Moving Day

9 Apr

Monday February 27th was the day I made the move to my new house. It just also happened to be the day that I actually had some work to do, sort of. The ‘work’ involved the ‘launch’ of a community-based nutrition program which I’ll elaborate on in another post.

Anyway, my coworker and I set off after the morning meeting with about 30 pounds of food strapped to the back of the moto and the two of us squished onto the seat. The place we were headed is accessible by walking down the backside of the mountain my health center is on and through the valley beyond it. To walk there takes about 1.5 hours. However, since we had food to deliver we had the moto and had to go down the main road almost halfway towards the village where you can catch a taxi. We left the main road and set off through the valley of rice fields, which is my favorite part of my moto ride. The rest of the trip included a lot of sketchy bridges and places that needed ridges but didn’t have them. To say the road was bad would be an understatement and I’m sure that the moto was really heavy given the food and extra person but my coworker did a good job keeping us upright and moving forward. I wish I had a good map to get a better idea of the exact route we took. Anywho, it took us close to two hours to get to the community. We visited three different community health workers to drop off the supplies for the program then dropped in on a meeting at the Cell office.

It was getting on in the day and my supervisor told me that I would move in the afternoon but hadn’t given any details so I was a little nervous about the process considering that my new house is a 20 minute walk from my old one/the health center. When the meeting concluded I thought we’d head back to the health center and was under than impression until my coworker informed me that he was hungry and someone wanted to give him a meal and Primus. He asked if I would also have a beer and I said sure, not very happy about the delay.

The Primus turned out to be two Mutzig and the meal turned out to be peanuts. When the time came I chickened out and settled for Fanta. As much as I talk about how wonderful it’d be to be able to have an adult beverage on my lunch break then return to work, I just couldn’t bring myself to break the rules. Besides, I still had a moto ride home to survive.

We started back to the health center sometime after two. Since we were no longer encumbered by the giant bag of food my coworker drove more aggressively, much to my discomfort. The motos the health center has are more like dirt bikes than the moto taxis. The seats are shorter and there’s a metal rack on the back, they also have better tires so allowing the driver to take bumps faster. Unfortunately the suspension isn’t so great so I was really sore in the days after our little adventure and my tailbone felt like it was bruised for quite a few days after.

We got back to the health center around 3:30 and I hadn’t had anything to eat since the morning except for peanuts and fanta. My coworkers were all asking when I was going to start moving and all I could tell them was I didn’t know.

Finally I talked to/tracked down all the necessary people and the moving started. I paid two guys to carry all my big furniture to the house. The rest of my stuff was brought to the health center and strapped on to the back of a moto. I couldn’t watch each time as it drove off, a mountain of stuff precariously tied to the back. I was also incredibly embarrassed by the volume of stuff I had. My supervisor assured me it was nothing to be embarrassed of and assigned yet another coworker/moto combo to help move my stuff.

The entire time this was going on, dark, nasty rain clouds were slowly making their way towards us from the East. I had tried to remain relatively calm about the whole situation and had thus far been fairly successful but people kept asking me about Helen my cat, including if she would die because I had tied a hoodie around the basket in an effort to calm her down. So I made a last sweep of the house, wrestled Helen into a basket with the help of my former housemate and went back to the health center. When it became apparent that the rain would arrive at any time and I still had odds and ends, including my mattress to move I decided to go on foot. Many of my coworkers had said they would help me in my move but all of them save for one bailed on me at the prospect of rain save for Mama Rugira and for that I am eternally thankful. So she took my bucket of dishes, and I took the basket with my cat and we set off just as the rain drops started.

We passed one coworker/moto duo coming down the hill from the health center and told him to grab my mattress. Walking through town we saw another coworker on maternity leave and I told her I was carrying my cat, she just laughed. We argued over who would picked up first by our coworker on a moto. Mama Rugira thought as the fragile foreigner that I should and I, grateful for her help and feeling remorseful about including her on this trip so far from her house with a downpour imminent thought she should. In the end I won. As she took off I wondered what the wet spot on the back of my coworker V could be. Later I would find out that my kerosene stove had leaked on him and he would smell like that for a couple of days. I hopped on the back of the moto, basket of cat and all but then got off close to the house when the road became rather treacherous. Rather than get back on I waved my V forward and told him I’d walk the 300 yards to my new house just as the rain started to pick up.

The house girl came out to take the basket from me and jumped a little when I told her it was my cat. I got put Helen down in the living room with the rest of my things, looked at my ‘landlady’ and we both just laughed for a minute or so at the ridiculousness of the situation. Imagine, motos full of stuff and men with furniture on their heads keep showing up until finally a person you’ve only met once shows up with a cat in a basket.

The second moto drive took off for home before the rain started to get too bad and the rest of us just stood there under the overhang for a minute. Since he lives nearby, I thought V would take the moto back in the morning when he went to work. But he decided to take Mama Rugira home. I knew he’d have to walk back so I offered him my rain jacket and when I couldn’t unzip it he grabbed it from me and put it on over his head. Of course when I got it back it smelled faintly of kerosene. As did my American Apparel hoodie that I tied around Helen’s basket. The guys showed up with the last of my furniture and I paid them.

My new housemates gave me a battery operated lamp to use since we don’t have electricity (yet) and put a chair in my room. I began the process of bringing my different bags into my two rooms and trying to figure out what all had been doused in kerosene. I had my second meal of the day of banana bread and was riding the endorphin high that came with all the excitement of moving. I considered writing this blog post then, but opted for a movie instead.


One Response to “Moving Day”

  1. corina April 19, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Haha moving on a motorcycle… I did that. I love the detail I think I just watched the movie of your move in my head.

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