Actually, just smoke appearing from the wall behind the cooker switch.
This house, Manse #2 was built in the 70’s. In addition, it has many quirks like outdoor light fixtures inside and a sink in the bathroom that looks like it might fall off the wall at any moment. Because it has been occupied intermittently, alterations and repairs get completed seemingly without the insight of an occupant of the building. Why there are outdoor light fixtures inside, that are causing electrical shortages…maybe because those happened to be less expensive than the indoor ones? I have no idea. In any case, I am offering the church committee a few items at a time to tackle as to avoid overwhelming them. And, we must remember, we are in Africa. We are also surviving just fine. I have confidence that God is watching over us and each electrical wire inside the walls, in order to keep us safe, healthy, and serving God.
Of course, staying in a quirky house comes with funny happenings.
In the first week of 2011, the oven stopped working. I did smell some metal burning just before the thing went off. Therefore, as the procedures are expected to commence, I called the maintenance committee. There was an electrician who arrived the next day to assess the situation. He said we needed a new switch in the wall. Therefore, he left in order to find the necessary parts and did not return… until Monday of this past week, still empty-handed. I started noticing some sparks flying out of the switch on Sunday, so even though I was glad they showed up on Monday, I was slightly concerned and suspected that the switch wouldn’t last much longer. I was right, by Friday partway through cooking dinner, smoke started to rise up from behind the switch on the wall. I promptly shut the thing off, called maintenance once again to see exactly how we should finish cooking dinner that night. I was encouraged by them to “send the cook” (aka, Mrs. Masina, Chepa, David, and me) over to Manse #1 to finish cooking dinner. Luckily, the oven had enough heat to finish off baking the breadsticks. However, we did have some near-boiled water, and veggies prepped for sautéing. David’s recommendation: don’t burn yourself on the pots. The game plan: Mrs. Masina, Chepa, and I would venture to Manse #1 to finish cooking and David would stay and watch the breadsticks.
By then, it was dark. There are no streetlights on the side streets; so, it was dark. I carried one of the pots, Chepa another, and Amayi, well she carried the rest of the prepped food on a tray on her head. It was fun to chat about being careful and hoping there were no holes on the road that we couldn’t see. We greeted people when they came into view, which occurred as they were just a few feet in front of us. While in the kitchen of Manse #1, I had a small chat with the cook there about keeping food in containers or at least covering the food so that bugs don’t get inside. Also, we discussed the pasta and sauce we were making and got funny looks when I said we only use a small amount of oil when sautéing the veggies and don’t add any salt. All in all in ended up just fine, we were all well fed when dinner found it’s way through the street, back to Manse #2 and onto the dinner table. Even though we were eating about an hour later than expected, it was comforting to know that here in Malawi, we don’t just borrow an egg or a cup of sugar from the neighbor, we can just walk down the street to use an entire kitchen when the oven goes out of commission.