Monday, March 29, 2010

Nitrogen tank issues and Flooding Back Home

I will be glad when I can actually get up in the morning feeling rested. I missed my family this morning, which is not surprising, since I have to call them by 6am to catch them before Erika puts them to bed at 9pm on school nights.  But tonight they went to bed early and I arose a little late. I felt like I had low blood sugar and just couldn’t wake up. At home, Erika brings me some orange juice or yogurt to get me going. I miss that when I am here.

Danny and I went to the federal semen collection site to refill our tanks with nitrogen, but they said that they didn’t have enough to give us any because the power has been off and on lately. We worked with them until we finally convinced them to give us a few liters just to put keep the tanks viable. We tried going to the University next, but they only have a small compressor. Danny will have to go tomorrow 150 km to another research center to get it. It is easy to get frustrated with the bureaucracy and inefficiency here in Ethiopia. There are times when I spend a lot of time and make so little progress.

I went with Georgianna and Dr. Debay up to their farm about 40 km north of Addis.  They have several buildings constructed, and are almost ready to start with the cows.  She has done a lot of research about the milk market here in Addis.

This evening I checked my computer and found a call for help from Erika.  A water line broke in our upstairs laundry room and flooded several rooms throughout both floors of our house. She seems to be handling it alright considering I can’t really do anything to help her. She is fantastic! 

Busted water pipe under the bathroom sink.

{Erika here} -- The steel-enforced tubing under the sink in our upstairs laundry/bathroom busted open. Must have been a flaw in the part. Water gushed out for 30 minutes before I noticed it! The worst part is that I *heard* the water, but I was in another room and thought it was the washing machine! Grrr!

The plumber, water restoration team, and the insurance adjuster had never seen anything like this before.

By the time I realized what was happening, it had flooded the bathroom, into the hallway and onto the dining room wood floor, through the floor into the downstairs ceiling. 

Water damage in upstairs hallway outside the bathroom.

When I discovered it, I ran downstairs to shut off the main water supply, and was met at the bottom of the stairs by a HUGE amount of water pouring through the doorframe at the bottom of the stairs. It seriously looked like a waterfall! 

Door frame where the "waterfall" had been pouring through.

I dashed through the sheet of water, noting the completely saturated carpet as I ran, and tried to shut off the water. It is in a very awkward corner of Jessica’s bedroom closet, and you can barely get your hand through the opening. I tried to turn the knob, with no success. It was stuck fast. I said a quick prayer, “Please Heavenly Father, give me the strength to turn this off!” I tried again, with all my might, and it turned off. Silence.

Saturated carpet. And a nice neighbor checking my fusebox.
I walked back into the hallway to see what damage had been done. 

The carpeting through the hallway and part of the family room was soaked, and water was still dripping from the light fixtures. It looked & sounded like I was in a cave. I looked up at the ceiling, and the drywall was so water-logged, that there were huge bubbles in it, drooping down, stretching the paint nearly to a breaking point. I quickly realized that this was much more than a shop-vac situation.
Water-logged ceiling in basement doorway.

I called the insurance company and was given permission to immediately get some water damage specialists to the house. A friend from my Church came over to help me clean up a bit and another friend who is a plumber offered to come over in the evening to fix the source of the leak. This was wonderful, since the insurance covers the damage caused by the flood, but not the cause of the flood. Thank goodness for great friends!

Water Solutions had to cut up the ceiling. . .
. . . and place tons of fans to dry everything.

As difficult as it was, I was really grateful for good home insurance and a great water cleanup team (Water Solutions of Payson, Utah).

Thanks to great support from my family & friends, I was able to make it through without having a complete nervous breakdown! 

And. . . I am now (several months later) enjoying beautiful new wood floors in my dining room, and many newly repainted walls. . . And all for one moderate co-pay and a heck of a lot of inconvenience! I'm sure glad it's overwith! ~Erika

Sunday, March 28, 2010

MARCH/APRIL Trip Begins!

My flight to Ethiopia went well this time.  We hit some big turbulence over Canada that felt like a rollercoaster ride for about 15 minutes, but I was thrilled to be upgraded to business class at Frankfurt - It makes the flight so much better. I was one of the first people off the plane in Addis, so I was able to get through immigration very quickly.  I had to wait for my luggage before going through customs, but I was still able to go through without waiting too long in a line like usual. They were suspicious of one of my suitcases and ended up holding one of the laptops that I had brought. I have to go back later and pay importation taxes on it. But everything else was okay, which is a lot considering such a long flight and several transfers.

I was excited to see Teddy meet at the airport to give me a ride to the office.  Heidi, Wesson, Radit and Damas were there at the office when I arrived.  It was good to see them all again.  It was about 8:00pm and I had stayed awake the whole flight from Frankfurt, so I was very tired.  I Skyped with Erika for a little while, then headed to bed.  

I awoke with a bad headache in the middle of the night so I took some acetaminophen and was able to sleep until 9:00am the next morning, when Shemelis came by to give me my phone and my money.  I felt well rested and clear headed all day, which was a very welcome feeling. Heidi cooked hamburger and rice for us for lunch.  It was very good, in spite of the fact that the hamburger over here has a very strong flavor.  For dinner,I drove Celina to Avanti’s to get “take away” Italian food. There was a big conference going on at the main conference center on Bole road, so traffic was very thick.  I had to transform myself into an “Ethiopian driver” very quickly.  Driving here appears to be very chaotic, but it is actually fairly functional for this city.

An informal medical clinic is already opening in Beltu.  Julie, a nurse, went out there to visit, and had only been there for 15 minutes when an Ethiopian mother brought her critically burned 18 month old in for emergency help. Julie taught the other workers how to care for the baby so she could continue the treatments (another tender mercy of the Lord).

This morning I took Heidi to the airport with a truckload of supplies for Beltu.  She will be staying out there for about a month until it is time for us all to leave for the States.  I came back and slept for a little while, then drove to church.  The jet lag is worse today than yesterday - my thinking is cloudy and I am very tired.  Even so, I enjoyed the church meetings, but I had to focus hard and pray for strength to keep listening and learning. I took a long nap this afternoon, but I am tired again.  Hopefully I can get a good night’s sleep and have a good day tomorrow.  I had a great chat with Erika on Skype.  She has had a couple of busy days and is worn out also. One again we are having similar experiences, even from opposite sides of the globe. I love her so much.

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