Monday, November 24, 2008

The Spatula Saga


It all started by trying to make pancakes! We were living in the jungle and I wanted to make pancakes. The problem was that the only spatula I had was broken and was no longer usable. It is hard to flip pancakes with a fork, not too mention fried eggs.

I needed to get word to town so that one of the pilots who flew out our way would bring me a spatula on our next scheduled flight. At that time we only had a monthly supply flight and it had just been a few days earlier. Each time the plane arrived with our order, we would give the pilot the order for our next month supplies. That meant that I would be able to order a spatula, but it would take another month to get it to the village.

My husband gave the order for the spatula on his next radio transmission. Unfortunately, at the time we did not have the correct antenna to transmit directly to the hangar. So we had to relay our messages through other villages with radios which could transmit to the Missionary Aviation hangar in Puerto Ayacucho.

"Please add a spatula to or next order." Done, now we just had to wait.

A month later the scheduled supply flight arrived. These flights were a big deal and our only connection outside of the jungle. We unloaded our big order of food stuffs, fuels, medicines, and kept looking for the spatula. I had promised the kids we would eat pancakes for breakfast the next day! But, after all was put away, we still had not found a spatula.

Actually, we did find a type of spatula, one that is used for working with cement and masonry! It seemed we had a miscommunication with our radio order. So my husband once again puts out the call and asks for a spatula to be added to our next month's order. He specified that we needed a kitchen spatula and NOT a masonry spatula. We were now on month two waiting for the spatula.



Another month passes and another supply flight arrives. We unload the many bags and boxes of supplies keeping our eye out for the elusive spatula, but once again, no spatula!

OK, there was a spatula and even a kitchen spatula! It was a plastic bowl scraping kind of spatula. Not good for flipping pancakes! Once again, my husband calls and asks for a spatula to be added to our next month's order. A spatula used in the kitchen while cooking for flipping pancakes, hamburgers and fired eggs. We are now on our third month of waiting for the spatula.



Finally, the next month passed by, the plane lands and a pilot with a big grin on his face handed me a bag. Inside the bag were every possible type of apparatus that could possibly be referred to as a 'spatula'.

I was thrilled! We were all thrilled! We had fried eggs and pancakes for dinner.

It took us three months to get it, but we were happy to finally have it.

This is what happens when a gringo gives the message to a Ye'kwana who then relays it to a Sanema, who radios it in to the hangar, where a Colombian writes it down on our order, which will be filled by a Venezuelan!

Remind me to tell you about the plane load of cookies we got by mistake once! OH! And the 10 'table cloths' for our Coleman lanterns! Then there was the 30 pair of soccer cleats fiasco...never did figure that one out....


24 comments:

Christopher Hamilton said...

Great story. Maybe you should set up an Amazon.com account and add everything you need to your Wishlist. They will be able to see exactly what you need :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry about those cleats, I am sure it was due to the email being down..

Cuatro Cero

~K~ said...

Wow!

I would have sanitized the masonry spatula and used it to flip pancakes until the real spatula arrived! (I think I would have tried it anyway!)

We have a problem with finding "bowl scraper" spatulas here. We had some good ones her on our last term, but while were on furlough they were ruined. Finally just last week we had one brought from the US.

MightyMom said...

do tell do tell!! I wanna know!!

Hubby has a few great and similar stories....apparently the order process for Submarines isn't fool proof. As I recall one sub had a firetruck delivered...while another had a (maybe two??) riding lawn mower....lots of grass to mow on those submarines ya know! :-)

Jungle Mom said...

Cuatro Cero,
Copiado!!!

Kris said...

wow...a new perspective. next time e-mail me...I'd be happy to send you a spatula.

kw

Brenda said...

Next time a new missionary complains about how long it takes to get things done her, I am sending them to this post :)

Charles said...

A great lesson in clear communication

BTW a guy would have just used the paint scraper after he wiped it off with a semi clean rag... eww!

Gayle said...

LOL! What Charles said! In fact, I would have used the paint scraper if I wanted pancakes badly enough.

Happy Thanksgiving, Rita. I'm sorry you didn't like my Turkeys! ;)

Jungle Mom said...

I did try the 'paint scraper. It was flat and would have worked on a grill but not in my frying pan without destroying the Teflon. I did not want to have to replace the pan, which would have taken a year or so...

Thursday's Child said...

What a great story! I bet those were the best tastin' pancakes ever.

Miekie said...

Very funny - but I guess not so funny to see the children's dissapointed faces!

The Hermit said...

I saw a show on National Geographic Channel this weekend about Indian tribes in the Amazon. Very interesting. It augmented your postings on the Amazon nicely. Seems to me, it was more dangerous there than I had thought.

nanc said...

this reminds me of the two times i asked my husband to pick me up a new potato masher and he brought home pastry cutters!

Anonymous said...

Rita - we have no idea of what missionaries deal with - all of the idiocyncricies.
We appreiciate all of your sharing so much.

Starla said...

LOL!!! Thanks for sharing.

Findalis said...

LOL. Finally success!!!!!

Shane Rios said...

Whoa no spatula that stinks!

FJ said...

I'm surprised you didn't convert the lid from a can of Crisco with a pair of pliers... On 2nd thought... too flimsy. Never mind.

On ships at sea, you learn to try and improvise...

FJ said...

Cotufas is what I always craved for while living in Caracas. We had to get it flown in by the case from Panama.

Gigi said...

Frustrating at the time, I'm sure...but a treasured memory now, yes?! Thanks for the much needed chuckle!

Z said...

JM....it's official and I'll say it again: YOU ARE A SAINT!

Rebecca said...

lol I assume you learned to roll with the punches since you didn't take to drinking. hic...

Brooke said...

Wow. With all of that trouble, you should've ordered two just in case!