For those wondering what a normal morning looks like for us here in the jungle, this was today:
My day started out with me being woken up by the sound of one of our children having diarrhea. Yes, you read that correctly, it wasn’t the child that woke me up, but the actual sound of the diarrhea itself. This is one of the magical experiences you get to enjoy when your walls are made of uninsulated, 4mm plywood. Privacy is not one of our house’s greater virtues.
After helping clean the kiddo up,* I went to the kitchen and tried to make coffee. I say “tried,” because it turned out that we were out of filtered water, and when you get your water by collecting rain from your roof, filtering is not an optional thing (birds do things on roofs – terrible, terrible things).
I turned on our filter to fill up our water jug, but only a trickle of water came out. We have a pressurized water system, so there is only one reason this would happen: Time to clean out the filter. I take apart the filter, unscrew the candle (I have no idea why the ceramic piece that the water goes through is called a “candle,” but it is), scrub it gently with sandpaper, rinse it off, and put it all back together. Now we have fresh water. Well, we will in fifteen minutes anyway. That’s how long it takes for us to fill up our 5-gallon jug of drinking water.
Both of the older boys are up now, and Rochelle is sick in bed,** so I go to prepare breakfast for them. I left my cast iron griddle on the stove overnight though, so before I do any cooking I scrape off the 100+ little gnats that are stuck in the thin layer of oil that covers its surface. Bugs are the not-so-secret ingredient to many of our family recipes now.
Today we are having eggs. Eggs are a pretty big treat for us here, because cereal is too expensive to eat regularly, and the town we get our supplies from was out of oatmeal when we got our supplies a month ago. (That’s right, the TOWN was out of oatmeal, not just the store. This also happens with milk sometimes.) Since Rochelle has to make all of our bread, and it doesn’t keep well in the heat and humidity, that’s not usually a breakfast option either. More often than not, breakfasts for us are crackers with peanut butter and jelly. So, like I said, eggs are awesome.
I crack each egg into a little bowl before I drop it into the pan. This is a step that you don’t want to forget. Nothing ruins a meal quite as well as adding a bloody egg yolk to it. Except possibly, a partially formed chick. There are enough stories of both of those things happening over here that we are prone to cautiousness. And since all of our eggs are unrefrigerated, and have recently passed their expiration date, the odds of this happening are at an uncomfortably high level. Thankfully, today was a no-go.
After eating their eggs, the boys are still hungry. Eggs fall under the “rationed food” category though, so I can’t make more of those. Back to the old standby: peanut butter crackers for everyone! Apparently though, we finished our old jar of PB yesterday, so I have to open a new one. I don’t know if it’s the long shelf-time it’s experienced that causes this to happen, or if it’s the heat, but what I DO know is that our peanut butter is always crazy separated. And once peanut butter separates it does NOT like to go back together! I will be spending the next 5 minutes trying to get the ½ inch of oil that is floating on the top of the jar mixed back into the rest of the PB.
There you have it, a typical Callahan family morning. Sometimes, things are a little different, like when I attempt starting the day without my glasses, and I get to step barefoot on a dying cockroach, but for the most part, this is what our mornings look like before we head out to do language study.
*[You may have noticed, if you’re a regular subscriber, that diarrhea gets mentioned fairly often in our blog. The reason for this is simple: we seem to get diarrhea A LOT. Apparently, in the tropics, diarrhea is hardly even classified as a sickness. It’s treated more like an inconvenience than anything. Maybe like hiccups back in the States. If you call a doctor here and tell him that you have a bad case of diarrhea, then he will say, “OK” and then ask if there was something you were calling him about.]
**[We also get sick a lot. Not usually long sicknesses though. Mostly just random, isolated symptoms, that make us think we might have the plague, but then leave unexplainably.]