Saturday, July 26, 2008


Due to very random Sierra Leonean plumbing one of the four water tanks on my roof overflows regularly: every 3 or 4 days, usually between 8-10 pm. Seeing as the water tank is right above my room I am usually the first one to notice; it’s kind of hard to ignore the sound of a magnificent waterfall! Lots of water gets wasted and someone has to go onto the roof to close one of the many valves. Then, in the morning the valve has to be turned on again.

What does this have to do with acrophobia? Well, like I said, the water tank is on the roof of my building. It is very high. I’ve climbed onto our generator roof many times, but it’s not nearly as high. And I just haven’t been brave enough yet to climb up onto my roof. The ladder is very steep. Yes, I’ve always been a little afraid of heights, unless there’s a railing or something to hold on to. But with our maintenance man going on holiday I had to bite the bullet. Someone had to be told what to do in case of an overflowing tank (which was bound to happen). So, on Thursday evening before it got dark, up we went. He went up, I followed. He showed me the valve. I looked around a bit. I got a little nervous climbing down. Made it to the ground. Survived. No problem.

This evening, when I came back from a lovely dinner out, the guard told me the tank was overflowing. This happened to be the 1 guard (out of 3) that was not shown which valve to close. Ugh. You know what that means. I was the one that would have to go up and solve this problem. My options were: 1) brave it, climb up, pray I don’t slip, close the valve, and climb back down or 2) leave it, waste lots of water, and not get any sleep because of the loud sound of the waterfall. Basically, there was no option. Up I went.

With my sneakers on, flashlight in my pocket, I climbed up the steep ladder in the dark, making sure the guard came up with, so that he would know what to do next time this happened. And I figured if I freaked out and couldn’t climb down, or fell off of the ladder, etc. at least someone would know and could call for help : ) Well, I made it to the top, dodged the flowing water, closed the valve, showed the guard, and was ready to go down. I wanted to wait for a minute to make sure the tank stopped overflowing because there was no way I wanted to climb up again. As the guard climbed down and I stood on the roof looking at the ladder I thought ‘what if I panic and can’t get down’. I told myself to stop thinking and get moving. And climbed down.

Never a dull moment. Always something to do. And hopefully this will help me overcome my fear of heights a little! I guess in the morning I’ll have to climb up again to open the valve, because we’ll be out of water!

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~