When we came to Botswana our new home was in a flat that was built by the Chinese. It was one of about fifty flats. The Taylors were already here in number 37 and a set of sisters were in number 17. Our new home was number 6. It’s a very nice 3 bedroom flat, two stories and about 10 months old. The Taylors were in front of the sisters and we were directly behind them. We were directly behind them. We were very pleased but we were also cautioned that the Chinese build fast, leaks. We had some nice rains storms last summer (December thru March) but no major leaking problems with the exception of some wet spots around the windows. About three weeks ago we were called by Sister Cook at about 6:30 in the morning to let us know that there had been a leak in their bedroom and the ceiling had caved in directly above their bed. Luckily, they heard the sound of water running about 1:30 am and had turned the light on to see what was going on and saw the wet ceiling. They quickly moved the beds to the other side of the room before the ceiling ruptured above where their beds had been. At that time they looked out of the window and noticed Sister Taylor ironing shirts in her flat. (This was normal for Sister Taylor. She only needs 4 hours sleep a night.) Anyway, they let the Taylors know and Elder Taylor got the
Security Guard to shut off the water to their flat. I was happy that Sister Taylor was awake and I hadn’t received a call until 6:30 the next morning. We checked out the flat and the damage was confined to two rooms, the bedroom and the bathroom next to it. We called Emily Liu that Chinese lady that manages the flats and the next thing we know some Chinese workers are at the flat repairing the damaged ceiling. They even painted the wet ceiling. I told Emily that they should have waited a couple of days to let the ceiling dry out. The problem had been a leak in the geezer (water heater) that was in the attic. I took a small fan over to the sisters flat and put it in the attic to help dry everything out, plus I left the attic trap door open. The Sisters moved their mattresses down stairs and box springs outside to dry out.
Two days later I received the first call at 1:30 am from the sisters. The Taylors had gone to South Africa to go to the temple with one of their Band of Brothers. Sister Cook said it’s leaking again. I went to the guard shack and had the water turned off. This time the water came down in the same room just in a different place in the ceiling. I called Emily the next morning about 8:00 am and told her that we had another leak again in the same room. This time I made it clear to her that she needed to let the room
dry out BEFORE the workmen re-sheeted the ceiling and painted it. I thought she understood but found out later that it didn’t matter because when I came back from the office everything was repaired again and repaired even though the ceiling was still wet. I called Emily and told her I was not pleased and that we would probably have mold growing in the attic. She asked “What’s mold?” I tried to explain that the sisters could get sick from mold but I’m sure she didn’t understand. She speaks very good English but her understanding isn’t there. I had considered moving the sisters to another flat but instead left the fan in the attic to help dry the place out. We did move the sisters to our flat for the weekend because by this time their flat was stinking pretty badly plus the light switch on the stairs was tripping the circuit breaker and I wasn’t sure how safe it was there. The repair men were supposed to come on Tuesday to repair the electrical problem. Monday was a holiday, Presidents Day.
On Tuesday morning we got a call again, this time it was about 6:30 in the morning. It was Sister Cook again and yes, she said, we hear dripping again. I was already up and dressed for the day so I told her I would be right over. When I got there Sister Gillis was in the shower so I told her to call me when she got out so I could see the bathroom where they thought the dripping was coming from. She called about fifteen minutes later and told me the Chinese workmen were there and they were starting to repaint the bathroom and one of them was checking for the electrical problem. I rushed over and found three men there. One painting the bathroom, one in the attic looking at the geezer and the other one had taken the light cover off from the light fixture at the top of the stairs. The sisters explained that cover was completely full of water which he dumped on the floor. (electrical problem solved) I tried to speak to them in English but they didn't understand me and I didn't understand them. I finally told them to stop doing what they were doing and get out of the house. I must have had the gift of tongues or maybe it was my angry mannerisms because they seemed to understand this time. I called Emily and asked her if she had another flat which she said she did. I told her that three times was enough and I wanted the sisters to move as soon as possible. She complied and the sisters are now in number 8, two doors down from us.
I have a new saying "Chinese build fast, leaks. Chinese repair fast, we move not fast enough!!"
The end (Elder Gubler)
PS The Rest of the Story:
Today, new tenants moved into the vacated flat. The Sisters think they should take over cookies and let the new renters know where to find the water shut-off valve. The flat it newly repaired (read painted) but the water problem isn’t fixed because the workers didn’t have time to fix the problem. Argh.