The dam was like many others that I had worked on, except that in Nepal women were part of the contracted labor force. Clad in dirty, ragged saris, they were doing the heavy physical work. In America, we’d use a front-end loader to carry the construction materials that these women were carrying around the site. They each had a cone-shaped, straw basket strapped to their backs with a leather strap across their foreheads and they’d fill the baskets with rocks and then carry the rocks to the disposal area where they would unload them on a slowly growing rock pile.
It wasn’t just the appliances that Kola had trouble with. Sam painstakingly showed her how to use the steam iron and how to fold the ironing board. The first day Kola folded the ironing board, she broke it. Sam was passing by the guest bedroom where Kola did the ironing and heard a loud crash. She found Kola with the ironing board flat on the floor, with the apparatus that held the legs in place broken. Kola was just too strong to manage the ironing board. I wired the legs to the top of the ironing board and for the rest of our stay in Nepal, it stood in a corner of the guest room, never able to be folded up again. Kola pulled the electrical cord out of the back of the vacuum cleaner. I had to repair it also. Kola was a one-woman wrecking crew.
Crossing the Date Line can be purchased as an eBook for about $8 or $9 from book sellers like iBookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Baker & Taylor, Copia, Gardners, eSentral, Scribd and Goodreads.