This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Alice's Little Door Was Too Low

In "Through the Looking Glass" Alice had the same problem that I had,  getting down to the little door and being able to fit in.  Her solution was to just get smaller.  Kristi is trying to get me smaller but I needed a faster solution.  

Meet my friend the furniture maker.  We drive by his roadside shop twice every day.  I gave him the measurements (in centimeters) and he said come back at 1500.  For some reason most Zambians use a 24 hour clock.  That gave him just three hours.  I thought I misunderstood him as he really didn't speak much English.  Most of the things he said were in a native language and I just nodded and then drew pictures with measurements on pieces of wood.

I would say our negotiations lasted about 30 minutes.  I was told to expect to pay about half of what the starting price was, but this was not a place many white folks frequented. 


He already had a pieces of wood that had been joined for a top board.  He doesn't have a joiner or any power tools (or power).  Just rough cut 1x4 pine to work with.  I asked where the pine came from but I couldn't understand the answer.  He has a hand saw, hand plane, hammer, one chisel and a splayed nail set that set the nail, but put a huge hole around the nail head.  Oh, and that big jug of glue.

In three hours this was the result.
His helper was working on finishing the end tables for someone else.

After I got there he set the big headed nails.  Then he planed a stick turning it until it was round, slathered glue on it and pounded it into the nail hole.  Here he is sawing off the stick and ready to do the rest of the holes, making the end of the stick round and smaller for each hole.

I suppose I over paid as he was willing to go the extra mile and put a coat of varnish on it.
The cost was 100 kwacha, or $ 18.86 in US money.

So what is all this "jabber walk" about small doors?
This hallway is the one we work off of.
At the end is the mission president's office.

That is his desk

This is his mission organization board.  That is Kristi and I in the upper left corner.

The first door on the left of the hallway leads to the mission office.  This is where the assistants to the president, Kristi and the mission president's wife have desks. 

The assistants look out toward the windows but actually do get a lot of work done.
Kristi has realized she needs the information that is posted on the walls to do her job.

I occupy the last door on the left before the president's office.
I felt sort of isolated to begin with but if you know me I am not much of a people person so it is probably for the best that I can talk to myself, sing, listen to music, and wonder what is so funny in the next room.  I also get to count money like the nursery rhyme King.

To count the money, I have to get in this little safe six times a day.  It also holds all the passports.  I thought this was ridiculous to be on my knees so often, even though I am on a mission.
Alice got to take a pill to make her smaller, I got the carpenter to make the door my height.

There is now a cardboard box with the back and bottom missing that I slip over the safe when it is not in use.  This was my first official act as mission financial secretary.  Taking care of myself.