Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cyclone? Can I get M&M's in mine?

Darth Vader or the only person on the road while we waited for transport in the rain that would never come
I'd rather get pelted with oreos than hail, but you can't have it all can you?

This is the road in my community

My only experience with cyclones has been at Friendly’s. This also applies to experiences with blizzards and arctic freeezes, I generally like my natural disasters to be full of calories. The volunteers in Swaziland did not know Cyclone Dando was coming until it came. It’s not the kind of place where you check Local on the 8’s because most likely your babe can predict the weather based on a number of unscientific factors that strangely work out. Although the weather significantly affects daily life. If it’s hot, you stay home. If it’s cold, you stay home. If it’s raining, you don’t leave your house.

The first day of the cyclone was awesome, I got to stay inside and read all day (Game of Thrones – highly recommended). We needed the rain bad, most gardens were dying from an unseasonably dry rainy season and the maize was about to die too, which is the staple food source here. It was also a nice break to sit inside, especially after some emotionally draining aspects that come from working amidst a high HIV prevalence. Day 2 rolled around and it was my day to go to the clinic. The clinic is a 2 hour walk, which isn’t bad at all on a nice day. There is a bus in the early AM but Gods know I could use the exercise. It was only drizzling, so I put on my shitkickers, a jacket and grabbed my walking stick. It was a refreshing walk after so much heat, but it started really coming down at the end in sheets. The clinic was dead because of the stormy weather, so I didn’t stay long before making the return trip. The way back was not a refreshing walk in the rain, it was a walk through a veritable cyclone. I was thoroughly soaked, even my rainboots were full of water. My house was soggy when I returned, somehow the concrete walls were even soaked. But I was thankful that somehow my bed was strategically located in the only dry rectangle in the whole place.  The rain continued relentlessly for another day and cabin fever set in. My phone was dead, kindle was dead and I ran out of batteries in my radio. Things get weird for volunteers in huts for long periods of time, and this exacerbated that phenomenon. To be cliché, I may have even practiced my favorite karaoke song, Toto’s, “I bless the raaains down in Africa”, but I am damn glad they are over.
"Dude, I just spent the afternoon in Middle-earth with glee-glop and the floopty-doos, all right? Give me a break"

Random Swazi Fact of the Week: There is another cyclone coming this week, "Funso". Looks like I will be finishing the Game of Thrones series and will come back to America in 20 months in full Ren-Fair attire and speaking like Medieval times.

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