Sunday, February 01, 2015

Water, water everywhere

It's hard to explain to those who have not lived cross-culturally how even the little differences can be a source of constant stress. Sometimes, it's just a sea of little discrepancies from the life I lived in North America that add up to a weight of stress that it's hard to quantify. I find myself being jittery and hyper-reactive, even when things seem to be going really well in most areas of my life. And I wonder what's wrong with me, where the stress is coming from. And then one of the stressors is lifted. And I recognize it as a stressor that I hadn't even known I had.

Like water. Since moving into the apartment we're in now, we have not been able to drink the water from the tap. We were thankful for the fact that the taps were producing water, to be sure (yay for showers and flushing toilets!). But we were advised by the landlord to come up with an alternate water source for our health. Because sometimes the water was potable, sometimes it wasn't. You can't tell which phase it's in just by looking. It's not that the water isn't being treated at a municipal water treatment facility; it is. It's just that it seems like it's not being treated either well or consistently. I learned the reality of this the hard way. Once while Rob was out of town, I was running water to wash dishes and thought, "Gee, that water looks really clean. And it smells fine. Maybe…" So, I drank some. Within just a few hours, I was laid out on my bed with cold sweats, fever, and abdominal cramping. My bad.

So, Rob and I have been buying water from a reverse osmosis facility downtown since 2011, when we moved into this apartment. I don't mind "fetching" water like this. OK, maybe some days I did mind. It's just one more thing to add to the to-do list. But then someone offered a water filter rig for sale on a local second-handers group on Facebook. And it wasn't like any I had ever seen. Usually, they're fancy rigs that run on electricity and have lots of fiddly bits. I had visions of paying a jillion dollars for one, plus filters, then having it crap out in a year with no one in the area being able to fix it. But this one on the second-handers group was something different. It was a stainless steel gravity water filter. I had never even heard of such a thing! It uses silver-impregnated ceramic filters with activated carbon cores. The filters last 6 months. I thought, "Now there's a system I can handle."

So, I bought it. The water that comes out of it is clean. I just fill it with tap water and it comes out clean. Our tap water lately has been either full of algae (no really… algae!) or reeking of chemicals with a hint of algae (smells like "locker room at a YMCA that has a pool"). But it doesn't matter anymore. Because I just dump whatever sludge comes out of the tap into my filter system. And clean water comes out. Tada!

Then I noticed a change in myself. Everytime I fill the filter container, everytime I open the spigot and get beautiful clean water out, everytime I drink this filtered water, I feel like I've won some kind of battle. And I feel like a weight has been lifted. Like, I now control my own water. No matter what happens to the water supply in this town (or this country) I know that I can just grab any water (within reason, I suppose) and filter it. And I'll have water to drink. I guess I was stressed about water. And I didn't. Even. Realize it.

Which makes me wonder: what else am I currently stressed about that I won't even realize until the weight is lifted?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Keeping the Veiths in Botswana

We have a launched a fundraising page on GoFundMe, to help bring our support levels up to 100%. If you can take a moment, do check it out and share it with others.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Every language has its strengths

I've often pointed out to people that every language has its strengths and weaknesses. That is to say that some languages can say things in a single word that it takes other languages whole phrases added to include. Therefore, there are some passages in Scripture that can be more clear in new vernacular translations than it can even be in English. I've even said that things can be more clear than they are in the original. That statement may have gotten me the stink eye on occasion. Thank God, I now have an example of the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Carolyn and I are visiting with the Naro Language Project today, where the Khwedam Bible translation team is here for a consultant check of their translation of Genesis. They're working through Genesis 19 which, as you know, is full of men. Groups of men (the men of Sodom), pairs of men (the two angels), and a single man (Lot), to be exact. There's a string of verses - 19:4-11 - where men are described as doing and saying all kinds of things, without it being specifically stated which men are doing what. You can tell, pretty much, just by reading it who is doing what. But perhaps that's just my prejudice as I already know the story. It's hard to remember what you may not have known before you knew it, especially when you've learned it decades ago.

At any rate, when translating this section into English, the only pronouns we have for the men are "they" and "them". And, where the Hebrew just says "men", we can't specify which men without adding to the text; a limitation of English. Not so in Khwedam! The Khwedam language has a masculine pronoun for two people and a masculine pronoun for more than two people. So, when they translated Genesis 19:10, it is clear that the men who are dragging Lot into the house and shutting the door are the two angels, not the Sodom delegation.

OK, so people could probably figure out which men are which without a headcount being given by the pronoun. My point is just that even Hebrew doesn't tell you clearly which men are which in this section. So, in a sense (however minor), the Khwedam translation of this passage is more clear than the Hebrew original.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The beginning of the year

Well, this year is off to a strange start. It began with a break-in at the intern's house; some things were stolen and it was decided that she should move to a safer location (i.e. with dogs, barbed wire fence, and metal doors). It meant some trips to the police station, reports to insurance, and the like. She's still shaken up, I believe, but working on recovery. She fell ill this weekend, which we both suspect was the stress catching up to her.

I've been somewhat unwell myself. Not to get into any detail but I have been have some malfunctions in a certain organ (how's that for vague?). It has left me fatigued and stressed. Part of the last few weeks has been trying to find a way forward, health-wise, for the months before we head back to North America for our very-3-year trip. I'm trying a few dietary modifications and will keep you posted as to my success.

We're back in the translation project office these days and will be expanding our hours of being open as we ramp up for (hopefully) getting staff. Next week, we prepare for the WBTP advisory committee meeting that will be held on Saturday morning. My printer is busted so I'll be having to do a bit more mucking about than usual to get documents printed for the meeting. Oh well, I guess it means a trip to Francistown soon, to shop for a new printer.

Testing a theory

Wondering if I can just post to this blog from my iPhone.

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