What Would We do Without Alce?
We were in our last few weeks of furlough in the States when I “heard” that Alce (our house helper) was staying on. Before we had left Indonesia she had mentioned that when we returned she would be teaching at a school in a distant town. This made us all sad. Alce is a faithful and trustworthy friend. I won’t forget our conversation on the day before we left, realizing how endearing she had become to me. There is not a day in Indonesia that I don’t work hard. Yet, on the weekends when Alce is not here…..wow, we all have to really work to make up for how she helps us. Alce has a gift for working in a very non obtrusive way. She is quick to laugh when the children do different things. It is rare that I have seen her down.
This week Alce wanted to learn to make bread. So Tuesday was lesson day. It turned out beautiful.
Typically Alce sweeps and mops the floors each day. Cleans the bathrooms. Does all the laundry, folds and iron’s it. Makes random unmade beds. Cleans windows, screens, sidewalks. Dusts. Preps veggies from the market. Cleans in drawers, dressers and cupboards from ever roaming bugs. I never have to tell her what to do, she just finds stuff to do. With 6 of us running around making messes all day, it is not too difficult!
So you must wonder, “What do you do, Ruth?” I usually get the laundry going each morning and sort it (we do laundry every day, because the wet,damp, sweaty clothes do not smell nice if let to sit longer then overnight). I am up no later then 5 a.m. reading the Bible, then Darron and I walk and pray together each morning. By 6 a.m. I have to get breakfast going. By 6:40 it is on the table and I am motivating boys to get lunches packed, wake up, feed birds, school work together and out the door we fly by 7:10 a.m. If I don’t have to go to the market then we can be home by 7:40. Usually the first load of laundry is done and next one can go in. Maybe bread or granola needs to be made, or my latest task is to make yogurt. Then to bathe with my cold dipper “shower”. Home school gets underway with Jacob and Nathaniel. Going anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Then it is lunch prep. Any given meal takes around an hour at minimum.
On Monday and Thursday’s we leave the house by 1:00 to go swimming. On Tuesday’s there is often home school art. Wednesday afternoon’s I have begun tutoring a girl in English. That leaves only Friday afternoon free. Regardless, we leave the house by 2:40 in order to pick the boys up from school by 3. They are usually starving. Afternoons are filled with baking, writing emails, catching up at the new house, maybe working on a deep cleaning project or organizing that needs my attention. Perhaps a little outreach project. Then it is supper, dishes, bath’s, home work, stories……can I go to bed Yet? We often are dying to go to bed by 8p.m. and for sure by 9 a.m. There really is so much more to each day, but this is just a sampling. Also my work at the clinic has yet to begin or taking call. So when I have to do (or delegate) Alce’s tasks too……groan…..it is bone wearisome. The houses here are so open, that combined with the tropical weather…much more dirt enters the homes and mold is a constant reminder of humidity.
One other thing I like to do is buy fruit and veggies. I think the market is one of the most colorful places in this earth. I must take my camera one day and just go with the purpose to catch more of life there. Since returning I have started going frequently to a little fruit stand. I thought you would enjoy seeing how much fruit I could purchase for about $7.50 and compare it to how far that money goes when purchasing imported goods. The sauce for the two cans was also around $7.50.
We have just learned that Alce will be leaving us soon to go and teach school. We will all miss her much. All of us are so comfortable with her. Now the younger two boys not only show me their new creations or tricks…..but they run and show Alce too. I am excited for her and would never want to squelch her opportunity to grow. While we have her we will enjoy!