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Monday, October 03, 2016

Chicken Coop Construction: Burglar Bar Busts

Angry Beth waiting by windows clearly
devoid of burglar bars.
Six weeks ago, I excitedly paid the deposit to the second man intending to install the burglar proofing for our chicken coop. After the failed installation attempt in August-thanks to no electricity and no large generators available anywhere near my village-I was excited to be working with Buthe Buthe Aluminum and Glass, a business that appeared to be more professional and more established with an actual storefront, truck and generator of their own.

As we discussed the details, my new burglar bar man set dates to measure the windows and to install the burglar bars within the week. I cleared my calendar to accommodate the dates and was thrilled to think of how fast this business would be getting the work done.

Somehow, my hope lasted up until last Monday at 1:30. It was the eighth time in five weeks I had cleared a full day on my calendar for the burglar bar installation. It was the eighth time I called multiple times throughout the morning only to be told he would install on another day. Anticipating two weeks away from site for various Peace Corps work and the arrival of our chickens, I was done!

I firmly told him that he needed to do the installation as promised, that day. He, instead, offered me a refund of my deposit.

I grabbed my stuff and angrily stomped the thirty minute walk to get a taxi to town to collect my refund. Luckily I did not bump into anyone, as I was ranting and raving aloud the entire way out. When I arrived at his shop, the owner had “left for Maseru.”

“Oh no he didn’t,” I told the tiny woman manning the shop as I pulled out my phone. My stress level and anger were astronomical as I called him again. Many conversations occurred via phone between us and between him and the small woman. As my anger literally boiled over and caused liquid to leak from my eyes, the woman tried to help find a solution that would make me seem less upset. I finally agreed to leave the shop as he would be sending me money through my phone by evening.

Just about anyone could enter this house,
even crazy Americans without the keys.
With chickens due “in September”, my stress level was through the roof. Thanks to Butha Buthe Aluminum and Glass’s failure to actually do the work promised, chickens could arrive before cages or burglar protection are installed. That evening, my brother mistakenly asked about my day. As a result of me telling him the drama that had unfolded and my extreme frustration, I also taught him a new idiom: spitting nails. He and I both laughed about it.

A week later, I still did not have my deposit back. A large male PCV accompanied me in case I needed intimidation. I was much nicer than I would have been last week and managed to get my deposit back without resorting to intimidation or calling Peace Corp’s Safety and Security Manager. I am still a bit stressed but mostly am relieved that the chickens did not in fact arrive in September.

Meanwhile, the Peace Corps staff swept in to help me out. The staff that ensures the PCV homes are protected called up their guy and helped arrange installation of our burglar bars…hopefully this week. Somehow I am still optimistic despite the multiple failed attempts.

MCCC’s Egg Laying Chicken Project has been in development since March 2015. After many delays, MCCC and I were able to write a successful grant proposal for a VAST grant through Peace Corps. VAST grants are funded by PEPFAR to help with HIV-related work and OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Children) care. It is due to MCCC’s work with OCVs that qualified us for the VAST grant. Otherwise, we would have applied for a PCPP [Peace Corps Partnership Program] grant and would have been asking for assistance in funding this grant proposal. I encourage you to consider supporting other PCPP projects.

Posts about this project include:

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