Saturday, December 27, 2008


Our burnt roof

The finished product...

December 26, 2008

We had quite an eventful Christmas Eve! About 8:00pm we had our annual family fire cracker show. Jeff is a big kid when it comes to fire cracker fun. He’s always looking for new things to blow up or how to maximize the noise. The kids love it, except for Micah. He wanted to be held inside the house. He still tensed up every time; held his hands over his ears, squeezed his eyes shut, and shouted, “Nooooo!” When sparklers were brought out though, he did not want to be left out. He was right in the mix, waiting to get his stick lit. Even after we were done, the kids were riled up that they ran around outside for the next half hour.

At 9:30 I holler to Ryan to come inside for the movie (our Christmas Eve tradition is to watch a new movie and stay awake till midnight). As Ryan rounded the corner to the kitchen he began yelling, “Fire! Fire!” I run outside and see a foot high flame on our thatched roofed patio! In the commotion of getting outside, Jeff broke his finger on the door – ouch! While I untangled the hose and attached it to the spigot, Jeff began throwing buckets of water in the air hoping to reach the flame. It was useless. The roof is so tall that neither the buckets of water nor the hose could reach. It was scary at first because we couldn’t see how much of the roof was affected. Neighbors rushed over with buckets. Jeff climbed a tree to get a better view and began spraying the hose on to the roof from up there. Once the flames were out we relaxed. For 45 minutes he sprayed the roof but the smoke seemed to be getting worse. Then we realized why……

As the kids and I were staring at the roof, we saw sparks coming throughthe underside. The thatch is so compact that even though Jeff was dousing it with water, the water was reaching only the top layer. So, Jeff and I stood on a table and began squirting the water directly at the sparks from underneath. We got drenched in the process (it was the first time I had been cold in months!). I held the hose and Jeff held the flashing light in one hand and the rake in the other, poking holes in the thatch. We were practically blind from water messing up our contacts. Jeff even left the scene to change into glasses but soon realized that was far worse, so he left again to put his contacts back in. The frustrating part was that when we put any pressure on the hose end, the connections popped off leaving us with no water at all. The kids were troupers. Ginny and Joshua physically held the hose onto the spigot. Water was praying everywhere and they were soaked. At one point Ginny began to whimper, but once she saw that we all were wet, she chilled. Ryan’s job was to hold the two hoses together because the connector was not doing its job. It was difficult and it took a lot of strength. Unfortunately he began to get attacked by ants. He began crying and Jeff had to spray him with water (his legs look horrible today)! We did that for 45 minutes but could not stop the sparks.

It was time to call in back-up. We called Tony, our team mate, who rushed over with his high pressure hose adapter and ladder (the kids were glad to be relived from their hose duty). He and Jeff dowsed the roof from on top again. Tony climbed on the roof and began clipping wires, throwing bundles of straw to the ground. It was the only way to put out the fire. At midnight - more than two hours since we first saw the flames – we were finally able to sit down and relax. And of course the kids immediately asked, “Now can we watch a movie?”

We sat on our patio looking up at the stars through the big whole in our roof and found several things to be thankful for….yesterday’s rain and a windless night tonight. We were thankful we hadn’t started watching the movie. We were thankful that it started on the best possible spot – the side - for Ryan to see it and in order to reach it. We were thankful our teammates were home and that we were all safe.

Christmas Day the kids slept in till 9:00 and we open stocking as soon as they got up. Thanks to both sets of grandparents the kids were thrilled with their treasures. We ate chocolate crepes for breakfast and spent the rest of the day with our team mates, The Floyds. We sipped terere under their big shade tree and visited until lunch. We ate duck (that we had killed) and turkey (that they had killed), stuffing (box sent by Jeff’s parents) and cranberry sauce (from the Schmidt’s).
After lunch the guys cranked ice cream, Jean I cleaned up, and the kids ran around with popsicles in hand. Mid-afternoon the kids dug into the gingerbread houses (we cannot get ginger here so it was gingerbread without ginger) and the adults drank coffee ice cream punch. I made Reece Peanut Butter Cups. They were good but very messy (the chocolate could not stand the Paraguay summer heat).
Tony got out his guitar and Jeff his piano and we sang carols. When it got dark we shot rocket balloons (thanks Cox family) and played with silly string (thanks Floyd’s church). It was a fun day.

Christmas lunch with the Floyd family

co 2008 Amy McKissick


Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

What an adventure! So glad y'all didn't get hurt (except the broken finger and the ant attack) and all is well. An eventful Christmas, for sure!

Andy and Lizet Bowen said...

Powdered ginger: Matural productos naturales, Sucre 1522 c/ San Martín (near Plaza Oferta), tel: 662 057. You can also often find it at Casa Rica.