Tuesday, August 23, 2011

From the Land of Wawa to Wawalala

The site of Swearing-In

Some G9ers before becoming official

Wawalala is my new home. There are, to my dismay, no Wawa's in sight, but a surprising number of "general stores" that are as numerous as Wawa's on route 40 in SW Jersey.

Since I have posted, I sustained a gnarly illness, had an earwig infestation, moved out of Khiza and into Shewula as a sworn-in volunteer. It's a really awesome place, and despite being a little brat about having no electricity and being out in the boondocks, dare I speak too soon, it seems to be a great match.

I have received a lot of inquiries about what my site is like, the family, etc, and I will do my best to answer concisely. 

First of all, Swearing In/Mbabane was awesome. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps meant it was a rather swanky affair compared to usual. Mbabane is a fun place and we definitely got some celebrating in. My most American moment came when Nicole, Bethany, Clerisse and I decided we were tired of being at the bar and really could use some snacks. We paid our cab driver to drive us to a 24-hour gas station which we then pillaged for Caribbean Lays and Dairymilk bars, not unlike a typical night at home.

The bus dropped me off at my site, and rather than pulling up to the house I got a picture of, they said I'd be living in the much larger house the previous couple inhabited. I felt like a Jefferson, major upgrade. The next day, I get a call from my nearest volunteers, a couple, who said they had an extra bed on their hands and were only 30 minutes from my place. Things seriously fell into place and it made the dreaded first couple of nights in an unknown place a helluva lot better. 

It's much more tropical than Khiza. Since I am on the top of a plateau, I can literally see the lights of Maputo at night and on a cloudless day, the waves in the Indian Ocean. I wouldn't be surprised if I wake up one night in a trance and instinctively flock there like a sea turtle. The fauna is different as well, no earwigs but some pretty wild spiders, millipedes (throwing up in my mouth), geckos and these little caterpillars I escort outside. There are three puppies: Rihanna (she's red), Michael Jackson or MJ for short (Babe calls him Coat of Many Colors), and Snoopy. 

The family is great, I can't say enough good things about them. I have a Mkhulu and Gogo, they have 6 sons and 1 daughter, all older than me. They named me Nfombitanele, which means last born daughter, although I've also been told it means "enough girls" (I'm a little bitter I didn't get the popular name, Bongiwe). There are many grandchildren running around who are cute and like to dance to my radio, and are much better dancers than I could ever hope to be.

Random Swazi Fact: Country Clubs here are much more inclusive than in the U.S, aka, even us of suspect pedigree can be admitted to one

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