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   Wisdom is gained in bits and pieces, spurred by many things: such as wanting to fit in, or experiencing unexpected desperation in a faraway place.

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   A old friend sent a note about his short-term mission work in Thailand that dredged forth an almost forgotten memory.

 

  He mentioned buying certain food in bulk for future sharing.

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   My note in reply is such beyond the DOOR.

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   [MORE]

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   Start counting your seconds…

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   Peace Corps volunteers are often suddenly called upon to do things they’d never thought about before.

   Dear Rick,

   A long-ago memory flashed back when I read your delightful post. When I was teaching in the Peace Corps in Liberia (1963-64 during the time Kennedy was assassinated, btw), one time as several of us who lived in several different places decided to buy food in bulk and then later split it up. I was assigned to get “salt,” so I came back from market with a case of it, and never heard the end of my wisdom about that. The PC group had enough salt for the next decade of volunteers. When I suddenly had to terminate and return to the U.S. due to illness, however, there was a stir about who would inherit my fully “adjustable” lounge chair that I had crafted entirely out slats from orange crates. Surprisingly, it was quite comfortable to collapse in with a paperback, since the only chairs we had access to were flimsy metal folding ones. Try living and working in a cinderblock house with cement floors and no place to sit besides military bunk beds! Some choices are abysmal; others, well, are never-to-repeat again wonderful¹.  Hang in there!  –John

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   ¹ You can add to that one more thing: In Liberia my weirdly large bathtub had a large 2-ft. or so porcelain slab at the back end. So I stood a 55-gallon metal barrel on top of it. A great discovery was locating a brass water faucet spigot in a general store. So I bought a super large nail and borrowed a hammer and wrench to fashion an acceptable hole on the side near the bottom of the barrel. Our water supply in a ragged suburb of Monrovia was “off” as much as it was on. But, with regular hose-fed additions I always had “tap” water available the whole time I was there. I was valued for that, too…