spotted bunches of bananas behind the counter; she informed me that this vendor didn’t usually sell bananas. She bought a few of them and a box of raisins to add to our cereal for breakfast. The bag that we carried back to the house further included a carton of farm-fresh eggs for later uses.
The Duncans also decided to share a bag of cacao nibs with us to put in the cereal along with the fruit. The combination was delicious! Later, after we took care of dishes and laundry, Celia went with Jessica and Arianna to attempt to feed a few apples to the horses that were wandering by the house again. Jessica said that only one horse even tried to eat an apple, and, after an experimental nibble, he dropped it and walked away. They ended up feeding the apples to some goats instead. Whoever heard of horses that don’t like apples?!
After lunch – chicken salad sandwiches with potato and plantain chips – Ben began working on installing the water heater, and I played with wooden puzzle blocks and plastic food. (With Arianna and Harmony, of course! 😉 )
Later in the afternoon, Ben and I walked to the corner store together, hoping to make progress on fulfilling the aforementioned coffee order. However, the owner only had an 8-ounce bag and a handful of single-serve packets, both overpriced. As well as we could with our limited Spanish, we politely refused, telling him – hopefully! – that we were looking for bigger packages.
Back at the Duncans’, Ben discovered a leak in the new water heater setup. While he continued working, I curled up on one of the couches by a window to think, pray, and absorb as much of the ambiance of the scenery as I could, knowing that we would be leaving in just a few days. A small boy entered stage right, dashing erratically through the lot next door, trying to coax a knotted streamer of tattered plastic bags into doing a respectable imitation of a kite. It looked like he had wrapped his string around a discarded soda bottle; the whole thing was probably made with bits that he found along the roadway. I wished earnestly that I had a kite to give him.
Eventually, the water heater reached a state in which both incoming and outgoing plumbing were firmly attached with nary a leak to be seen. Ben hooked up the electrical wires and turned everything on to verify that those connections functioned correctly, as well. They didn’t. Jared called an electrician, who informed him that the earliest he could come would be sometime next week. Well, we were able to leave them closer to having hot water than when we came, anyway!
That evening, Jared, Ben, and Jessica left for the church in Boruco. Originally, Ben thought that he would be teaching a Bible study there all day Thursday and Friday, but later discovered that he would have only about an hour each night. He faced the challenge of rearranging his material to condense 2 days into 2 hours! Furthermore, the translator that had agreed to help him couldn’t come at the last minute. When Jared wasn’t able to find someone else willing and able to translate, he very kindly determined to do so himself.
Meanwhile, Celia and I enjoyed several more hours of heart-to-heart discussion as we made dinner together and waited for them to come back. She thought of adding cacao nibs to a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix to produce the delectable dessert that we ate after our chicken fettuccine Alfredo. What goes better with chocolate than MORE chocolate, right?
Ben returned laden with bounty; the white plastic grocery bag from Los Muchachos that he handed me contained 9 sleek, 1-pound packages of ground coffee beans! I squealed, grabbed the prize, and pranced into the guest room with it, where I added it to the 6 packages we had purchased earlier. As I surveyed the entire pile, my triumphant grin slowly morphed into a puzzled stare. How were we going to get it home? Sure, there would be plenty of room in our checked baggage, but our airline had been listed as number one for lost luggage! Trust them with it? Not happenin’. I thoughtfully eyed my carry-on, estimating its volume. Yeah, I can probably cram a change of clothes in there along with 13.5 pounds of java, I decided – blissfully ignorant of the future consequences of my plan.
I was also blissfully ignorant, when I retired for the night, of the future consequences of my choice to move the Duncans’ stand fan to a new position at the foot of the bed. Now, granted, there may not have been any consequences if Ben hadn’t decided to adjust the speed of the ceiling fan when he came in later. However, he did; I was suddenly awakened by a hearty yell from my husband accompanied by an awful, ongoing racket. I had no idea what was happening, but in milliseconds my brain correctly identified the source of the noise, decided that the fan should be turned off ASAP, and launched my body towards the switch to accomplish said objective. My hand was groping for the correct button even before Ben had recovered sufficiently to turn the light on.
We gaped aghast at the sight of twisted metal and broken plastic illuminated by the cold glare of a CFL. When Ben had tripped over the fan, the wire screen on the front had broken loose and fallen against the whirling orange blades, much to the detriment of both parts. The screen seemed useable after a bit of restorative bending, but the blades were shattered beyond repair. I saw Ben start to pick up the orange fragments and heard him say “Uh-oh.”
Uh-oh?! What do you mean, “Uh-oh”?! What else could possibly be wrong?!
“I’m bleeding.” I looked at the floor where he was looking and discovered the same red, nickel-sized spatters that had clued him in. After a bit of searching, he found the source of the leak – a 3/4 inch gash under his chin. While he attended to that, I finished cleaning the room, trying not to think about the plethora of virulent bacteria rumored to be in the water with which he was flushing the open wound. We finally settled down to sleep, NOT looking forward to confessing to the Duncans in the morning that we had, albeit accidentally, demolished one of their sources of moving air…