Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Thanks for Inviting Me to the Toga Rave"

The post title comes from the first thing someone in my language class said to me today, in reference to one of his Mephaquin induced dreams. First, some long-awaited pictures (it takes forever to load, so this is all you get!)

Cheesin in Khiza

My 'hut'

Sean, Clerisse and a cow walking around after class

A beautiful sunset meaning its time to get home for dinner!

Well, well, it's July!

July happens to be the coldest month of the year in Swaziland. While I am missing the beach and all the accoutrements of South Jersey, "winter" here is beautiful. Some days are cold and some mornings I can see my breath when I wake up. But it always warms up enough in the afternoon to be in a t-shirt. I like this "winter", it sure beats being snowed in every other day like last winter (though I did finely hone my time-wasting skills). By August, it will start warming up.

Last weekend we had the "Where There is No Chef 2011" Cook-off. My group had several people with much more cooking experience than I, and there being literally too many cooks in the kitchen, I resigned myself to being team motivator and DJ. I knew my supply of American flag bandanas would come in handy for something, we were easily the most bad-ass looking team. We didn't win, but it was a great day. Everyone's food was delicious, every single thing. We felt like we ate a full thanksgiving meal before 1:00 PM.

That was our introduction to cooking on our own, which has been challenging mostly due to the logistics. We have a two-burner gas stove, two pots and one pan. Also, having enough water to cook with, drink, bathe and wash dishes is another issue. But food has been good. I have learned to cook new things and my Make even approved of my liphalishi!  One thing I miss is meat. I have no idea how I went without it for 6 years, I have been craving it for the last week, as evident by my doodles of cheeseburgers in place of notes. Speaking of burgers, I can't believe one year ago I was working at Thunder Burger. Yes, that is the real name. Oh how I miss you bison burger with bacon and gouda!

But I do not miss that job, worked a double on the 4th in DC. Sad day. Thankfully this year all currently serving volunteers and trainees will be spending Independence Day together. I'm excited to meet everyone as well as the new Country Director. We get to wear jeans and play volleyball - yeeebo! (Yebo, pronounced yay-bo means 'yes' and you say it all the time, when someone says hello, you say yebo) And next week, we leave for a permaculture field trip for a few days to learn how to start a sustainable garden. I guess before I even consider getting a pet I should try to keep some plants alive. I am most looking forward to getting out and seeing a new part of the country.

And in just a few weeks, we find out our permanent sites. Training seems to be flying by even though the days are long and slow. This week we learned about certain techniques to get to know your community, one of those being a type of mapping. We spent all of Wednesday going around the village talking to people for the map. It turned into more of a hike through the outskirts of the village led by Kelly's Gogo. It was one of the best things I've done in Swaziland so far. We traversed a few streams and hills  and it was nice to just explore and feel untethered.

But it has not all been fun and games, I assure you. Rather than dwelling on these details, I will briefly mention them: spiders, doing laundry by hand, bathing at 6 AM in the cold and dark, the tap being dry, finding a mashekasheni in your sleeping bag, and one that I am noticing right as I type this, your roof leaking. Swaziland is a great place overall and I could stand to be toughened up a little when it comes to spiders and actually working to clean my clothes/get water. So on that note, time to go!

Have a very American Fourth and eat lots of hamburgers for me. And please go to the beach if you have one to watch fireworks.

Random (Soo random!) Swazi fact of the week: Remember the black Mamba in Kill Bill Volume II? Its a vicious killer snake. They are native to Swaziland. So maybe I will come back in two years as both an RPCV and also as Uma Thurman, completely realistic goals.

1 comment:

  1. i love reading your blogs. you have the ability to make me feel like I am there myself! Sounds like you are definitely having a hell of a time, both good and bad. Time is flying by, I will think of you during the fireworks on the 4th playing volleyball in jeans! haha. miss you lots and think/talk about you all the time. my Nanny is fascinated by the fact your there and calls me weekly to hear about your adventures - so I told her about your blog. hope to talk to you soon!

    btw a random fact for you: black mambas are the energy/workout pills that my WWF stand partner takes everyday. even though youre in africa we still both are experiencing black mambas in different ways! ha