house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

44 days, 31

Again today, no time to stop and enjoy, or celebrate: too much to do. P. arrives and gets to work. By midday the house is unrecognisable. He doesn't talk much and won't stop unless he runs out of materials, needs to ask something or has a stroke. I say stroke because I suspect anything less won't stop him. He cut a finger the other day and just kept working, wiping the blood every now and again. He had hernia: no problem, heavy work? Bring it on. I tiptoe around, trying to see what he's doing, how he's doing it.

Compared to this, our regular guys are such lightweights. Take earlier this week: two young strong guys, one whole day, thin layer of cement to mix and pour over a small surface (3 m2?); around 11am they're shaking their heads saying: 'we're probably not finishing this today, no way, impossible!'. After lunch, I find work in the same area, I 'visit' them every 20 minutes or so.

Here's what I find: they go together to make the cement. One puts the 'ingredients' into the cement mixer: sand, lime, water; waits for everything to go round and round for ages. During this time, the brother has a cigarette, regards the village in the valley with a sleepy gaze. Then they carry the mortar. One jumps to work, pouring and smoothing it down. The other? Well it's his turn now to have his cigarette and watch the world go by. Etc. Of course they can't finish in a day!

I make some helpful suggestions. I keep coming back, I spend time marveling at the secrets of laying mortar. I waste hours on these 'educational' trips. I must confess I believe I had something to do with the fact that they finished the job by 4 p.m. Exhausting.

Work. Can be done in so many different ways. Shoddily, to pass the time. Or with heart, putting in it everything you've got. Or anything in between. How do we give our kids the will to get it right, to give their best to any little effort? It makes so much sense and they're more likely to enjoy it too...


At 11 April 2012 at 12:51 , Anonymous Marina Sofia said...

I read somewhere that on average Western children will try to solve a tricky problem for about 30 seconds before giving up, while Chinese and Japanese children will only give up after two minutes. (And I guess after two hours if Tiger Mom is watching). Just saying... (sigh!)


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